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Nick Pileggi | Getting Started with Houseplants & Pet Parenting Tips | Wine Down the Week Ep 2

Cover Photo for website Nick

Our guest today is Nick Pileggi! Nick documents his indoor gardening journey on his YouTube channel, where he makes videos sharing his experiences and learnings on anything and everything having to do with houseplants. He currently grows roughly 350 plants in his one bedroom apartment in Philadelphia, PA, accompanied by his cat, Muffin.

 

Transcription:

Angie  0:10  

Hey plant fam. Welcome to the Wine Down the Week Podcast brought to you by SolTech Solutions where we talk with members of the plant community while enjoying a drink or a few drinks. I’m Angie Delgrasso, your host and owner of Steel City Plant Company here in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Our guest today is Nick Pileggi. Nick documents his indoor gardening journey on his YouTube channel, where he makes videos sharing his experiences and learnings on anything and everything having to do with houseplants. He currently grows roughly 350 plants in his one-bedroom apartment in Philly, accompanied by his cat Muffin, so let’s bring in Nick. Hi. Hi Nick. How are you?

Nick  0:52  

 I’m doing well. Thank you. How are you? 

Angie  0:58  

Great. Thank you so much for joining us today. 

Nick  1:00  

Absolutely excited. 

Angie  1:03  

So let’s kick things off with an icebreaker so a fun icebreaker that we’ve been doing is called petal and bud so petal is something exciting that happened recently and but is something exciting coming up so what is your petal something that happened recently?

Nick  1:21  

Oh my gosh what happened recently, oh my gosh that is such a good question um I’m doing an experiment with a company that is pretty sure that they’re growing monstera was which are you know very sought after houseplants in the community so that’s a really exciting thing that just happened and oh actually caught my eye but I’m actually we just booked a trip and like a week and a half to Disney World, I haven’t been in like four years so I’m not like Disney gay or anything but like I’m really

Angie  1:59  

That’s amazing. I was just there two years ago so much fun. 

Nick  2:03  

Yeah, I’m thrilled me my best friend are going 

Angie  2:06  

That’s awesome. have the best time 

Nick  2:08  

Thank you. 

Angie  2:08  

What’s your favorite park in Disney?

Nick  2:12  

I really like Epcot the grown-up in me loves Epcot but the child to me of course says The Magic Kingdom. 

Angie  2:17  

Yeah, you got to drink around the world. 

Nick  2:18  

Yes, we plan we’re gonna skip around the world. I don’t think I can quite handle 11 but four or five sounds like more than that. 

Angie  2:27  

Yeah. So my petal so something that happened recently that’s exciting. I would say starting this podcast so this is only our second episode so very, very much. Yes. So thanks for being a part of the beginning of this because we have something that lasts a long time and we’re just so excited to bring it to the community. Something coming up Huh? Oh, I’m going to Governor’s ball this weekend in New York City so wow very very excited. I leave tomorrow and I’m gone until Monday so oh my god that is so much fun. Oh my god. Hey, so what are you drinking over there? 

Nick  3:19  

I am actually drinking a Singapore Sling. 

Angie  3:24  

Oh, yeah. 

Nick  3:26  

Um, it’s a very complicated cocktail. I used to work at a bar and it was one of the ones on the menu. It’s like a classic cocktail. But it just was one that we also included on our like, menu of like cocktails made in house and it has so many ingredients that we had to pre make all of the liquor in a store and pour just to make it easier for the bartenders but it’s gin contra, which is orange or a cherry liquor Benedictine, which is like a purple liquor, bitters, pineapple juice, lime juice. It’s a lot it’s an investment. I was really craving them a couple of weeks ago and I was like, You know what, I wouldn’t just go get everything.

Angie  4:02  

You bought all of those ingredients? 

Nick  4:04  

Well, I had the quandra but the cherry liquor and the Benedictine are obviously a little bit more like nitpicky, but I just I wouldn’t got those. But yeah, now I’ve just every time it’s a good occasion I’m like why wouldn’t you try one of those.

