Plant Techs: The Minions Are Coming

In the middle of the night they arrive, carrying out the dead plants, bringing in the nice ones. Sometimes they take out all the plants and put in new ones…that’s why they look so nice.

Would you believe that a sizable portion of the general public actually believes this is what happens. If they think about the plants at all, that is!

Talk about under the radar. Our industry is so far under, an incredible number of people don’t even know we exist. When I started my journey in Interior Landscaping back in 1980, I didn’t know it existed either. That is, until I decided I wanted to do something with plants. I looked in the Yellow Pages under “plants,” and there it was. But I would never have believed that now, nearly 35 years later, most people still don’t know there’s an actual profession that provides and maintains the live, green plants in the indoor places around them.

Even people who like plants, big ­time hobbyists and such, know almost nothing about us. Read the plant forums and you’ll see that these people think we are folks who don’t do much more than walk around throwing water on plants. They believe we have no interest in real horticulture, because we can just install a new plant whenever one starts to fail; that we’re basically plant torturers putting plants in horrible places and then wringing the last bit of life from them.

What might happen if we let people in on the secret life of plant companies? Could we find more clients, people who might be enlightened to the good that plants can do them? Could we find more techs, people who like plants and want to work with them? Could interior horticulture become something that people set out to study instead of just falling into? Could the tech who cares for the plants at the TV station be featured on the morning show? Could one of those popular crime/mystery programs actually one day say, “The plant lady did it”?

Help Create industry Awareness

I, for one, think it’s time for us to come out of the closet! What if we communicated our knowledge with and through our communities, garden clubs, schools, home and hobby shows, TV and newspapers, and online? What if we got more involved with organizations like Green Plants for Green Buildings and American Hort to help create awareness for our industry? What if we all blogged about our experiences or engaged in community forums like If you start to think about it, the possibilities begin to grow.

Ah, my friends, the future awaits, and it holds exciting prospects. Let’s put our heads together and boldly go where no plant people have gone before. To the stars, my friends, to the stars.

Marlie Graves, known as The Ficus Wrangler, has been keeping plants beautiful, training techs and relating to clients at half a dozen companies for 30 years. She studied creative writing and psychology in college and went on to start an independent film company with her first husband. She decided to focus on plants full time after completing the NYBG Horticulture School interior landscaping course. Marlie is retired, operates "The Ficus Wrangler" YouTube channel, contributes regularly to several houseplant forums, and is working on a plantcare book based on professional methods.

NewPro Containers

Join the Community