Plant ‘parents’ find joy in naming new friends

In order to form personal connections with their pets, many people enjoy giving them names. For some, this treatment also extends to their houseplants.


Photo by Jason Edwards

Posed and potted…Spending some quality time with his floral friends, senior Jason Edwards shows off his collection of houseplants. Edwards purchases most of his plants from Ott’s Exotic Plants in Schwenksville.

By naming and talking to their houseplants, plant owners are often able to form a more personal connection to their plants, sometimes regarding them as pets or friends.
Owning a houseplant can “brighten up your room,” according to junior Brooke Bechtel.
Bechtel owns several houseplants of various types, most of which also have names. According to Bechtel, naming the plants allows her to add some personalization. Bechtel is not the only person to name her plants.
Senior Danielle Michael tends to name her plants with an alliteration theme.
“My aloe plant is Ally,” Michael said. “If it was a cucumber [plant] I’d name it Carlos or something.”
Michael also sometimes deviates from her usual naming scheme.
“Sometimes I’ll spice things up. I had some beans growing, and they were all “B” names, but then there was one that was just Sophie,” Michael said.
Senior Jason Edwards also takes care of his own plants, and names them as well.
Edwards either names his plants off of the “vibe” he gets from them, or by using a random name generator.
Edwards believes that naming the plants helps him differentiate them, and take care of them better.
“I think it makes an attachment to it, and then you’re more likely to care for it,” Edwards said.
Edwards also sometimes refers to his plants like people. “I reference them like they’re my friend at school,” Edwards said. “If there’s a new leaf I’ll be like, ‘Oh my [goodness,] Grace has a new leaf,’ or something like that.”
Others such as senior Claire Hassett prefer to name their plants after celebrities.
“I named them all after musicians, just because it’s fun for me,” Hassett said.
Hassett’s favorite name is her olive tree, which she has dubbed “Ollie Osbourne.”
Some plant owners decide not to name their plants. For example, French teacher Sally Cushmore has not named any of her 80 plants.
Michael says that she sometimes treats plants with empathy, such as when she had to kill some surplus basil sprouts in her agricultural science class. “You have to kill them, and I was like, ‘this is a massacre,” Michael said.
Hassett also likes to personify her plants. “Whenever I have to trim off leaves, I say they’re getting a haircut,” Hassett said. Hasset also likes moving her plants around to “hang out” with each other.
Cushmore also occasionally talks to her plants as well.
“I greet them every morning and make sure they’re doing okay,” Cushmore said. Cushmore also said that, while she does not play music specifically for her plants, she hopes they like the music she plays anyway.
Many plant owners take up gardening because of their family members.
“I like plants because I grew up with a garden,” Michael said. “My dad and I would make one every year.”
Cushmore’s interest in plants had a similar start. Her mother enjoyed growing plants, and Cushmore has picked up the hobby. Others take an interest in caring for plants out of other interests they have. Bechtel likes plants because most of them are green, which is her favorite color.
Edwards took an interest in plants because of his interest in biology.
“I think the whole aspect of it growing and developing and changing is really why I like plants,” Edwards said.