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Everything You Need to Know Before Becoming a Plant Mom

Before nose-diving into unplanned plant parenthood, here are the ABCs of plant care you need to know as told by an expert.

The crazy plant mom is the millennial equivalent of the crazy cat lady. Look no further than the ‘gram to confirm the frenzy. #plantlife, #plantsofinstagram, and #plantsmakepeoplehappy each lead to a seemingly endless gallery of millions of proud plant parents flaunting their fauna. There’s a pretty good chance you have at least that one friend who’s a proud member of the community. I have seen a handful of mine gradually transform their rooms into what I call an “urban jungle” by (only the slightest) exaggeration.

Shelves lined by an array of succulents, ferns, hanging plants that cascade down to the floor, other which entwine around the bed frame – it’s a whole range. Sunday brunches spent chatting about plant care and the hours after at nurseries picking out new plant babies. One plant enthusiast propagating plants for another to make their Pinterest board dreams take root. It’s a full-blown obsession

Seeing friends blossom into plant enthusiasts and their spaces mature into plant sanctuary, even the least nature inclined amongst us might just be ever so slightly tempted to hop on the bandwagon. But hold your horses. It might not seem like it but being a plant parent is a long-term commitment. Before nose-diving into plant parenthood prematurely, it’s only wise to know what you’re getting yourself into.

Here, we quiz Leo Tay, the owner of The 3 Keys nursery on the ABC’s of plant care. All things considered, you can then make the call if the plant life is for you.

Hi Leo! Can you tell us what first-time plant owners should take into consideration before making a purchase?

First of all, you have to think about where you want to place the plant. Whether you’re looking for an indoor or outdoor plant. For instance, if you’re looking for the former, you’d have to find a plant that requires lesser sunlight and thrives in the shade. It also tends to be more humid indoors you’d want a plant that is moisture absorbent.

What are some plants that you would recommend for plant parenthood newbies?

Typically, I’d recommend indoor plants. They usually require minimum light and water which in turn makes them really easy to care for. Monstera, Philodendron, or Epipremnum are some breeds to consider.

With outdoor plants, it’s a little trickier but you can start with Caudex plants or bonsai.

Are smaller plants easier to care for?

It’s not so much the size that determines this. It’s rather the type.

Typically what are some signs to look out for to know if the plant is sufficiently watered?

The colour is a telling sign. If you overwater a plant, the leaves tend to turn brown or yellow.

How often should one change the soil or add fertiliser?

The answer to this varies from plant to plant. I would suggest checking the soil condition from time to time or changing the soil every 6-9 months. This is subjected to the condition of the plant. Fertilising the soil, too, is dependent on the type of fertiliser that you’re using. The frequency could vary anywhere between weekly to monthly. Before purchasing a plant, it is important to speak to the nursery you’re purchasing from to really understand the needs of the plant.

Do plants attract insects?

Yes they do, especially, in Singapore’s climate. You have to be prepared to go the extra mile in taking care of your plants.

What do you think is a common mistake first-time plant owners make?

Definitely how much they water the plant. You have to check the soil to ensure that your plant has just the right amount of moisture to thrive in.

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