Plant parties are the best parties!
A few weeks ago, my friend Julia and I hosted a plant party with some of our closest friends, and oh boy, was it ever magical! If plants (and friends) bring you joy, you’ll definitely want to host your own plant party or plant swap. It was such a great way to start off the Spring season and share our passion for plants. We traded full-sized plants, baby plants, and cuttings, re-potted some plants that needed love, learned some tips and tricks for houseplant care, and spent the afternoon fully appreciating nature and the joy that plants bring to our lives!
There are probably many ways to host a plant swap, but I wanted to share some tips that made it successful for us. How you choose to set up your swap will likely depend on how many people you have, how into plants your guests are, and the space you have to work with. We have quite a few friends who are also really passionate about plants, so the concept worked really well overall, but our friends who are new to plant-parenthood also had a great time, and learned a lot too!
Here are some tips for hosting your own Plant Swap:
Plan ahead and give lots of notice
We planned this party almost two months ahead, so that we could give people enough time to prepare, especially if they wanted to bring cuttings or seedlings to trade. You could go wild and make really cute paper invitations to hand out, but we wanted to stay on the nature theme and save as much paper, so we opted for a facebook event. You could also go with paperless post if not all of your guests are facebook users.
Along with the event invitation, it was helpful to provide a detailed description of what to expect, especially for those who may not be as plant-savvy! We gave a lot of options for participation to make sure we were inclusive, because we wanted to make sure that everyone had a good time!
For the event description we wrote:
“Join us for a fun afternoon of plant swapping! Bring your cuttings or baby plants to trade, OR if you have plants that need some TLC, we can do some re-potting and bring them back to life 🌱🌿 Our in-house plant expert (Julia) will also go over some basic plant care tips related to soil, light, and water! 🤓🌿Some materials will be provided, including soil, some gloves, and a few extra pots. Be prepared to go home with a few plant babies, so a quick trip to the dollar store for some planters might be helpful! We’ll have some snacks, but if you want to bring something, we won’t turn you away!”
Closer to the event, we added some reminders and pump-ups to get people excited, and also included some resources we found online about how to propagate succulents, and how to prepare cuttings.
Plan out the swapping logistics
This part was important for us because we wanted to make sure we could effectively communicate how the trading aspect of the event would work. There are probably a number of ways you could do this, but we decided that it would be easiest to have everyone put their plants for trade on a designated trade table. This was great because then people didn’t have to worry about walking around carrying their plants, and it gave others a chance to “shop around!”
I used my cricut to cut out a bunch of little cardstock labels that people could write their names on and then stick into their plants, so others would know who to propose a trade to. You can probably buy blank plant labels or stakes at the dollar store to make it easier, or simply write people’s names onto sticky notes or pieces of paper and put them near the plants their plants.
This seemed to work really well, as people would wander over to the trade table when they weren’t mingling to see what they might like to take home. Everything was very civil, and I think everyone went home happy!
We also had a “Free to a good home” table that people could use to donate plants, cuttings, or planters that they no longer wanted. This table was popular among a few of our friends who didn’t have any plants to trade! Thankfully some people brought multiple cuttings of the same plant, so this table ended up with lots of donations.
Make it interactive
I was so lucky to host this with Julia, who is an actual teacher! So not only was it fun for people, but I think we also learned a lot! She wanted to teach everyone about all the various soil types and soil accompaniments that are used for houseplants, and provide insight into what types of plants require certain soils. She set up a fabulous little informative station where people could read about each component.
Because we encouraged our friends to bring plants that needed help or to be repotted, we also had a potting station with soil, gloves, and shovels that people could use. I think this part could have been a party theme in itself, because everyone seemed to have a lot of fun potting their plants and getting their hands dirty!
Julia also set up the cutest DIY Terrarium station, and made some really great infographics for people to take home.
Theme your food and decor
This is always fun for any party theme, but we thought it would be cute to have some plant themed food and drinks available at our party. Of course I needed to incorporate gin into a cocktail (because gin is conveniently made of juniper and has extreme planty-vibes). For the cocktail I mixed some Gin and tonic into a drink dispenser and added cucumber, mint, and lime. It was delicious!
I am also lucky to know some talented bakers who contributed snacks to the party, including my husband Brian who made adorable (and delicious) cactus cookies! Our friend Emily made the cutest little succulent cupcakes, and my pal Mel from Mel Makes a Mess Blog made a green-themed cheese board!
And It wasn’t really communicated, but a lot of our friends who came actually dressed on-theme! As a passionate event planner, this made me the happiest. The trade table made a great photo backdrop, and everyone took lots of photos together. Julia also has an impressive dieffenbachia tree, and it made for another great backdrop!
Have a takeaway or favour
I know from experience that it can be overwhelming to remember which plants are which when you get new plants, and especially when they all have different care instructions. I wanted to make it easy for everyone to remember the names of all of their new plants, and the watering and light requirements for each one, so I made these fun little plant care cards for people to take home!
We had some plant books on hand as well so our friends could fill out their cards on the spot. Plus it was really fun to learn about all of the plants that were there!
You can download these cards here to share at your own plant swap, or use just use them to keep you and your plants organized at home!
So essentially this was the best party, and I can’t wait to host another! I highly recommend planning your own plant swap party! Tag me @lavender_julep on Instagram if you do!