Ep.64 Holding Water From A Rainy Day (Ami - Succulent Plant Grower)
7:04PM Dec 21, 2019
Good day everyone who's listening to talk your hobby, and this is episode 64 holding water for a rainy day. I'm your host Alex and today I have the honor to have Amy as my guest on the show. How you doing today? Good. How are you? I'm doing good. It's the weather's not too bad. I'm still bald, still happy. So no complaints on my end. So I'm happy to have you here and hopefully it's gonna be a wonderful podcast. I mean, hopefully if of course it's gonna be a wonderful podcast. So before we jump into your hobby itself, I'm sure the listeners would like to know who is Amy
I'm 31 year old mom of three. I'm from Maryland. I live in Leesburg, Virginia. Though I stay at home mom, I also teach a workout class on the side, occasionally called pound. And then I just started training to become a Virginia master naturalist. And
that's pretty cool. So now you're you're just full blown into your hobby. And since we last talked because we set up these questions a few months ago, and you've actually expanded your hobby it grew like you said, literally. But yes, without leaving people too much in the dark. Your hobby is growing succulent plants correct?
Yes, growing, collecting propagating succulents.
So what is the secondary plan for people who might not know what it is exactly,
um, it's a plant who sort of stores retains water and its leaves. They're very drought resistant. They're great at holding water so that you don't have to water them as much and they come in a variety of colors and shapes and They're just so fascinating to me.
And might sound ignorant saying this, but I would imagine the most popular one would be a cactus or the most recognized one.
Yes, that's certainly the most recognized one but I actually don't. I'm not really into cacti. I only have one actually. will be pretty really impressive. Yeah, yeah, it's a little hard to have around kids, so I just never really went that route.
Well, before we jump too far in, do you have any social media links or websites you'd like to share so people can take a look at it while they're listening to this podcast?
Sure. My Instagram account handle is ECI lady it's a CH IE lady. And that's for edge of area. It's my favorite type of secular
perfect I'll put that in the description below so people can click on it and follow it like I just look at your Instagram page. And it just so vibrant and you have so many plans. It just makes me think that your entire house is covered plant the plant like wall to wall was just plants.
Yeah, pretty much
Brings energy brings life to the room. I it's pretty cool. I like it.
Yeah, it's funny because when we moved into our most recent house, we've been here for over four years, but one of the living room has very high ceilings, and I couldn't ever decide what to put on the wall. So I just had my husband install a shelf, and I started filling the whole room with plants and just keeps keep growing.
Literally, and yeah, both ways.
So wait, how did you actually get introduced to collecting growing and taking care of succulent plants?
Well, it was actually just this arrangement. My husband got me for fourth anniversary started there. I was curious about how to take care of the second and so I posted a picture of it online on Reddit. And at that time, I only had two houseplants that were barely any work and and so I was just amazed by this underground Society of secular growers. There's just a whole culture of them and they subreddit and second subreddit, they had just all the answers and knew all the ideas of plants. And I was just so intrigued by all of it. And the most intriguing part was how to propagate them. It's just so mind blowing to me. They, you just pluck a leaf off, and it starts to grow roots. And then a couple of weeks later, you have a new plant growing from that, and they're just so cute when you're little. And I just, I don't know, I just found it so fascinating that you can just keep making plants from one plant
to like a bacteria that just keeps on multiplying. Yes, yeah. But it's not as harmful as a bacteria. Yeah, yeah. So speaking about multiplying and growing, how big is your collection now?
I believe I have well over 300 and that's not including like my outdoor garden in the yard. But I'd say yeah, for second and third, probably about well over 220 types of them, but of multiples And so yeah, it's hard to tell Cuz, you know, they start off as little babies from the leaf and I just end up multiplying over time. And if the few or many provocations I have starting right now continue, I guess, by the winter and have over 400 individual little plants.
So it is it's quite, it's going quite quite well. And so I'm sure you have them all around your house. So how do you organize into organizing by regions where they're usually found or name like alphabetical?
Oh, yeah. So I live in Virginia and it's temperate and so it's very hard to have these desert second one's out out outdoors. So what I had done for the past few years is have a few of my windows but most of them were in this little grow room in my basement I set up and it's just the storage room in the basement and decided to put a table with the grow lights and set up this whole lab and that just continued to grow. But at the start of the spring, I decided to do something different and put all of them outside and just To see what the elements would do and most secular collectors are very scared to put their best, beautiful plants outside because what if it rains, it rains often in Virginia. They can't take that much water and but I just knew that the sun and everything would give it just so much more, and they grow more. And so I just wanted to see what would happen. And it's actually been a great summer. It's been very dry for the second month. It's been bad for my yard, but it's good for the sessions. And so I have my husband built me this huge shelf for the deck because they're just all over the deck. So he bought me a tiered shelf and that's where most of them are, but there's they just are still sort of all over the floor of the deck. And yeah, I know I still have a lot in the windowsills too. And then once the by the end of this month. I'll have the grow room set up again for the winter and I'll be moving them all back inside into the grow lights.
