Many people have turned to stay-home hobbies like ornamental gardening during the Covid-19 pandemic. This activity is believed to provide many benefits for mental and physical health. Besides being able to improve mood and relieve stress, plants can also purify the air at home.
Collecting ornamental plants has also become a trend among public figures, including Sonya Fatmala. The wife of actor and Regent of West Bandung Hengky Kurniawan admitted that she had been following the trend due to the pandemic.
Ever since she started this hobby, her knowledge on types of plants with their various adorable shapes has been improving. It makes her want to collect a variety of ornamental plants. No wonder if her house is now filled with the plants, ranging from small to jumbo sizes.
This makes her aware of the responsibility to take good care of the plants. She advised her fellow collectors to provide themselves with knowledge on how to care for plants according to their types because plants are also living things that need proper treatment in order to live properly.
“Do you have a gardening fever? Hahaha yes! Because of the pandemic, gardening has become a popular activity and this is very good. We become more aware of types of plants and it’s really nice. If you want to collect, you should also be responsible. Because they are living things that should be taken care of. If you have plants, you better know how to take care of them,” said Sonya in her Instagram post @sonyafatmala on October 8, 2020.
Some of the plants she has are considered quite expensive. Her husband is even often surprised by the rising prices of some of the plants. For that reason, sometimes she has a concern that the plants will be damaged. Therefore, she always warns her kids not to touch her plants.
“Since their mom’s hobby is taking care of plants, our house is now a semi forest, hihi. But it’s good that these plants make the air circulation in the house cleaner and more oxygenated. More and more types of plants are popping up and the prices are also rising, which ultimately makes me give an ultimatum to the kids that ‘no one can touch mommy’s plants!’ Wkwk, have you experienced the same? Sometimes when the kids are walking, they unconsciously touch leaves with their hands. This often causes tears and damages to the leaves,” she wrote in another post on November 20, 2020.
She quite often shares portraits of the beauty of her ornamental plants through social media pages. Besides being used as decorations in the corner of the room and table, these plants are also often used as decorations for taking pictures. The appearance of ornamental plants makes the photos more lively and aesthetic.
Not only indoor, the plants are also placed outdoors. So, what plants do Hengky Kurniawan and Sonya Fatmala grow in their house? Here are some of the plants they collect.
- 1. Fiddle-leaf fig
You might already be familiar with the fiddle-leaf fig tree (Ficus lyrata). With the ability to grow as tall as a house, the plant has its own uniqueness. The leaves are large, glossy, and viola-shaped. That’s why it is called ketapang biola in Indonesian language. When planted in a large land, the tree can grow tall. However, when planted in pots, it can be a beautiful decoration.
Fiddle-leaf fig is quite popular as an indoor decoration, because it has the ability to purify the air. The arrangement is not without a reason, because ideally the plant gets indirect sunlight.
- 2. Peruvian apple cactus
If most people usually collect small cactus as ornamental plants, Sonya chooses to collect a giant one.
Also known as giant club cactus (cereus peruvianus), peruvian cactus has a unique shape and is suitable for indoor decoration. To grow well, it must be planted in moderately dry soil.
- 3. Monstera obliqua
Popular with the name Janda Bolong in Indonesia, monstera obliqua is a sought-after ornamental plant among plant enthusiasts. Because of its uniqueness, janda bolong is often used as a minimalist-style room decoration.
- 4. Snake plant
Another plant she is collecting is the snake plant, known as lidah mertua in Indonesia. The plant is positioned in the corner of the room with a large brown pot. Not only cactus, snake plants are also quite large.
Snake plant (sansevieria trifasciata) is a quite popular ornamental plant. In addition to its unique shape, it can also remove pollutants from the air. Moreover, the gel-like flesh can be processed into drinks or used for facial and hair care.
- 5. Philodhendron
Native to Indonesia, philodhendron is an ornamental plant which is classified in the family Araceae. Usually, it grows in damp places such as swamps, river banks, or roadsides. Philodhendron has beautiful and colorful leaves.
She collects this plant by placing it in a super jumbo black pot in the yard because of the plant’s jumbo size.
- 5. Devil’s Ivy
Apart from potted plants, she also collects various hanging ornamental plants, one of which is the devil’s ivy.
Known with a scientific name epipremnum aureum, devil’s ivy is an evergreen vine that is usually used to decorate the yard or room. The plant is known for its bright yellow leaves to pale yellow mottling.
