Are you coveting your neighbour’s perfect palm? Or maybe you’re green with envy over your friend’s fiddle-leaf fig? Whether in your home or on your balcony, plants bring fresh air into any environment. Here are some resources to get you started.

1. Rate and style your space with the Plant Life Balance app

Did you know that just one plant can improve your air quality by 25%? The Plant Life Balance app, supported by research from scientists at RMIT and the University of Melbourne, will help you rate the health of your home.The app can also help with decorating – just photograph your room or balcony and drop some plants in. You can make life easy by choosing from 1 of 7 looks that are scientifically proven to improve your air quality.

2. Pick up some skills and inspiration

You make it to the plant nursery but you’re overwhelmed by choice. Can you give a hoya lily a nurturing home? And how hard is it to look after a terrarium, anyway? There’s lots of inspiration online to get you started and understand the care and environmental needs of different plants. Start with theplanthunter.com.au, head to ABC’s Plantfinder for care guides and attend one of our workshops if you’re feel like learning new skills.

3. Pick up a freebie to get you started

If you’re looking for something for your balcony or courtyard, we’re giving away free plants to City of Sydney residents on 7 April. Get something for nothing and feel proud for contributing to cooling down your neighbourhood.

Lucy Jackson, who lives in St Peters, is proud mum to a lilly pilly she picked up at last year’s giveaway.

Lucy Jackson picking up her lilly pilly at last year's free tree giveaway
Lucy Jackson picking up her lilly pilly at last year’s free tree giveaway

 

How do you normally choose your plants?

I like to shop at independent nurseries, to have a good chat and get advice because I’m still learning about what works.

What do you look for?

Mostly indoor plants as I live in an apartment, but I have a small outdoor courtyard too. This beautiful blossoming lilly pilly sits outside. I asked the people at the giveaway for something that could cope with a lot of direct sunlight for half the day. They helped me out with this recommendation.

What are some challenges with having a balcony garden?

Heat, mainly. We get a lot of sunlight in an enclosed, tiled area so you need hardy plants that can cope with that. Also making sure you can fit big enough pots to actually hold the amount of soil and water your plants need. Bugs are less of an issue than when we had a garden, but they still find their way onto the 6th floor sometimes.

What’s worked in your garden?

Chillis and capsicum, agave and the lilly pilly are our biggest successes.

Don’t miss out on one of the 1,000 plants up for grabs at the giveaway on 7 April at Sydney Park.

Lilly pilly thriving on Lucy's balcony
Lilly pilly thriving on Lucy’s balcony

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