How a 'Plantfluencer' Combines Green Thumb With Feng Shui to Create a Successful Business

This plant expert explains how plants create good energy in the home.

Clara Leung

Clara Leung

Many of us love the vivacity and healing beauty of plants, whether that's inside the home with some air-cleaning houseplants, or growing some food for our families outside in the vegetable garden. But likely many of us won't be turning those hobbies into a successful side hustle, as Maryland-based entrepreneur and self-professed plant enthusiast Clara Leung has done during the last few years with her home-based start-up Clara’s Green House.

But Leung also gives her passion for plants an intriguing twist, by combining it with her in-depth knowledge of the traditional Chinese practice of feng shui, which aims to harmonize the energies of the home, in order to promote health and prosperity.

Leung—who works full-time as an accountant with the US Department of Justice, in addition to being a mother and a member of the deaf community—got a lucky break in starting her lucrative online plant-selling business when she tried to sell an extra plant from her house. As Leung explained to Treehugger, that small act has since blossomed into a variety of services, which she offers to ensure that clients design and arrange their home so that energy "flows" in an optimal way:

"Everything almost happened by accident! I tested selling one dumb cane plant (Dieffenbachia seguine) in a beautiful vase on Facebook Marketplace, along with some feng shui placement tips, and it sold in less than three seconds. That’s when Clara’s Green House started. I run it during weeknights and weekends, and my business mainly operates online while providing basic and advanced feng shui advice, and on occasion, houseplant workshops in-person. I also provide one-on-one consultation services online and in-person."

Leung has sold over 3,000 plants since that fateful day. Her former dining room, which is the spot that gets the most natural sunlight in her tastefully decorated and feng shui-optimized townhouse home, has now been transformed into a makeshift greenhouse where Leung grows and nurtures her plant progeny, before they are shipped off to happy customers all over the United States in beautiful planters, and with some of Leung's homemade soil mix.

Clara's Green House

Clara Leung

The ancient practice of feng shui has likely been around for thousands of years and appears to have been used as a way to orient buildings in their environments so that the flow of the universal qi, or the "cosmic current" of energy, would flow well. By extension, these practices that also aim to balance the dualistic and interdependent energies of yin and yang can be applied to the objects found within the home.

By applying these principles, it's believed that people can improve their wealth, happiness, and longevity. As Leung, who is originally from Hong Kong, points out, plants play a huge role in ensuring that the feng shui in a home is healthy:

"Feng shui has been practiced by my family for generations; I learned from my mother and my grandmother. Feng shui incorporates five elements: water, air, earth, fire, and metal. Plants are what 'earth' means. Plants give good feng shui to people's homes and lives, while also providing health benefits. The invisible duty of nearly all plants is to clean the toxic air indoors!"

It's truly fascinating what can emerge from this combination of plant knowledge and age-old traditions. Leung gives us some interesting tidbits of advice on how to make sure the placement and arrangement of plants are best done according to feng shui principles:

"Some general feng shui rules of thumb include: don’t hang plants directly from the ceiling because it represents your unhappy life; and don’t place planters directly on the floor, so having a plant stand is essential for all planters as floor decoration. This helps ensure smooth air flow throughout the whole home."

Leung, who also includes more targeted, plant-specific, and site-specific advice for each customer who buys plants from her online greenhouse, has this to say about which particular plant varieties are generally best for homes:

"Keep in mind that spiky plants are bad feng shui, so you need to avoid them. Out of all the pothos varieties, the golden pothos is the only plant that is not good feng shui because it represents sadness and depression. As for the placement, the ZZ money tree is tied to financial wealth, so for example placing it somewhere your home office where you work and earn money is highly recommended."

Leung's passion for plants and her dedication to her flourishing home business continues to grow with each passing day, and she tells us that she has some ideas on how to further develop it in the future:

"Returning customers have expressed their interest in me having a physical shop, so they can come and shop for feng shui houseplants. So owning a mobile shop someday is my goal, and I have been working on raising funds to complete this goal."

Leung's story as a keen "plantfluencer" and avid practitioner of the ancient art of feng shui is truly an inspiring one. You can check out Clara's Green House via the website, Instagram, or Facebook Marketplace pages.