Q&A with @Kuorgette
So, we've decided to start a blog! We are aiming to discuss all things green and will try to cover as many houseplant related issues as possible to help with any plant problems. We will be launching our informative blog next week with the help of horticulture student James Freeman, but we'll also be participating in regular Q&A's with some of our favourite plant people too.
No better way to start than by doing a Q&A with one of our oldest Instagram plant friends, Sing, aka @Kuorgette.
We "met" Sing at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh back in December 2017. We were both visiting at the same time and uploading our pictures that evening when the penny dropped, we must have crossed paths that day taking the same plant pics!
We've kept in touch ever since then and continue to learn from her posts. We are in awe of her ever-growing indoor jungle. If you're new to plants and looking for some tips and inspiration give Sing a follow. Anyway, here goes....
When did you first start collecting plants?
I’ve always liked the idea of plants at home as my dad and elder sister are also into gardening. After moving to UK in 2016, I started off with orchids and fruits. Love for other houseplants only started around Jun 2017, when I was looking for inspiration on Pinterest for my new place and saw a beautiful Pilea. Of course, the Pilea was one of the first houseplants I got.
What was the first plant you bought?
Orchid, my dad loves orchids and they were readily available in the supermarkets. My success rates to get them to rebloom has been pretty good so I really enjoy them. Will be hoping to venture into other varieties once I move to my new place.
How many plants do you have?
I think 200+, I don’t know and I’m not too bothered to count anymore. It would take too long to count them and the time is better spent looking after them.
How do you manage to keep so many in your home? (Storage wise)
My plants are mainly in the conservatory, living room and a spare guest bedroom. I squeeze them into any space I can find. For succulents, I’ve learnt to pot a few into one pot so that it cuts down on the number of pots to water. In the new house, they will all go into the new sunroom, which will be purpose built for my plants haha!
What's your best advice for the novice plant collector?
Keep reading and observe your plants closely. I love observing the growth pattern on my plants and after a while you will more or less understand them quickly. Light is also very important, I am blessed with south facing windows which are great for succulents and many of my plants, especially during winter.
Also remember that what works for others may not work for you, first things first is to find out the natural environment your plant originates from. Majority of houseplants we have are from the tropics so they all appreciate warm temperature, bright indirect light and high humidity, hence it would be best to replicate the same environment.
What plant do you find the most difficult to care for?
The things I consider most difficult to control for plant care are pests and fungal diseases. This winter, I have had to deal with spidermites and thrips which loved my Philodendrons and Alocasias. I’ve also had powdery mildew in my begonias. I set up grow lights and humidifiers in my guest bedroom so that’s where most of my tropical plants go, so this settles the basic conditions required by many plants I have. Unfortunately, pests are inevitable so it’s just something I’ve accepted I will have to deal with time to time. Thrips are the worst as they spread really quickly and are pretty hard to get rid of.
Do you have any specific care advice for Alocasia?
Alocasia are tropical plants so they require those conditions as mentioned above. In my home, they all live in front of the south facing window where they get a few hours of sun a day, the only risk with this is that the leaves might get burnt if the sun is too strong. I only water them when the top 1” has dried out. Humidity, I find, can matter or not. My zebrina is the only Alocasia that lives in my living room where it gets 50% humidity or possibly lower but it’s still doing pretty well. Having humidity is always better though (like I said, what works for others might not work for you, depending on your home conditions and where you live in the world).
Finally, what's on your plant wish list and why?
I have narrowed down to begonias recently, and would love to get my hands on more begonia species, though space is becoming a constraint. I would also love to have an alocasia regal shields and infernalis (checked), but otherwise I am pretty happy with my current collection until I move to my new place.