Woman turns her London home into a mini jungle with hundreds of plants

Okay, so you’re a fan of plants.

But are you on this woman’s level?

Carla Hora, 30, adores greenery so much that she’s transformed her London home into a miniature urban jungle, complete with hundreds of houseplants.

The architectural assistant has prioritised her plant babies over all other interior needs, admitting that she never uses her TV (as it’s swamped in foliage) and she only has space for a couple of pieces of furniture.

Carla, who grew up in Romania before moving to her house in Kennington, south London, started collecting plants in 2017, when she would buy more than 10 a week from breeders around the world and local garden centres.

A year ago, she owned 150 houseplants, but since then she has lost count.

Tending to all her charges takes her around two hours a week, but she usually spends another 10 hours admiring and enjoying them.

‘I definitely feel like a plant parent – I refer to my plants as “babies” and I’ve developed ways of taking care of them all and keeping watch over them,’ Clara said.

‘My very first plant was a dracaena marginata about six years ago, but I started properly collecting in 2017, and they’ve just come one after another ever since.

‘I was getting more than ten plants a week. I couldn’t choose a favourite, they all have such different traits – usually my favourite is the latest one to sprout.’

Carla’s plants come from places all around the world, including Indonesia, Ecuador, and Thailand.

Her tallest is a three-metre-tall variegated Monstera Deliciosa (a Swiss cheese plant), which started as a small cutting before shooting up so high Carla now has to stand on a chair and trim it to ensure the plant doesn’t damage the ceiling.

Carla admits that people are often ‘shocked’ when they see just how many plants fill her home.

But she has no regrets, believing that her greenery brings her ‘incredible’ mental health benefits.

‘I’m a lot calmer, and I’ve learnt to be more patient, which I think is really important in today’s climate where everybody just wants everything really fast,’ said Carla.

‘The plants take a lot of time to grow, so it teaches you patience.

‘You can be waiting for a leaf to come out for a month, and putting so much time and effort into one plant and seeing it grow is definitely a therapeutic process.

‘When I visited other people’s homes – when you could visit people before Covid – and I was going into a place which didn’t have plants, it felt like going into an empty box.’

Carla has no plans to live a plant-free life again.

‘If I lived in a house without plants, I’d be depressed without a doubt,’ she said.

‘When I used to go to hotels without them it felt quite dreadful to stay in such a plain space.

‘Whenever I’m feeling down, I take care of plants. Whether it’s regular maintenance like watering, trimming them down, and removing dead leaves, or propagating and cleaning the leaves, it’s very therapeutic.

‘It takes your mind off everything else because you have to concentrate on what you’re doing. It’s so interesting when I notice the splashes of colours in the leaves, and it calms me instantly.

‘And as for my Monsteras – knowing that such large living things depend on me and thrive in my care is everything.

‘I will definitely keep going forever. I have big plans of having a greenhouse with a couch in it, within my home, to replace the living room.’

To all those who love plants but keep unintentionally killing them, Carla has some simple words of wisdom.

Her top tips for nurturing houseplants include researching each plant’s natural habitat then re-creating the humidity and lighting in your own home, using strip lighting where natural light is not available, and keeping to a watering routine.

‘Light is the most important thing – if your plants have the right amount of light for them, they will be happy,’ she explained.

‘If you’re not sure how much water they need, go for under-watering rather than giving them too much at first – because this can kill them.

‘And don’t be afraid to re-arrange them if you have a collection, to make sure none are sitting in the shadow of another – I sometimes spend a whole day switching the arrangement around.’

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