Mengju Lin

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Mengju Lin


Singapore is the strange child of the Southeast Asia family. Many popular and trendy houseplants like Southeast Asia for its humidity, warmth and bright sun, but those in Singapore find themselves yearning. Our forests are made of concrete buildings and our rivers are made of asphalt. Because of that, it is not as humid here as Southeast Asia should be, and you will find some of the local houseplants developing thirsty, crispy tips.

The one exception is the Bougainvillea glabra who, in defiance of the dry city air, blooms ever so aggressively. It leads a convoy of less-coveted landscaping plants that are unnaturally transplanted next to each other. They say their positions are decided to subliminally direct flow – of humans, objects and information. Some fortunate native plants take refuge in nature reserves, although they are managed strategically too with human eyes in mind.

In Singapore, the friendliest plants you will meet are trees. They host all sorts of epiphytic plants like Dischidia, Epiphyllum and Asplenium, and protect them with regulated shade and humidity from their canopies. Landscape companies hired by the state trim down all sorts of plants, but trees will always stand. You will be safe with a tree.