What Your Enneagram Says About Your Plant Parenting Style

by Sarah Peel

Does your personality affect your motivations and approach to caring for plants? Definitely! 

Along the lines of hashtag #plantcareisselfcare, we think a little self-knowledge can greatly increase the health benefits (to you) and success (aka thriving plants) of your plant parenting journey.

One of the reasons we like the Enneagram above other personality classifications is because it’s based on your core motivations and how you interact with others. In this case, those “others” are plants! They are living things you have a relationship with, so it stands to reason that when you know your strengths and how to avoid your triggers, you definitely thrive and your plants will, too.

(Before you read on, if you haven’t ever done an Enneagram test, here’s a free one! https://www.truity.com/test/enneagram-personality-test)

The spider plant is an ideal plant for the Enneagram One.

Type 1: The Perfectionist (sometimes called The Reformer)

Ones love principle and purpose. They can also have a bit of an idealistic perspective on the world (or certain aspects that are important to them). They want things to be done correctly and with moral integrity.

How Plants Enrich Your Life:
Having plants in your home may give you an opportunity to practice non-judgement. While they are living, they have no moral code. They simply “are”. Acceptance of their imperfections may be really good for you.

Plant Parenting Style:
You dive into all the technical details of raising your plants. You want to do it “right”. You may even be judgemental of other plant parents who don’t follow the rules (e.g. not using a pot with a hole!).

Trouble Shooting:
The perfectionist in you may take it really hard when a plant comes home from the nursery and then doesn’t grow or look like it’s fresh from the greenhouse anymore. It can also be really hard when a  plant dies. You may see it as a failure. If you’re not careful, this will take the pleasure out of plant parenting for you.

Best Plants for You:
choose classic plants that are safe for pets and serve more of a purpose than just looking pretty in the corner. Boston Ferns and Spider Plants fit that role by being amazing air purifiers. You of course will also want to recycle nursery pots and use environmentally friendly pest control and fertilizer.

Discouraged after loosing plants? Find out if there's hope for your "plant killer" ways!

Type 2: The Giver

Twos are very empathetic and focus on others. You pour yourself out so that others can thrive. The people in your life feel nurtured and loved.

How Plants Enrich Your Life:
Since you have no lack of helpful projects and people you care for in your life, it would be really beneficial to you to weave plant-time into your self-care routine. Plants have needs, but they aren’t demanding the way people are. Care for them in a way that fills you up, instead of drains you. If you have a mindfulness ritual in the morning or bedtime, work your plants into that time to deepen the benefits to your mental well-being.

Plant Parenting Style:
Your plants do not lack attention! You are always watering, fertilizing and doing things for your plants. You think about your plants a lot! 

Trouble Shooting:
Be careful not to over-love your plants! Most often this looks like over-watering. Find alternate ways to interact with your plants, such as examining their leaves for appreciation, or playing music for them. You can also be “that” person who ends up with 80+ high-needs plants and then ends up in burn-out!

Best Plants for You:
Plants that require some extra attention are perfect for you. (As long as you don’t have too many!) Monstera deliciosa, which needs washing of its giant leaves and occasional moving around so that it gets all the most intense sun, is perfect. All the better if it needs to be trained up a moss pole! Another option is the calathea family. They need special watering attention to ensure that their leaves don’t get crispy.

 Get our free Living Decor Planner. Image with caramel leather sofa and arching bird of paradise.

Type 3: The Achiever

Achievers love status and recognition. They are extremely hard-working and flourish when they are meeting their goals. They encourage others to be their best and can adapt quickly in changing situations.

How Plants Enrich Your Life:
Plants accept you exactly as you are. If you are having a bad day, or are struggling with not reaching your goals, you do not have to put on a show for them. Use time with plants to practice acceptance. You accept them for whatever season they are in, and they accept you back without giving an F about your status.

Plant Parenting Style:
Whatever holistic approach to plant-care is out there, you’re into it. You sing to your plants. You make tonics for your plants. You want to teach others, too, so sharing on social media is second nature for you.

Trouble Shooting:
Watch out that you’re not just “doing it for the ‘gram.” If you want that 150 plant home, or the constantly reorganized #plantshelfie check your motivations. Are you giving your plants the best environment for thriving, or is it mostly for the look? Plant death, or less-than-perfect looking plants may also be discouraging for you as it may challenge your idea of success.

