Get Your Hands Dirty: Mod and Mint on Her Houseplant Journey, Teaching Her Son to Care About the Environment & Her Favorite Ways to Display Plants

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Gertrude Jekyll once said that a garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness. In our new Get Your Hands Dirty series, Mod and Mint give us a tour of her beautiful home which houses gorgeous and rare plants, growing plants together with her son, and interesting plant display ideas we absolutely love!

Plant parents will always love plants. We enjoy taking care of our plant collection, but we also enjoy checking out other plant parent’s collections on Instagram. Admit it, many of us can scroll for hours on Instagram looking at other plant parent’s indoor jungles. Yes, that’s how we discovered Mod and Mint‘s pretty amazing plant collection. And we are so excited to share her growing indoor jungle inspired by her mom and her beautiful country, Netherlands.

Deborah Green aka Mod and Mint lives in a plant-filled home with her husband, and seven-year-old son. Born in the ’70s, Deborah was surrounded by her mom’s plant collection. From Dieffenbachias to huge Monstera and many more. Deborah thought every space needs plants and that’s how her houseplant journey started, with a beautiful large Croton. However, like many new plant owners, her Croton withered due to overwatering, but Deborah didn’t lose hope. Instead of thinking she can’t keep a plant alive, she became determined to learn everything there is about growing houseplants.

Every day feels like Christmas at Deborah’s beautiful home filled with gorgeous and rare plants displayed in interesting ways. Join us on today’s plant chat with Deborah Green, as she shares more of her houseplant journey, growing plants together with her son, lessons she learned, and her favorite ways to display plants.


On Her Houseplant Journey

I was born in the ’70s when the houseplant hype was strong. My mom was great at caring for them, and I was surrounded by plants. There were Ferns, Dieffenbachias, Spider plants, a huge Monstera Deliciosa, and many more.

So when I was 17 and moved out on my own, the first thing I bought for my apartment was a plant. It was a beautiful large Croton. Unfortunately, my mom never really taught me about plant care. So I put it in a dark corner, not knowing anything about light levels, and my beautiful Croton quickly started to decline. I watered it every day in an attempt to save it. Didn’t know that overwatering is the quickest way to kill a plant. That Croton obviously passed away.

Instead of thinking I just can’t keep a plant alive, I became determined to learn everything there is about growing houseplants. I read all the books, visited botanical gardens and talked to the staff, asked questions at the plant nurseries, and learned a lot. Now, I’m the one passing the knowledge around and teaching people about houseplant care.


On Growing Plants Together

Having his own plants to take care of teaches him responsibility and gives him a feeling of accomplishment when those plants do well.

My son, Otis, was born in New York, and we moved to the Netherlands when he was two years old. The Netherlands is one of the biggest suppliers in the world of flowers and plants, so I’m in heaven here.

As soon as we found our new home, I started filling it with plants. He doesn’t know any better than being surrounded by plants, just like I was as a child. The one thing different is that I consciously showed him everything.

When he was very young, it was just naming the plants. The official Latin names, but also the more common names. I don’t expect him to remember a name like Pilea peperomioides, but pancake plant is fun and easy to remember.

Springtime is when I show him the most because the plants start their active growing period and there are lots to see. New leaves unfurling, roots growing from cuttings being water propagated, things like that catch his imagination. By now, he helps me out with repotting and knows how to prune plants to make them branch out. He knows why Monsteras have holes in their leaves and why succulents need less water than foliage plants. Otis loves gardening since it’s also his playtime, which includes him showing his favorite stuffed animal, Stinky, all about how the plants are growing.

I think it teaches him to respect nature, knowing how long it takes for a plant to grow from a cutting to a full-grown plant. Having his own plants to take care of teaches him responsibility and gives him a feeling of accomplishment when those plants do well. Cause and effect as well — if you forget to water your plant, it will die.


On the Biggest Lesson She Learned

When people say to me they don’t have any plants in their home because they don’t have a green thumb, I always respond by saying you don’t need a green thumb, you just need to know the basics.

The most important thing is not to overwater your plants. And that doesn’t mean giving them too much water. You can give your plants a good soak, just don’t water them too often. Most plants need their soil to dry out a little bit in between waterings.

Another big thing is that fertilizer isn’t a cure-all when your plant looks sad. It will do more harm than good to a plant that is already going through some sort of stress.


On Her Favorite Ways to Display Plants

I like to group my plants together. I do this for a few different reasons. First of all, I think it looks great and makes an impact. It is also because they all need at least some light, and the spaces near the windows are prime real estate for them. So most of them are gathered around the front and back of the house where the light comes in. Grouping plants also up the humidity around them, and this is especially good for those plants originally coming from the tropics. Furthermore, it makes it easier when it’s time to water or mist all of them.

Plant shelves and hanging baskets are a favorite of mine, as well. I say, if you don’t have any more floor or windowsill space, go up!

We believe plants make people better. Teaching your children about nature can benefit them emotionally, intellectually, physically, and socially. It builds their characters for later life. We had a great time chatting and exchanging stories with Deborah!

What do you think of Deborah’s beautiful plant collection? Share your thoughts in the comments below! Check out our Plant Care blog to learn more about different houseplants and tips on how to keep your plants alive and healthy.

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