That's pretty cool. And so I'm guessing when it comes to next summer, are you going to move more of your plants outside Are you still going to do Some inside and some outside.
I think we're going to continue to keep bringing them out. I mean, it's a little annoying because it's many, many, many pots that I have to bring up from the basement, outside to the deck, but it's it's fine
workout, it's a workout.
And so you have this huge collection. So what are some of your favorite planets? I know it's a hard question to ask, but what are some of the planets you collect? And what are some of your favorite ones?
Um, well, there's many species of succulents but my favorite is the edge of area there. People often commonly see they're like in the roses shape, they look like a flower but every petal is actually just a leaf and they come in so many different colors and they're just the rows that shape is just so pretty but so like any sort of grabbed a pendulum craft of area graph to see items and pack of areas and I'm sure any other hobbyists that are into the seconds understand that lingo but
you so you have this huge collection. What is the biggest one you own? Like the biggest second implant?
Oh, I do have a very large area right now. But yeah, I have a habit of beheading and making more props from them so I don't really let them get very big. So usually in the in September, October, I had a lot of them and that means you just cut off the top of their is it and it sounds pretty metal, but and then they reroute and you get so many babies from all the leaves that you pluck off. And then by spring, I have a ton of more babies and my Yeah, I just said it's a big task, but it's a lot of fun.
Speaking about babies, do you still own your first second plan late but the one that started at all?
Yeah, sort of. There he gave me had about six full species of succulents and I think there's nine plants and I just when I figured out how to propagate I propagated as much as I could from each plant and so I still have All of their descendants at least and I think I have that to the originals, but it's hard to tell because I certainly do just keep making babies of them and I give some away and others have been defeated by some pests.
What do you say pests? So what are some common diseases or types of infection that these plants may face and you've encountered and had to countermeasures to try to protect it?
A mealybugs are the absolute worst problem for second growers and many people into any sort of house plant. They're just very hard to find. And they're tiny. And they once they once you start being able to see them that it's almost too late. They've already laid so many eggs and there's more where you can't see and they can just become the worst. And that's actually how, why I started to move all my plants outside this summer because late winter, almost all of them got mealybugs and I just couldn't eradicate it out of the garden lab I have in the basement and so I had to move them all out after I had to be head all of them throughout all of the dirt, all of the root balls, all of the stems and had to re propagate all of the collection in order to get rid of all of the mites and it was a lot of work. And now they're all thriving again in their roots and babies and it's a whole new collection basically. And I do have some defenses against them that I don't want to use until I have to bring them back inside because I do unfortunately have to go to the big guns and use this strong pesticide that I never wanted to use but you just use it once or twice and then you're good for a month so it's okay.
Know where they usually come from or
usually it's from a plant I buy somewhere that I didn't thoroughly check you you always have to quarantine a new plant and sometimes you just miss it and you quarantine it for a couple weeks and then you put it with the other plants and then they multiply secretly and you don't notice till you start singing These little bits of cotton inside the like under the pedals and at the stems and then by then you're you've got a problem I mean there's ways to prevent them like casually best go to weapon is 70% rubbing alcohol and you just it kills the bugs and it doesn't harm the plant at all. alcohol evaporates quickly it's a good organic way to clean the plants off but that's sort of just a an everyday defense against them.
It's like brushing your teeth to get rid of cotton I cavities. I mean,
your everyday thing. You don't want to go see your dentist every day.
Yeah, I mean, I certainly don't put rubbing alcohol on them every day. But yes, it's a weekly thing that I do occasionally. But yeah, there's also there's spider mites, that's a big one but and those thrive and dry conditions which you want your your cyclists to be in at all times, very dry conditions. And so they love that so they're a little bit easier to get rid of and scale is another test but it's this tiny little It makes it look like there's like a little stale scab on the plant and put those are kind of easy to but mealy bugs are just the absolute worst.
You're there your arch nemesis pretty much at this point.
They definitely are. And having them outside has helped to I've had a few praying mantises hang out my specialists all summer. And they've just been defeating everything that comes along. I haven't seen any mealybugs. I haven't seen any spider mites or any. Yeah, they've just been defeating it all for me. It's been great.
Did you buy these pre mantises or the dude they just oh wow they're like you know they're gonna come and just help you Oh, that's cool.
Yeah, they just hatched in June in the yard and they they've been watching out throughout the whole garden. They have this many via that always gets a tax aphids every summer but there's not been a single aphid on it the summer because there's this one Mantis that's been on it the entire summer and it's been great.
Did you name the prey mantises?
