Soho Pop-In: Q&A with Houseplant Ninja Summer Rayne Oakes

Founder of Homestead Brooklyn and so much more…introducing the effervescent Summer…

Summer’s here and the time is right to show that green thumb some love…

Your sign?


Spirit plant?

Bamboo — grows quickly, resilient, sturdy, dependable, bends but doesn’t break.

Your motivation to support Mother Earth – where did it come from?

It’s quite simple: I love being out in Nature and believe that’s where we most feel “at home”.

Most memorable life experience…

Gaining and losing my mentor, Tom, to Parkinson’s disease. He seemed so much larger than life that when he passed, I felt at a loss. I think about him and how his work has impacted me regularly.

You’ve got a workshop coming up at our Soho pop-up. What will we learn?

I’ll be boiling down the basics of plant care so people come away feeling confident in getting their first houseplant; or if they have houseplants, how to take care of them better.

Why houseplants?

I think as more of us moved into cities, we feel a bit divorced from nature, and a houseplant is, in its own small way, a portal tapping into our need for greenery and life.

What’s in your dream greenhouse?

Clambering Philodendron, climbing Monstera, grounded Peperomia, and swaying Calathea, Maranta, and other prayer plants.

5 easy-to-do everyday things to reduce your carbon footprint…

Grow your own food when you can; shop locally, particularly supporting local farmers when you can; eliminate trash as much as possible, particularly plastic waste; commute to places on bike, on foot, and on public transportation; and give back to the world as much as you can with your presence so any carbon that you do expend is worth it!

What does a typical morning for Summer Rayne look like?

I’m fostering a little red hen who lives with me, so my routine has changed over the past several months. I get up early—5:30AM – 6:30AM—I tend to her, cleaning her water bowl, feeding her, petting her; then I wash my face with cool water; I make myself a savory breakfast; I instagram; I walk throughout my house to see what plants need to be watered; I water them; I go to yoga; I shower; and then I typically work.

What’s your beauty routine?

Super simple and non-fussy. If I go outside for any length of time, I’ll use a tinted moisturizer and sunscreen.

What does free mean to you?

Being who you are and doing what you want to feel your fullest self without any fear.

Plant photos by Homestead Brooklyn. Summer Rayne by Joey L.
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What a gorgeous setting! Now I want to become a Houseplant Ninja too!

Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

5 years ago

Love, love, love!

5 years ago

I love this post. I’ve been curious about house plants lately. She’s decorated her home so amazingly and has done so well to bring the outdoors in.

kim Czuppon
5 years ago

I am on my way to being a house plant ninja (i have 9 in small space) but I also have pesky little gnat-like bugs that are all over my house plants. I have tried Apple Cider vinegar and a sticky tape, but can’t seem to find a way to fully get rid of the bugs, and I am not willing to give up my plants. Any advice on an insecticide or natural rememdy?

5 years ago

Oh dear I am going make a house plant soon, seriously :)

5 years ago

I really have keen interest in climbing Monstera,swaying Calathea and grounded Peperomia.. I liked your post thanks for sharing this.

5 years ago

I cherish this post. I’ve been interested about house plants recently. She’s designed her home so incredibly and has done as such well to acquire the outsi

5 years ago

Hey Kim, those are fungus gnats and they are attracted to the organic matter in the soil. You’ll want to have yellow sticky traps for the adults. And get BTI and soak in water and that will kill any of the eggs in the soil.