How to maintain a plant collection

Sontillano keeps a variety of cacti and succulents, along with some exotic tropical plants.

Starting a collection isn’t always easy–especially one composed of plants. There are a lot of things to consider such as variety, budget, as well as the time and effort needed in order to maintain it.

Cyril Sontillano, a plant enthusiast and hobbyist, knows the challenges that come with starting a plant collection. 

Based in California, but is originally from the Philippines, Sontillano owns a collection with around 200 species of houseplants. 

He advises that in starting out, it is better to opt for commonly available plants that are easy to care for. During this phase, the collector can slowly work their way to discover what type of plants they like the most and how determined they are to keep them alive. 

Once they’ve got the hang of common plants, they can begin discovering exotic plants and more. 

“It’s always easier to transition from ‘easy to care for plants’ and then gradually taking up the challenge to care for more finicky and difficult ones,” Sontillano said. 

The next thing that a collector should think about, according to Sontillano, is the amount of natural and artificial resources available in the area to meet the needs of the plants. 

I live by the coast in California and we generally have good humidity all year round; my other friends who live in less humid areas would be reliant on humidifiers and grow lights,” the plant hobbyist said. 

As for the accessories, this would depend on the collector’s taste and design preference. 

Despite sounding like a difficult venture, owning a plant collection has its benefits. Sontillano, for example, finds relaxation and a way to pass the time through his plants. He even unleashes his creativity by designing his plants in all kinds of setups and planters which he then shares on Instagram where he gained 94,000 followers because of his collection.

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