Andrew Buhagiar joins the influencer massive by documenting his love of house plants on Instagram and we are obsessed!
As part of July’s GITH GOES GREEN series, we caught up with Andrew, a Computer Science graduate from the University of Malta who alongside his passion for indoor gardening, works as a software engineer and trains in Ballroom and Latin American dancing. His mega hobby started just over a year ago and in that time he has managed to collect over 75 different species which he tends with great dedication. Here’s our interview with @crazyplantlad.
How did you find out you were obsessed with plants?!
It hit me when I started running out of space and had to buy my first four-tier industrial shelving unit. I live in a medium two-bedroom apartment in Msida, where space can be limited. So, I figured that my best option was to store my collection vertically rather than horizontally.
What made you start the instagram page?
I always found social media and content creation very appealing. I like documenting significant events from my life on Instagram, very much like a journal. As my plant collection started growing and I started learning more and more about plants from my experience and research, I wanted to document my journey without annoying any of my family or friends who follow me on my personal account. The only logical option for me was to create a dedicated blog for my plants. Little did I know that I would be welcomed into an amazing online community of fellow plant lovers.
How much time do you spend on your insta?
I think I spend between 1 to 2 hours a day on Instagram. This mainly consists of post planning, keeping my followers up to date with some of my plants and keeping up with some of my favourite content creators from the plant community. On Instagram we share the good, the bad and the ugly. When it comes to photography, I tend to do most of it on Sundays. Taking the perfect snap takes time and practice. Some setup for my photos also takes time to assemble, especially when I’m trying to produce a photo of a group of plants.
What are your favourite plants and why?
This is a really tough one. My favourites change every week! Let me just pick 3 for now. My absolute favourite is the plant that started it all for me – Monstera Deliciosa (a.k.a Swiss Cheese Plant). From my experience, the Monstera Deliciosa is very easy to care for. It likes bright indirect light and infrequent watering. In return it has been pushing out the most exquisite foliage. I just can’t get enough of the deep green colour of the beautifully fenestrated leaves.
I am also a big fan of Begonia plants. These are delicate plants and I had a bumpy start with my first one, but once I got the hang of it, I was hooked. They also produce amazing foliage. I am particularly fond of the pink coloured Begonia Rex and the spotted Begonia Maculata.
The last one on my top 3 list is the Pilea Peperomioides (a.k.a. Pancake Plant). I love this plant particularly for the perfectly round leaves that it puts out. It’s relatively low maintenance and a fast grower, so the satisfaction from watching it thrive is even sweeter. Much like the Monstera Deliciosa, this Pilea enjoys bright indirect light and sparse watering.
What are the hardest plants to look after and why?
I found Calatheas to be the most challenging for me. These are very delicate plants that require a lot of humidity and lower light conditions. Their foliage is very delicate and tends to burn very easily. They are also very susceptible to pests such as spidermites. Let’s just say that I will be thinking twice before I buy my next Calathea.
Do you talk to your plants? If so – what do you say!?
I don’t really do that. Gardening for me is my time to unwind after a long day. What I usually do when I get home is put on some good music, fill my watering can and do my daily rounds. I check my plants every day or two to look for any signs of pest damage and check if they need watering, pruning or repotting.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
My greatest inspiration is @jungleinaroom on Instagram. I just love her effortless approach to interior design and plant care. She was also very sweet and helpful to me when I asked for advice.
What do you hope to achieve with your instagram page?
My goal is to inspire more young adults to take on gardening as a hobby. I think it’s a very inexpensive and therapeutic escape from the busy lives we lead. I don’t consider myself to be a botanist by any stretch of the imagination, however I do enjoy giving advice from my experience to whoever contacts me directly on my Instagram page.
Give us one sentence that sums up your love of plants
My apartment currently houses around 75 different plants and I still don’t seem to have enough. I think that pretty much sums it up.
What words of wisdom can you offer a budding plant-lover?
Don’t be afraid to try. Start out with something that’s beginner proof and take it from there. Do your research and if you fail, just try again. Oh, and please do not overwater your plants. Trust me, less is more.
Watch out for Crazy Plant Lad’s Advice on Buying Plants For Newbies coming this month…