Melbourne Square Q&A: Jason Chongue, Creative Director at The Plant Society
The Plant Society recently hosted an indoor plant workshop at the Melbourne Square Display Gallery as part of our Spring Event Series. We caught up with The Plant Society’s Creative Director, Jason Chongue, to find out more about indoor plants and what you need to know when incorporating them into apartment living.
What is The Plant Society?
The Plant Society is a plant community, or as we like to call it, a ‘plant social network’. Born from a passion for design and plants, its goal is to nurture and preserve rare and interesting plant species for future generations and share the knowledge and skills required to grow them with our community.
By celebrating plants and all things green, we hope to establish a knowledge bank of skills and techniques that can be enjoyed by all plant enthusiasts.
What do you love most about indoor plants?
I love the way indoor plants instantly soften a space! They have an amazing connection back to the environment and within a manmade interior they help to both accentuate the interior but also soften the harder surfaces.
Do you have any personal favourites?
A personal favourite has always been Devil’s Ivy (Epipremnum Aureum). I often give friends and family cuttings when they are visiting, as they are easily propagated. They also make great first plants for those who aren’t as confident with indoor gardening.
Do you find yourself talking about plants with your friends a lot?
Always! The best part of gardening is exchanging advice and passing on plant knowledge about different species. Handy tips always come from your friends and even neighbours. I’m forever talking about interesting plants I’ve come across and how certain plants have grown in our home.
Where is a good room to start introducing green – and which room do you think people overlook?
The living room is the perfect room to start your plant collection. With a range of surfaces and furniture in the living room, it allows for an interesting canvas to play with.
I often find the bedroom is overlooked when it comes to indoor plants. It’s interesting as there are a range of great air purifying plants that make for the perfect bedside plant.
What is your favourite styling trick?
Using cascading plants to drape over shelves and furniture. I‘m forever using plants on shelves in smaller spaces where floor space is limited.
What have been the best lessons for you as an indoor gardener?
Simply giving it a go! Often people title themselves as black or brown thumbs, however it’s easy to become a green thumb. Practice and patience are key when gardening and, over time (and with a few casualties), you’ll learn the basics of indoor gardening.
I’ve learnt a lot from killing plants and how I can adapt the conditions in my home to accommodate a range of interesting plants.
Do you recommend taking plants outside to give them a good soak, or do you prefer to keep indoor greenery indoors?
If possible, taking them outside is a great way to freshen up your plants. The best time to do this is in Spring. I take my plants outside or into the shower to wash down the leaves and drench the soil, letting the water run freely. Remember your plants have been growing in a sheltered environment so don’t expose them to extreme weather conditions or leave them outside for too long.
What is the next trending ‘it’ plant?
There are a range of plants that will be favoured in the next few months. With plants becoming more heavily used in interiors, plant enthusiasts will be after rare and unusual plant species to differentiate their spaces. Plants such as Red Veined Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura) will make a unique addition to plant collections.