Plant People 02 / Simeon Chua


Plant people have their own unique bond with gardening. It's often more than just a hobby but a relationship between plant enthusiasts and their plants. Whether its a part of their lifestyle or a form of stress release, it's a relationship. We get to know Simeon Chua @simeonchua and his plant collection in Melbourne. Simeon shares his life with architecture and plants.

How many houseplants are in your collection?

I have just under 100 indoor plants at the moment, and many more outside, but that number is going to skyrocket come spring! 

What made you fall in love with plants?

Coming from Singapore, and with a father that loved gardening and collecting plants(Heliconias especially), I grew up surrounded by lush tropical greenery. Ironically, I never really appreciated or loved plants until I moved here to Melbourne. My journey as an architecture student made me much more aware of both the aesthetic and practical benefits of plants, which got me interested in gardening, and indoor plantsfollowed soon after.

What do plants mean to you?

For me, plants provide an endless source of interest and inspiration. I find myself constantly enamoured by the multitude of different colours, forms and habits found in different plants. Monsteras, Oxalis and Staghorns are just some of my favourite plants, and they never fail to brighten up my day. I've also been investigating the use of plants as a way of blurring the boundaries between indoors and outdoors, a feature of both Japanese and Modernist Architecture, which I've been interested in lately. 

How has your life benefited from gardening?

Indoor and outdoor gardening has provided a means for me to relax and enjoy myself, and a space where I can be alone with my thoughts. It has also definitely made me a lot more organised and disciplined, as funny as that sounds. Taking care of so many plants means that I've had to come up with and adhere to a system of watering and general plant care, which can get pretty challenging during semester. Studying architecture has also meant that I don't often get to come home before 9 or 10pm, meaning the only time I can get things done in the garden is in the morning. 

Have you killed any plants recently?

Hahahahahahha unfortunately the answer to that question is yes. A few have died on me in the past few months, mostly cuttings (damn you winter), but the one that hurt the most was probably a Variegated Monstera that rotted away at the base. Those things are so touchy! I've since put the tip in water and have my fingers crossed.

Jason Chongue