In my head I have green thumbs and the ability to nurture, tend to and sustain plants. In my dreams I have a vegetable garden growing fragrant herbs, crooked carrots and enormous marrows. In reality, I’ve killed every potted plant, save for a pot of basil that if I’m to be honest I’m just housing on my home office windowsill not actually tending to. That’s being done by someone else. My one attempt at growing a vegetable garden, yielded the tiniest carrots and radishes before I gave it up to the weeds that have overtaken my patch as their own.


When I met Shavon Serfontein months ago, somehow the conversation turned to plants. I was enthralled by how she got into houseplants, learnt to care for them and become a self-described plant lady. I later sent her a slew of questions which she answered and let us into her home filled with plants. Below she shares how she got into plants, how she picks them, cares for them and most importantly keeps them alive.


Becoming a Plant Lady with Shavon Leander

It all started

When I was looking at ideas for a unity ceremony for our wedding, I came across the plant ceremony and because it had so much meaning we decided to go for it. We got our first plant which is a Peace Lily plant. What better to unite two people and two families than with a plant that symbolises peace. I also went to a nursery back in Port Elizabeth called Cati World and got 120 succulents that I re-potted as thank you gifts for my guests. Almost two months into marriage seeing this plant grow so beautifully made me get a second plant. I then got a third one and my love for plants and caring for them, seeing them grow just grew. I am such a proud plant mom and I take care of my plants like they’re my kids. Besides being such a relaxing hobby to plant, it is also a nice way of decorating spaces with lush green plants in cute statement pots.


I always had green fingers…

And a love for plants but there are a few things that I had to learn as my love for plants grew; Times to water plants, how much water, the lighting and how the changes in seasons affect the plants and their growth. That is why most of the plants that I have are low maintenance.


I Currently have 10 plants…

Both indoors and outdoors. I love succulents and I am starting a project with them soon. I would love to have a little more, but I do not have the space yet. I would like to do a feature wall with plants as soon as I get the space that I need for that.


Becoming a Plant Lady with Shavon Leander


I learnt to keep my plants alive by research

When I buy plants that I am interested in I first do a little research on them. I always opt for low maintenance plants that need very little work. I water my plants twice a week and spray them with water every other day. When I see that their leaves are turning brown or there is fungus on them, I move them around the house to see where they get the best light for their needs. Once I find the spot, that is where they stand. I also use soil that already has plant food in it and enough nutrients. I also add soil and plant food to their pots once a month if needed. I do prune my plants as well. It’s important to know that every plant has different needs and they need the correct amounts of water and sunlight.


My best tips for buying plants and keeping them alive is…

Start with low maintenance plants that don’t need a lot of water. Low light plants are really good for indoors. You can move them around as you see fit. Most plants do come with instructions on the amount of water and type of light it needs. If you follow these instructions, don’t forget to water and nurture your plants, you should not have any problems and you will see how beautifully your plants will grow.


The best houseplants

Are those that need very little water or light and are really hard to kill. Monstera also known as Philodendron, Peace Lilly, Areca Palm, Bonsai, Succulents or cacti, Snake plants also known as mother in-laws’ tongue and Aloe Vera are the best.  I have all of these and as I mentioned, I water them once a week and put them outside occasionally. All of these plants are zero to low light plants, these plants can be displayed anywhere in your home from the bathrooms to the kitchen and bedroom. It can even be placed in the shade on your patio, but if the sunlight is too much the leaves might curl or turn brown. As soon as you see this move the plant indoors. This is where you will prune the plants to remove the damaged ends. It will grow out healthier if you get rid of the brown ends.

Becoming a Plant Lady with Shavon Leander

Seasons will affect your plants and their care…

The variety of plants that I have do not grow the same for the whole year. The succulents need less water during winter and therefore growth is very slow. I have noticed that the peace lilies bloom during spring and summer, and in winter it doesn’t carry as much flowers. In summer the leaves can burn if placed in direct sunlight. Most indoor plants growth is dormant during winter, the air is dryer and there is less light in a day. Temperatures during both seasons have effects on plants. During autumn and winter the plants may lose some leaves as well. I prefer giving my plants less water in winter as they don’t need much and over watering might lead to root rot.


During summer months, I will water my plants twice a week and try to keep them out of the sun because most of them will burn and that is the easiest way to lose leaves and compromise the plants health.

My favorite places to buy plants…

I am near two nurseries. One in Honeydew called Princess Groot Bome and the other one is called The Colorful Corner nursery.  I bought all my plants there except for my Areca Palm which I got at Mr Price Home. I got my pots from Princess Groot Bome and Mr Price home.


You can find Shavon on instagram @itsimplyshavon

Becoming a Plant Lady with Shavon Leander 2

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