‘Plant-ertaining’: Grow-your-own veggies and Ficus are the plant trends for 2021

Niki Bruce
·4 min read
(PHOTO: Pat Law)
(PHOTO: Pat Law)

SINGAPORE – When it comes to new-ish coronavirus hobbies, becoming a ‘plant parent’ has to be at the top for Southeast Asia people. Although most of us live in apartments with little to no garden area, indoor plants and balcony gardens have taken off.

Thanks to the warm, humid weather, frequent rainfall and lots of sunlight, here in our tropical zone, we are able to indulge in all sorts of fabulous greenery for our indoor and outdoor gardens.

What started as a bit of indoor decorating for Singapore plant parent Pat Law has become a full-blown obsession.

“One of my favourite plants has got to be my Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor. I mean, look at that camouflage; I’d love that print as a jacket for sure,” says Law when asked to pick one favourite of her very, many specialised plants.

As for the future, Law is right on-trend. She’s looking for a unique Monstera.

“A plant I’d love to get for 2021 is the Monstera Obliqua. I love holes; what can I say.”

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Hot Plant Trends for 2021

The Ficus Family

Just about everyone we know who is into plants has tried to grow a finickity ficus of some sort. The ubiquitous Fiddle Leaf Fig is big on Instagram but continues to be hard to grow. Still, people do love a large indoor plant, so that’s why many horticulturalists are suggesting that new versions of the ficus family, like the Ficus Altissima and Ficus Binnendijkii (Narrow Leaf Fig), will be popular in 2021. You could also try the Ficus Audrey, which is supposed to be easier to grow than the Fiddle Leaf Fig, and also the humble old Ficus Tineke or Rubber Tree that practically all our grannies grew.

Foliage Friends

Leaves continue to entrance plant parents, so plants with textured and patterned foliage like the Anthurium family will be on-trend for 2021, alongside the more exotic members of the Monstera family. There are a huge number of these to choose from, including the Anthurium hookeri and Anthurium crystallinum. You can also try varieties of Alocasias like Alocasias Black Velvet, Alocasias Polly, Alocasias Regal Shield and Alocasias Frydek.

Sexy Succulents

There are some new options for succulent lovers, particularly the rarer varieties and those with lots of structure. Mistletoe cactus, Fishbone Cactus, Blue Star Fern, Asparagus Fern and Bunny Ear Cactus are great choices for this trend. Even the humble air plant will see something of a mini-trend, according to the experts. If you’re interested, try the Curly Tillandsia, known as the Shirley Temple Air Plant.

(PHOTO: Pat Law)
(PHOTO: Pat Law)

Generally, green trends for 2021

Greenthumb Goodness

People who are already dedicated Plant Parents will be joined by more in appreciation of how important plants are for our everyday wellbeing.

Activities based around plants and gardens like giving plants as gifts, more greenery in workplaces, more ‘nature play’ in schools and even more interest in plant-based health – including wellness remedies that all point to plants, gardens, gardening and an increased love for nature – are major lifestyle trends for 2021.


Since the arrival of COVID-19 and all that it entails, more of us are looking to entertain at home with smaller groups of family and friends. Not only has this led to more people taking up the art of cooking, but our at-home greenery is adding to the fun.

Including your lovely indoor plants as table decorations or creating floral arrangements that include the fruits and vegetables you are using in your meal is also a hot decor trend.

Of course, if you have access to a lovely garden - even a small courtyard space - this is the ultimate in ‘plant-ertainment’ as you eat outdoors among the greenery.

Grow-Your-Own Food

If you are going to be combining your green thumb with your chef’s hat, then get into growing your own herbs and veggies. Benchtop herb gardens complete with watering systems and grow-lights can easily be bought online if you don’t have enough balcony space.

Those with a bit of sunny area grow tomatoes, cucumbers, chillies, shallots and more in containers. There are many new mini and micro varieties of popular vegetables available as seeds now that you can buy online. There is even an unbelievably cute mini cabbage! Micro kimchi, anyone?

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Tree Trends

If you are one of the lucky ones and actually have a largish garden, here are some of the most popular trees to try growing in 2021.

1. Crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica)

2. Weeping Japanese maples (Acer palmatum var. dissectum)

3. Zanzibar gem (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)

4. Succulent senecio (Senecio barbertonicus)

5. Lilly pilly (Szygium smithii)

6. English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

7. Parrot-beak (Lotus berthelotii)

8. Geranium (Pelargonium capitatum)

9. Orange jessamine (Murraya paniculata)

10. Bull Bay magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)

11. Common juniper (Juniperus communis)

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