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Stephanie Hernandez Grounds Herself Through Plant Parenthood

We love highlighting our community of planet parents, and today we’re introducing you to Stephanie Hernandez, who’s a huge ray of sunshine in this space.

Stephanie is sharing her tips for newbie plant parents + the music genre that gives her all the nostalgic vibes while watering her leafy beauties.

What is your profession?

I’m a STEM Instructor for a non-profit organization!

Tell us about what you do!

I teach engineering classes for K-8th. I work in schools throughout LAUSD and private schools. I also used to attend many conferences empowering Latina women to follow careers in STEM.

Tell us all about your plant collection! 

I started off with a monstera I bought from a store called Leaf and Spine and I fell in love! Soon enough I was buying from Home Depot, and then I started attending plant pop-ups like Latinx with Plants (a community that celebrates Latinx contributions to the plant world). From there I started growing my current collection. I now have about 150 plants, but the count goes up everyday! LOL! I’ve become more selective with the plants I keep as my space decreases.

What’s your favorite part about having plant babies?

How soothing and relaxing it is to care for them- it’s therapeutic. Due to a previous stroke I had, I run a high risk of stress-induced sickness. Being able to care for my plants allows me to control and feel grounded in my emotions.

Have you always had a green thumb?

No! I actually used to kill succulents, and even my mom was surprised when she found out I had so many plants! It honestly came with practice, and a lot that I learned from school. I use my biology degree a lot more now with plants. I also took a lot of courses in pest management in agriculture- so its proven to be very helpful with indoor plants.

Where do you think your love for plants comes from? 

I’ve honestly always loved nature, which is why I chose to major in biology. Whenever I was feeling down or upset, just being surrounded by trees made me feel the comfiest. My mom also had a deep love for flowers and plants, but because we lived in apartments we didn’t have too many growing up. We’d always go to the park and gardens. I used to live right next to Exposition Park, which has the most beautiful rose garden- and I remember how beautifully they’d bloom.

How often do you add new plants to your collection?

I would honestly say about once a week, but only one plant. When plants stop bringing me the same joy, I sometimes adopt them to other family members.

What have you learned about creativity through plant parenthood? 

They’re so much more than just plants. They are living and also add beauty to any space. Each plant carries its own design and needs. Some plants trail, others grow taller, and it adds a dynamic to any space. People have also started making their own trellis, pots, hangers, shelves and so much more to creatively incorporate green spaces into new places.

Do you have a favorite plant?

I would have to say all of my pothos. I’m currently trying to collect all the variations. They’re just so easy to care for, but each unique in its own way.

If you could only have one plant in your life, what would it be and why?

I would say my golden pothos. She’s grown quickly and I’ve given away multiple cuttings of hers to others. She still continues to grow, and it always amazes me how resilient plants are.

What’s the hardest part about keeping plants alive?

Honestly, it would be trying not to smother them with love, meaning: overwatering! Also, pests! It’s such a hassle, especially if you have a small space, to contain any pests. Most of my plants have grown from learning to understand that there’s no specific guide- I listen to the needs of each individual plant.

What’s your favorite song to garden to?

I would have to say Spanish cumbia songs. They remind me of home and my family .

Tips for the newbie plant parent? 

  • Always ask questions about any plant you’re getting.
  • Find plants that fit your needs (For example: do you have a small space, low light, gone for long periods etc..)
  • Don’t overwater!
  • Invest in gardening supplies.
  • Join a community of plant friends. 
  • Know that it’s ok if a couple of plants die along the way!

Follow along with Stephanie on Instagram at @plantmama_steph!

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