The Instagram Plant+Pet Fan Club

A life surrounded by my cats and my plants warrants that obsession to be taken elsewhere. For me – that’s Instagram. I love IG, aside from the endless drooling and longing at the number of gorgeous plants out there. Initially I never expected their to be such a vast interior plant fan club in all parts of the world. I’ve realized there’s not only a plant club, but a pets and plants fun club. Yes I just invented that club, and now I need to go make it a thing.

I invited some of the lovely P&P fan club members on Instagram to share their lovely pets and lovely plants with me us. Some also included their wisdom about cohabiting with furry friends – that’s a freebie. Follow them and you be will rewarded daily with pretty pictures and plant tips.

Anna // @Urbangreenplant

Anna, like myself, has various plants of different troxity levels, all of which her four cats can care less about. While Anna’s feed is primarily about indoor gardening, she also shares tips on outdoor plants and, of course, her fabulous cats. Her favorite plant picks:
Boston Fern and Parlor Palm Plant: Non-toxic and my cats don’t bother with these besides a sniff.
Spider Plant, Ponytail Plant, Money Tree: All are non-toxic but my cats can’t help but chew on these. I keep these plants high, hanging or out of reach areas.
Bird of Paradise, Peace Lily, Hawaiian Schefflera, Snake Plant: Though these have a low toxicity, they don’t bother these guys at all. Also, I think what helps is that these are usually big floor plants, to them it’s like trees.

Anna // @littleandlush 

I am one of 22K fans of Anna’s stark minimal plant photos on IG.
This is her cat Agnes, with a pet safe (hybrid) fern “Asplenium Austral Gem.”
A few months ago Anna introduced a plant I fell in love with, a PINK variegated Tradescantia, which made her insta-famous. One of my favorite plants, Wandering Jews come in several gorgeous variegated varieties, plus they’re 100% cat safe. Add in Agnes, and I can’t even deal.

Alina // @alina.fassakhova

Usha, Alina’s curious tuxedo cat is often seen in her gorgeous photos eyeing her houseplants. A painter, Alina photographs her NYC loft and artwork amongst her ever-growing urban jungle. Does Usha eat every plant in sight? Alina said she’s really a good cat, only eating spider plants and seems to have a natural sense of what is poisonous and what isn’t. But we all know cats aren’t perfect – Alina mentioned Usha shakes stems, branches and tears off leaves, when attention is needed now. How could anyone ignore her- look at that face!

Erin // @leighkiyoko

We did need a dog in this feed, and what better a pup than Luna, Erin’s salt and pepper fuzzball. Erin’s IG feed is full of her botanical adventures and drool-worthy outfits, but Luna is too cute for words. Erin shared some of her wisdom for the upcoming season and pet safe remedies: “When I brought some of my houseplants indoors for the cooler months, I immediately noticed pesky gnats flying around. To battle the flies, I always crumble up Mosquito Dunks, a natural pesticide (BTI) that won’t harm Luna if she decides to dig her nose in the soil, sniff around and potentially lick it up.”

Brittany // @ihavethisthingwithurbanjungles


Brittany’s feed shares the best of Instagram’s lux indoor jungles, lounging pets and superb sunlight. For instant-Instagram-inspriration, look no further than her hundreds of perfect photos from plant collectors like us.

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Thank you to everyone who submitted photos and advice. I’ll be doing another installment soon!

XOXO Anastasia  //  Leaf+Paw

A Tropicool Cat Oasis 🌴🌞

While this will be a short post, it’s one I feel obligated to share because: cats. Everybody loves cats. My two favorite things happened: I took adorable photos of my mittens yesterday AND it’s #monsteramonday. Not to mention, Urban Jungle Bloggers’ feed is all about Tropicool Summer. What’s more tropical/cool then cats relaxing in the sun?

Urban Jungle Bloggers

Harvey and Harlequinn were all sssuuunndaazzee on Sunday, enjoying the warm sunshine. As some of you may know, I love the Urban Jungle Bloggers features that they put out every month. For Tropicool, I visualized a whole scene of  a styled shoot, with beach umbrellas and margaritas. Really, these photos are way more truthful to my Sunday mood in reality.

Urban Jungle Bloggers

See?

If you own a cat (or dog, I’m sure this doesn’t just apply to cats…), have you noticed they enjoy your houseplants as much as you do? Yes, they are jungle-y, and they can be fun to eat. But since acquiring more houseplants, my cats seek them out, nap beneath them, and enjoy their company. That’s also why, despite this being a pet-friendly blog, I suggest incorporating large leaf plants in your home. I know they can be dangerous if ingested, but I never have had a problem with either kitty eating my Monstera or Rubber Tree.

Monstera Pet Safe

The best cat-friendly plant placement.

I keep my medium-sized lush plants on petals a lot of the time, especially my palm, which cats love to eat. My Monstera and Rubber trees are in floor planters near windows.

Palm tree : Leaf and Paw

I typically move everyone to the porch in summer where the humidity is high and put comfy cat-friendly cushions on my wicker chairs. The plants love the moisture in the air and the kitties love the sun, heat, and general sauna atmosphere, despite being covered in fur.