Angie  4:22  

I am drinking mead from Colony Meadery here in Bethlehem? They’re on the south side of Bethlehem and it’s honey based alcohol Have you ever had mean? 

Nick  4:32  

I have not I think it’s so cool. I just heard about it and I had no idea what it was. 

Angie  4:37  

It’s so good. This one’s called Pass The Mead to the Left Hand Side and it is made with water honey, mango juice, pineapple juice, chili pepper, and different spices so super super yummy. 

Nick  4:51  

That’s so cool. Can I ask her that it’s more like like a beer or cider or like of spice like vodka like seltzer thing like was like could you compare it to

Angie  5:00  

It’s so hard to describe because once you have it, you’re like it just tastes like Mead. Like, okay, does it relate? I would say it tastes like honey wine. Okay, okay, but it’s a little bubbly. And it’s also a little hoppy. Like I feel like I’m drinking beer cider wine made all the flavors. It’s so good. So yeah, they’re a really really fun, great company here in Bethlehem. We’re proud to have them in our community and they have a cool a cool place. You can go drink at the bar and play games live live music, so it’s a lot of fun. 

Nick  5:35  

That’s so cool.

Angie  5:38  

All right. Thank you to Colony Meadery for being our alcohol sponsor today. And you can find out more about them at colonymeadery.com Alright, let’s play a drinking game. What do you think

Nick  5:52  

I signed up for it sounds like fun. 

Angie  5:55  

Alright, so it’s not that serious. We’re gonna, we’re gonna take it a little easy. But anytime one of whoever says water or sun, we take a sip. So if you say water or the word sun, you have to set Yeah. 

Nick  6:09  

Oh my god. 

Angie  6:10  

We both take we both take a sip. One of us messes up and then listeners you play along with us at home. So if we say water is on and I’ve said it like five times, I think we need to chug a little. 

Nick  6:19  

Okay, yeah, yeah.

Angie  6:24  

So drink with us at home. Okay, let’s get started with some q&a. I’m so excited to learn more about you. I am of course I creep on your social media and your YouTube which is amazing. But tell us more about that YouTube channel and more about what you do. 

Nick  6:41  

So I’ve been doing the YouTube channel for just about four years now. I think I posted my first video late September 2017, I guess, which was just a houseplant tour. I started it because there was nothing like it on YouTube I had been growing plants back then for probably like three or four years I started growing house plants when I was 19 or 20. And I’m 26 now by the way, so it’s you can do the math but I would go on youtube I would see like houseplant tours from just like various people who just like didn’t really like run YouTube candles they just like posted house mentors and I was like that is such a good idea. So I wanted to do that myself so I just destroyed my home I was like 70 plants that seems like good enough and which is more than 350 plants but even five plants honestly like one plant is a lot it’s something to take care of. So just to put things into perspective, but I started taking like notes from other corners of YouTube like I remember I would see like eBay like Mystery Box unboxings and stuff maybe I could order plants online because a couple years ago that was not something he really heard about doing or that was very different so I wanted to try that out and show it off and just see how it went. And other things like house plant hauls I’ve seen people do like Trader Joe’s hauls and stuff like that so just taking corners from here and there of the internet and you know it’s a it’s the plant quarter of the internet which is very small back then so it was a slow start but it’s a really great little corner of the internet that I think is a lot of fun and I have since I worked in the industry for a couple years I worked at urban jungle in South Philadelphia I was their buyer for a couple years which is actually how I got in contact with SolTech Solutions back way back when But yeah, I use my experience from there as a buyer and now I just work on my own from home.

Angie  8:28  

That’s awesome i love Urban Jungle in Philly such a fun spot. So okay, I’m stuck on this How did you go from 70 plants to 350 like how long did that take? 

