Cont. from 18 "They are basically a weed throughout South East Asia. They would mow them down but we pay $1000 for a small plant.
I love being surrounded by them, I love looking at their leaves unfurl, I love seeing them grow from a seed or a small cutting into a full plant. Every leaf pattern is just really unique ... Everyone should spread the plant love.- Tasmanian rare plant collector Brodie McHenry, of Burnie
"It was my very first plant on my wishlist about 2 years ago, and it sat at the top of my wish list until November last year."
The requirements Mc McHenry refers to is the level of humidity that each plant will require to grow and survive, and he uses grow lights, heat pads, humidifiers and pebble trays to increase humidity.
"I have around 50 or 60 different types of Alocasia which can go dormant in winter so all of those have to sit on a heat mat to skip their dormancy period, which is where all their beautiful leaves dies off and I'm basically watering a stick in an empty pot until they bounce back in Spring.
"But I have successfully skipped the dormancy period for about 95 per cent of my Alocasia just by keeping the humidity and heat consistent so they don't know its winter."
He added that different growers use different coloured LED grow lights for their plants, depending on what natural conditions they are trying to mimic to get the plants to respond accordingly.
"The plants absorb light and different lights affect the plants in different ways, red light makes plants flower and produce fruit while blue light will promote lush growth.
"I've got some plants that I am trying to promote flowering, both male and female flowers, so I can pollinate the female flowers which will eventually turn into berries and then I will get seeds out of those berries to plant."
The craze for plants really started to ramp up with social media sites like Instagram, where people in continents across the world post pictures of their beloved plants for collecting inspiration.
For Mr McHenry, this can also be frustrating, where strict biosecurity laws in Australia mean that he will never be able to add some species of plants to his collection.
"I do get a little bit jealous when I see these beautiful plants on my wishlist that are never going to be crossed off."
But he said other rare or hard-to-find plants are still possible to own through retail concierge services, who attend to much of of the biosecurity barriers that exist in getting plants sent into Tasmania.
"I buy from almost anywhere, the plants get sent to my concierge on my behalf, and then they treat and collate all the plants before sending to Tasmania."
Mr McHenry said the coronavirus lockdowns also helped to develop plant trends in Tasmania, and across Australia.
He said a surprising popular plant for 2020 was the Oxalis Triangularis, while the Peperomia Watermelon and the Peporomia String of Turtles "went crazy".
"Those of us who have been collecting for a while saw a huge increase in collecting in Tasmania at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic," Mr McHenry said.
"There were a lot of people who didn't really understand the plant trend but I'm finding that a lot more of my friends have started getting into it.
"Back in the seventies and eighties houseplants were really popular but everything comes back full circle eventually, and it is really good to see, because bringing the outdoors inside is really not a bad thing.
"Everyone should spread the love of plants."
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