Phoebe Cheong

Plant Kween Puts Us On To The House Plants That Are Perfect For Spring

"Plant care as self-care" is a way of life.

Life & Travel

“Plant care as self-care” is more than a mantra to Christopher Griffin. It is a way of life. The plant influencer/expert goes by the name Plant Kween to their online community of 359K and counting. And now, they are taking their botanical obsession for all things lush to new heights with the release of a new book, YOU GROW GURL!: Plant Kween’s Lush Guide to Growing Your Garden. Empowering others to tap into the restorative magic of gardening for the soul, YOU GROW GURL! is a guide to taking care of yourself while taking care of your plants, something Christopher is all too familiar with.

Phoebe Cheong

“I've learned how to take better care of myself through caring for my plants,” Christopher tells xoNecole. “Am I drinking enough water? Is my body getting enough sunshine? Are my roots and foundation sturdy enough to support my new growth? What are the things I need in order to keep growing and thriving?” Taking care of their plants lends itself to how they take care of and pour into themselves, and thus Christoper has cultivated a built-in wellness routine in the name of self-care. By cultivating plant routines throughout the week, they are able to fill their cup by way of nature breaks sprinkled into their day.

Their favorite way to water their 'green gurls' includes turning on some music, wearing a great outfit, pouring a cocktail, and then tending to their plants. “Caring for plants can be tedious and seem like a chore if you treat it that way. Build a plant family that vibes with you. There is no ‘green thumb.' You simply have to match the plants to the level of care you can provide,” Christopher acknowledges. “Plants are like potential friends. You want to make sure you are both compatible.”

Phoebe Cheong

The viridescent journey to becoming a plant parent was a life-changing one for Christopher, who started their venture into plant parenthood six years ago with a single Marble Queen Pothos. Since then, the queer, non-binary, femme plant connoisseur has evolved into an expert of the industry, and their Brooklyn apartment is now home to 225 plants that they affectionately call “green gurls” and “kweens.”

While a parent rarely admits to picking favorites, Christopher doesn’t play coy about their current fave among the gurls being a nearly 30-year-old Monstera deliciosa, “as she is the newest and largest kween in my plant fam.” Below, the Plant Kween puts us on to their top three picks for the perfect house plant to usher in a spring awakening. (Bonus: The plants are all pet-friendly.)

The Rattlesnake Plant

Rattlesnake Plant

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"The Calathea Lancifolia (a.k.a. Ms. Rattlesnake Plant) is a green gurl I’ve had for quite some time, and I’ve found her to be quite easy to care for and quite resilient to my newbie plant parent mistakes back in the day! This kween is native to Brazil’s tropical climate, so she enjoys warm temperatures and humidity. I keep her away from cold drafts in the winter and I have her close to my humidifier.

"I’ve found that bright indirect light is best for her, as I’ve witnessed that too much direct sunlight will fade the beautiful green spots on her leaves. I have this kween in well-drained soil, with a once-a-week watering schedule in warmer months and once every two weeks in the colder months."

The Areca Palm

Butterfly Palm

Getty Images

"The Areca Palm (a.k.a. the Butterfly Palm) is a kween native to Madagascar, and with her long, graceful feather-shaped fronds she serves that tropical feel, dahling! She may also trigger a cat's playful swatting and biting instincts, so it's comforting to know that this kween isn't toxic for cats or dogs. I’ve found that bright light is very important for this kween, so a spot where she receives lots of natural daylight will be the best place for her.

"If necessary, filter direct sunlight with sheer curtains. She is a green gurl that thrives in humid environments, but I have found that mine is adaptable and doing well with well-drained soil and a standard humidifier. She prefers her soil dry in between waterings, dahling."⠀⠀⠀⠀

The Spider Plant

Spider Plant

Getty Images

"The Spider Plant (Ms. Chlorophytum Comosum, if you’re nasty, dahling) is a green gurl considered to be an adaptable and resilient kween. I’ve recently welcomed this kween into my plant fam and have found that with well-drained soil and bright indirect light, she will flourish. Her small spiderettes are quite easy to propagate, and fun fact, she is actually a green gurl that prefers a semi-potbound environment, so it is recommended to repot her only when she has visibly outgrown her planter!"

YOU GROW GURL!: Plant Kween’s Lush Guide to Growing Your Garden is out now.

Featured image by Phoebe Cheong

Jamie Foxx and his daughter Corinne Foxx are one of Hollywood’s best father-daughter duos. They’ve teamed up together on several projects including Foxx’s game show Beat Shazam where they both serve as executive producers and often frequent red carpets together. Corinne even followed in her father’s footsteps by taking his professional last name and venturing into acting starring in 47 Meters Down: Uncaged and Live in Front of a Studio Audience: All in the Family and Good Times as Thelma.

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When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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Featured image by Getty Images

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