Senior Sunday: A Passion for Plants

Ethan Ahlstrom is a plant fanatic- and he’s using his hobby to his advantage.

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Provided by Ethan Ahlstrom

Ethan Ahlstrom posing beside one of his plant tables.

Sarah Hayes, Editor

For most high school students, especially Seniors, springtime usually means that we’re studying for final exams, finishing up school projects, and making plans for the next big steps in our lives. For Ethan Ahlstrom however, springtime means setting up a greenhouse that can grow a variety of plants, and then when those plants grow large enough he’ll sell them.

“I grow succulents and vegetable starts,” says Ahlstrom. “I enjoy working with them because they help me relax.

“I have ADD, so my brain is always paying attention to everything,” he explains further, “But with plants, I can focus.”

The art of growing succulents, or any plant for that matter, is no easy task. They require just the right circumstances to encourage proper growth. 

“I have to be careful which plants to fertilize and water because while it helps them grow faster, it dulls the color,” says Ahlstrom, “But succulents are very hardy. A whole plant can grow from a single leaf.”

Ahlstrom uses a method called propagation to regrow new succulent plants. This is a method where he takes leaves off of the plant and then lets the leaves grow roots that eventually allow him to have more of that specific succulent.

“A few months ago, I plucked some leaves off of them and grew enough plants to make arrangements to sell,” Ahlstrom says. 

And it’s not just succulents that he is selling either. Ahlstrom is also selling vegetable starters.

“I have to plant the seeds up to 10 weeks before the sale,” he says. 

“In the past, I’ve started [the growth process] under grow lights,” he told the Scout. “But this year, I have a greenhouse so I’ve started them there. This way I can avoid having to harden them off to sunlight, which can take up to a week.”

With all of his hard work, Ahlstrom is ready for sales to begin. He promotes his sales on Facebook and Instagram (uncrustable_ethan) as well as setting up a stand beside the road.

“I’m going to start [sales] May 1st,” he says, “Last time I set [my stand] up in front of my house, but this year I’m going to try setting it up on the corner of Colorado Boulevard and Sable.” 

Ahlstrom will be selling a variety of succulents as well as tomato, squash, pepper, and cucumber starts. He plans on selling them Fridays and Saturdays for about 2-3 weeks. If you’re looking to start a nice garden, or even pick up a few houseplants, then be sure to keep an eye out and buy local.