Image: Jamie Durie
Whether you’re a casual plant collector or dream of creating your own botanical haven, indoor gardening is so easy to do here in Singapore. These are the words of Jamie Durie, renowned furniture designer, horticulturist and now celebrity judge on a new Sony Channel reality TV series, The Apartment: Rising Stars Edition.
“Indoor gardening is so easy to do here in Singapore, but you have to be careful about the air-conditioning because it really dries the plants out,” he says. “Plants ultimately all look for three main elements – natural light, water and nutrients. Like human beings, we curl up and die if we don’t get all those things.”
Here, Jamie reveals his top tips for keeping your indoor garden lush, beautiful and healthy:
1. Play to the natural light
Plants rely on natural sunlight for photosynthesis, so it's important to position your plants near a window wher ethey can get lots of it directly. (However, it's also good to find out how much exposure to give different plant species, as some require more light than others.)
2. Don't overwater
"Plants need and want drainage, so make sure there's a hole in the bottom of your pot and a tray underneath it. Not many plants like wet feet!"
3. In general, plants with bigger leaves make better indoor plants
"Plants that have a larger leaf will photosynthesise better than plants that have small leaves. That's why plants like the fiddle leaf fig make very good indoor plants."
4. Use the right soil structure
"Soil structure is super important, because essential nutrients use it like a transportation system. If you've got a heavy clay, [the nutrients] aren't moving through it. So you end up with clay that's full of nutrients but the soil structure won't allow the nutrients to get to the plant. Have a good mix of organic matter and sphagnum moss. A well-drained soil structure that has a sandy compound with lots of organic matter mixed through it is the best soil medium, especially in interior landscapes."
5. Don't forget to use mulch
Mulch, a material made of decaying leaves, bark or compost, helps enrich the soil and prevent it from drying out. It's usually spread as a blanket over soil. Jamie says it's useful in combating the drying effects of air-conditioning.
6. Make an intelligent plant selection
Flower-wise, orchids are an excellent choice for local homes. "Orchids are one of the toughest things in the world. They survive very well, even in air-conditionied climates," Jamie says. Alternatively, opt for plants that don't require soil, like air plants, otherwise known as the tillandsia species. "The tillandsia species is probably one of the best indoor plants you can get, because all you really got to do is spray it with a mister every so often and they're happy." Jamie says.
Catch Jamie on The Apartment: Rising Stars Edition, which premiers tonight (March 16) at 7.55pm on Sony Channel (Starhub TV Ch 510 and Singtel TV 316). The 10-week series follows a group of 12 budding designers competing to become the next top interior design and for $100,000.
Adapted from The Singapore Women's Weekly.