Only once I’d lived in New York for several years did it occur to me to acquire indoor plants, and even then it was mostly a result of peer pressure. When I moved from the Lower East Side to Brooklyn, a friend bought me a housewarming succulent, and I became so obsessed with the way it looked in my window that I watered it to death. I don’t like doing things I’m not good at, so I gave up, allowing myself to coast on the passive enjoyment of my roommate’s own healthy plant collection. Then my partner and I moved into our own place, and it looked sad and weird without greenery, especially compared to the sunny apartments my friends posted to Instagram. A lot of women I follow also post pictures of themselves, like, caressing leaves by their windows, and while I never mistook myself for someone who could carry that off, I wanted to take a step in that direction.
The problem was that I am very lazy, and I don’t have a car, and I didn’t want to walk to a plant store and buy a plant and a planter and carry them back to my apartment and then go buy a bag of dirt and carry that back and put the dirt in the planter and sweep up the spilled dirt and then do it all over again if I wanted more than one plant in my home, which I did. With plants it seems like you have to go jungle or bust — having just one or two makes them look effortful and out of place. Eventually a friend of mine (with a car) drove me to Home Depot and there I bought a snake plant and a bamboo-like tree of some kind (I … didn’t write down the name), but that still didn’t seem like enough. So that is when I hired a plant consultant, which is a job I learned about in a Post story about millennials and their plants.
It was in that story that I found my future plant consultant, Maryah Greene, who runs a plant consultancy called Greene Piece. We set up an initial consultation, during which Greene came to my house, looked at the plants I had, considered my lighting, and talked to me about my budget and some options within it. (She has a few packages to choose from, all of them customizable.) Greene also brought me a copy of a plant book and told me to look through it, and send her pictures of the plant aesthetics I liked — a whole new world of opinions I didn’t know I had until I was paging through it, deciding I hated ferns and spindly, wispy things, and loved anything rubbery and dark. A week or two later, she went to the plant store she partners with to shop for me, texting me pictures of my options as she went. Then she brought my new plants to my apartment, potted them, and told me how often to water them. All I had to do was pay her a very reasonable fee, and suddenly, I was a plant girl.
For some reason I feel an impulse to apologize for hiring someone to help me pick out plants, because I know it’s a task I could do, and because it was first presented to me as something lol-millennials do. But whatever!! I have food delivered sometimes, I sometimes pay for a car rather than take the subway, because I have learned that paying someone else to do something you don’t want to do — spending money to save time — is one of the few ways in which spending money actually does make you happier. I am not interested enough in plants to shop for them myself, or learn about various kinds of dirt or whatever, but I do like how they look, and I like the little project of keeping them alive. I suppose I could have asked for more free friend advice, or turned to Google, but it’s rare for either to give you a definitive path forward on much of anything. Sometimes it’s nice to just hire one expert who tells you exactly what to do.
Part of my plant consultant’s services are to answer my panicked plant questions for a number of months after purchase, and so far I have availed myself of this option just once: I sent her a photo of my monstera, which to me looked somehow unsatisfied, its stems no longer neat but flung in every direction. I was worried, but Greene wrote back to say she thinks it looks pretty happy, and is probably just stretching (!). Ah, I love her. Both the plant consultant and the monstera.