Just Wow: You Have To See Plant Mama's Indoor Jungle
Welcome to The Makers. Each week, we’re celebrating innovators, artisans and crafters of all types, taking you on a private tour of their creative spaces. For this instalment, plant designer extraordinaire Plant Mama welcomes us into her home and studio.
If you're not a green thumb (but have aspirations to be) you might want to look away. The thriving indoor jungle Plant Mama founder Jenna Holmes has created in her spacious Collingwood home and studio might literally turn you green with envy.
Three years ago, after discovering a gap in the interior plant styling market, Jenna left her teaching career to launch Plant Mama—and she’s never looked back. Now one of Australia’s most in-demand interior plant designers and stylists, Jenna transforms homes, workplaces and event spaces into spectacular works of living art.
It comes as no surprise, then, that her own home is a stunning celebration of all things potted and planted. In the dining room, hanging ferns cascade from above whilst colourful pots and planters boasting brilliant leaves line surfaces and steps. There’s a retro, European-inspired aesthetic throughout the space, with pops of terracotta and gold complementing the unique vintage artworks on the feature wall. Meanwhile, in the pastel blue bedroom, glass bottles entwined with vines catch the light through the window. A lover of pre-loved vintage wares, Jenna’s home oozes character and originality—just like Plant Mama herself.
Hi Jenna! This series is called The Makers. What is it that you make?
I make and build indoor plant jungles.
How does the act of “making” relate to your personality and who you are?
I am a constant mover, always either talking or moving around—if you come to my house for dinner I am very rarely seated. The combination of my constant movement mixed with my highly creative and active brain means making is all that I do; I literally make all day long. I love working with power tools and building something, planting, painting, or even making pasta or moving furniture in the home and studio. I feel like I have to make or create to survive.
Tell us about your career journey to date. How did Plant Mama come about?
Plant Mama started about three years ago, it was a side job initially and there was only one other business at that time doing plant styling/designing. As I gradually got more work, I left my career as a high school PE teacher and put everything into Plant Mama.
I was an Uber driver as my side-hustle-job and would waitress at events to pay the rent until I got enough work through Plant Mama. Now it’s a fulltime job and I have started to slowly introduce other people to the team.
Talk us through your creative process. Where do you start?
It’s actually quite instant and very visual. I’ll walk into a potential client’s space and know immediately where everything will go and what colours to use for the pots. It’s actually still quite surprising to me sometimes how fast I know what to do. And then sometimes I’ll have dreams of spaces that I am building and the colour will be in that dream, and hilariously every time I have listened to the dream colour it always looks amazing!
Then I’ll gauge if the client has a set idea of what they want or if they are willing to trust me and let me do my thing from there. It’s always better when they let me do my thing, they’ll get a better end product by doing so.
What’s been the single most crucial tool or strategy you’ve used to grow your creative business?
Hustle will always beat talent when talent doesn’t hustle. I worked so hard the first two years, nearly 7 days a week just to get the momentum up and to get the brand out.
I truly believe there is no replacement for hard work—it’s not meant to be easy, otherwise everyone would do it. The second is the value of word of mouth, it’s such an underrated strategy that a lot of people forget. Be kind and friendly—it creates the best client relationships.
Do you have a single piece of advice you’d give to your younger self or someone looking to start their own business and go out on their own?
I think just find your own voice and style and work with that. People will always gravitate towards you when you are being your most genuine self. Trying to replicate someone else’s work will get you nowhere, and I have had and seen so many people try and replicate my work or my comments or my style and it gets them nothing in return because it isn’t them. Also, start telling everyone what you want to do! When you talk about things with the right intention, things start to happen.
Almost two years.
How did you initially know this was the space for you?
I had moved in with friends who initially had the space, and just had a bedroom here and my studio offsite. Then when they moved out, Plant Mama was expanding so I could take on the whole space.
Did you do any renovations or make any big changes after moving in?
Luckily it had all been painted white before I got here and there were some renovations but I added some painted walls, hanging jungles, and did a big reno on the backyard so now it’s a little paradise.
What was the thought process behind the way you’ve styled the interior?
It’s the same as most of my creative processes—it’s just all visual. I’ll see things on my travels and know immediately where it will go in the house.
What are your top tips for a well-styled home?
Don’t try and replicate what you see in other people's houses, just be confident in what you like and use other people's spaces as a guide as to how to construct it. I think a lot of people miss the opportunity to be creative in their homes because they don’t trust themselves.
Loved this home tour? Tour Simone Haag's Twice-Renovated Mid Century Home.