Say Aloe to the Urban Botanist

Walking into Emma Terrell’s home, it does not take long to forget about winter. The interior is filled with plants. Terrell’s Monstera takes over a section of her living room with shelves filled with plants from a pink princess to a variegated string of hearts plant.

It’s a passion Terrell has turned into a business called the Urban Botanist.

Terrell named her business the Urban Botanist hoping to encourage others to get involved with nature in an urban setting.

Terrell, 29, graduated from Carleton University with a BA in political science in 2012 and a B.Sc. in biology in 2017.

In May 2017, she started her business from an interest in plants and later on terrariums, which are glass containers containing soil and plants.

“The thought of a tiny snapshot of an ecosystem captured within a vessel that is self-sustaining was just so cool to me,” said Terrell.

Terrell started making terrariums as gifts, and then teaching her friends how to make their own. Eventually, she started selling them and holding events, teaching other people what a terrarium is and how to make one.

The engagement in her events helped put in motion her business and has been profitable for the last two years.

Follow the Urban Botanist on Instagram or check out her website for upcoming events.

Plants Terrell recommends for first-time plant buyers:

  1. ZZ plant
  2. Snake plant
  3. Peace Lily
  4. Spider Plant
  5. Pothos

When shopping for plants:

Check the plant before you buy it. Are there any signs of pests or diseases?

“Look for mealy bugs, scale, spider mites,” said Terrell.

Local nurseries have healthy, pest-free plants and have informed staff on site that can help you choose the right plant for you.

Taking morning and afternoon photos of your room will help with finding the right plant for your space. Plants all require different light (direct, indirect, partial or shade).

Knowing the directions the window in your room face will help with deciding on the right plant for your room.

“That way you can visualize size and lighting better, it will also be a good tool for whoever might help you choose plants,” said Terrell.

Terrell’s advice will help you not become a serial plant killer.


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