I recently moved a fair few plants outside (in a greenhouse), sold cuttings of plants that were beginning to take up too much space, and relegated a few orchids into bathrooms in order to make space because I’ve been trying to promote a more focused environment in the home with more negative space. I’m happy with how everything is looking now, but I know from past experience that sometimes I see plants that I am instantly drawn to and can’t help but bring them home. As such, I’ve devised a system to stop me from overcrowding my room with plants: to implement a no-buy system for the year of 2021.
My life would probably be rather miserable if I wasn’t allowed to get any new plants for the entire year. The plan is to only acquire plants in two ways in order to ensure that I don’t overcrowd my room again. The first is to trade plants with other growers. This means that any time I’m bringing a new plant into my space, another one is leaving it. The second is to sell a plant and then use the profits to buy a new plant, which essentially achieves the same effect of allowing me to bring a new plant into my home, provided that I get rid of another one. This also almost ensures that the hobby pays for itself for the year. The great thing about this second idea is that I’ll be able to afford most plants just by growing the ones I already have to a larger size and then propagating them so that I can turn them into multiple plants to sell separately, so there’s very little barrier to me getting any plant I want. It also means that I’ll be able to get my hands on a plant that nobody near me is swapping. It is essentially swapping, but with an extra step in the middle.
Before I started this blog, I never thought that I would have wanted to downsize my collection, because I was so very attached to each of my plants. I still love all my plants dearly, but I’ve come to understand that they can survive very well outdoors, or may be appreciated more fully in a less crowded space with another grower/collector. I think part of the reason why I’m more willing to part with them now is because this blog allows me to document the fun times I’ve had with them and the growth that they underwent thanks to my care.
If you’ve been an avid indoor gardener for a number of years too, I would actually suggest that you also implement a no-buy period. It doesn’t have to be year. It could be half a year, or even just three months. There are a couple of reasons why you might consider doing this. The first is to increase space: As much as I love plants, I don’t want to live in an indoor jungle, as I’ve previously stated on this blog. After all, anyone can buy trinkets and tchotchkes to fill up space, but space itself is much harder to get a hold of. There’s something to be said about knowing when to scale back on material belongings in order to maintain enough empty space to breathe comfortably.
Of course, you might also consider a no-buy period because it means that you can focus your energy on fewer plants that you truly love and care about more than others, as it forces you to prioritise what plants you want. Anyone who has had a large number of plants can probably recall an instance of neglecting a plant for longer than they should have at some point. A no-buy period forces you to take a look at your collection and prioritise, and then provides an opportunity to replace plants that may not excite you as much as they used to and replace them with new, exciting plants.
In fact, I’ve already begun the process of trading plants. Some of you might recall the long trough planter I had my philodendron gloriosum in. As much as I enjoyed the plant itself, the planter took up a huge amount of space. As such, I cut it back from nine leaves to two leaves and sold the rest. This, in conjunction with the moving of some plants outdoors, made (both literal and metaphorical) space for me to acquire different plants. Here’s a few photos of some plants I’ve acquired thus far — all without breaking the budget created by selling gloriosums and without taking up any more space in my room.