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23 Mar, Thursday
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How to start your indoor garden in Singapore

An increasing number of HDB and apartment home owners are jumping onto the metropolitan farming bandwagon and also growing their own plants at home. Urban gardening is geared to be a massive trend this year since more Singaporeans are ending up being interested in eating much healthier, organic food. In this green article, Tropika Club will share with you the best indoor plants to start (if you do not have green fingers), and how to care for them.

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1. Fittonia

Normally expanded as a houseplant, nerve plant (Fittonia spp.) is a spreading evergreen with delicately veined, deep-green fallen leaves. Although the most preferred capillary color is silvery-white, you can likewise conveniently locate ranges with capillaries in pink, white, and also green. Nerve plant is a low-growing climber that is an ideal suitable for terrariums or bottle yards. In USDA hardiness zone 11, nerve plant is often grown as a slipping ground-cover in filteringed system sunlight locations. Fittonia typically expands to an elevation of 3 to 6 inches with a trailing spread of 12 to 18 inches. Although the plant rarely blossoms when grown as an interior houseplant, it does occasionally flower with insignificant red or yellowish-white spikes.

As stunning as it is, Fittonia is rather unstable and also complicated to expand as a houseplant. It needs extremely high, consistent moisture, such as discovered in a terrarium and can not tolerate stagnant conditions. Nerve plant is additionally sensitive to solid, direct sunlight and will rapidly experience leaf melt.

Light: As a tropical plant that naturally grows in the humid bright shade of tropical forests, this plant prefers similar conditions when grown as a houseplant. It dislikes full sunlight, preferring bright, indirect sun, such as that offered by north-facing windows. It will also thrive under fluorescent lights.

Soil: Fittonia grows well in standard potting soil with a peat-moss base. The soil should retain some moisture but should also drain well.

Water: Keeping the plant appropriately moist can be a challenge. Fittonia is prone to collapse if it’s allowed to dry out. Although it will recover quickly if thoroughly watered, repeated fainting spells will eventually take their toll on the plant. At the other extreme, Fittonia plants that are allowed to stagnate in water will develop yellowed, limp leaves.

2. Pilea

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Pilea is a category including regarding 600 varieties of frost tender, tropical foliage plants that consist of both upright bushy types and routing selections. Several smaller species are frequently grown as houseplants because they are so easy to expand as well as care for. These low-cost little plants are exceptional for growing inside your home in recipe gardens and also are fantastic starter plants for young or inexperienced farmers. Their vegetation differs considerably, ranging from 3″ strongly textured, lance-shaped leaves to little heart-shaped, moss-like foliage. Pileas periodically bloom, but their pink or cream-coloured flowers are extremely small as well as frequently go undetected.

Light: Bright, indirect light. Do not expose to direct summer sun.

Water: The pilea group likes high humidity and has fairly high water requirements. Don’t let the soil dry out between waterings in the summer.

Temperature: The pilea prefer temperatures over 50 F.

Soil: They prefer rich, well-drained potting mix.

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3. Sanseviera

Sansevierias (snake plants) are several of the hardest plants you can find. Whether indoors, in your yard or on your terrace, these spiky beauties can endure virtually anything. They’re easy as can be, however there are a couple of points you ought to know. Maintain reviewing for Snake Plant care. You’ll see exactly how reduced maintenance they actually are! These plants are not favoured by everybody due to their solid, vibrant look as well as hard, sharp leaves. They’re definitely not the soft, “touchy-feely” kind of plants.

Water: Easy does it with the watering. You want to be careful not to overdo it because your plant will rot out.  Always make sure the soil is almost completely dry before thoroughly watering again. Water your Snake Plants every 2-6 weeks, depending on your home’s temperature, light levels, and humidity. So, if you travel or tend to ignore plants, this is the 1 for you.

Light: Even though Sansevierias prefer medium light (which is about 10′ away from the west or south window), they’ll also tolerate low light and high light. How versatile they are! Just be sure to keep them out of the direct sun because they’ll burn in a heartbeat.

Air: These plants don’t mind the dry or stale air in our homes and offices. They’ll also do well in bathrooms where the humidity tends to be much higher.  This is another versatility factor which gives this houseplant the label: “diehard”.

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4. Areca Palm

Areca palms are plants with gorgeous long, feathery fronds that demand a lot of care and attention. Considering that the plant has a ten year lifespan, that is a lot effort to care for a plant, but you will be rewarded with a tropical feel in your living space. Let’s take a look at what the areca palm needs to thrive.

Sunlight: These gorgeous plants require a lot of light to grow, but they do not like direct sunlight. If the palm is in an area without enough light, the growth of the plant will slow considerably. If it is receiving too much direct sun, the leaves will begin to turn yellow from sunburn.

Water: Areca palms seem to have an unquenchable thirst during the spring and summer months. Ensure that the plant is in a well draining pot because sitting in water will cause the roots to rot. If you overwater the palm and there is no place for the water to drain, it is likely that the plant will die. In fact, this is the most common reason that a areca palm dies. Also, this plant does not like water that has chemicals in it. Salt, chlorine, fluoride, and other chemicals that can be found in our drinking water will cause dots to form on the leaves, so use distilled water whenever possible.

Soil: This plant prefers soil that is rich in nutrients as well as a bit on the acidic side. I like to use a peat moss, sand, and bark mixture that is heavily aerated and drains well.

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5. Air plants

Air plants (Tillandsia spp.) are epiphytes, meaning that in nature they grow on other plants, usually on tree branches. There are hundreds of species and varieties of air plants. They usually have strap-shape or slender triangle-shape leaves that grow in a rosette pattern with new growth appearing from the center. Those with silver foliage tend to be the most drought-tolerant; greener types dry out faster. You can also find colorful species, like Tillandsia maxima that can have coral leaves. Most species produce attractive, tubular or funnel-shaped flowers, too.

Water: Air plants don’t have roots like other plants—they only have a few short ones which are meant to help hold it onto whatever surface it’s on. In their native habitats across the Southern US, Mexico, Central and South America, air plants get what they need from high humidity and plentiful rainfall. In your home, you’ll need to water them about once a week—some varieties can go two weeks without being watered. Keep an eye on them to determine when your plants seems to need a drink. To water, place them in the sink with enough water to submerge your plants. Let them soak for about half an hour, then turn them upside down on a towel to let them drain. Once they are dry, return them to their designated spot. You can also mist them every other day between baths to keep them looking fresh, especially in winter when humidity in our homes tends to be lower.

Light: As a general rule, keep your air plants out of direct sunlight. Remember, in the wild, many air plant species like to grow up in the sheltered, shady canopy of trees. They will do best if you can put them in a brightly lit spot out of the sun’s rays. A few species, such as T. cyanea or T. lindenii can handle some dappled shade or less intense morning sunlight.

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Terence is Tropika Club Magazine's deputy editor who loves learning about animals and their behavior. He is also an anthropologist, so he is very interested in how different cultures interact with animals. He has worked in the publishing industry for over 10 years, and have been lucky enough to work with some amazing authors and editors.

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