A look at the hype, benefits, and how each type can be taken care of.
Regardless of the size of a home, greenery will add life to it. Indoor plants can enhance the aesthetic appeal of a room while offering practical benefits. These benefits include elevating moods, improving air quality, and fostering a sense of connection to nature without stepping outdoors.
Thus, there is no reason to let limited space or lack of gardening experience prevent you from embracing the green thumb within you in the comfort of your home!
The increasing popularity of indoor plants in Malaysia
Before we delve into the glorious world of gardening, we must understand why and how indoor plants became extremely popular in Malaysia in the first place.
With little to no social interaction and very few activities for entertainment, Malaysians were confined to their homes as a safety measure to stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus. And due to this, many Malaysians developed a new-found passion for home gardening and plant care as a way of passing the time.
This new-found passion has then led Malaysians to make full use of their living space. Be it front yards or backyards, balconies or windows, even urban dwellers are now utilising their living space to create their very own indoor garden.
A major economic benefit of home gardening is cutting down the country’s dependence on imported foods. Malaysians have tried planting various herbs, fruits, and vegetables. The most popular varieties include curry leaves, mint, cilantro, tomato, okra, chilli, and spinach.
Essentially, the idea of home gardening is for personal consumption as a means to provide fresh produce for households and reduce travel time to the grocery store while the pandemic was still in full swing.
The impact on plant nurseries and suppliers
Increased demand for gardening tools and supplies
As the demand for indoor plants soared, the demand for gardening tools and supplies was also on the rise.
During the Movement Control Order (MCO), only essential services were allowed to operate, forcing plant nurseries to suspend their business.
Demand for plants surged online sales
The Covid-19 virus has caused many businesses to go digital, especially when only some business sectors are permitted to operate during the MCO.
E-commerce platforms and local courier services are effective methods for plant nurseries and suppliers to showcase their selection of indoor plants and gardening products whether in a photo or video format.
With the usage of social media, plant nurseries were able to adapt and keep customers engaged to keep their business afloat during Malaysia’s nationwide lockdown.
The Plantfluencer Phenomenon
Trends come and go, but some of them may grow on you. People have begun bringing the outdoors indoors, to the extent of giving up their social lives for a life with plants.
The rising trend of social media influencers who are passionate about plants, also known as “Plantfluencers”, is one of the contributing elements to the spike in demand for indoor plants and gardening supplies. These plant enthusiasts devote their time to caring for a variety of plants and turning their homes into personal plant nurseries or “urban jungles”.
On top of that, the Plantfluencer Phenomenon also introduced the plant lifestyle to millennials. This so-called plant lifestyle is where plant enthusiasts become plant parents to their plant babies.
Millennials, as we know, are a green generation that values bargains and amasses collections of eco-friendly products like totes, tees, home decor accessories, and – you guessed it – indoor plants.
The Urban Jungle Trend
People spend more time on self-care and interior designs to fill their homes with indoor plants. Doing so caused them to develop a sense of responsibility whilst creating green spaces to be more in tune with nature. And thus, the birth of the urban jungle trend.
Moreover, companies are also embracing biophilic design, which is the idea of bringing nature’s health benefits indoors.
Since most people are working from home, buildings are changing to accommodate the demand for more office space. So the interior design of a space is more significant now than ever.
A unique approach to interior design
The urban jungle is a distinct approach to interior design, in which foliage and exotic elements are incorporated into the design. In other words, it is a combination of different decorations; from living plants (indoor plants) and botanical wall designs to plant-printed pillows and blankets.
The goal is to create an indoor jungle or garden. Therefore, most of the colours used represent plants. This design concept will probably use whatever shade of green you can think of: green almond, neon green, forest green, bottle green, apple green, etc.
The sky is the limit when it comes to urban jungle design. The only difficult part is deciding how much you want to apply this technique to your living space.
Have you considered making your entire wall a lush green masterpiece? If you do not have enough space for many indoor plants, why not make use of that boring white wall and add some flower power to it?
