But what does that even mean: a plant glossary

As with any other interest, hobby, or indulgence loving plants comes with a whole list of words, phrases, terms, and jargon that we have to decode and decipher. In some of my recent blog posts I’ve been careful not to just throw out “industry terms” without also defining. I’m doing this in part because some of these words and phrases I still don’t fully understand and in part because I remember a few years ago when I didn’t understand any of these words or phrases. I walked into a plant store and asked, what I thought was a straightforward question and someone plant-splained at me in what seemed like another language. I asked for the English translation and thankfully he laughed and switched to use common language. But I still haven’t been able to shake that feeling that people are speaking in plant code that I’m not fully fluent in.

The more of these terms and phrases I sought to define as I was writing the more I realized that it can’t just be more so I was going to write a blog post to define all of these things. Brilliant idea, right?

But the more I dig into all this language the more I realize there’s a huge need for an easily accessible plant glossary. Something that comprehensive and that grows as my mastery of the plant language grows. Mostly for me because there are a lot of industry terms that it seems I’m just expected to understand. I can’t keep them all in my head. I’d love it if I could get a new plant and read its care instuctions without having to google multiple terms. Also I find myself looking up the same things over and over again. Types of light. Types of soil. What exactly a plant tag means when it says the soil should remain damp but not moist. So if you, dear friends and readers, can benefit from my research too, I want that for you.

And so I present to you the Plant Glossary Page!

It’s a little page all its own so I can be sure it doesn’t get buried in other content that I might not need to refer to so often. It’s still a work in process. As of this posting it has words and terms I need to define and I haven’t filled them in yet. Even the ones I know. There’s just space. Infinite space to define things. It’s like a clean slate but with a little bit of structure so you can see what is to come.

What will I be defining? Great questions. Lots of stuff. But I’m starting with some basics:


Every plant seems to need a different kind of light from Direct Light to Full Shade and everything in between. Some of them make some sort of sense but others… What exactly is medium light? And how many times have I looked it up to be sure I’m understanding exactly what it is that means for my plant? So to start off I will seek to define the types of light and shade required for indoor plants.

The Dirt

Next up I’ll be defining soil, soil mixes, elements of planting soil, and alternate planting mediums.

General Plant Terms

Things like fenestration, propagation, and alternate planting mediums are not words or phrases most of us use in everyday life. I’ll list out all of the words I’ve had to learn or apply an alternate meaning to.

What else?

I’m so glad you asked. I don’t know. Because I don’t know what I don’t know yet. And I don’t know what you don’t know. If there is a plant word or term you’d like to see more clearly defined let me know in the comments on this post and I will add it to my list of items to define.

I know it’s barren now, but I look forward to a weekend full of adding words, terms, jargons and their definitions. It’s just my idea of a good time.

Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

a return to plant love…

I thought I had neglected this site and its companion instagram account for like 6 months. And then I thought about it and it became clear to me that it was probably a year. But after getting back into the Instagram account and then diving in here I saw the date of my last plant blog post.

It’s been more than two years. If I neglected my plants the way I neglect his blog they’d all be dead. Except the snake plants. We all know you can’t kill those with neglect. Perhaps my succulents would last a bit longer if I were able to leave them alone the way I do my blogs…

So what have the plants and I been up to for the last 2 years and 3 months? A lot. And not much. I’ve killed many plants in that time. Helped others to thrive. Procured more plant babies. Continued to drive my partner and kid nuts with plants that appear as if from nowhere.

And I’ve learned. I’ve developed patience I didn’t have before. I’ve gotten experimental. And I have way too many orchids that aren’t in bloom right now but that will totally bloom again because I’ve got that down now.

But I digress. This long abandoned blog. It’s probably maybe coming back and being put to good use.

So yes I totally think I’m going to start posting here again. But with a different flair. I’m always happy to babble to my own ends but if there’s something you want to know, I want to tell you. If I don’t have the answers I want to look it up. I have a couple of posts already on the mind because I few people have asked the same questions. I’ll be tackling a set of frequently asked questions one at a time but so much of my plant knowledge just feels like common sense.

