For most of us living in HDBs in Singapore, decorating with plants or fulfilling the desire to have our own ‘jungalows’ might be challenging in our limited space. Our hectic lifestyle also makes it very difficult to nurture plants. But there are always fuss-free ways around things!

If you have limited space, time or experience, there are few plants that will tick all these boxes. Here’s how to liven up your space with a little green.

#1: Add Terrariums

You can place terrariums anywhere at home

Absolutely easy to maintain and such a delight to behold, terrariums are perfect solutions for those are busy yet want to create a little oasis in their urban abode. For creative souls, you can opt for a DIY kit which comes with the plants, soil, gravel, ornaments and instructions instead of buying ready-made terrariums. 

There are basically two types of terrariums – closed and open ones. 

  • A closed terrarium contains plants and soil in an enclosed glass. It works based on the natural water cycle of evaporation, plant transpiration and condensation. Therefore, this self-sustaining ecosystem requires minimal maintenance and can last for a very long time.
  • As for open terrariums, the glass display will have an opening to release moisture. Hence, it is more suitable for plants which thrive in a low humidity environment such as cacti or succulents.

Care Instructions: Check that the plants are healthy and trim away the withering leaves. Water whenever it is necessary (for open terrariums). Depending on the plants used, the terrarium could either be placed in direct or indirect sunlight. 

#2: Cacti and succulents

Make sure to give them adequate sunlight

For busy millennials who would like to spruce their urban space by decorating with plants, cacti and succulents are a great fix. These plants do not demand extensive or expert care. With thick leaves for water storage, succulents can survive in harsh climates and this make them very resilient. 

Another perk is that succulents are not only available in green but can also exist in exciting hues of purple, orange, red and yellow. They also come in adorable forms resembling roses, artichokes or lotus at times.  

Care Instructions: Cactus and succulents should receive an adequate amount of sunlight daily. Watering can done sporadically depending on the conditions of the leaves and soil. If the leaves are puckered, it is time to water them but be careful not to overdo it as the leaves will become soggy and the roots may rot. 

#3: Air plants

These thrive under indirect sunlight

Also known as tillandsia, air plants have been gaining popularity and attention in Singapore over the last few years. With around 650 species to choose from, these fascinating plants comes in quirky other-worldly forms, with some resembling the limbs of aliens while others looking like outlandish deep sea creatures. 

Perfect little companions for your home or workspace, the air plants are normally about the size of a teenager’s palm. As the name suggests, air plants do not need soil to grow and the leaves do the job of absorbing moisture and nutrients from the air. This is why they require very little up-keep and since they can survive without soil, you can display your unique tillandsia in just about any way you can imagine. 

Care Instructions: Place your air plant in indirect sunlight and water it in accordance to the weather. Mist and soak more often if it is hot and dry, and less often when it is cold, dark or damp. One way to tell if it needs water is to check the leaves; they will curl inwards if it gets a little too dry.

#4: Culinary Herbs

Basil, thyme, rosemary – all from your window sill

Now you can have your plant and eat it too! In fact, growing culinary herbs has many benefits. From shaving your grocery bills to beautifying your home, you can also be assured that they are organically grown sans pesticide.

Add some freshly plucked basil on your pasta, make some mint tea or sprinkle some aromatic rosemary on your roast, you can truly savour the fruits of your labour right at your doorstep!

Care Instructions: Various herbs require different care. Some herbs recommended for HDB or small dwellings include: mint, Indian borage, parsley, chives, rosemary, basil and thyme. 

#5: Air purifying plants

Make sure to have at least one ivy plant

Besides bringing a touch of life and colour into your home, some plants can also help purify the air. Here are two ivy plants which are easy to maintain and affordable so they won’t burn a hole in your wallet.

English Ivy

Decorating with plants almost seems incomplete without an English ivy. With its lovely variegated leaves of cream and green, reminiscent of ivy-covered cottages, the English ivy not only adds a vintage feel to your home, it can tackle airborne mold that can cause sinus allergies. 

Care Instructions: This creeper plant grows well in air-conditioned room, an environment of bright filtered to low light and evenly moist soil.

Devil’s Ivy or Money Plant

A very common plant which thrives very well in Singapore, it is also one of the easiest to take care of. Apart from its aesthetic quality with its heart shaped leaves, the money plant can also absorb toxins such as formaldehyde, xylene and benzene from the air. 

Care Instructions: Best kept away from direct sunlight, the plant thrives at room temperature. It is also recommended to let the soil dry between two watering sessions.

Also, if you liked reading about decorating with plants, you might enjoy 6 Must-have Essential Oils for Your Home.

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