This could instantly transform any interior space into a tranquil sanctuary where you can relax after a long day. You can add natural wood shelves, use a wall-hanging terrarium or even opt for a plant-themed mural.
Benefits of keeping plants at home
Aside from making an interior space more vibrant and refreshing, keeping indoor plants at home could give you an abundance of benefits to your overall health.
Improves air quality
This is the main reason why indoor plants are adored by many: it is proven to improve air quality. Indoor plants not only purify the air but also provide a therapeutic environment.
Reduces stress levels
Studies revealed that plants can reduce psychological and physiological stress.
Participants were tasked with indoor gardening, in which researchers measured biological factors related to stress such as heart rate and blood pressure. As a result, they found that these participants had a greater sense of relaxation and comfort.
Horticultural therapy has been around for many years, and it is still practised today: In Manchester, England medical clinics are “prescribing” potted plants to patients with anxiety and depression.
When you are feeling down, it is amazing what a stroll through the park can do to make you feel better. Having a connection with nature enhances our well-being. Studies show that spending time outdoors can improve cognition and lessen mental fatigue.
Plants are found to have a calming effect on the human psyche, elevating moods and making one feel more at ease and calm.
If you are working from home, now is the time to invest in some indoor plants because they can boost productivity whilst creating an inspiring atmosphere. There are many studies about plants and productivity but this particular one, found that college students were less stressed and worked 12% faster with plants nearby.
Fulfills the need to nurture
You see, humans have an innate need to nurture something. However, for some, particularly millennials and Gen Zs, they might not exactly be in a favorable financial position to have children.
The majority of people have children or pets, but nowadays indoor plants may also fulfil this need. Yes, indoor plants require care and attention, however, they are relatively low maintenance.
Types of indoor plants for your home
When choosing indoor plants for your home, it is wise to consider the requirements of the plants, including the amount of sunlight, shade, and humidity needed to give proper care to your plant friends.
Hence, we have put together a list of indoor plants that are appropriate for different areas of your home along with tips on how to care for them. Bonus: these indoor plants are also appropriate for Malaysia’s tropical weather.
If you intend to keep indoor plants but haven’t had any luck, consider keeping a succulent. They are beginner-friendly and super easy to care for. Plus, succulents can thrive longer than most plants as they can withstand hot and humid weather.
Care level: Easy
How to care: Make sure they get enough sunlight and remember to water them. Surprisingly, succulents require a lot of water to survive. But that does not mean that you have to water them daily; doing so is the fastest way to kill them.
Where to place: Windows are great locations for succulents to get ample sunlight. You can also place your succulents near the brightest area of your home or workspace.
Aloe vera plants are known for their health benefits. Aloe vera stores water in its leaves, which are later released into the air as the plant grows, releasing oxygen into the air while absorbing carbon dioxide.
Their thick succulent leaves can be harvested into all kinds of medicinal, beauty, and edible products.
Care level: Easy
How to care: Aloe vera plants need plenty of access to sunlight. Since it is a succulent plant species, they require little watering and no fertilisation, making it an easy-care indoor plant for beginners.
Where to place: You can set up aloe vera plants near a window ledge. However, it is recommended that they be placed in the kitchen. If you have potted aloe vera plants, you can group them on a countertop to add some greenery to your kitchen.
Though its name has many meanings, it is most commonly associated with peace, innocence, hope, purity, and beauty.
Peace lilies require medium to low light and should only be watered when the soil is dry on top. NASA experts revealed that peace lilies have air-purifying abilities. The moisture from the plant increases the humidity of a room by up to 5%. This helps soothe dry noses and throats caused by airborne microbes.
Care level: Easy
How to care: Caring for peace lilies is quite easy. Simply trim off any dry leaves and keep the soil moist, but not overly saturated. To prevent dust buildup, wipe the leaves gently with a damp cloth from time to time. Doing so not only makes the leaves glossy, but also assists the photosynthesis process.
Where to place: You can place this plant anywhere. However, the most ideal spot for peace lilies to grow is in your bedroom because they only bloom in filtered or sparse sunlight.
