“I may be a plant from MacFadden & Thorpe, but I won’t stay in the background—I’m ready to steal the spotlight with my lush leaves and fabulous flair, bringing some serious drama to this garden oasis!”
As part of our Spring 2023 Mandt newsletter, we wanted to showcase the plants we live with in our homes, our leafy little companions. Each of the MT staff chose one plant to share with the world. Our plants, whether they live outdoors or in, say something about who we each are, certainly, and how we co-exist with nature in its endless wonder and variety. Special thanks to good friend ChatGPT for the supplemental writing on some of these.
Anisha: Chinese Money Plant / Pilea peperomioides
6 months ago I moved into a very bare apartment in the new (to me) city of London. This little guy was one of the very first things I bought to spruce up the place. I stumbled upon it at the local nursery and it was love at first sight.
As soon as I placed it on the windowsill, it seemed to come alive. The leaves began to unfurl, and the delicate stems elongated, as if it were stretching out after a long journey.
And there was something else I noticed, tucked beneath its thick, overlapping leaves was a tiny shell named Marcel. I had been searching for him for months, and here he was, nestled safely among the leaves of my new purchase.
This plant takes care of itself pretty well, it doesn’t seem to mind the gray weather or that I forget to water it. We’ve developed a special bond, despite my hands-off approach to plant parenting.
It has become a source of comfort and shelter for Marcel the shell, and of peace and tranquility for me. The little thing seems to have a life of its own, providing a safe haven for all those who need it.
Brendon: Bunny Ears Cactus
Cacti have always fascinated me, so when it was time to choose a plant for my house, a cactus was perfect. They’re visually intriguing and low-maintenance, which is great for busy people or travelers. Despite their tough exterior, cacti are surprisingly resilient.
I love the cultural significance and symbolism attached to cacti. They represent resilience, strength, and endurance in many cultures. Having a cactus in my home brings a piece of this rich history and symbolism into my personal space. It’s a source of inspiration for me.
Overall, my cactus brings joy and relaxation every day. It’s a meaningful addition to my home, and I’m grateful for it. If you’re looking for a visually intriguing, culturally significant, and low-maintenance plant, I highly recommend getting a cactus.
Brett: Zamioculcas Zamiifolia
One day I found a free potted palm and brought it home, replanting it into a nice glazed pot that was left in the backyard by the previous owners. At first it looked great, but within a month the palm had lost pretty much all its leaves. For a while a solitary branch fought valiantly, and I thought it might rally and recover, but alas, it died too. So I went to nearby Piedmont Avenue in Oakland, where there is a fancy plant store next to the vegan coffee house. I told them I needed a plant that was deathproof. They suggested this—a Zamioculcas Zamiifolia, aka a ZZ plant. Basically don’t do anything to it, they said, just water it every now and then. I don’t think it’s a particularly beautiful plant, but it’s indeed a survivor. Over time it’s developed a few sad brown spots, but it’s more or less alive—much better than how the palm faired. Over Christmas I draped it with some lights and I think it likes them. It likes feeling special and festive. They are now going to be an all-year thing.
Chloe: Philodendron Cordatum
At a vintage market in Oakland, I found this Philodendron Cordatum on a plant truck owned by a bearded man. He excitedly explained the plant’s low maintenance needs and how you can tell how hydrated it is by the thickness of its leaves.
Excited to add some more green to my home, I bought the plant and placed it on my mantel. I hope, with time, my Philodendron Cordatum will grow into a beautiful centerpiece in my apartment, reminding me of the kind bearded man who sold it to me at the vintage market.
More fun facts about this plant: Philodendron Cordatum is a popular species of the genus Philodendron, a group of tropical plants native to South and Central America. It’s commonly known as Heartleaf Philodendron because of its heart-shaped leaves. The Philodendron Cordatum is an easy-to-grow indoor plant that can tolerate low to bright indirect light, and it doesn’t require much maintenance. It is also known for its air-purifying abilities and is often used in indoor spaces to improve air quality.
Kam: Pothos Plant
Kameron loved his pothos plant more than anything else in his apartment. He had nurtured it for months, and it had become his most prized possession. He called it ‘Lush’ and talked to it every day, as if it was a person.
