The L.A. plant Instagram that highlights Latinx and sells you beautiful plants
This is the first in our series PLANT PPL, where we interview people of color in the plant world.
When people buy a plant from the Instagram account @LatinxWithPlants, they don’t just buy the plant. They support the whole business. They spread the word. That’s how creator Andi Xoch has grown her Instagram account to more than 5,000 followers since launching a little over a year ago. With the backing of her community, Xoch highlights Latinx in the plant world and sells plants out of her Boyle Heights home.
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The first time I bought a plant from @LatinxWithPlants, Xoch had set up a folding table in the front yard of her home. A couple dozen plants were scattered on the porch, and she handed out fresh sage from the yard. When I went back the next weekend, the operation seemed to have tripled in size; a yellow tent was pitched in the yard, housing what seemed like three times the number of plants. She was selling brightly colored, hand-painted plant stands and had a hand-painted “Latinx With Plants” sign. The operation was official.
Xoch says her weekend plant pop-ups have grown more popular each week. “Supporters have expressed that they don’t want to support big corporations, and people are dealing with anxiety caused by COVID and the long history of systemic oppression,” she says. “People are hungry for any sense of normalcy, and plants provide that.”
To purchase, prospective plant parents can browse the @LatinxWithPlants Instagram page to see what’s for sale and then direct-message the account for an appointment. Xoch will set up a 15-minute time slot to view plants and planters and make purchases in real life.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
How did @LatinxWithPlants start?
I started the page because I wanted to highlight my Latinx plant parenthood community and see how we connect and identify through plants, whether their plants be native, from their native homes or houseplants. I live in Boyle Heights, where there are many hidden gardens that represent immigrant homes. Their gardens have plants and herbs that they grew up with. It’s not just for aesthetics. Their plants represent them and their culture.
My inspiration was the Instagram page @blackwithplants. I became friends with the creator D’Real through Instagram; our community work brought us together. I reached out to him expressing how I wanted a page to highlight my community in the plant world, and he suggested I do a Latinx with plants page. I was so happy that not only did I get his blessing but that we could be seen as a symbol of Black and brown unity and solidarity, East Coast to West Coast.
How has @LatinxWithPlants evolved during the COVID-19 pandemic?
During COVID lockdown, I felt myself relying on my plants for solace and consolation. I realized more people were feeling the same way, and that drove me to start doing the pop-ups and doing porch pickups. I want to keep these beautiful plants at an affordable price, and I want more POC in the plant world. I want to educate my community about air-purifying plants and native plants (since we are in Tongva territory). I believe if we can get everyone to grow or plant something green, our connection to Mother Earth will strengthen, even if we start with just a little houseplant.
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What kind of response have you received from the community?
It has been very touching and humbling. People have said that they feel welcome and do not feel overwhelmed by the care of these plants.
People have expressed that they are very happy to support a brown business and a brown woman-run business as well. It just melts my heart! Our community deserves nice things, and plants are one of those things that has multiple purposes and have been helping people cope with the pandemic. They leave feeling overjoyed knowing that their home will be slowly turning into their very own utopia with the help of these plants.
What are the biggest tips you give to new plant parents?
Treat your plant like you would treat your pet or a baby! Some need more attention than others. Research your baby, get to know the basics and go from there.
Another tip is to not overwater. It’s always better to underwater than to overwater; you can bring it back from dehydration but never from root rot, which is caused by overwatering.
What are your plans once the pandemic is over?
I would like to possibly expand my pop-up to different parts of the county and let more people in during pop-ups. I’d love to host plant 101 workshops and help my community learn more about pollinating, air purifying and other healing plants.
What are your favorite plants?
My favorite plants are pothos; they provide instant gratification! They are easy to care for, they grow fast and they purify air. Caladiums are very delicate and colorful beauties that will challenge your green thumb. My ultimate prized possession is the jewel orchid. It’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever witnessed. It’s the smallest plant I own, but when you look closely into it, you can see like a shimmering storm. It’s like lightning on its leaves, and when you shine a light on it, it’s amplified by 100%; it is absolutely breathtaking.
Follow @LatinxWithPlants for information on upcoming pop-ups and events.
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