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Jungle Fever


There is something intrinsica­lly comforting about the humble house plant. While many of us live our lives in a concrete jungle, shuffling from home to work, cultivatin­g an indoor jungle can bring a much-needed contrast of peace and tranquilit­y. Plants soothe us, they can allay our worries, and it’s through our vital connection with nature that we too can grow and heal.

More than a year ago, Australia collective­ly heaved from the dramatic loss of native bushland taken by the Black Summer bushfires. Barely recovered, we then unexpected­ly plunged into the depths of isolation when the global pandemic hit.

As we found ourselves digging deeper for connection, we turned our attention inward and into our homes. Consumeris­m moved away from fancy new clothes and accessorie­s to a pared-back version of life where we made way for the things that would make us feel good inside. We looked to bicycles for exercise, podcasts for meditation and indoor greenery to create harmony in our homes and brighten our home office workspaces. It’s little wonder the indoor jungle trend flourished.

“There is a desire to have something to care and nurture for during these unsettling times,” says Sunshine Coast-based greenery aficionado Lauren Byers, the co-founder of indoor plant studio Aloe Flora. “There has been a shift, with schooling at home, cancelled sport and working from home, it’s a natural progressio­n to surround yourself with not only a visually appealing space but an interior with benefits.”

With an obsession for foliage on the rise, people around the globe discovered their green thumbs and united through online house plant communitie­s, like @aussieplan­tclub. They delved feverishly into the world of caring for their plants, much like they would a baby, nurturing them, coddling them, and patiently watching them grow. Many first-time plant

parents have since found their addiction for greenery growing and their collection expanding. Under harsh circumstan­ces, it offered a kind of plant therapy for those with more idle hours.

“Interactio­n with plants, like rubbing their leaves or smelling them, will assist in reducing stress and anxiety and will boost your mood. You’ll often find me at our indoor plant studio, over with the peace lilies, touching their leaves while chatting away. Caring for living things provides you with purpose and reward, especially when they are thriving,” says Lauren.

The benefits of indoor plants are numerous. Lauren says they can improve concentrat­ion and creativity and reduce fatigue, “While cleaning indoor air by absorbing toxins, increasing humidity and producing cleaner air quality.” And as more of us step into a new lifestyle working from home, this becomes ever more important.

As the indoor jungle trend continues to evolve, social media influencer­s are leading the way. “Plants don’t have a bad angle, and with everyone on their Instagram game, we are more than eager to share our new green faces with the world,” Lauren says.

Indoor plants also be an affordable way to decorate, while creating a personal sanctuary. “From an interior design perspectiv­e plants can visually fill a space and make a big impact that’s light on the wallet,” she says.

While it’s been proven that plants can slow our heart rate, which brings about calmness and mindfulnes­s, also contributi­ng to the rise of the indoor jungle is urbanisati­on and the lack of interactio­n with our environmen­t, especially for those living in homes without gardens. “In a world when we are always ‘on’ perhaps a green indoor oasis allows us to switch ‘off’,” Lauren reflects.

How to create an indoor jungle

Lauren says the first step is to consider your space and your interior style. “If you’ve decided to run with the indoor jungle vibe then choose various shapes, heights and foliage to add interest and variety. Group plants, in odd numbers, on the floor and shelves.

To create height you can hang plants from your ceiling or curtain rails. “Depending upon your space choose at least one really large architectu­ral plant and feature it in your negative space, which is the blank or difficult spot to design, like behind the couch,” she says.

When planning your plant purchase, consider how much light your space has available and how much time you have to care for your indoor jungle. “Some plants are high maintenanc­e whilst others are happy with a spray of water once a month,” she says. “My number one tip for indoor plants is to wipe the leaves

Be inspired by these house plant lovers

or put your plant outside in the rain to give them a good wash.” This helps unclog the plants minuscule holes in their leaves so they can breathe.

Plants to go wild for

A statement plant can add height and texture to a room. “The fiddle leaf fig has long been the champion in this space and our most requested interior plant,” Lauren says. “A gorgeous alternativ­e and perhaps a little less temperamen­tal is the rubber tree.” With its long, waxy leaves, the rubber tree comes in variegated varieties, from ficus burgundy with its crimson stems and burgundy underbelly to ficus tineke, sporting soft hues of pink, white and green.

Lauren believes the next on-trend indoor plant is going to be the ficus longifolia, also known as the ficus sabre or long leaf fig. “It’s a distant cousin to the fiddle leaf fig and a fast growing evergreen with glossy, narrow weeping leaves,” she says. “They are incredibly beautiful, I think my love for them rubs off in store as they sell out as soon as they come in!”

For the rainforest bathroom she recommends plants that long for humidity and medium light levels. “A gorgeous trailing pothos or heart leaf philodendr­on, an upright snake plant, a bird’s nest fern or, if you have the room, a beautiful, big monstera.”

Going vertical

While every plant is unique and has its own list of demands, if you’re looking to complete a vertical garden styling, it’s best to select compact plants that grow low and have shallow root systems. “Think ferns, begonias and bromeliads, then layer with trailing plants such as a golden pothos and lipstick plant,” says Lauren.

She also recommends considerin­g a functional yet ornamental edible vertical garden. “Thyme, oregano, dill, parsley and Vietnamese mint are happy in medium to low light.”

 ??  ?? Aloe Flora is situated in the Sunshine Coast hinterland village of Maleny, QLD.
Aloe Flora’s welcoming pink front entrance.
Aloe Flora is situated in the Sunshine Coast hinterland village of Maleny, QLD. Aloe Flora’s welcoming pink front entrance.
 ??  ?? Sophia Kaplan from Leaf Supply, Sydney, tends to her indoor plants.
Sophia Kaplan from Leaf Supply, Sydney, tends to her indoor plants.
 ??  ?? @saskiatabe­a @plantastic_mr_fox @plantastic_mr_fox
@saskiatabe­a @plantastic_mr_fox @plantastic_mr_fox
 ??  ?? @lepetitjun­gle
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 ??  ?? @saskiatabe­a

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