No, it's so funny. I actually Haven't I should
just have a little army of pretty much says so what
so speaking about like all these pests and learning about it, we're usually go to gain more information about succulent plants, how to take care of them, how to grow them and any other type of resources. Mostly it's it was read it to begin with Google, kind of, there's actually not as much on Google because it's just sort of hearsay or it's not as as good as Reddit where there's just real people that will respond with their, what they've done and their advice and then I also use garden tags that's really good for just sort of tracking your plants and labeling them and then it's sort of like a an Instagram for plants and people are friends and comment and, and help out with any sort of identification or anything and then now the Instagram a lot of my garden tags and Reddit friends have moved to Instagram and we chat on there a lot. That's cool.
That's cool. I like that friendly community aspect, especially for plants. I couldn't see how The black community can be vicious. I don't I don't I'm not the expert here, but I don't feel like they're very aggressive. Right?
You'd be surprised. There There are, this is a little bit more in the secular world too, because we just love to identify. And if somebody's got the identification wrong, it's it's, it's not always nice. Some people are a little bit more defensive over that. And also, we just sometimes are harder to take care of them. The average house plant and some people are told, oh, they're the easiest, but only because they want a ton of sunlight and barely any water. But most people want to water and nurture their plants and constantly take care of them. And house plants aren't there. You know, you can water them more and take care of them easier. But second, let's say so, you know, somebody comes along and says, Oh, well, every second line I have dies and it's like, oh, that you're watering it like
it's like putting water in a cup that's already full.
Yeah, some people are a little bit more rude than Others, but for the most part, we try to keep it friendly, especially the community have sort of been personally through the garden tags and read it and we try to be nice.
Are you at that point where you're no longer just taking advice, but you're also giving a lot of advice as well?
Oh, yes, definitely. I love giving it it's, it's, it's hard for me not to, I just always want to.
And so you have a huge collection. Is there any plant that you really, really want but haven't had the chance to get yet or can't find?
It's funny, I know, it's sort of easy to find, but I, I try not to go out of my way and buy succulents online all the time or something and I just sort of try to stumble upon succulents instead because I have, you know, a family and a budget. So the the donkey's tail season is my favorite. And I actually have had these two propagations little props from them for three years now and when only they both have rooted for some reason, just I think it Just a bat from a bad plant I picked up from the floor of a nursery and I brought it home and it's been rooted and only one of them has grown about seven inches long. They're sort of that are trailing succulents. So it's like grown a little bit and it's just funny because I've been waiting and waiting on these two little propagation so I can finally have this donkey's tail system and I just I still it won't give me it. So I've been waiting to stumble upon it. Yeah.
I want you to be tomorrow that you just find it just happened
to be at Home Depot.
just casually the last one on the shelf just there.
Yeah, yeah. But it's also that my, my husband doesn't allow me to just casually go to Lowe's and Home Depot anymore. He goes there he needs hardware or something. He's because he knows that if I leave from there, if I go there, I leave with a ton more of succulents and plants that I need to save the rescue and
it deserves your love. That's what it needs your love. That's why
most people just can't take care of them right. I need to do it. Okay, take care.
Take care of everything else in the store. Yes.
Speaking about taking care of it. You said you're a mother of three. Do your children show interest in second than plants?
I yeah, my my oldest. She loves going plant shopping with me. She's actually she's, she's the little devil on my shoulder that tells me to get everything like now I can't stop please. I can't get everything she's like, Look, this is so pretty. I believe with many more plants when I'm with her. But my my son, he enjoys it, but mostly they they just sort of let me be with them when it comes to them. He liked my son likes to water them with me. My three year old wants to get my attention when she sees me paying attention to my plants.
Give me water mom.
I tried to put the kids first. Exactly,
And what would you say is the best part about growing succulent plants on a personal and emotional level.
They're very therapeutic for me. When it's watering day one they're inside there's more watering days because when they're outside it's more the rain but when they're inside and I have watering day I love it I fill up have a few like special water gallons I come down to my basement lab and I water and it's just the most therapeutic thing to just water them watch them grow and nurture and reporting them and making new arrangements and watching the color explode and having them out all year has been so amazing to watch their color change. They are different color when it's cool at night. They're different color in the spring than they are in the summer. And the summer colors are just so bright and vibrant. And then in the fall, it cools down again and it's just amazing to watch.
That's pretty cool. Actually, you know what that just made me think. Have you ever thought of doing a hyperlapse video where you just have the cameras sitting in front of the plan for this hour and 24 hours. And it's like it's it's shortened down to maybe like 20 minute video. We just see everything change really quick.
It's funny seconds just are the slowest growing plants today. It would it would have to be a few months that video.
Lot of gigabytes.
Yes. Yeah, but I do that with some of my houseplants. I have one house plant that faints, whenever it needs to be watered even even if it was just watered three days before it's a Fatone. Yes. Very. They call it a dramatic plant. So it just sort of thinks and all the leaves just look like the whole plants dead and then you water it. And then within 45 minutes, it perks up and it's beautiful standing straight up again. And I do a lot of time lapses with that. That's cool.
