Houseplant Week 2021: Plant Care & Advice With The Jungle Club
The second week of January is home to Houseplant Week, a week-long national event celebrating what houseplants do for us.
We spoke with Daley Fard, owner of houseplant retailer The Jungle Club and our new Barbourne neighbour, to get his perspective on why Houseplants are so popular and how prospective plant-heads can get involved with the hobby.
What do you find are the benefits of plants?
“Plants heal you.” Daley told us, “it’s the green, it’s the nature. You get satisfaction out of getting a plant & taking it home.”
“I have a Pothos at home that we’ve had for three years, running all the way up and along the wall. I’ve had it almost as long as I’ve had one of my children. They become a part of your family and a part of your furniture. They’re like kids in that they get moody.”
Daley elaborates that plants respond to the energy in a home, and will often reflect the nature of their environment in their health.
“I love how I feel around plants and that’s a really important thing.”
What plants are a good entry point for beginners?
“The Monstera Cheese plant is the best place to start if you’ve not owned plants before.”
The Monstera is one of Daley’s favourite plants and is native to the tropical forests of Southern Mexico, characterised by large, glossy dark green leaves.
“They’re very, very easy. They grow really well and very easy to care for, you don’t have to do much to them. You don’t need to place them anywhere special or keep them humidified or hydrated in a particular way. They just crack on and grow fast.”
Also on the list were Zamofilias and Ficas, however Daley emphasised the he doesn’t believe any houseplant is particularly hard work, and their success is dependent on how a homeowner cares for them.
“What happens is we get them then pester them a bit too much and they get a bit moody.”
Although prospective planters particularly concerned about losing their green house guest should take a look at one type of plant especially.
“Cactus and succulents are probably the easiest. They’d survive an apocalypse, and they’re not too big and not too expensive.”
For decorators and designers: What the most aesthetically pleasing plants available?
Daley was quick to offer suggestions for more striking houseplants the average office might not have.
“The Alocasia family of plant is where the most tropical, or prettiest plants are. They’re wild looking plants you’re not going to see very often in an office. They’re characterised by a thin sprouting stem and big heart shaped leaves, as well as their striking colouration.”
Don’t overthink it though; whilst there’s plenty of wild plants to choose from, he also explained that in his opinion every houseplant brightens up a room.
What mistakes do beginner plant owners regularly make?
When it comes to a burgeoning green thumb keeping their new potted-pal alive you might be surprised to know that half the damage is done before you get home.
“The most common mistake is buying a plant from a chain store that looks like it’s dying, or is already dead. Make sure you pick a healthy, vibrant plant to take home. Ask the staff if necessary or take down the name of the plant and look around.”
Stopping to examine the quality of the plant you’re about the buy is the first step, but how do you know what you’re looking for?
“If it looks like it’s browning on some of the leaves.” Daley explained, “If it’s drooping, if it’s really dried out, chances are it’s been sat out for a couple of weeks and not been given any attention. If so, just ignore it.”
Once you have your houseplant home the next mistake to avoid is overthinking. Over-tinkering and fussing too much over the health and quality of your plant only increases the risk of its vitality deteriorating.
“Don’t fuss over your plant and don’t overwater it. Overwatering does more damage than underwatering because plants already have moisture in their roots. Oxygen is just as important and overwatering can cause root rot.”
Finally plant owners should appreciate the journey their new housemate has been through, and recognise how the home environment they’re used to could be quite the shock.
“Give it a chance to acclimate to your home. Dry, damp, humid homes all make a difference as the plant has just come from where it’s been grown, typically in Europe.”
“Leave it be and don’t overwater it and 9 times out of 10 you’ll be fine.”
Daley fell in love with plants 5 years ago, and the 2020 pandemic inspired him to set aside his career in insurance and establish his new business. You can help support him by following The Jungle Club on social media, where Daley regularly posts about new arrivals and plant care.