Why plant swaps are amazing

Posted by Ana Carlson on

If you have read about my move to California with plants last year, you know all about my adventures driving a moving truck across the country with with my husband and all of our belongings including a lot of plants. What I didn’t mention then is that days before the move across the country, I went to a plant swap in New York. It felt a little irresponsible at the time with so much packing to do before the big move and not sure whether the plants would survive, but I’m so glad I attended that plant swap. Everything got packed in time anyway and I had a great time making friends and talking plants! I met many great people at the plant swap and forgot about the upcoming cross-country move for a couple of hours.

The plant swap in NYC was huge! It was on a windy and chilly day but the warmth of the people I met was incredible. Several wonderful plant ladies I met at that plant swap are still good friends and we often chat about plants on Instagram and I’ve posted about some of these experiences. For example, the polka dot Begonia cutting with two leaves and no roots that was given to me at the plant swap in New York days before I moved to California and survived the long move on the truck and is now a sweet little Begonia. 

The move from NYC to LA took a week and I was lucky enough to arrive a couple of days before a plant swap in LA.  The plant swap in LA had a completely different vibe. It was small and intimate, and it was nice to be outdoors on that beautiful sunny day. The one thing both plant swaps had in common besides the plant exchange, was the friendliness and generosity I experienced there. 

This week I posted on Instagram about the kind plant lady who gave me a rooted Plant swap in LA.Monstera leaf when she heard that my big Monstera almost froze to death on the moving truck during the move from NYC to LA. I had nothing left to offer her at the end of that plant swap, but she didn’t mind. Her kindness made my day. I nurtured that Monstera leaf cutting for many months before it finally grew a new leaf. Then another one, and another one. Each beautiful heart-shaped leaf was bigger than the previous one.

Baby Monstera at plant swap in LA.My original Monstera that I brought with me from New York is still recovering, but it’s alive! I decided to take that very special baby Monstera I was given at the plant swap in LA to another plant swap and find a new home for it with a nice plant enthusiast. A friend on Instagram called this “plant it forward”. 

Partly because of those positive experiences at plant swaps, I never go to one looking for new plants. I attend plant swaps looking for new plant friends, people who get as excited as I do about every plant victory and who don’t get too bored when I can’t stop talking about plants.


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