It's called the dramatic cleanse like oh,
I need water. Yes.
Yes, I had a long day sitting in the sun catching race. Oh, yes.
And what would you say was your biggest challenge when you first started growing and collecting second implants,
really finding ways to get Maximum light, they require about 16 hours of light. And when I first started getting into it, it was May and so the summer was fine. It was okay, they're in the window sill. But in the winter, it's not as much light, they're only getting 10, eight hours, I think at some point of light and say they start stretching and looking for the light. So the first winter with them, I got some grow lights, and then some of them are bright purple. So if they're in my windows, it just looked really weird from neighbors perspectives, and I get a lot of questions. And so I had to find somewhere in the house that I didn't have these bright lights and then so I moved down to the storage room in the basement and set up the whole lab and then yeah, it's just the fact that they need so much light and then I don't want to have some power hogging bright fluorescent light. So there's some LEDs that I now go with white lights because the purple is just it hurts my eyes and it's basically just trying to figure out how to get them all under the lights. How to get enough light And I have timers for them and fans, it really is a controlled lab when I have them back inside and it's difficult especially when you throw in any sort of pest like mealy bugs. And so I'm going to work harder this year and getting a more. I already have a clean slate. Everything's going to be set up in a couple weeks back in the basement. I'll be posting pictures on my Instagram. And I just wanted to look for clean organized and I want to get a few more lights. My birthday is coming up, so I'm hoping you get some more lights. There you go. So
like I want to center light for a birthday. Go ahead.
Lights and equipment. What other type of equipment Do you have to grow these plants?
A lot of shelves. I look for shelves and desks as much as possible plant stands and more ways to make space in the small storage room I have and maximize it and yeah, have the fans I have the time I have heat light heat pads for seedlings and I have many different shells and yeah, everything's on a timer I'll set up and controlled. I have a watering station of repotting station. That's a whole whole thing. And I have, you know, my own like, area for diatomaceous earth, which is a type of powder that's non toxic, but it's you need to have gloves, eye protection, maybe even a mask when you're using it because it's like a very fine powder, but it's very good for sort of mechanically hurting any pests. So anyway, yeah, I have like a little pesticide been that everything is very clean and tidy. There's some very paranoid tie up, put away stored. And yeah, it's just a lot of the lab laboratory type of procedures. I try to keep clean and perfect while I'm down there.
I like that. I like how you come prepared as like as if you're almost as if you have a manual For any type of situation is like okay this plan this is happening, go to Section be in the room, pull out the dossier 14 and this is the solution kind of thing.
Yes, I have a lot to prepare for for the winter because it's been very easy having them outside and I want to also I forgot to mention this earlier and this that I ordered over 2000 eggs of lacewing eggs, and they're this special type of bug that's way even cooler than the ladybugs ladybugs it's all the pests that that destroy all my plants but these lace wings when they're in the larva stage they just go ham on any pests on the side counts especially mealy bugs and so once I got them all out there I ordered the first bag of thousand eggs. Wow may yeah and then I ordered the second one that a month and a half later and it's been great and it's funny because I've been seeing they eventually turned into the these winged creatures lace wings and they fly off and I've been seeing a bunch of them and they are like, that's because of me. It's wonderful. Keep laying your eggs. I need this for next year.
You have to pretty man says you gotta you have an army just protecting your plants.
Yes, yes I do.
I'm also just lucky that my cats and my dog don't really care about the plants either because I know a lot of people that can't have succulents because the cats just destroy them or, or the dog and, yeah,
did you have to teach your cat and dog that or they just didn't care from the beginning,
I the cat would prefer to nibble on more thin leafy things just when he's telling me he's hungry. So I keep the non toxic leafy plants in the kitchen around there, but that's just when he's hungry for dinner time. And then the dog she did like to take if I had a single succulent, and a pot instead of arrangement, for some reason, she would just go for that and then just drag it around the house. But that was when she was a puppy. She's a year old now and she's I told her no enough time that she hasn't touched any of my plants since
she was just making sure the plants were getting enough light. They're just bringing it to the other side of the room.
Yes, they just needed a repotting.
Yeah, pleasure to be on walks to right. Yeah.
And what would you say is your biggest challenge today
finding time for them honestly.
I have, you know, a lot of children feels like I mean, there's three of them and there's a lot of chores in the house, I guess you could call them I just had the daily tasks to the house to try to put the kids in the laundry and the dinners and everything first. And now I'm becoming a naturalist. I've got homework I've, I've, I'm also running the garden lab at my son's school. I'm now the garden lab committee chair at his school. There's this huge garden loud in the middle of the school that has a bunch of raised beds and I've been planning the the fall garden in the winter garden and preparing all the volunteers for helping out and it's just not a lot of time and so getting back to the sections, I need to Figure out my plan for the winter I've got I'm almost thinking of unpacking a lot, maybe selling some Make room in the basement but then I get scared about selling any sections in this region in the winter because nobody has enough light and I have the grow lights so I might as well just buy some more lights and sell them in the spring.
