Life Video·Houseplanted

Inside a downtown Toronto condo with over 150 houseplants

Kevin, aka @hakunalaplanta, shares why he sleeps next to his massive tropical plant collection.

Kevin, aka @hakunalaplanta, shares why he sleeps next to his massive tropical plant collection

Houseplanted is a bi-weekly series where folks with extraordinary houseplant collections invite us inside their homes for a tour of their verdant spaces and to share tips and inspiration for keeping nature alive inside. 

Kevin, aka @hakunalaplanta, is a plant collector and content creator known for his impressive collection of over 150 plants, all of which he grows in the bedroom of his downtown Toronto condo. In this episode of Houseplanted, we get up close and personal with his large, striking array of tropical houseplants, including his prized Anthurium Regale and a giant Monstera Thai Constellation. 

Check out the video, then scroll down to learn more about Kevin and his plants.

​​This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Tell us about your home.
I live in a one-bedroom condo in a high-rise building. My bedroom is where I house 100 per cent of my plant collection, because it receives the best quality of sunlight. The windows are mostly south-facing, so it is perfect for growing a variety of tropical plants. 

How many plants are in your collection and how long have you been at it?

I have around 150 plants in my collection and I have been growing for the past four years. 

Can you share your very first plant, your most recent addition, and your all-time favourite?

The very first plant that I bought four years ago was a peace lily (Spathiphyllum). The newest addition to my jungle is my Anthurium Blue Papillilaminum x Dark Mama. My all-time favourite plant in my collection is my Monstera Thai Constellation. 

Explain your overall relationship to your plant collection.

I have a very special connection to my plant collection. I always prefer to buy very small plants because I love watching them grow into mature specimens. I am constantly assessing my plants by looking at the foliage, stems, petioles and roots to ensure that they are happy and healthy. 

Describe the emotional connection you have with your plants. How do they make you feel?

Growing plants brings me so much happiness. When I'm caring for them, I feel relaxed and at peace. When a plant isn't doing well, I worry, but try my best to problem-solve so that they can thrive. 

What advice would you give to someone looking to start their own houseplant collection?

Understand what kind of light comes through your windows, what direction you windows are facing and if there are obstructions affecting the quality of light. If the amount of light is too low, then think about investing in a grow light. 

What's the most important rule or practice you follow when caring for your plants?

My goal when it comes to growing plants is to ensure that each plant is getting the optimal amount of light so they can grow into healthy specimens. That is another reason why I still grow plants under grow lights. Humans see light very differently than plants do, so sometimes we may think we're giving our plants enough light, but we're actually not. 

Have you developed any unconventional methods or techniques for growing and nurturing your plants?

Something unique about my collection is that 99 per cent of my plants are grown in soilless media. I prefer to grow my plants in LECA (clay balls) and Lechuza Pon (a mix of lava rock, pumice, slow-releasing fertilizer and zeolite). The benefit of using these mediums is that they have fixed air pockets that allow your plants' roots to breathe. Using this method, you need to periodically water these plants with nutrient solution. I have found that my plants have grown faster and that they appear healthier [using this method].

Where do you see your plant collection heading in the future? Are there any specific goals or aspirations you have for it?

I would love to see my plants mature into giant specimens. My goal is always to make sure my plants are happy and that they mature in my care. I am also constantly propagating my plants to make more, so perhaps in the future I'll open a small plant shop so I can share my love for growing plants.

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