In an effort to stop myself from drowning in my own plants—I have more than 60!—I recently placed myself on a one-month-long plant ban. And I made it the entire month.
I basically told myself I was not allowed to buy plants, thinking a month would be manageable. Was I wrong! I was doing just fine until I had the bright idea to buy tickets to a houseplant festival. And I couldn’t go to a houseplant festival without buying a houseplant (sound logic if you ask me).
To my credit, I didn’t go crazy. The two plants I purchased weren’t more than $20 in total, so I wasn’t breaking the bank. One of the plants, a String of Turtles, was a wish list plant that I had been trying to find for months. The other was a Fittonia, which is perfect for placing inside terrariums, and my terrarium had been looking a little sad—a justified purchase. Right?
I’m Not Alone on This
Not being able to keep up with my self-imposed plant ban got me thinking about how many other plant parents put themselves on a ban and why. So naturally I took to Instagram and set up a few polls and questions on Stories to ask my followers (most of whom are fellow plant lovers) about their own plant ban experiences.
I had a lot of replies. Out of 217 people, 74% of them said they have had to put themselves on a ban. And I got some really good insight into why people (or their partners) implemented a ban.
Reasons for the Ban
This seems to be the main reason that people put themselves on a ban. I totally get it. I’ve spent a pretty penny on my plants (worth it!). Still, that doesn’t mean that we should fork out all of the cash we have in our savings for a new Monstera plant (easier said than done).
Many respondents said that they needed to save money so they banned themselves from any new green friends. @Nansbrenans said she placed herself on her plant ban because, “I spent like $450 in two weeks and I knew in that moment I would sell my soul for a plant.”
Lack of Space
Another common reason was “Too many plants, too little space!!!” as @harini so aptly put it. It’s simply a fact that plants take up a lot of space and as they grow and you repot them, they take up even more space. So if you’re continually purchasing new plants, you're going to slowly stop seeing your floor, countertops, shelves, curtain rods, and whatever other surface you can put a plant on.
Reasons They Failed
Respondents also had a lot to say about why they sometimes give up on their plant-buying bans.
Wish List Plant
Tell a plant parent that they can’t buy a wish list plant and they’ll roll their eyes at you. Seriously. Try and stop them. Plant collectors often have long wish lists for trendy or rare plants. And if you find one that isn’t super expensive, you’re going to buy it. It’s just the way it is, so it didn’t really surprise me that 55 people said that their bans ended when they found a wish list plant they’d been searching for.
They Just Can’t Help Themselves
And then there are those that simply have no self control. Sixty-seven people answered that they “want all of the plants!” Plant people can totally relate to that. If I see a plant shop while I’m on a walk, I’m going to go inside. If I see a plant inside of said shop that I don’t have, I may very well purchase it without thinking about anything else. It’s just the way it is.
‘Rules’ for Buying Plants
A lot of the people who answered my polls said that in order to avoid having to place themselves on a ban, they instead have a set of rules they follow when purchasing something new. These are a few of the rules they mentioned.
Know What You’re Getting Into
119 people said that they only buy plants that they know they can take care of. I definitely adhere to this rule. There is no reason to spend your hard-earned money on a plant that you know will not survive in your home. @redvelvetkate brought up a good point when she said, “If I’ve already killed one, I won’t buy that same one again.” This is an excellent rule to follow. Odds are if a plant died once before, either you or your space is not equipped to take care of it and there is no shame in that.
@kasa.kat said that she likes to “support local nurseries as often as possible.” It seems like a lot of people feel this way, too. Instead of buying online, they like to be able to check the plants before they bring them home. Checking the root system for any rot is really helpful. It’s also great to check the leaves for any annoying pests because you do not want to bring an infestation into your home!
One of my favorite rules that people seem to follow is by swapping for cuttings of plants that they want. This is a great way to save money on plants. If you’re lucky enough to have a network of plant lovers around you, just reach out and see if someone has the plant you’re looking for. If they do, odds are someone will probably swap with you or charge you less than a full plant would cost.
Plant bans aren’t a bad thing. They help us plant hoarders pull back the reins a little bit, which we could all use sometimes. I hope I’m not generalizing here, but I find that some plant parents get hyped up by even the idea of adding a new plant to their collection, so plant bans keep us in check when we need it.