You would sell it to them and then they bring it back to your place for you to grow their plant.
Yes, I actually I do babysit a lot of people's plants. Whenever a friend has a circulant or or house plant that needs either help or if they're out of town for vacation, I babysit their plants or rehabilitate them. I have repotted tons of seconds for my neighbors and friends and sold many to them or given them as gifts and yeah, I'm just like the local Second Lady, but I tried I try not to put myself too much out there because it's a lot of stress to have enough plants going to keep giving to people so I have like, put out an Etsy shop or something because I'm not quite Ready there if I can maybe turn my whole basement into a greenhouse that'd be great but for now I have a playroom and other things down there.
So I'm not helping out by just broadcasting you on here right now saying hey, this is this lady with all the succulent plants.
Well, if somebody wants to get into the hobby, they can contact me and I'm willing to start spreading them as long as people are are ready and willing to take care of them over the winter. I just, it gives me anxiety to know that I'm giving a plant away to somebody that might just put it somewhere dark for the winter.
Yeah, I can see that like you you spent your time growing it preparing it and then it just goes off and then knock on wood. The worst could happen kind of thing. Yeah.
But also I am trying to concentrate more of my collection on plants that are better for a window sill because like edge area that's what I love the most beautiful. It is a picky plant and they if you have them And not the optimal light they will grow tall and stretch and leggy and they won't have that compact rose It looks so I've been collecting a lot more of the outdoor segments that can survive in zone seven and I call them Alpine succulents, they can survive the whole winter and everything and there's some pervy them that can do that and so I filled my front yard with that this summer and I'm trying to collect more of that and also be able to sell more of what people can manage at various a very high maintenance plant because it wants very particular on the watering it's very particular on the light so I want to have more sun nachio and even grabbed of areas and just more than interesting looking plants to like string of pearls and the more fun stuff than the high maintenance edge of area
which is a Okay, so what would you say is a good starter plant if people are interested in starting collecting or growing succulent plants
actually the string of pearls because that can be watered more. It's available. fun looking planet. every leaf is just a little ball. And it's it just it was mind blowing to me when I learned about it as just like, like to me leads are supposed to look like leads. And these leads are these little balls filled with water and it's just so cool looking and so and they flow long and you can just cut them and put them back in soil and they keep growing too so that you can keep giving them away. They don't require like a ton of light, you can just have them even near window sill and it's okay and you can wander them a little bit more frequently so you can feel like you're taking care of it. And there's a lot of cute ones like their paws that they're just fuzzy and they look like their paws and so I recommend just the cutest plants to
there you go so people have some advice for good starter plants if you want to get started. Now for you as growing succulent plants ever helped to relax when you're feeling stressed. So let's say you just had a long day preparing stuff doing some work and you just come down to your basement just looking at your planets not even working on just staring at them and just enjoying the plants
yesterday. Even yesterday I I had a long day my first training day for Virginia master naturalist and I mean that was relaxing to get away and do what I really love doing that I was tired. I got home and I just sat in front of the succulents and I just love just looking at all the bright colors and I can watch for any sort of new growth and I've got progress on some flowers and I just when I look at them the colors they just have the eyes and it's very relaxing and and when they are back in my basement I love coming into the room that there's this glowing brightness from the hallway you can see and then you come in it's just like yeah,
you take amazing pictures to I don't know the correct term. It's called macro pictures. Is that it?
Yes. Yeah, I do some macro. Yeah. And also recently got a newer iPhone that just has just takes amazing photos and I really like editing them to how I like I always I was always in a Photography but never really could get started with the actual using a DSLR or even SLR I've done a little bit of photography and college film photography but I have a best friend who is an actual photographer so I don't want to say I'm a photographer I'm just to do photography on my succulents by hobby that's how I put it I guess I just love seeing their colors and focusing on their structure and the Fibonacci pattern and each Rosetta it's just so wonderful to capture and picture
Oh, you're doing a great job I love your photos I especially love like the plans where you can see I'm don't know the correct term but that little little hairs just sticking out. It's just so beautiful. Just so yes bring this like calmness.
Yes, yes, this is a picture I like it. Yes, thank you. The opposite
side of calmness has growing in taking care of second implants ever stressed you out?
