How an interior stylist finds peace by caring for 200 houseplants

Plant stylist and author Hilton Carter said that he used to have a neighbor who walked his bulldog with his phone in front of his face. "I used to make fun of that guy," Carter told Insider. Now, Carter says that's him.

The stylist, who's written three books about plant care and has a product line at Target, sometimes finds himself scrolling and responding to direct messages while he walks his dog. But when he's tending to his plants, he's unplugged from the rest of the world, which he cherishes - even if it's just for a few minutes.

"It's my form of meditation," Carter said. "Being able to check in on plants, watering plants - all those are the moments where I'm not tied to my phone, scrolling through social media, or checking an email. I'm only focused on that plant."

With years of plant care and brand-building experience under his belt, Carter shared some of his strategies for employing his passion, personally and professionally, as well as maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

Carter uses plants to unwind and create a serene space. Carter said he brought his first plants into his home in 2014. Two years later, he decided to turn plant styling into a side hustle. Now, Carter has about 200 plants in his living space, and taking care of them is a big stress reliever. Carter said he also relieves stress by designing his home to make it feel more relaxing. To do this, Carter fills his space with natural tones and textures, like wood, and embraces natural light.

To inspire others to embrace the beauty of plants in their own spaces, Carter wrote his first book, "Wild at Home: How to Style and Care for Beautiful Plants," published by CICO Books in 2018.

By May 2019, Carter said he quit his role at an ad agency to be a full-time plant stylist. Since then, Carter has written two more books, "Wild Interiors: Beautiful Plants in Beautiful Spaces" in 2020 and "Wild Creations" in April.

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