Billy Eichner
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How I Tamed My Obsession With Cacti and Succulents


I never liked gardening, never glanced at a beautiful flower or a blossoming bush — and always took my mother’s garden for granted. I grew up in San Diego surrounded by beautiful succulents and cacti my whole life (besides the five years I lived in NYC).

One day, I started to notice the beauty in nature, and I mean really noticed it. I started becoming obsessed with the names of plants — their care and feeding. I developed an affinity for succulents and cacti when I realized they are drought resistant and low maintenance. I wanted their beauty all around me. I found a few of my favorite nurseries around Los Angeles and couldn’t stop visiting them. Each time I did, I’d notice a new species of plant that I had to buy for my balcony. I started taking succulents from my mom’s garden too, re-rooting them, and propagating their leaves to grow new ones myself.  I filled my balcony literally to its brim — until there was barely any room to walk around these gorgeous gifts of nature.


Before I knew it, my balcony was full — from rail to rail with succulents. I got over my obsession when I realized I had to stop finding new species of succulents and care for the ones I own. Now, when one dies (because we can’t win them all), that is the only time I allow myself to visit a nursery — to refill the pot. I’ve also started gifting succulent arrangements to friends and neighbors when they grow too wild. The joy I get from gardening now is something I never knew possible. Thank you succulents and cacti! You’re beautiful.

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