One day, Kameron got carried away and overwatered the plant. He didn’t realize what he had done until it was too late. Lush started to wilt and turn yellow, and Kameron was filled with dread. He tried everything he could think of to save the plant, but nothing worked. The more he tried, the more it seemed like Lush was slipping away from him.
Days turned into weeks, and Kameron became obsessed with saving the plant. He stopped eating, stopped sleeping, and stopped going to work. Lush became his whole world, and he was determined to save it, no matter what the cost.
Finally, after weeks of care, Lush started to recover. The leaves turned green again, and the plant began to thrive once more. But Kameron had changed. His obsession with the plant had consumed him, and he had lost touch with reality. Lush had become a symbol of his madness, and he knew that he would never be the same again.
Keston: Lego Succulents
It was a bright and sunny day, and I was feeling adventurous. I had heard about a new Lego store that had just opened up in the nearby shopping mall, and I decided to pay it a visit. As soon as I walked through the doors, I was transported to a magical world of colorful bricks and endless possibilities.
I wandered through the aisles, marveling at the incredible variety of Lego sets and accessories on display. And then, as if by fate, my eyes landed on something that caught my attention. It was the Lego Succulents Set, a collection of tiny plants made entirely out of Lego bricks. I knew right away that I had to have it. I paid for the set, and eagerly rushed back home to begin construction.
Over the next few hours, I lost myself in the world of Lego, carefully following the instructions and piecing together each of the nine different succulent plants included in the set. As I worked, I marveled at the intricate patterns and textures of the bricks, and I felt a deep sense of satisfaction as each plant took shape before my eyes. When I had finished, I was left with a beautiful collection of Lego succulents, each one unique and beautiful in its own way. I carefully arranged them on a shelf in my living room, where they immediately caught the eye of anyone who entered.
Maggie: Prickly Pear Cactus
Maggie had always admired her neighbor’s prickly pear cactus. Its spiky arms and vibrant pink fruit seemed to exude a sense of otherworldly beauty and resilience. So when a small piece of the cactus fell into Maggie’s backyard, she was overjoyed. She carefully potted it and tended to it with great care, hoping that it would take root and grow into a full-sized plant.
Days turned into weeks, and Maggie watched with excitement as the prickly pear slowly began to grow. At first, it seemed like a small, spiky sprout, but before long it had grown taller than Maggie herself. Despite its prickly exterior, Maggie found herself growing more and more fond of the cactus. It was a constant reminder of the power of growth and perseverance, even in the face of difficult circumstances.
As the weeks turned into months, Maggie’s prickly pear began to grow at an almost alarming rate. Its spiny arms shot up towards the sky, creating a formidable barrier around Maggie’s backyard. But even as the cactus grew taller and more imposing, Maggie continued to tend to it with great care. She watered it daily and watched as it continued to grow, marveling at the natural world and its infinite potential.
Eventually, Maggie’s prickly pear grew to over five feet tall, dwarfing everything else in her backyard. But even as it continued to grow, Maggie knew that she would always treasure the small piece of cactus that had started it all. For her, the prickly pear was a symbol of resilience, strength, and the incredible power of nature to transform even the smallest of things into something beautiful and mighty. And as she looked out at her backyard, Maggie felt a sense of awe and wonder at the natural world and its infinite possibilities.
Scott: Henry the Plant
Henry was a magnificent Dracaena plant, tall and lush with two strong stalks. But recently, one of his stalks had started to wither and die, causing concern for his plant parents. They had done everything they could to keep Henry healthy, from watering him regularly to providing him with enough sunlight, but it seemed that one of his stalks was beyond saving.
Henry could sense his parent’s worry, and it made him feel sad. He had always strived to be the best plant he could be, and now he felt like he was letting them down. But then, he realized something important. Losing one stalk didn’t make him any less of a plant. He still had one other strong stalk that was thriving, and that was something to be proud of.
With this new perspective, Henry stood tall once again, grateful for the care and attention his parents had given him and he was now determined to continue growing and thriving.