Nick  8:39  

Okay, so well the 70 I probably got to 100 house plants probably into like three or four years into gardening so it wasn’t just like like crazy fast but then I got my job at Urban and I was just taking home I would get like a really good discount and since I was the buyer i’d often get to take things home at cost or for free so I would just accumulated a lot of prints really fast and I just moved into a larger apartment at the time with my roommate my past apartment so I’m gonna have to fill it up and I kind of went a little hard but I’ve been kind of juggling around that amount of house plans are probably maximum like 450 but I moved earlier this year and I really dislike I want to say dumbed down the collection but it was like 350 so I’ve been kind of like going between like that and 400 but it sounds like a lot more like when people hear about my house like my friends and they hear that I have as many plants as I do. And they come in they say that they’re like 100 and that’s what I want to hear because one is not hoarding but two it means that I’m transpiling correctly so it’s still a lot by them. 

Angie  9:41  

But right like you have the aesthetic down so it’s I’m trying complimenting your house instead of Yeah, yes. 

Nick  9:49  

It’s easy to go a little too hard. 

Angie  9:51  

Do you have a roommate now or is it you in the plants? Like how If so, okay, I was gonna say if so how does rooms feel about the plants.

Nick  10:00  

She lived with me for we lived together for three and a half years and she is still one of my best friends. She literally had no problem with it. Like I said, when I moved in the apartment, I probably had like 90, maybe 100 houseplants so she knew what she was getting into. But she probably wasn’t quite expecting as much as it went. But she like was very supportive. Like I said, that’s fine. So she had no problem with it. There was a couple times when she was like, maybe we could not have a bunch of plants in the kitchen.

Angie  10:30  

My fiance used to be like, real like another plant what what are we doing? But then, you know, I ignore that. And I just keep bringing plants home and now he’ll be like, you know, I think we could use a plant on that wall. And maybe it should be tall and he doesn’t know plants as well as I do. But he’s like, Can it be like a tall one, but like skinny and we’ll put a grow light and I’m like, Yeah, I’ve won you over. Okay, I need to know all about your cat Muffin because I’m a cat mom of two very proud twins. They’re twins. I say they’re twins. They’re just the same litter. But I feel like that’s twins, right? 

Nick  11:11  

Yes. Yeah, absolutely. Therefore, basically, that is twin. with humans. Its twin. So it’s twins.

Angie  11:20  

Let’s hear about muffin. 

Nick  11:21  

She’s a little tiny little black cat. She’s four years old. But she is just a super small my best friend that was in the department of works a veterinarian and she told me recently that if nothing was broadened to include the infant skill, because she’s so small. But she’s like, she’s not like skinny. She’s just like a really tiny cat. So I just love Black Cat. She was found by my old roommate because she is just a magnet for stray cats. So yeah, but she’s just the cutest thing. She’s so sweet. And she does not bother my plants, which I really appreciate. 

Angie  11:57  

Neither do mine. So train them right off the bat. Like I feel like people think cats aren’t trainable. It’s so not true. I mean, we just said no. When they got close to them, and they were still babies, and you know, they just listened. We got lucky, I guess I don’t know. They’re very good. 

Nick  12:18  

Recently, Muffin got a habit of scratching. It’s my aloe plant because she likes the way it feels. So that’s the worst she does let us move to the way so it’s not going to get any bald spots or anything from it. 

Angie  12:29  

So oddly enough, I have two fake plants in the apartment. Just places that don’t get a lot of sun just first. 

Nick  12:36  

You said sun. 

Angie  12:38  

Everybody drink at home. Don’t get a lot of light. And I just needed to balance out the aesthetic. So no shame and fake planting, but that is the only plant those are the only plants my cats bother. My one cat will go to the fake one and just lick the leaf. And I’m like, Dude, it’s fake. But I think it feels good because it’s like scratchy. It’s so weird.

I love muffins so adorable on your page. So I know, muffin stays away from your plants. But does it impact your collection? Do you steer more towards pet friendly? Do you put them at different heights? Like what’s your game plan there? 

