A plant is a great addition to any home or garden. Not only do they look pretty, they purify and filter the air of nasty indoor air pollutants like dust and cleaning chemicals by absorbing it through their leaves or roots. Plus, the colour green is also very therapeutic, especially when you’re trying to find a little peace of mind. But we get it, it can be a little tricky to take care of another living thing besides the fam. We may have neglected one or two houseplants in our time, but plants can be surprisingly hardy and some are even able to survive for long periods of time without a lot of water, care and sunlight. In fact the less care you give them, the more they thrive! We found some of the best houseplants in Singapore that require very little TLC so if you’re adding ‘watering the plants’ to the chore roster, maybe assign it to the less-than-busy teens.
These are some of the first few plants you’d see in Gardens by the Bay’s Flower Dome. Succulents are the ultimate family of un-killable plants. They’re fairly happy growing in pots of any size which makes them good desk plants. They store water in their stems, roots, and leaves, that means they don’t require a lot of water (they’ve got loads) and hardly any sun. As long as you don’t get a little overzealous with the watering these guys are super easy to grow and will thrive on their own. They can grow from just a little cutting and some soil. You can choose to grow any one of its variations including flowering cacti and aloe vera, just stay away from the prickly ones if you have small kids and pets.
Cruising down the streets in a taxi, bus or car, you’re sure to spot the endless rows of palms lining the roads. Palms are a main staple of Singapore’s jungles and add a tropical feel to any garden or home. One of the most popular palms is the Yellow Palm which is a multi-stemmed plant with feather-shaped fronds and naturally golden yellow leaves. These palms are very hardy and will thrive whether in sun or shade as well as purifies the air, but some pruning is needed due to its clustering growth pattern to give it space to grow.
This family of plants make popular indoor houseplants. Fiddle Leaf Figs in particular are one of the most well-known variations and you can grow them any way you like, whether as a tree or a small pot plant. It’ll happily sit on a windowsill or in a corner of the room. Water it once a week, just enough to make the soil wet, keep it sheltered with some light and it’ll do the rest.
Ferns are versatile plants with a variety of uses from food to medicine, natural filters on top of being ornamental plants. You’d be hard pressed to not spot a Bird’s Nest Fern or two wedged in between branches of trees. Most ferns grow best in indirect sunlight in humid airs which makes them great for keeping in the bathroom or kitchen as well as a hanging plant. The Boston Fern is a popular choice. Although ferns like moist soil, be sure that the soil is dry to the touch before watering your fern.
Topping the list of some of the toughest houseplants on the planet is the Snake Plant. Also known as Mother in Law’s Tongue (no comment), these plants are known for their sharp leaves and stubborn resilience. This plant isn’t too picky unlike its namesake and it likes plenty of light, but can handle less if necessary.
Also known as Devil’s Ivy because of how impossible it is to kill, this plant stays green even when kept in the dark. If you’ve got furkids, especially young ones, be sure to hang this one up high because it is toxic to cats and dogs.
For houseplants that will add a little dash of colour beyond just green, bougainvilleas are a favourite. You can spot these hardy bushes lining the cycling path in East Coast Park and many overhead bridges dotted around Singapore. If you have a garden, you can just leave a pot out and water it every week, Singapore’s weather will do the rest. You’ll be able to enjoy blooms in purple, red and white a few times a year. Just mind the thorns.
Swiss Cheese Plant
Also known as Monstera Deliciosa, Swiss Cheese Plants are synonymous with tropical climates which it is native to. Taking care of these plants is relatively easy, just top up the soil every time it feels dry and don’t subject it to direct sunlight. You can even grow a cutting in water with no soil.
Plants don’t just look good, they taste good too! Here in Singapore, we’re a little tight on space and many crop plants require a lot of space and care. So while starting a veggie garden on your balcony is totally doable thanks to urban gardening, there are smaller plants you can keep in pots in the kitchen that are easy to care for and make great garnishing. Mint and Basil are both herbs that thrive in mild light as long as you keep them watered. The Curry Leaf is also difficult to kill but it’s not resistant to bugs. Indian Borage or Mexican Mint can also be used as garnishing or as a home remedy to treat coughs and sore throats. You can chew the leaves or pop them in boiling water to drink.
Gardening quick tips
- For an easy fertiliser, pour about a teaspoon of cold un-drunk plain black coffee (you can get dregs from the espresso machine) or black tea into your plant pots every couple of weeks.
- Prune your plants every couple of weeks and remove dead foliage
- Skip chemical pesticides: if you spot an insect on your plant, just use a dry cloth to wipe it off, or use horticultural oils. Homemade sprays like garlic and onion or Chrysanthemum tea also do the trick
- Despite what we might think, not every plant likes direct sunlight, especially houseplants. You can move the plant until you find a spot where it responds well to the environment and then just leave it there
- Remember: the less you fuss the better!
Good luck, mums!
Like this story? Here’s more we think you’ll enjoy:
Flex those green fingers and get the kids into urban gardening
A perfect day out at Botanic Gardens
Urban gardening in Singapore: 5 reasons why we should teach city kids about gardening and growing food
Getting started with urban gardening