Plant Life Balance

Meet the plant curators behind Leaf Supply

What do you get when you bring together a plant-obsessed art director and a passionate floral stylist? A plant delivery service with a cult following.

The love child of two talented friends and self-proclaimed plant nerds, Lauren Camilleri and Sophia Kaplan, Leaf Supply is an indoor plant and pot delivery service based in Sydney.

With their professional roots in floristry, graphic design, architecture, communications and production, it comes as no surprise that Lauren and Sophia’s sleek aesthetic and expertly-curated collection of plants, planters and gardening accessories have attracted loyal following. Leaf Supply’s Instagram page alone has a whopping 48K+ followers! 

This week on the Journal, we sat down with Lauren and Sophie to chat all things gardening in the times of COVID-19, what they love most about the green life, and their biggest plant-spirations (you won’t want to miss this list – weekend watching and account scrolling sorted!).

Tell us more about how this venture – Leaf Supply – came to be?

Sophia: Back in early 2016, a mutual friend – knowing our shared love of plants – suggested we meet. At the time, Lauren was working as a magazine Art Director and I was building my floral design business. We had lunch and discovered we were both toying with the idea of launching a very similar plant delivery business… so we decided to pair up, and do it together!

A year later we launched Leaf Supply. We started with indoor plants and soon expanded to include botanical wares.

Our mission has always been to build a community of inspired plant lovers and confident indoor gardeners.

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l e a f y c o l l a b ⌇⌓ ◠ ◦ we’re super excited to have teamed up with @growmemelb to help launch the autumn colour palette of their gorgeous moodyshapes magnets. These acrylic beauties are inspired by some of our fave foliage and brought to life by the talented folk @tinytype. Your hunt for a stylish set of fridge magnets is over! • • • • #magnets #monstera #moodyshapes #leaves #acrylic #launch #autumn #palette #graphic #luxeleaf #gardenessentials #lush #plantpeople #lovelyleaves #leafladies #fabfoliage #plantlady #greenery #urbanjungle #greenterior #plantparenthood #plantsmakepeoplehappy #plantlover #indoorplants #houseplants #plantlife #plantsofinstagram #plantstagram #vscoplants

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Where do you think your connection to nature began?

Sophia: I grew up spending lots of time in my Nonno’s garden – digging, weeding, planting, and tending. I enjoyed these days immensely and it was definitely there that my joy in growing things began. I’ve always loved being in the bush and exploring gardens, and am so happy that my job now means I get to be surrounded by plants.

Lauren: Growing up, we always had a beautiful garden that my dad tended to, but I took it somewhat for granted until I was living in apartments with limited access to any green space of my own. I really craved a connection to nature. After killing more succulents than I care to admit, I bought my first Monstera deliciosa – and from the first new leaf unfurling was hooked on indoor plants.  

Many would say you’re living the dream by working surrounded by plants. What does a day in the life look like, and what has been your favourite part of starting your own business?

It really feels that way sometimes! Every day is different, we might be in the studio potting up plants, at a photoshoot, writing for a book or an article, or planning new products and collaborations. But our favourite days have to be our fortnightly visits to the nurseries to source plants for the online store.

We love being surrounded by all the lushness and having a chat with the nursery men and women who are so passionate about their plants.

While living in COVID-19 induced isolation, many people have turned to learning new skills to keep busy. Have you made many changes to your daily routine that have positively impacted your mental wellbeing?

We spent a lot of our isolation writing our next book, as well as getting plants out to all the people who are adding greenery to their working-from-home spaces. We appreciate that we are very lucky to have had something to keep us busy while the pandemic swirled around us, but it also meant there wasn’t a whole lot of time for sourdough baking or puzzles for us!

That being said, having all this extra time at home has meant that our plants definitely got a lot more attention, which was also great for us because the act of caring for them is incredibly therapeutic.

Daily walks in our local park were essential for getting our little ones out and about and keeping us all sane, and getting our winter herbs and veg in the ground helped us feel a bit more in control.

Who do you think your biggest plant-spiration is? Is there a famous green thumb you admire, or would love to spend the day gardening with?

The list is LONG! But here are a few of our favourites:

  • Outstandingly-talented Dutch garden designer and lover of grasses, Piet Oldolf
  • Brooklyn-based, self proclaimed Plant Kween and community builder, Christopher Griffin
  • Fergus Garrett, head gardener at Great Dixter, East Sussex – known for his beautiful planting style and for imparting his wisdom to many a young gardener
  • Musician, dancer, presenter on Gardening Australia and Aboriginal Education Officer at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, Clarence Slockee
  • Landscape designer and writer Georgina Reid, who founded online publication The Planthunter  – exploring the connection between people and plants with integrity and thoughtfulness
  • LA-based guerilla gardener Roy Finley. This man knows what’s up. Check out his TED talk
  • Botanical loving florists Ruby Barber of Mary Lennox (Berlin), Jardine Hansen (Sydney) and Amy Humphreys (Paris)
  • Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill, known for his brutalist concrete designs amongst nature
  • English horticulturist, journalist and edible plant lover, Alys Fowler
  • Melbourne-based indoor plant aficionado, Jane Lloyd-Rose
  • Dapper English gardener and garden explorer, Monty Don

You’ve written and published two beautiful books now. What was your favourite part of the process, and who was the most interesting person you interviewed?

We’re just about to send our third off to the printer, which is very exciting! Writing, shooting and designing our books has been such an unexpected and special part of our lives. The opportunities to meet and interview all the plant people we have featured have been incredible; it’s so inspiring to see the different ways in which people live with plants and how they enrich their lives. Getting permission to shoot in the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney and the Barbican Conservatory in London was a bit of a dream come true and felt like an affirmation for all our hard work with Leaf Supply.

What’s the number one plant problem you’re most questioned about?

We find that it’s generally watering that trips most people up – the most common problem we encounter is people over-watering and killing their plants with kindness.

As a general rule (but always be sure to research specific requirements for all your plants), most tropical leafy plants need the top few centimetres of potting mix to dry out between waterings, while succulents will need half the soil to dry in between. The best way to test is to get your finger in the potting mix to feel how wet or dry it is.

If you had to to offer one piece of advice to a beginner plant parent, what would it be?

Before purchasing a plant,

be sure to consider which varieties are best-suited to the conditions in your home or office.

However much you love it, a desert dwelling succulent won’t survive in a low light apartment, and likewise, a tropical leafy fern will be burnt by harsh direct rays. 

Probably the hardest question of them all, if you were a plant what do you think you’d be and why?

I think the plant that represents us the best is Monstera deliciosa. It’s a pretty popular houseplant and for good reason. It’s reliable, easy-going, sculptural, and will reward you with years of growth and loyalty if you give it the right TLC.

To check out Leaf Supply’s stunning collection of plants and plant-wares, head to their website here or throw them a follow on Instagram here.

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