How to Pick the Plant for Your Space

How to Pick the Plant for Your Space
21 January, 2021

Indoor Plant Success

Picking a plant that fits your environment gives it the best chance of survival, ensuring it doesn't keel over and die, leaving you questioning why.

Light, water, temperature, humidity, ventilation, soil and fertilisation are the main factors affecting plant growth. If any one of these is out of balance, your plant won't grow properly.

Light

Unless you intend to provide artificial light (which could end up being expensive in the long run), pick the right plant for the light you can provide - whichever direction your windows face, there's a plant for you. Lighting needs - intensity and hours of exposure - differ from one species to another, and even within the same species, different cultivars have their own lighting requirements. Find the right plant for the light you can provide.

Water

This is something you may or may not be able to control. Are you too busy to water your plant every day? Do you only want to bother watering once a week or once a month? Do you travel too often to maintain a regular watering schedule? Consider Wick-Watering Pots. They can hold sufficient water for you to refill only once every 2 weeks or every month, depending on pot size and plant type. Pick a plant to suit your lifestyle. Avoid the heavy-drinkers and pick drought-tolerant plants if you can't be bothered to water them daily and don't intend to install an automatic watering system plugged directly into your tap.

Temperature

Singapore's temperature is suitable for most commercial indoor plants, which are largely tropical in nature. If you insist on growing strawberries, even the ones acclimatised to our environment, don't expect to harvest a punnet per plant. If you live in air-conditioning, cool weather plants will do better than if you leave your plants to the mercy of our unforgiving heat.

Humidity

Singapore has one of the highest relative humidity rates in the world, which suits tropical plants just fine. If you live in air-conditioning, pick plants that don't come from a high humidity rainforest, or be prepared to make provisions for it to be sitting in a pebble tray of water. Misting or using humidifiers will hurt more than help, since constantly wet leaves will leave your plants vulnerable to fungal infections and attacks from pests like fungus gnats (their larvae will eat up your plant roots). Water on plant leaves also increase spread of fungal spores and other problems to other plants.

Ventilation

Good air circulation prevents dampness - the perfect condition for many fungal diseases like powdery mildew and blackspot. Air circulation maintains an even temperature and balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide levels around your plant. Moreover, many plants need to bend and sway in the breeze, to strengthen their growing limbs. If you live in air-conditioning, find a spot that is not right in front of your air-conditioning vent - that will just dry out the leaf tips of your moisture-loving tropical plants. Otherwise, pick plants that prefer it cool and dry.

Soil

Ensure the plant has suitable potting mix, which differs for Flowering house plants, Foliage plants, Bromeliads, Orchids, Succulents and cacti, Ferns, African violets and other Gesneriads. Potting mixes also need to be adjusted for Wick-watering pots to avoid over-wet soil. Newly-bought plants usually have to be re-potted, since plants from nurseries would have been potted to survive under greenhouse conditions and for their long journey to the nurseries, and plants from supermarkets or Ikea would have been potted to survive long hours in blasting cold dry air. In the home, those mixes usually end up being over-watered or remain too wet and lead to root rot.

Fertilisation

Fertilising your plant is essential plant care for a healthy plant that is able to survive pest attacks and diseases. When you pick your plant, consider if you would rather use organic or synthetic fertilisers, time-release granules or fast-release chicken poop, and pick out your plant care essentials at the same time. While we all want to go organic, dung tends to invite pests. An acceptable compromise would be to use Time-released Osmocote Granules with a booster of Seaweed every month or two depending on plant type.

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