The Easiest House Plants To Keep In Hong Kong
We've all been there; you bring home a thriving plant and position it in pride of place, only for it to look less than it's best a week later.
House plants are a great addition to your home, not only do they add interest, colour and life, but can help to create a healthier living space. Studies show that plants can boost your mood, productivity, concentration and creativity levels, as well as helping to purify and clean indoor air by absorbing toxins and producing oxygen––and with all of us spending so much more time both living and working at home over the last year due to Covid-19, we need all the mood-boosting we can get.
The down side is, that living in apartments, finding the perfect spot for your new green friends to thrive can be a challenge. Whether you contend with little natural light, blasting air-con or high humidity levels, keeping house plants for more than a few days can be easier said than done. However, there's no need to despair, as there are several low maintenance plants which can thrive in most conditions. From the popular snake plants and spider plants, to trailing ferns, ivy and the highly Instagrammable Swiss cheese plant, here we're listing the easier house plants to keep in your Hong Kong apartment, along with some tips on how to care for each.
"Ferns in the wild thrive at the bottom of the jungle, not getting too much light, but enjoying plenty of humidity" states Deborah Choi Founder of Horticure.com.
As a result of this, the plants are a great option for keeping in Hong Kong where it's hot and humid, and if you have an apartment that doesn't get too much natural light.
Gena Lorainne, Horticulturist at Fantastic Services recommends choosing a Bird's Nest Fern as "they prefer moderate, indirect sunlight and are one of the easiest plants to grow indoors." She also notes that "These leafy plants love the extra moisture, that's why many people place them in their bathroom."
Swiss Cheese Plant
This eye-catching plant is a great addition to your space, and not only for it's looks. Choi explains that the "Monstera Deliciosa: The Monstera, or Swiss Cheese plant, has been a
cult classic for nearly a decade, for good reason: it looks good in every room. Monsteras are also incredibly easy-care plants, and can thrive in a range of light, from bright indirect to low light."
Andrew Gaumond, Horticulturalist, Botanist, Floral Designer and Lead Writer at Petal Republic seconds this, stating "the ever popular Monstera is renowned for it's easy going nature and tolerance to a range of living environments". Continuing, he explains that "It will happily grow in light conditions ranging from partial to bright. The main consideration is to ensure you have sufficient space as the plant will grow up as well as out as it matures (expect anywhere from 30 to 60cm each year)."
When it comes to caring for your plant, Gaumond says "your Monstera will want a drink of water weekly typically, just keep an eye on the soil not drying out completely. I'd also recommend a feed with general all-purpose plant fertiliser at least a couple of times during the spring / summer season. Other than that, look to rotate the plant periodically (every 3 to 6 months) so the whole plant has a chance to catch some light."
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Another popular choice which is common place in homes is the snake plant – also known as mother-in-laws tongue – with Gaumond noting that "the much-loved snake plant is one of the few plants that actively converts carbon monoxide into oxygen during the night (most house plants only go through this process during daylight hours). They also thrive in a range of light conditions and are somewhat drought resistant so don't require lots of frequent watering."
The snake plant is easy-going, with Choi explaining that "this plant family is native to West Africa and pretty indestructible. Watering once a month in spring/summer, and every 1.5 - 2 months in the winter, it's the plant for the person who likes plants but is often away from home for work or travel."
Gaumond also note that the snake plant is "is mildly toxic to humans and pets.", so it's best to choose a location that's out of reach.
"The Ficus Elastica (Rubber Fig) is one of the most popular and easiest plants to nurture at home." states Gaumond, noting that this species is "well-regarded for their ability to convert high volumes of carbon monoxide into oxygen throughout the day making them a great air purifier in the bedroom or living room."
If you have a bright apartment, a rubber fig will be the perfect addition to your space, as Gaumond explains that "the plants thrive in medium to bright light conditions - a
south facing window ledge behind open shutter blinds breaking the direct rays would be perfect."
Although they do love sunlight, the plants don't need much in terms of watering, as Gaumond mentions that you only need to "aim to water every 1 to 2 weeks and let the soil dry completely between each watering. The plant also loves humid conditions - you can replicate in temperature controlled living environments where the AC has a tendency to dry the air by gently rubbing the leaves with a damp cloth or spraying with a water mist every couple of weeks."
See also: Hong Kong Humidity: 5 Dehumidifiers To Buy Now
The bamboo palm not only looks attractive, but "is an all-star in terms of removing known indoor air pollutants such as formaldehyde as well as being a great convertor of carbon monoxide into oxygen." says Gaumond.
If you have a little more space, bamboo ferns are perfect as they "are known for their ability to tolerate a range of light conditions and make a great choice for most living
environments. They will tend to grow a little faster if you're able to find a brighter spot in the room."
The plant also "loves consistent moisture in the soil so check once it's approximately 50% dry (with the tips of your fingers about 3cm under the soil's surface or a moisture probe is a good option as well). Water until you see the excess running through the plants pot through to the saucer underneath. Aim to feed with a diluted general fertiliser monthly during spring through summer" continues Gaumond.
The pothos plant – also known as Devil's Fern – is great for those with less surface space, with Lorainne explaining that "this leafy green flower is perfect for hanging baskets as it is a climbing plant."
Lorraine also states that "it has a purifying effect and absorbs commonly found in households toxins like formaldehyde." When it comes too are, "this plant can survive in all lighting conditions, but very little light can reduce the leave variegation.”
See also: Urban Oases: 8 Beautiful Green Spaces In Hong Kong
Well-suited to Hong Kong's climate, spider plants are a popular choice. Lorainne states that this plant, "loves humidity", noting that they need to be watered often, but warning against letting the soil get soggy.
As a bonus, Lorraine also notes that spider plants "are non-toxic to animals and grow well in low to bright sunlight", making them perfect for keeping on a sunny window in your Hong Kong apartment.
If you're looking for a no-brainer of a plant, opt for a peace lily.
Lorraine states that this is one of her favourite house plants to keep, and recommends it "as it helps reduce the level of humidity by absorbing the moisture from the air."
When it comes to care, peace lilies "requires little sunlight to thrive well and generally, it's no challenge to keeping it healthy in your apartment." explains Lorraine.
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This article was originally published on July 15, 2020 and was updated on March 16, 2021.