The Home Depot houseplant section may be your default for cultivating your plant parent aesthetics, but there is a Marcy-Holmes apartment that has way more to offer.
Isabella Pizaño and David Enrrigue have created a jungle in their home, with plants on almost every surface, fish swimming among their own underwater jungles, birds and a cat. It is magical and warm, almost like entering the fern room of St. Paul’s Como Conservatory.
“We like to say that we live with the plants, not that they live with us,” Pizaño said.
Their jungle of a home is part of their budding business on Instagram, @apt_jungle. The pair have been growing and propagating plants for sale since this past winter.
“My mom never let me keep plants inside the house [when I was young],” Enrrigue said. “When I moved out for college, I started collecting everything I wasn’t able to collect, and it just grew into something.”
The idea of starting an Instagram page stemmed from an art show, where instead of prints of her photography, Pizaño sold plants.
“We had really good responses from the community,” Pizaño said. “They loved the prices, and we want to make plants more accessible to people.”
Now, they have over 60 species of plants in their personal collection, ranging from easy houseplants to plants that are a little more difficult to take care of. They promote accessibility and education in plant care so that everyone can care for plants.
“We tend to group plants together so that people have better chances,” Pizaño said. “You can get your collection started at a much more reasonable price.”
Pizaño and Enrrigue are also ready and willing to assist their clients with any of their plant needs. They have helped diagnose various plants’ ailments and will guide plant owners through the proper aftercare.
“I absolutely adore someone sending me a photo of their plant, and it’s just thriving in their home,” Enrrigue said. “I’m happy to provide any information they need help with … and [Pizaño’s] infographics are really informative.”
The pair’s personal touches on their page — like those simple infographics on plant care — and customer service is an aspect of the community building that they want to facilitate.
“Buying a plant from them is such a personal experience,” said Phoebe McGowan, who has purchased seven plants from @apt_jungle. “It’s really cool to have a relationship with your plant supplier — like this is something I didn’t even know I needed.”
Although it may seem like Pizaño and Enrrigue have grown their business to where they want it to be, their dozens of plant species are just the start. In addition to houseplants, they grow a small number of produce for themselves, and they want to expand.
“I’ve noticed there are food deserts everywhere,” Enrrigue said. “It mostly impacts people of color and … we’ve noticed it quite a bit [in our communities]. We want to reach out to those communities and provide fresh produce in those deserts.”
Houseplants are just the beginning of something more fruitful for @apt_jungle.
“It’s just a labor of love,” Enrrigue said. “For us, it just happened to turn into something.”