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If you’re having trouble keeping your houseplants alive, The Style Sheet has enlisted expert help.

The impressive Diane Nittke — founder, owner and creative director of Ellermann Boutique & Event Design Atelier — shares her top tips for caring for indoor plants, as well as advice on which plants work best for Hong Kong’s climate.

The Three Cardinal Rules of Caring for Houseplants 

Consider optimal sunlight 

‘All plants require light to stay happy and healthy, so allowing natural sunlight into your space will give houseplants the nourishment they need. For the most part, however, indirect light is best for growing plants in your home. Most varieties of houseplants require indirect light, which is why they’re optimal for growing indoors,’ Diane explains. ‘If you see yellow or dropping leaves or longer spindly stems, this may indicate your plant wants more light. A change of position in the room, a different room, or adding a lamp nearby are all good ideas. Noticing pale leaves or crispy browning areas? This may mean your plant needs a step back from too much light, or from too much direct light.’

Monitor watering and soil moisture

‘Not all plants need the same amount of water, so try to make a habit of checking on your houseplants at least every week to see if they need a drink. The best way to tell if your plants need water is to stick your finger four or five centimetres into the soil —  if it feels dry, water the plants thoroughly,’ Diane says. ‘If you detect dampness, check back again in a few days. The time of year can make a difference to watering frequency, too. Many houseplants grow more during spring and summer, but not as much in autumn and winter. If you notice less growth than usual, water less frequently until the plant starts growing when the weather gets warmer.’

Don’t forget to clean

‘It's important to clean plant leaves regularly, as a layer of dust on a houseplant’s leaves will block sunlight and reduce the plant’s ability to photosynthesise. The best way to tell if a plant needs cleaning is to rub your fingers on the leaves. If you can feel or see more dust than you can blow off the leaves, it’s time to clean; simply wipe the leaves with a damp cloth. This is also an opportunity to check for pests — pay attention to stems, stalks and soil and check every week.’

The Three Best Houseplants for Hong Kong

While there are plenty of luscious, leafy houseplants that work well in Hong Kong homes, Diane shares why these three indoor plants work particularly well for the city’s climate.


Three quick tips:

1. ‘Its purple foliage will add a pop of colour in your house.’

2. ‘It’s a beautiful hanging plant, and is great for decorating bookshelves as it can trail down along the shelves.’

3. ‘This plant likes consistently moist soil, but doesn’t like being soggy or waterlogged.’


Three quick tips:

1. ‘Peperomia comes in many varieties, sizes and colours — pick one based on your home’s aesthetic.’

2. ‘This plant thrives in medium to bright indirect light, but can also tolerate low indirect light.’

3. ‘It’s a low-maintenance plant, which means it’s great for beginners!’ 

Asparagus Fern

Three quick tips:

1. ‘Asparagus fern is adaptable and will grow in full sun to shade.’

2.‘Mist to improve humidity when the asparagus fern is grown indoors.’

3. ‘Prune the plant to keep it in shape, and cut any dead stems at the base.’

Visit Ellermann’s Pacific Place boutique to discover a range of potted plant arrangements, as well as a bounty of unique seasonal floral and botanical arrangements. Plant and flower lovers can also feast their eyes on Ellermann’s in-store botanical extravaganza on display at the adjacent Lane Crawford Home, which includes plenty of fresh blooms, greenery and other whimsical curiosities.