Nick  13:23  

No, not anymore. But when I looked at my old roommate, she had a cat as well. And he was very like nippy. So for example, every time he was angry, and he wanted to eat if he wanted food, and he would get angry, you know how these cats are? Yeah, you know, he would want to chew on one of the plants. So I purposely put my kalithea or {} on the floor because it’s a pet friendly plant. So he would just go for that one and like barely any other one. So I kind of worked with it that way. But in this home I really don’t consider it’s just not something I have to think about fortunately, which I like. 

Angie  13:54  

Yeah, that’s great. Me too, at my place. But here at our plant shop. We specialize in pet friendly already potted houseplants. So that is a big thing that our customers seem to want in this area at least so we have all of the good pet friendly ones over here. 

Nick  14:12  

What’s amazing that you can do a whole collection of just pet friendly health plans and have a beautiful collection. 

Angie  14:17  

What’s your favorite pet friendly houseplant, then, 

Nick  14:19  

Um, so I really enjoy peperomia I feel like anybody who subscribes to me knows that I’m a big fan of that but I would say recently I probably have enjoyed a little bit more of the aesthetic of ferns. So just because they have a really nice vibe and it’s something that when I didn’t quite know how to get the watering down, a little bit more difficult to take care of but now that I’m learning I think that there are still beautiful they can get much bigger than peperomia which have a little bit more effect on the hunk. I also find it very therapeutic to missed my friends. Like that’s like a meditation for me like I love just taking care of them. I wish I could have him in the shower. I don’t have any windows in my bathroom, but like if I could hang One or two from the shower that would just be like such a vibe. 

Angie  15:02  

Right? Future apartment or house goals. What is the most common houseplant that you have? Like Who’s your basic baby over there? 

Nick  15:14  

Oh, um how much sick is easy plan I have a lot of comments. I love comments because they’re easy to read. I knocked some of them when I first got started with gardening I probably didn’t grow {} for like the first three or four years because I would just see it like on TV on sets all the time. I was like that’s so boring. But I realized why there’s

Angie  15:39  

Even at the shop here spider plants have been making a huge comeback in popularity, like people just want the spider plants that we have and 

Nick  15:48  

I’ve never grown one or I have like once or twice but not successfully. But like I need a gorgeous one that’s just like spilling out everywhere and they take time they do their reward. 

Angie  15:59  

Yes, well come visit us we’ll hook you up with her Yes, please do. I’m in Philly a lot so we’ve got to meet up next time I’m in 

Nick  16:09  

Yeah, absolutely I live downtown. 

Angie  16:12  

Perfect. All right, What got you into plants in the first place? 

Nick  16:20  

When I was a child I was really in the fruit and vegetable gardening with my dad and we would always go to the nurseries every year to get the new garden started and I would always see the house plants and apparently like no like we don’t like those because we had three cats and they like peed in the plants or something I don’t really know what it was but I when I was in college one of my neighbors came into my apartment for the first time and the first thing she said was why don’t you have any houseplants? I was like well I’ve been thinking about getting some herbs and she was like no like you need a house so she literally gave me an aloe which is the aloe I still have to this day it’s my first house I’ve ever got the one that Muffin likes to rub up against. It’s grown tremendously since then. But yeah, that was really the slippery slope I would want to go to I was so broke back then. So I would just go to like Home Depot and IKEA to get my house plans which still have fine house plants. But obviously you’re gonna find a much better selection from places that actually curate this selection. But I would go every weekend basically and my boyfriend at the time would be like where do you want to go again? Want to go again? Like every week like you want another houseplant? Six months basically what you said you feel like well, so before but yeah, and then they understand. They just let it happen. 

Angie  17:36  

They do and now like he’s hooked so it was a win win. But I always say like I just ended up with so many houseplants in our apartment that I had to open a store because I needed more room to be able to buy plants yeah absolutely happiest situation. 

Nick  17:54  

You get to pick the very best ones to sell. 