Yes, I was about to just throw them all out last winter after I was done. With all the second of the mailing bugs on them, I started seeing a few in like high end of December I think and I was managing them and I was doing quarantines and different areas in the basement and it just not they I put them back or I would just keep finding them on them and it would just drive me mad and I hadn't tried the very toxic chemicals yet. And for now, I did try and meet a corporate that didn't really work and it killed some of my clients I had to be had some of them to stop the root rot and I know some people have success with the medical bread and also the second one's using pesticides isn't as dangerous as you say on our plants outside because I'm not when they flower, I have them inside and they're not being fed on by the bees and stuff that I'm Will and I haven't used the pesticides on them this summer so that it wouldn't harm the bees. But anyway, so I finally got the right pesticide mid summer that I'm going to use on them when they come back inside because they won't harm anybody and they It's called acetate and it's it's supposed to be amazing. It's worked on a couple of them that I brought back in and so I'm I feel less stressed out now but I was ready to just throughout the whole collection in February I'd say because I just couldn't handle anymore but instead I just threw out all the dirt. I took a couple of days to just really work on cleaning the whole garden room out and throwing out a lot of dirt buying all new soils and perlite and pots cleaning every pot I have that took so long. It was a lot but that's the environmental management that I need to keep using in my lab.
Well I am glad you are still doing it today. We said throwing it out completely we use just like just for that collection or just stopping the hobby completely.
I don't know I guess I wasn't really ever going to throw them out but I felt like I could because I was just so mad. And then a few of them I did just have to throw out because there's this one type of area called the Black Prince education. And it's gorgeous because it's got it's just like all dark, dark, dark purple. And it's gorgeous. But most excellent hobbyists know it is the worst plant because for some reason, it just attracts pests constantly. It has something in the nitrogen in it that they just love. And I've had to throw out almost every single one of them. But I can't throw out this one that I ended up throwing outside and it was sort of just like, on the ground, like by my garden stuff for most of the summer, and it has somehow survived and I still keep it far away from my other succulents. But if it gets any more test this winter, I don't know what I'm going to do. And I want to say I'll throw it out, but it's it was the first black friends I ever had. So like I kind of can't but I don't know how it survived at all of these pests. It's been through the worst. It's been down to a nub and then has grown into this big plant again. Yeah.
But it's like you put it on timeout. All right. All right. You're getting you're getting crowded.
Yes, I had a quarantine window for all the bad They're all in jail. And I told the kids said Don't touch that window fill their implant jail. You
know, what are some misconceptions about people who grow succulent plants?
Um, well, I think it's just sort of the crazy plant lady idea. It's sort of like the crazy cat lady and I feel like the segment culture is more common and the dryer states like California, Arizona, Texas and stuff they all can get get by with bigger collections and being able to have it outside. So I'm sure there's way bigger, better, amazing hobbyist in Arizona that do it. But yeah, I guess people will come and see my collection. They just got Wow. And they just, I know they probably think I'm just some crazy plant lady, but I try to make it look organized and pretty and controlled without it looking like my life is out of control. So I'm not the crazy cat lady or the crazy plant lady, but I do have a lot of plants that I'm crazy about.
If I were to come into your house and see all that I honestly would think wow this person is very patient likes to take care of things is good because they're all alive because I we we have plants in our house and they just keep dying we're not but also we have bad lighting in our house that airflow so it doesn't really help but we do want to bring the plant but if I were to come into your house and like wow this is cool and autumn I don't know why but I automatically thinks like this house must have really clean air
yeah I do have a lot of plants in that that great room and it's got like big windows and it's like a tall ceilings of big windows there and south facing so that's why I love the house because I knew it would be optimal planting windows and even the backyard would have great sun exposure. Yes, I have like a humidifier over the plants and this great room and there's just so many in there and I do like to believe they they give me some good fresh air in there.
I gotta step up my game.
Yeah, let me know any comments you need help with I can give you advice and over lot about houseplants to all of them.
But what has growing secondly, plants taught you in life
patients. That's a big one seconds or just the slowest growers. They it's I can, I love leaving for a week and coming back and finally seeing some growth. And I feel like I had to almost get more and more succulents just to feel like I was doing something with them because when I just had like 10 plants, it was like okay, I watered them now I gotta wait 10 days to care about them. We have enough secular institution, we have just hundreds it's always watering day for one plant at least. We can keep them all on the same schedule. They all can. You can read a plant once you really get to know them and see when they need watering and I just love that about them. Not a lot of people get that to sort of have enough of them to constantly see the signs
and do you want to present this hobby to the world or you want to use it more as an escape from reality.
That's something I've been battling with I everybody asked what am I going to They're going to start selling them. I'm not good at mailing packages I very just I can't wrap my head around the the complications of sending a plant because especially you know, it's getting into winter if there's any northern states that are already in frost, and I don't think anybody is yet but what if and I don't know about the shipping costs and, and being worried about every little aspect of when and how long it'll be when till they get there and then selling locally, I'd have to set up a stand somewhere and I would have to get a permit. And if I do farmers market, then I've got a promise a few Saturdays, at least not just one. And I feel like I can almost get all them sold in one day, maybe two days and then just go back home to the rest of my succulents. And so I don't know, I feel like I got to take this winter to see how much I can really do. Getting back to controlling the environment and making sure another pest outbreak doesn't happen this winter. And hopefully by spring, I'll be able to start sending them out and I've friend that is into helping me start this process of hopefully starting to mail them out. But I just have so much anxiety with that. What if I just clear out my collection and I don't have enough to keep selling? So I don't know there's so much anxiety with that and I just love my little babies, but I'm running out of room.
