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Inside The 'Jungle Homes' Of Plants-Obsessed Singaporeans

There is only so much Instagram Live we can take in a day. For these six individuals, their social media pages have grown into a breeding ground for another sort of isolation activity: cultivating and documenting the most inspiring and interesting indoor plants.
Mae Tan (@marxmae), creative director
“I’m a new plant mummy since moving into my new home this year. This circuit-breaker has given me more time and patience to understand and see how each plant works and grows differently.” Mae Tan (@marxmae), creative director
“I got all my plants from plant boutique Tumbleweeds Plants but some of them are gifts I received when I got quarantined after being back from Fashion Week. One tip I have for plant lovers is to give your plant attention. They’re like real babies and some of them need more attention than the rest. A lot of it is trial and error.” Mae Tan (@marxmae), creative director
“I’ve always wanted to grow plants so I decided to gain the courage and start my journey. It was pretty intimidating but really explorative so far. One of my favourites is my Calathea Orbifolia – I love its shape and colour.” Tan Zi Xi (@messymsxi), multimedia artist
“The circuit breaker has given me the flexibility of time to stay on top of plant maintenance, such as repotting, propagation, working on ways to increase humidity around my Aroids and tidying of my ‘garden’.” Tan Zi Xi (@messymsxi), multimedia artist
“My collection of plants come from nurseries locally and overseas in countries such as Thailand and Indonesia, or events like Gardeners’ Day Out. Although local nurseries are closed during the circuitbreaker, there are always online platforms where I’m able to get my semi-green fingers on new plants.” Tan Zi Xi (@messymsxi), multimedia artist
“My favourite plant is a caudiciform plant, known as Stephania Nova, with big and round leaves that has very distinctive veins on them. Plants with interesting leaves in hues of dark green to blueish-green, sometimes shaped similarly to a lotus leaf such as Stephania Nova, attract me in particular.” Tan Zi Xi (@messymsxi), multimedia artist
“The last I counted, I have at least 250 pots of plants. My folks are plant lovers, and I used to adopt plants from their garden, but I always ended up killing them. However, once I started to get more serious going into this hobby, I began watching a lot of horticulture videos to learn and understand about the different plants and their individual needs. I’m still learning; it’s a never-ending process.” Tan Yang Er (@yangermeister_), multi-disciplinary artist, set designer and art director
“Since the circuit-breaker started, I have been growing plants like garlic, leeks and basil from my food scraps or propagating the current ones I have which have outgrown their pots.”   Tan Yang Er (@yangermeister_), multi-disciplinary artist, set designer and art director
“I now (as of May 21) have 17 pots of plants. With the circuit-breaker, I have definitely been paying more attention to them, spending more time observing them than I usually do. A word of advice: make friends with your plants. They will ‘tell’ you a lot of things. Each plant has a standard living condition, but it really takes getting to know how they live in your environment. A plant might grow well in someone else’s bathroom, but better in your bedroom.”   Tan Yang Er (@yangermeister_), multi-disciplinary artist, set designer and art director
“I use a lot of plants in my set design work – they are integral to a living space and I started bringing home some that were used as props and they just kept growing. My friend in New York, Anamei, has a brilliant green thumb too. Her monstera got me interested when I was crashing her couch.” Tan Yang Er (@yangermeister_), multi-disciplinary artist, set designer and art director
“Asking me to pick my favourite plant is like asking me to pick a favourite child. But I am very proud of the money plant that sits on top of my bookshelf. It has reproduced three offsprings which I have in smaller pots. That’s a grandmother right there!”   Nadia Kishlan (@skinnykatwoman), model and Female Collective member
“I’ve always been drawn to nature and have a dream of someday living in a self-sustainable home – growing my own herbs and veggies and not having to rely on the supermarket so much. So getting hooked on houseplants about four years ago is my way of slowly learning how to care for the different species of plants out there and using this knowledge towards making my dream a reality.” Nadia Kishlan (@skinnykatwoman), model and Female Collective member
“The most important thing when getting a plant is to find one that fits your lifestyle. If you know you might forget to water daily, opt for a type that just requires watering once-a-week like the Golden Pothos for example. It’s an easy one to start with.” Nadia Kishlan (@skinnykatwoman), model and Female Collective member
“I’m pretty on the ball with my plant care so I won’t say there has been any drastic change in how I treat them during the circuit-breaker. Perhaps I have a little more time now to DIY things? Like the other day, I upcycled an old coffee burlap sack into a plant pot cover for my Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma. I’ve also managed to read up more on easy veggies to grow, and am in the process of germinating some Amaranth spinach and kang kong in my balcony garden.” Ginette Chittick (@ginettechittick), fashion educator, DJ, musician and visual artist
