Welcome to The Plant Care Chronicles — a monthly series where we break down individual plant care routines and explore plant care as a form of self-care. We truly believe in the healing powers of plants, and want to shed a light on their many mental, physical, and spiritual health benefits. This month, we had the pleasure of speaking with Larayne Dumlao of @Larrydoom!
Larayne Dumlao’s Wicker Park, Chicago apartment epitomizes the term “urban jungle.” But despite the visual designer’s carefully curated space, her interest in plants extends far beyond aesthetics. “Growing up, my mom always had plants around the house, and my grandma had an orchid garden while living in the Philippines,” she told Bloomscape. “Naturally, I’ve always been drawn to plants. But it wasn’t until 2012 that I decided to start my own collection — I started off with a single plant, and as new leaves began to sprout, my collection grew.”
Eight years later, she now lives among over 70 different plants (and counting), including unique varietals like bamboo, dragonfruit, agave, and an olive tree, in addition to your more standard houseplant fare, like fiddle leaf figs and monsteras. “I find plant care to be relaxing and meditative,” she explains. “Watching them grow brings joy and happiness to my life.”
Unsurprisingly, her growing collection requires roughly three hours of dedicated plant care each week. “I check my cuttings at my ‘propagation station’ every day, and spend Sundays watering, pruning, and replanting for one to three hours,” she explains. “On Wednesdays, I check on my tropical plants that may need some extra H20 mid-week.” Things get a bit more involved during the growing season, when Dumlao adds fertilizer into her watering routine on the first Sunday of each month. “My trusted brand is Schultz,” she shares. “I also add Superthrive to my watering can before making my rounds.”
Dumlao even incorporates greenery into her vacations. “I visit gardens and conservatories wherever I’m traveling, and always stop by plant stores in hopes of finding a new friend to bring home,” she shares. “I love being able to look at a plant in my apartment, and remember all the amazing experiences on my trip.” In addition to setting up plant nannies and self-watering systems, Larayne’s sister serves as her plant babysitter while she’s away.
Of course, caring for 70-plus plants in a city apartment is a lot of work. But Dumlao has grown to derive a sense of pride and fulfillment from nurturing her greenery. “Caring for something that’s dependent on my time and effort is gratifying. We’re bringing plants into our homes, away from their natural habitats, and it’s important to learn how to recreate those same conditions,” she reflects. “In a way, taking care of my plants is an extension of my own self-care.”
Plants have also connected Larayne to a larger gardening community. “I love giving advice and helping others care for their houseplants,” she explains. “I believe everyone has a green thumb, it just takes time, patience, and experience.” After nearly a decade of dedicated urban plant care, Dumlao still looks forward to growing her unique collection. “I learn something new every day — I find the whole process exciting.”
Looking to upgrade your plant care routine? Stock up at the Bloomscape plant shop.