Best Plants for You:
It’s definitely on your list to have whatever the “it” plant of the moment is -- even better if they’re a little dramatic. Bird of Paradise, with its towering paddle-like leaves is a good candidate, but the Fiddle Leaf Fig is perfect. Yes, it’s popular, but it’s also finicky. Growing a healthy specimen would be quite the achievement!


Type 4: The Individualist

You are imaginative and expressive with a talent for being unconventional. You see and think about the world in a unique way and your work reflects this. You help others find delight in the arts, but can also be self-absorbed and moody.

How Plants Enrich Your Life:
When your inner and outer world becomes “too much”, spending time caring for and styling your plants gives you an outlet to get out of your moody vortex. They are also 100% accepting of who you are, and benefit from you observing and accepting their uniqueness as well.

Plant Parenting Style:
When your plants do not follow the textbook descriptions, you do not get anxious as other types might. You celebrate each new unfurling of a leaf and are excited to see the variegation, fenestration and markings in each new growth.

Trouble Shooting:
Your plants may lack care in two situations. The first is when you’re caught up in your own world and not paying attention to the mundane basics of e.g. watering. Second, in accepting your plants for all their uniqueness, you may not spot when your plants are actually expressing distress and you need to intervene to bring them back to standard health.

Best Plants for You:
As a rugged individualist, you might really enjoy the reject plants at the nursery -- not the ones that need to be nursed back to health, but the ones with the wonky, asymmetrical shape, or the over-large plants. You can bring them back to your home and make them work perfectly with your poetic decor. If you like expressing yourself on social media, your quirky menagerie of plants will reinforce the image you’ve crafted of yourself -- one of a kind.
Pothos are ideal plants for Enneagram Fives.

Type 5: The Investigator

You are insatiably curious about how the world works and quite innovative in coming up with solutions. You love to discover and explore and are a natural teacher. You feel your best when you are competent.

How Plants Enrich Your Life:
Quite simply, plants give you an outlet for your curiosity. The opportunities for discovery are endless! Getting lost in observation is also a way to recharge after a long or hard day.

Plant Parenting Style:
You always want to know why your plant is behaving the way it is. Your observations are detailed and you use tools, (e.g. a hydrometer, journals, apps) to help you get all the data you need. This data is used to decode the mystery and then to create a system for maintenance. You are extremely competent at maximizing growth. Styling your plants for decor purposes is not very interesting for you.

Trouble Shooting:
You can lose the enjoyment of your plants once you feel they are placing too many obligations on you. Manage the number of plants overall, and the number of fickle plants you have in your care so you can strike the right balance and remain in your competency.

Best Plants for You:
Set yourself up for success with plants that are not temperamental, yet have some variation that you can research. You love to help your plants show off their best aspects! For example, aglaonema or pothos are fairly easy care, yet you can maximize the spots and colours on aglaonema leaves, or attempt to grow the longest pothos vines.


Type 6: The Loyalist

You are committed and ever-reliable. The people in your life feel secure because your prime motivation is to protect and be dependable. You are always on the alert for unsafe situations (emotional or physical) and that can make you prone to anxiety.

How Plants Enrich Your Life:
Having plants in your life can turn your house into a safe and cosy home -- a place you feel is a protected sanctuary. A lot like having a pet, plants can make you feel less lonely and supported by friends, which of course adds to your overall mental well-being.

Plant Parenting Style:
Loyal to the core, you are the person who will research a plant’s native environment and try to replicate that in your own home. If your forest floor tropicals need humid air with dappled sunshine, you are sure to provide it. You are also the most likely to hire a plant-sitter with impressive qualifications before you feel at peace with leaving your plants during vacation.

Trouble Shooting:
Sometimes your plant care routine is full of worry! You are always looking for pest infestations and can be a bit trigger happy with the neem-oil spray. Dead leaves can be a big disappointment for you as it might be a sign that you haven’t provided basic needs. 

Best Plant for You:
As someone who loves to create safe spaces, you might really love the Spider Plant. Not only is it a hero of air purification (bye bye, toxic chemicals), but it is also safe for your pets. 
Cacti and other unusual easy-care plants are perfect for Enneagram Sevens.

