The New Swapping: Plants not Partners


The New Swapping: Plants not Partners

Plant cuttings are the new focus of sharing…

By Laura Carson Miller


Times have certainly changed since the swinging’ ‘70’s when swapping partners was a trendy thing to try.   I just read that that swinging actually started with US Fighter pilots in World War II. They could afford to move their super model caliber wives near the base and as they experienced a high fatality rate, non-monogamy between the pilots and other pilots wives became acceptable.  Over the years this behavior spread to the suburbs, where the term  ‘wife swapping’ was adjusted to ‘swinging’. Well, who knows if any of that is accurate but it makes for a juicy opening to this story.

These days plants swaps are where it’s at, so to speak, and cities like Chicago, Pasadena, Toronto and Brooklyn are getting in on the act.  House plants have suddenly become popular again as interior accessories, which I find sort of eye roll inducing as I’ve been surrounded by plants indoors and out since I was born.  Catalogs want to sell you fake plants – succulents are big or any number of moss covered thingies and even a giant faux boxwood tree to grace the inside of your abode.  (Side note: aren’t fake plants supposed to induce bad feng shui??)

Coffee shops, plant stores and even private homes host plant swap gatherings, often advertized through, you guessed it, social media. Participants take great pride in bringing certain rare plant cuttings to be swapped and they can certainly be choosy about what they get in return for exceptional offerings. If you’re looking to get some new plants into your living space search the hash tags #plantswap or #houseplantswap.  These plant exchanges are probably happening right under your nose!

I often plant swap with my parents, sister and my friend Joe. I’ve passed on cuttings to many friends and it thrills me to receive photos and hear stories of their thriving adoptees. Plant swapping is a great way to fill your home with plants at low or no cost. Plants help filter the air and are lovely to look at and nurture. A room filled with plants is cozy and inviting. If you have small children and/or animals just make sure your houseplants are child/pet friendly. You want your plants to be loved and appreciated and that can be easily accomplished from the high shelf of a bookcase or in a cool wall planter far out of reach of curious housemates.

Happy swapping!