Another uniqueness of this plant is you can plant it in water instead of soil. Just cut the plant’s stem and let the roots grow slowly in a container filled with water.
- 7. Alocasia
Coming from the family Araceae, alocasia mostly grows in wet tropical rain forests such as in Kalimantan region.
The plant is famous for its unique shape like an elephant’s ear. The color of the leaves is quite diverse, ranging from shiny dark green, green with a smooth surface like velvet, some are white with silver leaf veins.
Houseplants Can Help Clean the Air
Sonya’s love for the beauty of ornamental plants makes her keen to keep adding plant collections. Not only to improve our mood, the presence of plants also helps clean the air so that our house could be more refreshing.
Plants do minimize dust and pollutants, increase concentration as well as creativity. Various plants such as philodendron, spider plant, and aloe vera are said to be able to remove harmful substances such as benzene, toluene, formaldehyde, and ammonium from the house.
Furthermore, planting and caring for plants are also good for our health. These activities can be used as physical exercises so that our body becomes more fit. We can also use the moment to reconnect with nature thus reducing stress levels and maintaining overall mental health.
Main Causes of Failure to Take Care of Alocasia
With proper handling, Sonya’s Alocasia plant seems to thrive. The plant does require extra care, otherwise it can wilt, even die.
If your Alocasia leaves are wilting, you should immediately improve your method. The condition is an early sign of problems with the plant. As summarized from Kompas.com, here are the main reasons why alocasia leaves can wilt and fail to grow properly.
1. Too much watering
When an alocasia plant is watered too often, the soil remains wet and logged for a long period of time. This causes the air spaces in the soil to be filled with water.
This condition also inhibits normal air circulation in the soil which is important for supporting root life. Without a steady supply of air, the roots can’t breathe or work properly. Prolonged wet conditions will cause the roots to die.
Ada beberapa tanda bahwa daun alocasia layu akibat terlalu sering disiram, di antaranya daun menguning, bintik-bintik cokelat, akar membusuk dan mengeluarkan bau.
When your alocasia leaves are wilting due to overwatering, they will show symptoms like yellow leaves, brown spots, rotting roots and an odor.
2. Too little watering
Alocasia should not have too much and too little water. Below are some signs that your alocasia plants may have too little water.
First, the soil becomes dry. Second, the edges or tips of the leaves are brown and dry due to a chronic lack of water that reaches the tips of the leaves. Every brown area of the leaves will feel crispy and dry
3. Low humidity
Alocasia usually grows in areas with high or very high humidity. This condition is very difficult to achieve at home. Many houseplants will tolerate drier conditions at home, but your alocasia will be compromised if the humidity level is way below 40%.
Thereby, you should have a digital thermometer and hygrometer to monitor the condition of the plant. The tools will tell you the maximum, minimum, and current humidity levels.
Lighting is an important factor affecting the health of ornamental plants, including alocasia. It is important to provide bright and indirect lighting for its long term health.
Low light slows growth, reduces water needs, and increases the risk of overwatering. If the alocasia is placed away from a window, especially in a north-facing room, it may not get enough light.
5. Air pressure
Alocasia usually grows well at a temperature of 15-28 degrees Celsius, but preferably in the middle range. The plant is very susceptible to hot or cold air currents causing repeated air pressure. This will easily cause the alocasia leaves to wilt.
Make sure that your alocasia plant is not placed near a heating or cooling vent or near a leaky window. Moving the plant’s position will make the leaves grow back.
Alocasia is also very susceptible to sap-sucking pests. Spider mites, mealybugs, scale insects, and aphids can attack and cause alocasia leaves to wilt.
It is important to check your alocasia plants regularly for signs of pests. Inspect the tops and bottoms of the leaves and petioles for signs of the organism. When the pest attack is severe, the alocasia leaves will be covered with yellow spots and become wilted.
Recommended Fertilizer for Ornamental Plants
The NPK Pelangi 16.16.16 fertilizer produced by PT Pupuk Kalimantan Timur (PKT) is highly recommended for various types of ornamental plants.
You can buy the fertilizer not only from agents but also from shops that sell various plant needs which have been flourishing. NPK Pelangi is also very easy to find on digital market platforms (marketplaces).
Fertilizer sales in digital markets, such as Tokopedia and Shopee, seem quite intense. The prices are also affordable. NPK Pelangi is sold for Rp27,000 per 2 kilograms and the NPK Pelangi 16-16-16 are priced at Rp380,000 per pack or 50 kilograms.
Written by: Renat