Welcome to Happy Houseplants, where we delve into the greenery-filled world of plant enthusiasts and experts. Today, we have the pleasure of sitting down with the acclaimed director, editor, and fine artist, Hilton Carter. Hilton is not only known for his artistic prowess but also for his profound passion for plants, transforming his home into a lush oasis.

With an Instagram following of over half a million devoted fans, Hilton Carter is a household name in the world of plant care and styling. His expertise extends beyond the digital realm, as he recently celebrated the success of his second homewares collaboration with Target, captivating audiences with his distinctive style and plant knowledge.

But Hilton's green thumb isn't confined to social media and home decor aisles; he's also been handpicked by industry powerhouses Chip and Joanna Gaines for their Workshops digital series and Magnolia Network TV show. Moreover, his appearances on NBC's Today show have solidified his status as a go-to authority in the realm of indoor gardening.

Now, Hilton Carter unveils his latest botanical venture: "The Propagation Handbook." In this eagerly awaited book, Hilton shares his wealth of knowledge on plant propagation, guiding readers through the art of expanding their plant family through innovative techniques. From simple methods to more advanced practices like air layering and grafting, Hilton equips readers with the tools and know-how to nurture new life from existing plants.

As Hilton eloquently puts it, "You hear so much about plant ‘parenthood’, but knowing how to propagate and then watching as your little plant takes shape and develops into a full-grown plant is the very definition of this."

Join us as we delve into the world of propagation with Hilton Carter, where every snip and sprout brings us closer to the joy of cultivating our own verdant havens.

Your new book focuses on houseplant propagation, a topic that many enthusiasts find fascinating yet challenging. What inspired you to delve deeply into this aspect of indoor gardening?

Propagation is how my entire journey in greenery started. I was gifted a cutting years ago, and watching it grow roots and ultimately thrive as its own plant was so fascinating and fulfilling to me. The idea of taking a part of your own plant and gifting it to others is so significant and meaningful. Writing this book was a real full circle moment for me.

Houseplant propagation can be a complex process with various techniques like stem cuttings, leaf cuttings, and division. Which propagation method do you find most rewarding, and why?

Not one process is more rewarding than another, because choosing a specific propagation process may just be based on the species of your plant. But I do love propagating stem cuttings in water in a glass vessel, because I can witness the entire process of roots growing in.

In your experience, what are some of the most surprising or unconventional methods of propagating houseplants that you've come across?

There are so many ways to propagate a plant, but I think air layering may be the one people are least familiar with. It's an incredible process that really shows the resilience of plants, and the "mother plant" does not even need to be chopped off in any way.

Many people admire your beautifully curated indoor jungle, but what's the most unexpected or unconventional place you've ever placed a houseplant?

Probably in a hammock over my bed. I wanted a statement piece on the wall above my headboard, and made my own "plant hammock" to place a plant in. It felt like sleeping under a canopy!

Beyond the visual appeal, houseplants can engage other senses like smell and touch. Are there any plants in your collection that hold special significance because of their unique fragrance or texture?
I'd have to say my Meyer lemon tree right now. The small but mighty plant produced one MASSIVE lemon, and it finally fell off! Not only does the fruit itself smell intoxicatingly fragrant, the flowers the plant produced beforehand had the most incredible scent.
Houseplant enthusiasts often form strong emotional bonds with their green companions. Is there a particular plant in your collection that holds sentimental value, and what's the story behind it?
It's impossible like picking a favorite a favorite child, but Frank (my Fiddle Leaf Fig) will always hold a special place in my heart. Frank's been under my care since 2014, and I originally got him in New Orleans. Frank made me research so much on how to best care for Fiddle Leaf Figs, a notoriously finicky species. He's grown to be massive, and perhaps in ways some might call odd, but his unique growth is a direct reflection of all the environments I've been in for the last decade.
Your work has inspired countless people to embrace indoor gardening, but who or what inspires you when it comes to nurturing your own plant collection? (we can link to IG or YouTube channels) 
For me, plant care is a form of self-care. When I tend to my plants, it's a really therapeutic moment in my day, and watching my plants grow and thrive under my care is so rewarding. It's never just about the plant looking nice in my space-- it's the relationship I have with my plants that make it extra special. And watching mydaughter Holland starting to build her own special relationships with the plants... there's nothing more heartwarming.
Want to know more about Hilton

The Propagation Handbook by Hilton Carter, published by CICO Books (£25)

Photography by Hilton Carter © CICO Books.


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