Welcome to The Plant Care Chronicles — a monthly series dedicated to breaking down individual plant care routines and exploring 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 artist, photographer, and design lover Zenia Olivares, the creative force behind @styleitprettyhome!
Make no mistake — Zenia Olivares’ first love is undoubtedly interior design. The New Jersey-based creative behind @styleitprettyhome has built a career around sharing inventive DIYs and styling experiments in her 1875 Colonial with her nearly 70,000 followers. But Olivares’ carefully-curated vignettes tend to have one thing in common: plants.
“I incorporate greenery into every design project,” she told Bloomscape. “Plants add so much life, texture, softness, and interest to a space. They offer such organic and unique shapes. They immediately make a space feel cozy, lived in, and alive.”
Interestingly enough, Olivares’ interest in gardening actually started when she left her hometown in Texas for the first time. “I was feeling a bit homesick, so I thought, ‘Why not pick up a new hobby?’ I decided to start a small plant collection,” she shares. “Little did I know, I would thoroughly enjoy caring for plants. There’s something so therapeutic about the process — it just brings me so much joy to see them growing and thriving.”
She now has 20 plants in her Mount Holly home, including a Dracena Marginata, Monstera Deliciosa, Monstera Adansonii, Sansevieria, Maranta, Fiddle Leaf Fig, and a ZZ plant, plus several vining species like Pothos, Pilea, and Philodendron. “I especially love plants that trail. They’re so versatile and look beautiful hanging from the ceiling, a shelf, a table — the possibilities are endless!”
As for care, she spends roughly three hours a week watering, pruning, dusting, and fertilizing her plants. “I love the time I get to spend with them,” she muses. “If they start getting too leggy, I’ll take some of the cuttings and propagate them to get new plants!” Her plant care arsenal consists of a trowel, a small pair of gardening scissors, a plastic spray bottle, a watering can, and a wooden chopstick to help break up the soil before fertilizing.
In a way, Oliveras’ plants have also taken care of her. “When I first started my small collection, I was very obsessed — I’d check them several times a day, giving them way too much water and sometimes not enough sunlight,” she reflects. “I learned that with plants, I don’t need to obsess or hover — they will let me know if they need something or if something is wrong. If I just give them the time to grow, and check on them occasionally for things like pests, wilting, or yellowing leaves, they will be okay.”
She now views plant care as a metaphor for life in general, particularly the importance of embracing uncertainty. “My relationship with plants has helped me realize that in life, I won’t always have control. But there will be signs that will help me take things in a better direction,” she notes. “Not everything is in my control, and it doesn’t have to be.”
Looking to upgrade your plant care routine? Stock up at the Bloomscape plant shop.