Picture this: you enter a sleek downtown Miami condo building, and walk through the high-ceiling lobby with marble floors. You take the elevator up and reach what looks like any of the other apartment units. As soon as you open the door though, it becomes abundantly clear that this isn’t any ordinary apartment. You’re in The Miami Jungle, Luiz Cent’s plant-filled urban oasis.
There are plants hanging from the ceiling, propagating in Topo Chico bottles, lining the shelves on the balcony overlooking downtown Miami. More than 119 plants live happily in the Miami Jungle.
Originally from Brazil, Luiz Cent moved to Miami after traveling around the world as a digital nomad. When he’s not tending to his many plants, he works as Head of Sales for a SaaS company and runs an eCommerce consulting agency.
Luiz and I grabbed lunch near his building, and he was recognized by at least five different people. It’s clear that he values fostering a sense of community, and loves to share his love of plants with friends, Airbnb guests, and Miami Jungle event goers. “I love sharing propagated plants with friends and having them create their own jungles,” he said.
Luiz first started collecting houseplants when he read the NASA Clean Air Study. “I really nerded out over it,” he says with a laugh. The study recommends having one plant per 100 sqft. His studio is 500 sqft, which meant he needed five plants. Five plants quickly turned to twenty, then thirty, and before he knew it he converted his condo into the jungle it is now. “I realized that I can bring the outdoors in, and it transformed the way I live here. I don’t feel removed from nature, and it’s very grounding.”
As any plant parent, Luiz deals with unwanted houseguests: plant pests. “Everything is trying to live - gnats, leaf liners, my favorite, the mealy bug. It’s war. Just accept that there will be bugs and do damage control (with neem oil, washing, chemicals).”
Visiting with Luiz made me want to be a more zen plant parent and to keep community at the forefront of my plant care philosophy.