Type 7: The Enthusiast

You are fun-loving and adventurous. Others love being around you because your child-like enthusiasm is contagious. Memorable moments are pretty much guaranteed. Repetitive tasks and predictable environments can make you feel trapped.

How Plants Enrich Your Life:
Plants can act as a grounding experience for you. When you’re out and about having adventures, you can balance that out with a peaceful and calm environment with your plants. You seek to be fully-satisfied with life, and plants can be part of the satisfaction that comes from holistic self-care

Plant Parenting Style:
The trick to getting your sustained attention is to infuse adventure. If you’re a more mature 7 with some 6 influences, you’re  the kind of plant parent who would love to build and maintain a bio wall in your home. Otherwise, you’re the ultimate low-maintenance plant parent.

Trouble Shooting:
Be careful that when you go plant shopping you don’t go overboard buying fun, beautiful and exotic plants. Your enthusiasm could be their early demise if you are prone to get bored of caring for them, or have an uber-busy lifestyle.

Best Plants for You:
If building a bio-wall is not for you. . . what you need is an unusual yet low-maintenance plant. Cacti are perfect for you! As long as you have bright lighting conditions for them in at least one window, you can water them (sparingly!) once every 2-4 weeks and enjoy their bright colours, weird shapes, and dangerous spines whenever you are at home. Bonus: they are a great conversation starter at parties!


Type 8: The Challenger

You are decisive and confident and do not easily back down -- especially if someone or something needs protecting. You are a natural leader who inspires others to take responsibility for their actions.

How Plants Enrich Your Life:
When the battles you’re fighting leave you depleted, your plants are an escape to a world that is softer and quieter. Plants help you spend time without your armour on -- you do not need to protect yourself; they will not betray you.

Plant Parenting Style:
You have no problem with bold plants that require discipline -- especially if the results are intense and sensual e.g. a Bird of Paradise bloom. Your love of justice may lead you to starting campaigns for fair trade practices in the wholesaling of plants, or crusading for less non-recyclable plastic in the nursery industry. 

Trouble Shooting:
You are prone to shy away from vulnerability in your human relations, so you may not have much patience for plants that wilt easily or are super sensitive to the sun. Peace lilies and anything from the Ficus family (e.g. Fiddle Leaf Fig) are not for you! 

Best Plants for You:
You are looking for a challenge and appreciate independence. What better than a plant from the epiphyte family? Epiphytes, such as orchids and hoyas,  draw their water and nutrients from the air. You have to get the water and lighting just right for these plants -- but when you do, the flowers are spectacular! They give you just the kind of intensity you crave.

Enneagram Eights like to make a bold statement with their plants, for example, Bird of Paradise in the bathroom.

Type 9: The Peacekeeper

You are easy to get along with and go with the flow. You are deeply empathetic and open to creative problem solving. However, you can become quite complacent so as not to disrupt happy and relaxing times. 

How Plants Enrich Your Life:
It goes without saying that peacekeeping is exhausting! Spending time with your greenery will rejuvenate you! You can use plants to help you build a life with less conflict! By “habit stacking” plant care to your morning routine (yes, you need routine!), you will be more organized overall (which will reduce conflict), and your plants will never suffer from you forgetting about them. 

Plant Parenting Style:
You are a perceptive and understanding plant parent. As long as you don’t see your plants as things that get in the way of your idealized chill lifestyle, you can really get into their world. You can see things from their perspective and that really helps you tap into their needs.

Trouble Shooting:
Group your plants around your home by light and watering/humidity needs. This will make less to remember with your easygoing approach to life. If you add in some deep breathing to your morning or evening plant-time, the relaxing vibe will reinforce this habit and you’ll crave this time instead of feeling like it’s an interruption.

Best Plants for You:
In a happy coincidence, the Peace Lily is a great example of a perfect Nine plant. They make you feel like your presence matters to them -- when they need water, they wilt immediately, as if to say “help me fix this problem.” It also happens that these clear signals are a great match for your laissez faire lifestyle. You don’t have to go out of your way to research what’s wrong, it’s obvious! You also like to have plants that make people happy just by looking at them, such as the Begonia maculata or the Herringbone cacti.
Don't get too discouraged when you loose a plant. Take the Plant Killer Rehab quiz to feel hopeful again.