Sometimes the rug is just fine, and Harvey lays there like a garden slug. Not the most flattering angle but cute nonetheless. She really needs to go on a diet…

Cats and Plants

I always look for ways to make my indoors even more outdoors (sans bugs). If you have been collecting pet-friendly plants, it’s a nice idea to create small garden-like areas for them to explore. During one of my first Leaf and Paw photoshoots in my house, I left my plants like this for a few days and the cats loved it:

Especially for indoor cats, the greenery, increased oxygen, and air cleaning effects plants have are all beneficial to keeping them healthy. A bunch of fresh catnip in a pretty pot helps, too. Speaking of which, I actually like this article from The Spruce.

Not a plant mom yet? Check out this blog for pet friendly plants to get you started, you’ll be happy you did! Soon, you can have you own tropicool oasis.

 

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Wicker chair: Vintage (found in FOUND), Cushion: Pier One Imports.

 

New Beginnings: Spring Plant Rituals

I’ve been waiting all month to do this post. Urban Jungle Bloggers’ topic for today only, April 27th, is “New Beginnings” and it couldn’t be anymore relevant to my life right now, in all forms.

I’m starting a new job, each plant is coming back to life post-winter, and I’m finally making progress on my Leaf and Paw book, which is set to come out this summer. All that aside, the most exciting part about all this, are my plants finally beginning to grow again.

Jade Plant : Leaf and Paw

Here in NY, as I’ve mentioned before, we have weird winters. Sometimes harsh, sometimes mild, either way it’s always a roller coaster and we still get one last hurrah snowstorm in April. For my plants that make it, which almost all do, it is always this last week of April I see their transformation. The tulips outside come up and my indoor plants sprout leaves in a day. Just this week my Jade (who snapped a few weeks ago) pushed out a tiny bitty leaf that was just too cute. My ferns are always fussy, but my little maidenhair fern (below) really suffered this winter. After I cut her back a couple weeks ago she’s releasing little branches one by one.

Given the topic of new beginnings, I wanted to share the indoor plant rituals I do to acclimate my plants into spring. I think it’s important for everyone to have a set of tasks for their plants to keep them happiest. And, because I’ve also began to propagate like a boss, I was urged to share my experience with dividing my monstrous Monstera, Monty.

The full Monty, in his glory.

My Rituals.

Preparation: As plants’ new beginnings take place, every spring I assemble my  basket that I keep my basic tools in. It includes one or more trimmers, isopropyl alcohol for bug removal, my spray bottle, and leaf shine. This is my go-to basket that houses everything I need to keep my plants healthy. Also on hand is my gallon jug of fertilizer (the jug is unsightly and unphotogenic) and favorite IKEA watering can.

Everyday: Once a day I greet my plant friends, open the curtains for light or place a select few outside on my enclosed porch. Spring weather can be unpredictable, so I only place them outside if it’s warm for most of the day.  I discovered Rudy, my rubber tree, loves Vivaldi and grew a great deal the first time he heard him. So, in the morning, I usually play Vivaldi while making breakfast. Rudy prefers the Four Season, and I do too. Plants also fancy jazz, especially Miles Davis. I can no longer play AC/DC in the morning, for reasons I will share another time.

Once a Week: Weekly, I check for bugs, more on that here, and give everyone a water. In my house everyone gets a similar amount of sun, so watering typically amounts to once a week. My Fitttonia and other thirsty plants may get an extra drink during the week if there’s wilting going on. It’s also important to aerate the soil so drainage can be better achieved. I was introduced to this idea from Houseplantjournal, who is an mild Instagram Celebrity and Plant Caretaker in neighboring Canada.

New leaf of my Staghorn Fern!

Once a month: Since I have a lot of large plants, their leaves inevitably get dusty. I used water for a few years but actually prefer a designated “leaf shine” formula since it works better with a cotton cloth. My rubber tree collection get especially dusty in winter and monthly cleaning helps prevent cat sneezes.         Every month in spring, I also check pots. Because there is new growth happening, pots that may have fit last spring can be a tight fit. The best ways to know if a pot is too small: aerials roots break from the bottom of the pot, there is constant stunted growth, or the plant is just blatantly breaking it’s planter.  Every 6 months to a year, I typically replant.

Even smaller plant need their leaves cleaned so they can better absorb sun to make new leaves!

Spring Propagation

As I mentioned above, I am super excited to be propagating! I briefly talked about it in this post, and after a few tries I’m getting the hang of it. Monty was my first challenge. Since I love monsteras and was terrified of killing him I read as much as I could about division.

A few people have asked my method of propagating a monstera, so this is what I did. He had some insane growth, resulting in Monty being completely round therefor impossible to position in my house. With my eyes closed (not really) I completely cut a chunk off so he can be against a wall. The trick is to cut a stem only with an aerial root protruding, like this:

I usually like to have the stem harden over a bit, so I left the cutting for a day and then placed it in water. Ta da!

Monstera, propagated.

I’ve been using a similar method propagating my Wandering Jew cuttings. I now have a variegated green, solid green, and purple. Below is my family in water, growing roots, almost ready to be planted.

 

And this is my Monty cutting, just planted today. Wish me luck and hooray for spring and new beginnings!

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