We sat down with test engineer and plant enthusiast Ashley Holbrook to talk about where her obsession stems from (haha), where she keeps all of her 17 plants, and why she agrees that remembering to water a plant can be hard.
Q: Tell me about how your obsession with plants started.
Ashley: It started when I was young. My mom has a ton of plants. She would make the little cuttings and babies and she would be like ‘here, this one’s your’s!'. It was like a pet in a way. I’ve always had plants.
Q: What was the first plant you had?
Ashley: I think it was one of the vine-y, pothos plants I had. Super easy to make babies from. If you cut it and stick it in water, the nodes on it grow roots and you make another plant with it. I’ve never bought plants or seeds.
Q: Why do you think people don’t water their plants?
Ashley: Probably because they’re just not in the routine or they forget about it. Mostly I think people overwater their plants. When people are buying plants, I give them the advice to watch the plant or pick it up and see how heavy it is. The worst thing you can do is overwater it--It’s better off dry.
Q: What’s your favorite fun fact about plants?
Ashley: I love that they clean the air. There’s science behind that…I don’t know what it is. They eat carbon dioxide and spit out oxygen. And who doesn’t want that?
Q: Tell me a little bit about the plant you have here with you today.
Ashley: This is a red Prayer Plant (Maranta) . This plant is really unique because during the day, its leaves are pointed down and at night they go straight up. That’s why they call it a ‘prayer plant’.
Q: How do you hear about new plants?
Ashley: Instagram. I’ll just be scrolling though…and that’s how I found this whole group of plants. When you’re scrolling by and you see something like this, you’re like ‘I need that. I just need to look at this every day'.
Q: What is your favorite thing to do with your plants?
Ashley: I like misting them. I feel like I’m giving them love. It’s almost meditative. You look at the plant and see how it’s doing and mist it.
Q: How many plants do you have?
Ashley: I actually counted and I technically have 17 plants.
Q: What was you first plant that you have that’s still alive?
Ashley: The vining pothos that I got in 5th or 6th grade. It’s very old. It has broken in several places but I love it.
Q: Do you have a least favorite plant?
Ashely: I do. I think it’s called a Paddle Leaf plant. I don’t know why I bought it. It’s interesting, but I wouldn’t say it’s pretty. It’s really top heavy and it’s from India. I wish I could remember the real name for it…it’s just kind of there. It’s not exciting. I’ve never got it to flower.
I will sometimes forget to water them or I’ll walk by and there almost dead. That’s why I like them, because they don’t require as much attention as other thins (like pets).
Q: Do you recommend a starter plant for people?
Ashley: I think a Spider Plant. A spider plant is pretty hardy and they grow fast.
Q: Where do a lot of your plants live?
Ashley: I have a spare bedroom that’s basically my plants' room. My plants live in there and I have a plant stand from IKEA that they all sit on and they’re all throughout the room. It’s good because that room’s shut off from the AC, it’s nice and warm in there, and they create humidity on their own. (see below)