Angie  17:57  

Yes exactly. That is so much fun because you feel like I don’t know the curating part like you said it’s just fun shopping for plants and ordering all the ones that you want and spend some time with and then I do feel like I run like an adoption shelter like I get really attached to the plants and then the ones that are here for a while find homes and I’m like I get really sad – they get a good home but it’s it’s hard 

Nick  18:24  

oh my god yeah I totally feel that there’s things I miss about working with house there’s things I don’t know as well but we don’t talk

Angie  18:34  

okay that’s for when I come visit you

Nick  18:39  

but I could go on but I could also go on about the things I love like 

Angie  18:43  

Yeah, do you name your plants speaking of getting attached 

Nick  18:47  

I don’t I have one house that you can barely see it’s this larger Okay, I can’t read it it’s my Natal mahogany and because she’s so big we named turn Natalie which is sitting since it’s a tall mahogany. This is years ago and it just stuck but now I don’t know but like I feel like I feel like I’m missing out by not naming some of my house plants because I could get on like sassy with them but 

Angie  19:12  

yeah I don’t either because I feel like I’m already too emotionally attached to them that I named it and God forbid it died it would be like I have to take off from work for emotional rest day like.

Nick  19:25  

there’s just too many of them

Angie  19:31  

so what do you have coming up on the horizon then with your career like anything we should keep an eye on for you let’s let’s clear some plugs.

Nick  19:40  

Oh my god, I didn’t know I don’t really have anything going on. I that’s kind of what I enjoy right now. I will say I am taking some time to plan ahead of myself. I do have plans on getting back to a couple of my older series that I used to do my youtube channel just to try them out, I have a couple ideas of things I might try out also in the future that I don’t want to talk about because I don’t want to be held accountable. But I’m really just taking this time to enjoy. I worked at the store for I mean just a couple of years, obviously not that long but I still am just really enjoying taking this time to get to do my own thing for a couple of years before I get committed. I will probably open up a house counselor myself at some point so I’m really just trying to enjoy this time and take care of mental health and all that good stuff. So that’s really all I have going on right now. But I really enjoyed her Yeah, yeah, thank you. 

Angie  20:37  

Yeah, that sounds amazing. That’s a great plan. All right. Well, we’re already getting ready to end today’s podcast so that means that it shout out time. Last week’s riddle though, let’s let’s do this first. So for those at home that commented in our chat box on our comment section, the riddle was I am a seed with three letters in my name. take away two. And I still sound the same. What am I do you have a guess nick before we before we? 

Nick  21:10  

I was like trying to do the math in my head better,

Angie  21:14  

 three letters, a seed, take away the last two letters. That sounds the same?

Nick  21:21  

No, I don’t have I’ll be thinking for a while. 

Angie  21:25  

It was Pea – P E A.

So this week’s trivia question is how many species of edible plants are there? How many species of edible plants are there? So you’re gonna write down your guesses in the comments or your reviews and we’ll pick a random person with the right answer and give them a shout out at the next episode. 

Congratulations to last week’s winner. Keep an eye out for a message from us to receive a free Soltech T-Shirt.

So thank you Nick for joining us for today’s episode. It was so nice chatting with you and getting to know you better. I would love for everyone to go check out your pages now Instagram and YouTube you can find Nick. And is there anything else you’d like to say to close out the episode? Do you want to throw out your handles so that people can find you? 

Nick  22:24  

Um, yeah, you can find me at @phillyfoliage on Instagram and my YouTube is just my name NickPileggi, and while we’re doing shout outs, I should say that I’m actually sitting directly underneath my Sol Tech Solutions Aspect like right now.

Angie  22:38  

You look very gorgeous under that SolTech Light. 

Nick  22:42  

I’m photosynthesizing.

Angie  22:45  

Well, thank you all for tuning in. We can’t wait to keep the conversations and the booze flowing. So Wine Down the Week is created in partnership with SolTech Solutions, Steel City Plant Company, Tomasi Home and Lehigh Valley With Love. Thanks, everybody. Cheers.

Partners

  • Soltech Solutions

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  • Steel City Plant Co

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