Bigger houses, okay.
No, I didn't write this down. But would you ever consider writing a book on how to like properly treat each plant like an instruction guide or something like that?
Yes, I would love to I, I have a degree and I'm an environmental management and I've, I've had this mantra in my head. My friend even made me this gorgeous sign in my kitchen that just says manage your environment. And I just love to take everything in a scientific way and really control all the variables and make sure everything is right and clean and tidy and in order and a lot of things in my life aren't that way. But I feel like with Plants since two seconds takes so long to grow, it's a little easier to keep that process going. And I would love to share all the different ways you can control that environment also how to relax because a lot of secular growers would never put their best edge avaria outside all summer, what if it rains too much, and it kills it. And but there's, you can just relax with them and just have fun. And you can propagate if you have a problem, and they can grow back. And that's what's so great about them. That's cool.
And I can also imagine that you could in your book if if and when you do it, you would use some pictures that you've took for your Instagram or those I would be pretty cool.
Yes, I would love to do and I love the science behind even just the identification of each species and I love to get the names right and there's Yeah, I love I love I would love a book of all the, the different ones because there's so so many species of them and it's, I don't even I can't, I'll never be able to get as many as people in Australia. I have the most amazing collections of veterinary it's ridiculous and but I just try what I can and try to get to know all the plants and what they need. And I like to share that information. And I would love to do a book one day.
So you were talking about this collection again? Is there any plan from any specific country or region that you'd like to have? I know I said, if any plan you really wanted to have, but let's say a region, let's say Australia, for example, because I'm sure there's different second plants that grow there as well.
Um, well, it's it's complicated because I know, there's just so many even Korean succulents, they're amazing, they make just there's so many rare sessions that come from Korea, but there's also a culture of like this underground secular trade where people are stealing from public lands to sell them and people are sort of selling when people have like a patent on the species because they've grown and cultivated from seed and, and there's a lot to it in the legal way. So and also you can't easily ship plants to others. countries but of course you can order online and stuff but now there's there's a lot of Korean seconds I would love they're just they just come in the coolest colors and shapes and and they're amazing and then Australia I feel like gets them all to because they have amazing seconds and they're closer to Korea than here and yeah I don't know that I can't even answer that one there's there's so many Xperia I have a friend in Australia that her name her Instagram handle is I hope she hears this is at your various stole my heart and she is just the most amazing collection of area. And I'm envious because I just don't even think I'd ever have enough room because I live in a temperate region where I could never have enough space for them heading out to the area. She can just have them outside. It's okay.
You guys share your collection.
Yes, yes, I was just looking at her pictures. I try not to focus too much anymore on trying to get just like a particular species of let's say ultramarine but I there are certain Freedom and patch of area that I really like and would like to grow but I also do want to find a lot more freedom that can withstand winters here because I feel like as a naturalist seconds are definitely not natural to Virginia unless you're going for the systems and the Semper Fi bombs and there are there are a few that are Dana native to Virginia or America at least and but there are at least just in my yard, they're not growing wild and getting invasive, and try to focus more on the Virginia section that's now and what can survive here on people's windowsills here and in people's yards in the winter.
It sounds like you have a very solid plan. It's going along well your you have a good defense mechanism. There's nothing I don't find like there's nothing that could stop you at this point.
Thank you. Yes, yeah, not even mealy bugs. I have to ask fate and smother. Many other Integrated Pest Management ideas. And who knows, maybe set some late swings free in my basement.
Just pop up everywhere in your house.
When I do find spiders, I bring them to my basement
for my second one.
So if you had to give one big piece of solid, solid advice to anybody who might be interested in picking up this hobby, what would you tell them?
grow lights are your friend. You can find them in many different ways. But they need lots of light and very strong light. They prefer 16 hours a day, but you can feel your power bill go down to 12 hours or something. But now they sell LEDs that aren't to power hogging, but you want to start collecting just concentrate on propagating it's really easy there's a whole culture of what's called prop lifting where it's like shoplifting but it's it's okay if you ask the the store owners where you go to a nursery or even Home Depot or Lowe's and if you see any leaf on the ground from a sexual and you ask them if you can take it and usually it's okay or you just throw it into the second that you're actually buying from there. You should usually buy first or Your Prop, but then you just take that prop home and then you can have 10 different plans just by buying a couple plants. And so they can be cheaper than you think. And it's a lot of fun to propagate. And
it takes patience. And
it seems intimidating, but it's really so easy. And but you have to really know that the requirements of growing a circulant and propagating them and it becomes simple.
