Grow your green thumb

You know when you scroll through Pinterest and see photographs of luscious plants hanging from the ceiling, cascading down floating shelves, bursting out of their pots? #PlantGoals! We asked Ballito plant fundi, Zan Bowker, to help relieve us from our social media plant envy.

Often referred to as the ‘queen green thumb’ of the North Coast, Zan Bowker is known for her live walls, indoor plant installations and exquisite greenery creations at weddings.
The first step to indoor plant success, she says, is to find the right spot.

Landscaping consultant Zan Bowker

“Suitability is key! It is a pet hate of mine walking into a home and seeing a plant neglected, in the wrong place and miserable. When we adopt a pet, we make sure its habitat is suitable, right? The same applies to a plant,” says Zan, who lives in Simbithi.
Before you go to the nursery and spend a fortune on plants, she suggests you research what type of plant you would like and what it needs to thrive.
“People often spend up to R1000 on a Dracaena, and have no idea what it needs. When the plant dies, they say “I don’t have a green thumb”. Anyone can grow plants, but it’s like any relationship – what you put in, you get out.”

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Always think about light and temperature when choosing a spot. Also, go for bold statement plants, rather than lots of little ones, to make an impact.
“I recommend people start looking at filling spaces with green walls and big pots to bring an element of liveliness into their home. Apart from the health benefits of having plants indoors, they also create a crisp, fresh atmosphere. Don’t buy loads of African Violets – rather get a few, big, substantial pots (odd numbers are always good) and use them to divide a space or fill an empty spot in a room.”

Choose a plant that speaks to you and makes you happy.
“Some people like textured plants such as Mother-in-law’s Tongue or want to add some drama with a bold Dracaena. Others prefer softer plants like Philodendrons.”

The main rule is, there are no rules.
If you want to bring succulents inside, do it, just give them a sunny spot and rotate them outside now and then. “If a kitchen needs brightening up, add a Cyclamen – we are getting lovely colours in these. Anthuriums are always good for colours and textures or Calandiva. Also, try the miniature daffodils or blue bells – they will give you a month or two of colour and instantly add happiness.”

Feeding is crucial to grow a healthy plant.
“Add a good, organic potting soil to your plants’ pots regularly and feed them. I recommend spraying your leaves generously with a foliage feed once a month and give them a root feed every three months. Foods prolong longevity, flowering time and brightens the colours.”

TIP: Try out Sloop in Umhlanga when choosing a container – they are stylish and made from 100 percent recyclable plastic.

Zan Bowker Garden and Landscaping Consulting – 083 447 1503.
Sloop Phone Ivan Dunlop – 083 289 8993.


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