This Covid-19 pandemic has changed our lifestyle. Some of us became home bakers, while some turn into home gardeners. Workers’ Party member Nicole Seah is one of the latter.

Much has been said about how much Nicole cares for the future of Singaporeans (including her two-year-old daughter), but who knew the 33-year-old has quite the green fingers as well?

Millennials and those in Gen Z have been called the “plant-crazy generation“, as evidenced on social media, and it’s a trend that Seah has latched on to quite successfully — her flourishing indoor plants are all the proof needed. 

In a video posted to The Tender Gardener’s Facebook page, Seah’s passion for her aroids — a species of houseplants — is evident.

“When I first got my own place, I wanted to fill it with houseplants,” said Seah, but she had a “rude awakening” when her first batch of plants failed to thrive as she had placed all of them in her living room.

She learnt the hard way that “you have to understand what the plant needs”, instead of hoping that it’ll grow in whatever environment you put it in, sounding very much like a proud plant parent.

Other plant caring knowledge she picked up include overexposure to sunlight, spider mites and fungal infections — who knew there was so much to consider when it came to growing plants?

Her plant parent pursuits

Describing how she “went down the rabbit hole” in pursuit of her passion, she’d toyed with the idea of building a custom-made terrarium, but after her husband “panicked a bit”, she realised it may be “a bit too much for now”.

Seah now has a corner of her home dedicated to her indoor plants, complete with a “cloud forest” environment to house those that have just been shipped from overseas so that they can acclimatise to the environment.

“Acclimatise” is a word heard a lot in the 13-minute video.

Other things we learnt from the video is that Seah is equally adept at making rally speeches as she is at spewing the scientific names of plants. 

She made us google for philodendrons (foliage plants), anthuriums (a genus of flowering plants) and verrucosums (also known as philodendron verrucosums), which are her favourite variety. 

What we also found amazing, and horrifying, is how a plant — a Monstera, in particular —  could cost $300 to $400. 

On her penchant for plants, she said: “My friends on Instagram do make fun of me for it, like every time they see a post on a verrucosum, they’ll just forward it to me.

“I just find the form very fascinating. It’s just one of those plants where I can just stare at the leaves all day long. I just find it very calming and very soothing to look at plants,” she enthused. 

One plant in particular, has proven to be a source of motivation for her.

Seah described how a wild cutting that “came from the Sumatran rainforest” had “died all the way down to the stem” upon arrival. But it began to show signs of life and sprouted fresh leaves after she kept watering it faithfully.

For Seah, the plant serves as a reminder, that “I need to be more resilient”. An allusion to brickbats politicians have to endure and the recently concluded elections, perhaps?

This article was first published in AsiaOne.