In many cultures, the money plant is thought to bring prosperity and wealth. People with busy schedules and beginner gardeners will appreciate this ivy-like vine, which requires only weekly watering and some indirect sunlight.
The money plant is also known as the Devil’s Ivy due to its resilience. Whether you put the money plant in a soil pot or a water jug, it can grow anywhere.
Care level: Easy
How to care: Use distilled water instead of tap water because it may contain harsh chemicals. If the leaves get too long, just trim them.
Where to place: Small potted money plants can be placed almost anywhere. But if you are concerned about the money plant taking up too much space, place it in a pot on or near a shelf. Alternatively, you can feature its long trailing stems by putting it inside a hanging basket or hanging planter.
The spider plant or spider ivy gets its name from its long, tapering leaves that resemble the legs of a spider. It is one of the best indoor plants to learn about plant care and it is very adaptable. They do need some care and can only be killed by complete neglect.
You won’t need to buy artificial room fresheners because spider plants serve as natural air purifiers and keep the air cool. Spider plants are also edible and non-toxic to both humans and pets.
Care level: Easy
How to care: Just remember to not overwater them, and trim off any brown leaves. If the spider plant is in an air-conditioned room, water it twice daily to prevent the soil from getting dry.
Where to place: Spider plants are versatile and can flourish in any home, office or garden setting. But it is recommended to place them in the bathroom as they prefer moist environments with not much light. Spider plants make excellent hanging plants, so show off their dangling leaves using a hanging planter.
Pandan is a herbaceous tropical plant that grows abundantly in Southeast Asia, more specifically, Malaysia. A fragrant plant that serves as a natural food colourant and flavouring, and according to some sources, it is also used as a repellent against cockroaches.
Care level: Easy
How to care: As tropical plants, they favour areas with fresh air, plenty of shade, and high humidity levels. However, potted pandan plants need well-drained soil for optimal growing conditions. Make sure to not soak them in water or they may die. Spray them often to maintain a high moisture level.
Where to place: The pandan plant would flourish indoors in an open-concept home with big windows and wide corridors to encourage cross-ventilation. For tall pandan plants, you may place them outside near a shade or next to a soft sofa for a timeless design.
Snake plants – or most commonly known as the mother-in-law’s tongue in Asia – are adorned by their strong spikes of yellow, green, and greyish colours. These evergreen perennials have many benefits including absorbing various air pollutants, poisons, and odours to purify the air.
Though if you have a nibbler, keep snake plants away from your pets. The saponins found in the leaves are harmful to dogs and cats.
Care level: Easy
How to care: You would know by now that succulents hate overwatered soil. Snake plants are a succulent species, so overwatering them is the single biggest mistake. Water the saucer under the pot as needed until the water runs out the bottom. And occasionally wipe off any dust from the leaves using a damp cloth.
Where to place: The upright leaves of a snake plant have an architectural appeal that adds a splash of greenery to any living space. Its vertical structure makes it the perfect indoor plant as it can fit in small spaces. Therefore, you can pretty much place snake plants anywhere!
Like other plants, the areca palm is made to absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. But what makes the areca palm different is its ability to remove harmful toxins like formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene from the environment. The areca palm is also famous for being a natural humidifier and produces more oxygen than most indoor plants.
Care level: Easy
How to care: It requires infrequent watering (a few times a week) and prefers indirect light to survive. When cutting the brown tips off, do not cut the green part of the leaves as this will create brown tips again. Also, do not forget to wipe any dust off the leaves.
Where to place: The areca palm is best placed in bedrooms thanks to its air-purifying properties. You can also use them as a centrepiece in your living room to give a tropical vibe to the space. However, much like the snake plant, you can display this beauty in any part of your home.
Plants are gorgeous decorative items that are low maintenance and easy to care for. Incorporating indoor plants into your interior decor is indeed an effective method to enhance the beauty of your home while improving your overall health, regardless of whether you have a plant-loving spirit or simply admire plants for their aesthetics.
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