Black Joy

Let a house plant be your peace 🌱 | Black Joy – March 17 2023

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Hello Beautiful People!

I hope it’s sunny where you are because it’s rainy and gloomy on my side of the world. Thankfully, on days like this my house plants bring me a little sunshine.

That’s the sweet thing about having plants…they can make your home feel like spring 24/7.

For this week’s newsletter, we’re talking all about the joys of plant parenting and the lessons to be learned from it. Bree Iman, founder of The Plant Project, shares some insight on finding the right plant for you. And Leah Whitcomb reminds us that plant parenting is a learning process.

If you’ve been thinking of growing your collection or getting your first plant this season, this one’s for you!

— Dani

More Plant Joy with Bree Iman Clarke

Last year, Bree Iman Clarke, founder of the The Plant Project, was featured by our newsletter for becoming the first Black woman to open a plant shop in Dallas.

I decided to follow-up with her to discuss how she’s expanded her brand, what plants are trending this season and advice for folks who are new to plant parenting.

So, your last conversation with Black Joy was more about the birth of and inspiration behind The Plant Project. Since then, how has the brand expanded?

[B]y doing Plants & Prosecco, where we do plant pop ups, but it’s not your average pop up, it’s really focusing on bringing the residents out. . . creating that sense of community [which is] what I’ve always wanted to do inside The Plant Project, but just taking it outside of our doors.

Spring is right around the corner. Do you have any advice for aspiring plant parents who are thinking about buying their first plant?

We’re not just selling you a plant but teaching the art of plant ownership. So, I always tell people, lifestyle [and] the lighting in your home. Do you have a lot of bright light? Do you have a lot of low light? Also, the temperature in your home. We get that question all the time. “How often do I water my plant?” That is a trick question for plant shop owners. We never can really tell you the answer to that because we don’t live with you. So, we don’t know if you keep it at 65 degrees, 68 or you keep it warm [at] 74 degrees, it really depends on your life, lifestyle and environment.

Over the years, lots of plant trends have hit the internet. For instance, at one point it seemed like everyone had or wanted a snake plant and they got really expensive, still are. Have you noticed any new plant trends at the moment? Are there certain plants that are becoming more popular than others?

So, people are really on the Monstera kick. I think on average, we get about 5 to 10 people a day that come in and ask for a Monstera. [They] are so popular right now that it’s even hard to get a Monstera. Before you could Monstera all the time, anywhere . . . So, people are really liking them because they’re a really easy-care type of plant. They grow fast. They grow up, they grow out, they take up space, and it’s a large plant.

And Prayer plants, Prayer plants have gotten so popular. And it’s so crazy because Prayer plants are really a hard plant to take care of. You have to have low indirect light. You have to have filtered water. She’s bougie. She doesn’t want tap water.

But I’m seeing a huge uptick of Prayer plants. . .and it’s because I believe the significance of it [and] the beauty of it. They call it a Prayer plant because at nighttime, its leaves fold up like it’s saying a prayer and then they unfurl during the day.

What plants are you really loving right now?

I truly love the Peace Lilies. . .I love the stories behind them. They’re passed down from generation to generation. I feel like our mothers, our grandmothers, someone in our family at one point had a Peace Lily. I feel like so many people are like, “Oh well, they die, or they wilt” and it’s like no, they tell you what they want. . .

When they want to get watered their leaves go down, whenever you water them [the leaves] come up and people will try to give up on Peace Lilies. . . So, I love the resilience behind Peace Lilies and they’re old school so sometimes you don’t find them as much out at a boutique plant shop or plant stores or heck even the big box stores. . . so I get a lot of people that will come in like, “Oh I know you probably don’t, but do you have a Peace Lily?” I sure do have Peace Lilies. I always keep a ton of Peace Lilies. [laughs]

Black people and their plants: It’s more than a lifestyle

As Bree Iman Clarke mentioned in her interview, there are so many things to consider when owning a plant. And being a plant parent is not a one-size-fits-all type of experience.

My good friend Leah Whitcomb reminded me of that in our conversation about the beautiful and sometimes difficult journey into plant parenting.

My first one was Bonnie. My roommate at the time had talked me into buying a plant, and so I looked and looked. Nothing really was doing it for me until I spotted my Bonnie. A small bonsai with a cute little twisted trunk that I found hidden behind another plant at Walmart.

We spent just under 5 years together, and that tree saw me through so many difficult moments. Me finding her was the beginning of my love and deep appreciation for nature. When she shed her last leaf, I was on the heels of another big life transition.

I like to think Bonnie knew she had served her purpose. It was time for me to be a big girl, shed my own dead leaves, and bloom into a better version of myself.

Read the full article on our website.

Happy Friday and keep spreading the Black Joy! See y’all next time!

Danielle Buckingham

Danielle Buckingham

Danielle Buckingham (she/her), affectionately known as Dani Bee, is Reckon’s Black Joy Reporter, and a Chicago-born, Mississippi-raised writer based in Oxford, Mississippi. A 2021 Lambda Literary fellow, her work has been published in MadameNoire, Midnight & Indigo Literary Magazine, Raising Mothers, and elsewhere.

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