Elo B. Estepa PhD a.k.a Succulents Tagaytay on Facebook and @elo.est in Instagram is a certified plant mom living her passion. She creates beautiful bespoke succulent arrangements out of love in her vacation home and sometimes, sells them too.

“Gardening to me is meditation. It makes me focus on the present moment. It keeps me creative, heals my soul and my mind from everyday work stress,” she says. We asked for her advice on the best plants to grow indoors in a small apartment and how to keep them thriving.

"Tita" Elo B. Estepa PhD


Tell us something about yourself. What do you do? How did your love for plants start? 

Presently I am the president of Consultants for Engineering Science and Technology (CEST) Inc. a consulting firm specializing in environmental infrastructure established 31 years ago. 

I’ve loved plants for as long as I can remember. I grew up in Baguio City in an area called Mount Mary, which was surrounded by pine trees. I used to be the designated helper to my grandmother who had a garden and planted everything from veggies to ornamentals. 



What are the top 5 plants that are ideal for small apartments?

Container plants like succulents and cacti are ideal for small spaces. They breathe life to your dining and living areas, and even your bedroom. 

Aloe Vera, Sanserviera trifasciata (Dwarf snake plant) and Crassula ovata (Jade plant). These are known succulents that clean the air of indoor pollutants. 

Hawortiopsis Zebra (Zebra plant), Haworthia Limifolia. These two can thrive in low light. 

Succulents be arranged individually in one pot, or several succulents can be styled in one larger pot to make a mini garden. They are easy to care for, as it needs minimal watering. 



What are your tips to keep indoor plants alive?

Use proper succulent soil, not ordinary garden soil. 

Ensure your plants have plenty of sunshine. 

Use pots with drain holes. 

Pots with drain holes prevent root rotting. PHOTO: ELENAZA RUBINA/GETTY IMAGES


What are the best pots / containers that will make these plants last long?

Any pot will do whether plastic, terracotta or ceramic pots. The important thing is that the pots must have drainage holes as succulents cannot sit in wet soil for a long time. 

Tips for people who want to start their own plant collection, especially those who are living in apartments?

If you have small kids, cacti are not suggested as the spines may hurt the curious ones. Start with a couple of succulents, and I suggest the Zebra plant. It is slow growing and can thrive under low to occasional sunlight. 

Is it true that plants have feelings and talking to them lovingly, regularly will make them flourish? 

I don’t know about that, but I believe it’s how much feelings and care you give to your plants that makes them happy.


INTERVIEW Anne Bella Arguelles

FACEBOOK PAGE Succulents Tagaytay 


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