Give it a go: house plants

Sian Elder adds to her collection of plants during a trip to Auckland. PHOTO: VAUGHAN ELDER
Sian Elder adds to her collection of plants during a trip to Auckland. PHOTO: VAUGHAN ELDER
Before you end up bidding tens of thousands on a rare house plant, there are a few things you need to know. Otago Daily Times online editor Vaughan Elder speaks to his wife, Sian, who has a wealth of experience keeping indoor plants alive. 

The house plant craze in New Zealand has reached such a frenzy and the demand for unusual plants so strong that over the past 18 months there are stories of plants selling for thousands — and in some cases tens of thousands — of dollars.

But Mrs Elder says anyone getting into house plants does not need to spend the Earth.

"It can be as cheap or as expensive as you let it, depending how interested in rare plants you are, and whether you decide to use special equipment to boost growing conditions like heat mats, grow lights and upmarket fertilisers."

There was also the chance to swap and sell cuttings as a way to make the hobby less expensive.

She recommended people find guidance from social media groups dedicated to the hobby, some of which organised meet-ups where you could buy and trade plants.

Research was crucial if you wanted to avoid killing your sometimes costly plants.

"Most house plants thrive on bright indirect light — not direct sun — warmth, humidity and well-draining soil."

Overwatering leading to rotting roots was the biggest thing to look out for.

"It's a lot easier to remedy an underwatered plant than an overwatered plant.

"You might have to accept that there are certain plants that just aren't compatible with the conditions in your home.

"I love calatheas, but unfortunately they don't love me back."

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