3 plant podcasts I'm listening to

I am a consummate reader, often rifling through at least five books in a given month, but book reading can be a slow process and not always the most practical way to get inspiration and information on-the-go. Whether I'm commuting, going for a run, or walking my foster hen, Kippee in the park, I'm often absorbed in a podcast. Not all podcasts I listen to are plant-related, but these three have quickly become the top plant podcasts on my list.

Matt Candeias from  In Defense of Plants  in the field.

Matt Candeias from In Defense of Plants in the field.

1. In Defense of Plants

I'm relatively new to this podcast and saying I'm "completely hooked" is an understatement. This podcast fulfills every nerdy plant girl's (and guy's) dreams. Matt Candeias, who started In Defense of Plants three years ago, "wanted to give plants a voice as organisms worthy of celebration." Listening to many of Matt's guests transports me back to my studies at university, as he often brings on some of the best botanists and researchers who are studying a diverse range of topics—from paleobotany to plant physiology. "I didn't expect it to take off like it has," he told me. "Now I get emails and letters from all over the world telling me how much people are enjoying the show. The best are the letters I get from people who tell me that they never really cared about plants before listening to the podcast. That makes me feel euphoric; knowing that I have turned someone on to the wonders of botany is one of the best feelings!"

Summer Rayne Oakes: What are some of your favorite past topics on your podcast?

Matt Candeias:  It is hard to pick because I personally learn so much from the folks I talk to. I think a few that really stand out to me are my conversation with Dr. Dennis Whigham of the North American Orchid Conservation Center. He opened my eyes to all of the trials and tribulations North America's native orchids face as well as all the ways in which passionate people are working to conserve these plants. Similarly, time spent talking with Dr. Mark Whitten is never wasted. He has such a curious mind and picking his brain about the wild world of orchid fragrances and how they relate to pollination was incredible. I was also very excited to chat with Dr.'s Pam and Doug Soltis. They are a powerhouse of scientific discovery and they are hard at work collaborating with a plethora of other talented scientists to investigate the evolutionary relationships between plants. These are just a snapshot of all the incredible people I get to talk to every week. It is inspiring to say the least. 

Summer Rayne Oakes: What plants are on your radar right now? 

Matt Candeias: I have an unassuming orchid about to bloom as I write this. It goes by the name Gastrochilus bellinus. Most of the year it looks like a few leaves and some scraggly roots but it blows me away every time it blooms. It is something that must be seen in person to truly believe. Also, I have fallen head over heels for the succulent milkweed relatives from Africa. They are bizarre examples of how intense heat and drought can push organisms to extremes of morphology and lifestyle. Their flowers are otherworldly in shape and usually decked in colors from across the visual spectrum. It's a whole new world of growing houseplants for me and I can't wait to learn the ins and outs of keeping them happy. 

Jane Perrone podcasting it up! Photo: Cat Lane

Jane Perrone podcasting it up! Photo: Cat Lane

2. On the Ledge

Sometimes you think that there may be some synergy in the air because Jane Perrone, chief podcaster behind On the Ledge, started her podcast in February of last year—the same time this blog and Plant One On Me got its start. It's not often that you get to hear what's happening on the other side of the pond when it comes to plants, so for that—we have Jane! Jane had co-hosted a gardening podcast for the Guardian called Sow Grow Repeat, so when that ended, she said she knew she had to make her own, but this one would be strictly on houseplants. "As a lifelong houseplant addict," she said, "it seemed a great topic to tackle, because no one else was talking about it." 

Summer Rayne Oakes: What are some of your favorite past topics on your podcast?

Jane Perrone: I think my favorite episode so far has to be the one on Pilea peperomioides. It was such fun to find out about the backstory of this plant and why everyone is going nuts for it.

Summer Rayne Oakes: What plants are on your radar right now? 

Jane Perrone: I am getting all nostalgic about plants I lusted after when I was a child, including shrimp plant, lipstick plant and rat tail cactus. 

Maria of Bloom & Grow Radio in her element: surrounded by plants! 

Maria of Bloom & Grow Radio in her element: surrounded by plants! 

3. Bloom & Grow

I first met Maria Failla at our first ever Plant Swap this past October in NYC. Given that she loves meeting up with plant people in real life–it was natural for her to put together a podcast that celebrates the passion and knowledge of fellow houseplant enthusiasts. She wasn't always into plants, she tells me. "I had been a self titled "succulent killer" for the previous 4 years," she laughed. "I decided to give "this plant thing" one last shot, with the help of my Italian mother, who has been gardening successfully her whole life. With her help, I maintain a thriving herb garden and quickly increased my number of houseplants." Though Maria's new to the houseplant scene, her accessible nature and ever bubbly personality make it a fun listen!

Summer Rayne Oakes: What was one thing you didn't expect after starting your podcast? 

Maria Failla:  I didn't expect how quickly it would take off! I kind of selfishly made the podcast as something I wanted to listen to. I just focused on getting great guests who could teach me a thing or two about caring for my plants. The business end of the show and how many downloads I would get wasn't my priority at all. So I've been completely blown away by the wonderful response and so many new plant friends I've made since the show went live. 

Summer Rayne Oakes: What plants are on your radar right now? 

Maria Failla: I've been at this for under a year, so my collection is still growing. My most favorite plant I currently have would be Limey, my Bearss Lime tree. My boyfriend and I bought him upstate and brought him home and have been figuring out how to care for him together. The first month was a little rough because he was an impulse buy and we didn't really understand how to care for him. But now, he just gave us 5 new buds which will be so fun to watch turn into big juicy limes! As far as plants on my wish list, I'm looking forward to finding the perfect Watermelon Peperomia to add to the mix, their leaves blow me away every time I see one! 

If you want to listen to our Bloom and Grow podcast episode, then you can do so here.  🌿