“When we moved into our current place, we knew we wanted our balcony to be really cosy and not just a wasted space to dry clothes. What better way to spruce it up by filling it up with gorgeous plants?” Ginette Chittick (@ginettechittick), fashion educator, DJ, musician and visual artist
“Before the circuit-breaker, I only used to read care instructions on the plants I had but it never occurred to me to watch YouTube videos on general plant care. I now take the time to look carefully at my plants, stick my fingers into the soil to check for moisture and examine under pots and leaves to check for gross mealy bugs and thrips – those are the bane of my existence. I also managed to get blinds installed in my balcony right before the circuit-breaker so my plants are well-sheltered from our torrential rain. That totally helps.” Ginette Chittick (@ginettechittick), fashion educator, DJ, musician and visual artist
“I started out buying plants at my local NTUC supermarket. The one at Hillion Mall has a really fantastic plant section. And because the isolation period forced me to do my shopping online, I found many fantastic independent plant sellers on Carousell. I never thought to look there before. Now I’m addicted, it’s like going down the rabbit hole. At the moment I am really thrilled with my Syngoniums – the Pink Splash (pictured) and Podophyllum Albo-Variegatum. I adore variegated leaves.”     Pat Law (@patlaw), founder of Goodstuph
“I liken my plant collection to salted egg potato chips – you can’t stop at one, and before you know it, you’re on your third bag of chips. My interest in plants started earlier this year, before the circuit-breaker began. But being a former plant murderer, I was conscious about whether I was capable of tending to them responsibly. After my monstera deliciosa albo variegate stayed well and alive after four weeks, I decided I was ready for more.” Pat Law (@patlaw), founder of Goodstuph
“My favourite plant is my begonia maculate, also known as the polka-dotted begonia. It is rumoured that Christian Louboutin was inspired by this plant and its spotted leaves and red undersides when he created his trademark red shoes. And yes, the name of my plant is Christian.” Pat Law (@patlaw), founder of Goodstuph
“Like all cliche folks in the creative industry, I started with monsteras and subsequently realised how ‘racist’ I was; I love the albo variegated ones. At this point, I have 53 plants. I reckon I have room for perhaps 50 more?” Lydia Yang (@oakandbindi), illustration artist
“I got really swept up into this ‘plant-world’ when I moved out last Oct to this apartment I am living in right now. I get a ton of sunlight in my apartment being on the third floor with two huge sunroofs in my kitchen and in my bathroom that allows a lot of light in. It would be such a huge crime if I didn’t get some plants – or 25 – for my living space. “ Lydia Yang (@oakandbindi), illustration artist
“With the circuit-breaker, I definitely have more time to take care of them and look at them, which is nice, and I also get to take more photos of them throughout the day, especially when the afternoon and evening sun hits.”   Lydia Yang (@oakandbindi), illustration artist
“If I had to pick a favourite plant, I suppose I am most happy with my Philodendron Hederaceum that I got for a tenner (value for money – check), has grown an insane amount since I got it (a low maintenance plant that thrives without a problem – check) and has such a gorgeous bi-colour foliage with the loveliest velvet feel to touch (gorgeous plant – check.)” Lydia Yang (@oakandbindi), illustration artist
“I got my first plant as an apartment-warming gift from my friends Anna & Deon, and I started purchasing more at pop-ups from independent stores, specifically The Botanist & Her Thieves, because of their amazing curation and wonderful branding. Eventually, I got more from boutique plant stores such as Tumbleweed Plants, Jungalore that’s right by Apartment Coffee in Jalan Besar, and also island-hopped to check out various nurseries and garden centres. A tip for all newbies: don’t overwater as a rule of thumb and don’t sweat the small stuff.”   Aarika Lee (@aarikalee), marketing manager at Elementary Co.
“My mom has an absolute adoration for plants and has an amazing green thumb. I’ve watched her admire and care for plants all my life and up to this day she has a really luscious garden that’s always blooming with some kind of awesome plant or tree or flower. I currently have 30 plants (as of May 22), and my plant collection has definitely doubled since the circuit-breaker.” Aarika Lee (@aarikalee), marketing manager at Elementary Co.
“I think the most important thing is to find plants that suit your lifestyle and living space. Even I have made the mistake of buying a plant that I like not realising that I don’t have the right space in my home for it to thrive (e.g.: it needs bright direct light which I don’t get where I live). Also some plants are definitely higher maintenance or sensitive than others so if you don’t have time or patience to care for that plant maybe that’s not the one for you. Pick a plant that is super independent – like a Snake Plant or Money Plant.”