Friday, March 24, 2023 | Ramadan 1, 1444 H
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The rise of the #plantita


It's a portmanteau of the words plant and tita which is the Filipino word for auntie. Together, it is a concept of someone whose hobby is raising indoor and outdoor plants. If you haven't heard of the word plantita or plantito (plant uncle), you might be familiar with its concept.

Do you know anyone who drools over indoor and outdoor plants? Do you know of someone gushing over their plants growing a new leaf or getting depressed that their plants are also not getting proper sunlight? Technically, the concept is like having a pet but instead of animals, you have plants. The extreme version of the plantita is literally naming each plant and treat them like children collecting as many rare breeds as possible inside their homes and turning their rooms into a mini-jungle. Sound like someone you know? Then that person is definitely a certified plantita.

The concept of gardening actually has been floating around for quite a while. In the time of pandemic, indoor plants became in demand with the very basic ones involving succulents or cactuses. But nobody named the concept. With the original concept growing wild in Western countries, it spread to the Philippines and had bloomed into a full movement. Wherever there is a Filipino, you will find a certified plantita. In Oman, the trend has also spilt over to both nationals and residents but they may simply refer to it as a hobby.

Yusuf al Kindi runs an Instagram account called @plants.oman where he encourages everyone to "make our world green."

"The account belongs to me. We do not have a shop. I work from home and has decided to do a side home project," he shared.

Yusuf has some of the most amazing collections which are sold with cost depending on the plant size and the way that it was packaged.

He also has plants available for beginners as well as for the extreme collectors with plants ranging from OR 6 and can sometimes cost up to more than OR100. More established shops sell their plants at higher prices with some reaching more than OR 200 or OR 300.

For Yusuf's case, he has many plants that are easy to care for that will suit well with beginners. Pothos, for example, is one of the most popular breeds usually found in homes and offices. Because it is easy to care for and doesn't need a lot of sunlight or regular water, they are usually prefered as they are great as hanging plants are easy to care for. Once they reach a certain size, they are also fast to propagate by simply cutting it from the stem and then repotting it.

Other varieties that are easier to care for include Monstera deliciosa or also known as Swiss cheese plant, the low-light snake plants, succulents which are a favourite by those who prefer something nice for display, the leafy and vine-like Philodendrons and the easy-to-manage spider plant.

Yusuf does not only recommend what plants to pick but he also gives insights into how to keep them healthy and alive. Other than making recommendations of where to place the plants, when to water or fertilize them, he also provides information as to what pots comes great with each plant.

Khezia Jane Resma refers to herself as an amateur plantita and can only raise plants that would fit in her rented apartment.

But unlike other indoor plant owners, she also sticks to plants that can work well with her space and instead of crowding her space, actually compliments it.

"It's like having a little bit of nature inside a concrete space. It makes me smile whenever I see my plants thriving. Especially during the pandemic, that little bit of greenery inside the home does help a lot in your mental health," she said.

One of the front liners working in the medical field, Khezia has about a dozen varieties of plants in her home mostly made up of succulents and Pothos or the likes of it that doesn't require sunlight.

"As a plantita, you also need a good understanding of how to keep the plant alive. You have to know which ones need direct sunlight and which ones need regular watering. Most of my plants do not need a lot of care. Working in the medical field, I have to choose those that will suit well with my lifestyle," she said.

"As a plantita, I celebrate whenever my plants grow a new leaf. I have a Swiss cheese plant that I'd been caring for a lot. Whenever it grows a new leaf, it makes me feel happy like a parent," she shared.

"I don't really know what the Arabic translation is for plantita. I don't think anyone in this part of the world even bothered to name the concept. But for those like me who thrive to be in nature and having that lush greenery inside their homes and you care for your plants like a pet or parent, then welcome to the world of a plantita," she shared.

Plantita Checklist

You follow plant-related topics on social media

You follow around 10 plant-related accounts on Instagram or gardening websites wherein just watching the different plants inspire you to either horde for more or give tips on how to raise them.

You have plants in nearly every corner

Instead of a home, you now have what you can call a mini-jungle. You have plants climbing down your bookshelf, succulents in the bathroom and potted plants in your bedroom.

You go where it's green

Whether it's a garden or a park, your attention is drawn to what's planted there. You try to name most of the plants and whenever you see a plant you like, you research it.

You dream about what you're getting next

It's not only okay that you have plant photos everywhere (we mean everywhere -- from your social media to printed photos on your walls), you also make a stop at every shop that sells potted plants, inquire about what's available and plot on how you can get your hands on it.

Your plants have their own budget

From fertilizers to pots, from gardening tools to decorative stickers, you always set aside something for your plants.

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