And you know what they say about common sense. It’s only common to you.

So if you think I know something you don’t know or want to go on a learning expedition together ask me something in the comments.

Also welcome or welcome back.

the beginning of an obsession…

I’m not yet entirely sure what kind of blog this will be. I do know that it will be about plants and about me. And those two subjects alone open up an entire multiverse of possibilities. So as one should often do, let’s start at the beginning and when we come to the end, we’ll stop.

I’m Cami Kaos.

In case you stumbled upon this site by happenstance and not because you know and love (or hate) me and if for some reason you become uncommonly curious and want to know the origins of Cami or Cami on the internet it all started years and years ago with a blog about how to still be myself while being a mom. My kid is almost fully grown now. I don’t really blog about any of that anymore. But you can read more about me and my thoughts on life, love, and technology as well as other incredibly random stuff at camikaos.com.

A note to those of you who stumbled your way onto this site looking for pure plant information and goodness, that’s probably never going to happen. I tend to assign deeper meaning, profanity, and whimsy to everything I’m invested in and this plant site will be no different.

Now that you have an introduction to me I’ll tell you where my current fascination with houseplants began… It was about two years ago when…

*cue wavy flashback visuals and harp music*

I was seeking a way to better deal with my lifelong overwhelming anxiety. I decided on a whim that the best place to start would be to deal with my bouts of insomnia. I wondered if, as a bonus, there was a way I could do something to improve my amount and quality of sleep while also improving my partner’s amount and quality of sleep. I was looking for a magic cure-all, because aren’t we all, but I was willing to just find something that would start me in a good direction.

In my random reading and scouring of the internet I discovered an article (or 700) that impressed upon me something I’m sure I already knew in the recesses of my mind. That higher oxygen content in your bedroom improves your ability to sleep and sleep well.

I had a flashback to my childhood self hearing the rumor that Michael Jackson slept in an oxygen chamber. I wondered how severe his insomnia must have been. I contemplated the practical application of an oxygen chamber in the bedroom but then realized they’re probably single person chambers and it turns out I like to snuggle in my sleep. Also I’m sure they’re probably ridiculously expensive, ugly, and probably not worthwhile. So I moved on. If not an oxygen chamber for two what was the answer?

Well some of those 700 posts I read had an answer. Plants. Plants make oxygen. And when they’re in an enclosed area they can increase the oxygen level in that area. You know, like in a bedroom.

What a simple amazing solution. Houseplants. But there was a catch because there always is. I spent my entire life believing that I killed every houseplant I tried to care for. And to be fair, I had that belief because I had, in fact, killed every houseplant I ever owned. I managed to grow vegetables a time or two but to my dismay I had also been known to kill the hardiest herbs and even strawberries. So I knew if I was going to make this whole plants in the bedroom thing work I’d have to change my houseplant killing ways.

I bought a couple of plants that were both ill-suited to the bedroom. One died. One I wised up and moved to another room. Moving that plant to another room was the beginning of my not killing plants. I tried a few more times to bring home a plant that would work in the dark quiet space that is my room. When they started to suffer I moved them elsewhere.

It turns out that in most cases “doesn’t need a lot of light” doesn’t mean “you can keep it in your completely dark cavern and it will thrive and produce oxygen and joy regardless.”

After trial and error I did find some plants that are amazing for my dim constantly shaded bedroom. But while I was looking for them I amassed a small collection of plants. And I find that not only did I not want them to die, I wanted them to live. And my affection for them led me down a dark and dangerous path… plant collecting and *gasp* light macrame.

*cue wavy end of flashback visuals and harp music*

And that, my dears, brings us to where we are today. For the first time in many years I’ve decided to combine my passion for writing with my passion for some random thing I’m into and the culmination is a new blog. To write about plants I have. Plants I’ve killed. Plants I’m rooting. Plants I’m dividing. Plants I want. Stuff that plants like. And, you know, stuff like that.

Welcome to Fits and Starts…