“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.
“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.”
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
"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
"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
"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