I did not know that you could just smoke if you had permission to just pick up a leaf off the crown and take it home without paying.
Yeah, I mean, I prefer just, you know, it's like, you can't use a bathroom at a restaurant lets you buy some. Yeah, exactly. Now, you should really buy something first and then lift but uh, yeah, there's a even a subreddit on Reddit called prop lifting and people share like, Oh, I have lifted all of these plants and, and now look what I have. And it's pretty cool. And it's just so interesting how one leaf grows a couple of roots and then a new plant and then you have a new plant. It is sometimes it takes Good year before you see an actual like good looking plant and that's only about two inches big and then it takes a good two or three years to get them really big. Especially if you have it in a girl light all the time. If you have it out in the sun in the summer, they can grow so much bigger and the rain is so much better for them than any tap water or filtered water Distilled water you can give them and and I do fertilize all spring and summer and then they grow even bigger and better. And I feel like if they've exploded with growth just by being outside this summer where I haven't seen that kind of growth in my controlled lab in the basements of nature is really just better for them. But then in the winter, I like to control them myself.
Yeah, winter is not friends with plants.
And so I've asked it at the beginning, but do you have any social media links or websites that you would like to share so people can come check out your plans or anything else you have going on in your life?
Yeah, on Instagram. My handle is ECI lady and it's EC h i ll DY ECI lady like edge of area. And if you're on garden tags, I believe my name is eco Amy on there. And that's where I basically just list all my plants. It's good for me to see how they grow every now and then I posted an update of that plant. And I love how it categorizes, they can start to see what it looked like six months ago, and it labels it by the age season. So it's good for me to keep track I don't really keep up with the social media side of that the garden tags is a pretty good app for keeping track of the plants on there.
Perfect. I will put that in the description so people can follow and people who are interested can actually just see your whole evolution with your progress with your different plants and see how they grow and make it a learning process for them. So that's pretty cool. I will put that in the description so people can follow. Okay, thank you so much. No problem. And so now No, I'm asking a question that I have no experience in but do you have any questions for me about succulent plants?
I had, do you have any? I have a cactus
that's that That's about it.
How long have you had it?
I think my friend gave it to us for wedding. So I think two years now.
Oh, cool. Cool. I cannot let that go then. A wedding present.
Yeah, they'd be pretty disappointed if we did. But
make sure it gets lots of sun, the sunniest window so you can Yeah, you're in a south facing window preferably and don't water it often. I'd say what? Water once every two weeks deeply water deeply. Okay. Water a succulent lightly
like just drowned like not drowning will drown it. Yes,
To get the plant wet, but yeah, I guess like the number one rule with when you're watering them is that cacti and most cyclists, they're, they're from the desert. You've got to think like the desert with them. You want arid, dry climate. And so they go through periods of drought for a long time and then they get flooded with water in the desert. So you need to make sure the water goes out the drainage hole Please make sure there's a drainage hole in it and I'd say for you next spring you should probably report your cacti and see what cactus and see what it does. Okay,
yeah, our system is not the best right now. So we had another plan that died and then have we have the cactus in a small pot so we just put that small pot on top of that old pot. So who bought or draining into the from that goes into the other pod. There's nothing growing in the other pond. Unfortunately, the plants died. But yeah, that's the only one that's surviving this long.
Okay, yeah, they can be resilient as long as you just don't overwater them
die will take your advice once every two weeks correct? Yes,
yes. And sometimes in the winter it's like once a month I don't know where you're at though if you're in a different climate that Canada yeah don't water in the sun. Oh, yeah. Yeah, higher in the winter. There's some Yeah, that I don't water the entire winter. Stay by the window the that way that if they if they're getting less Lights and they want less water. But if you have them under a girl light under perfect conditions, and you just treat them like it's summer to
perfect, perfect, I will definitely take her advice on that. I do not want to let this cactus die. But yeah, there you have another another body with a hobby. Thank you so much for coming on.
You're welcome. Thanks for having me.
So if you'd like to learn more about Amy, you can go check out the links I put in the description below. Follow ask question. She's very friendly, very welcoming. And if you'd like to be on my podcast or have any questions at all, you could send me an email at Tom for your email@example.com. And of course, if you think this podcast is going to be helpful for anybody, by all means, share with them because they might be going through a hard time and maybe you growing plants will be a solution. You know, the long slow patient and beautiful process of growing plants whether it's succulents or any other type of plan may even grow tree, probably pretty hard in your house. But you know what any type of growing is pretty calm and relaxing if everything is controlled. So once again, thank you so much, Amy.
You're welcome. Thanks for having Me.
So Until the next episode, make some time for your hobby. Take care