What Should I Name My Plant?


Last night, I decided to leave my blogging cave and enjoy a nice walk around my neighborhood. Like an idiot, I “just stopped in” to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s gift shop, and went into a fugue state that only slightly cleared when I arrived 30 minutes later (the gift shop is TINY but if you don’t touch every single plant in there did you really go???) at the cash register. “Errmmm, oh yeah, I am a member…did you…need to know that?” I stammered to the employee, exhausted from my hours of dutiful blogging and singing jazz standards in my empty house.

“Only if you want a discount!” she chirped back. Dang, I thought. If I knew that, I would’ve bought another plant.

My recent and more serious interest in plants (in college, I had two: Miles, who jumped from a ledge, and a cactus I named Orenthal while trying to subversive) is for a few reasons: one, they look cool. I mostly own succulents and the corner of my bedroom in which they live could definitely get at least 1,000 notes if photographed for Tumblr. Two, I feel like I can take care of something, aware of the privilege that comes with taking care of a life but feeling relatively chill about the potential for failure. A friend who works at a Greenmarket gave me my first adult plant; I was leaving her apartment one night and she mentioned a woman had given it to her at work, trading nature for nature. It was brown and scraggly, sort of withered; I took it home in a plastic bag and had my boyfriend teach me how to pot it. Within days, it perked up; weeks, it turned fully green; after a few months, flowers bloomed. I look at it and I think, I did that, and I relish the tangibility of my power and my care.

Three, I really like giving them stupid names. I don’t have any real rules, just that I try to make the names unexpected and sort of funny. So, back to the point: last night I bought two new succulents, which you’ll see below. I decided to name one Chirlane McCray, New York’s First Lady and my tier supreme, but her sister-in-soil remains unnamed! So I decided to turn this into a celebrity contest, only instead of flying you and three of your closest friends out to New York for a dinner, an all-expenses paid luxury suite, and a chance to meet your favorite blogger, I’m just letting you name my plant.

I might’ve had a lot of wine around 6 o’clock last night and decided to embark on a very casual photo shoot with all my plants that wasn’t styled at all no what I just always have a leopard-print snuggie casually hanging on my kitchen counter!!!!!!! Below are the plants I own, which I photographed because I want to know about yours too (and in the event that you are a plant scientist and you can tell me what I’m doing wrong)! My plants are my babies — — let’s make like some Park Slope moms and brag about them!


Peanut Butter. This is the aforementioned Greenmarket plant — my ugliest one, by far, but my favorite. Once my roommate accidentally knocked him over and I cried.


Bingo, a stalk of bamboo I bought from IKEA when I wanted to make my room look more “mature.” It lives in front of my Simon & Garfunkel album.

simon and garfunkel

Simon and Garfunkel. Obviously! One is so tall, and the other’s solo work is so overrated!

louis armstrong and his hot five

Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five, the only acceptable name for such a busy plant.


Zapp Brannigan, because this plant is stupid but if it were on Futurama it’d be the best character.


Farley Granger, also known as the hot dude in Hitchcock movies who wasn’t Jimmy Stewart or Gregory Peck. It’s really cute, just like him.

lisa vanderpump

Lisa Vanderpump. She looks like she smells really good, and so does this plant.


Chirlane McCray, right, and left… to be determined!

So! Let’s talk about plants and soil and light and potting, then GIVE ME SOME NAMING IDEAS.