Episode 80: houseplant trends in China, Thailand and Japan with Michael Perry

Cacti and succulents on display in China. Photograph: Michael Perry.

Cacti and succulents on display in China. Photograph: Michael Perry.

Michael Perry, aka Mr Plant Geek, joins me to share some of his insights into the houseplant scene in China, Japan and Thailand, from how much you’d pay for a 6ft Adenium in Thailand to how the Chinese are marketing houseplants to children. Plus I answer a jaw-dropping question from a listener who has a peace lily that’s anything but peaceful… You may remember Michael from episode 23 when we talked about houseplant trends in the west, and why mainstream media are still catching up with the indoor gardening boom. He was kind enough to share lots of his photographs from his travels with me, so scroll down for some fascinating images to check out as you listen.

Here’s a guide to the topics we cover in our chat…

  • The Chinese equivalent of eBay Michael mentions is Taobao - here’s a Wikipedia entry on this incredible e-commerce site.

  • The children’s shop with wooden toys in Shenzen City, China is called Wooderfullife - scroll down for an image of the wooden frog Michael mentions.

  • Michael wrote a blogpost on his site about his visit to Bangkok, Thailand here.

  • Pachira aquatica aka the money plant is very popular in China.

  • If you’re not from Europe, you may have no idea 2CV van is… here’s the lowdown!

  • The Brooklyn, NY mobile plant shop Michael mentions is Tula House.

  • I think the mystery plant neither of us could remember the name of is tassel fern, (Lycopodium squarrosum). Scroll down for a picture.

  • The plant Michael brought home from the Thai market was Huernia.

  • Michael mentions Dutch houseplant firm Profitplant and says this is where he first saw Peperomia polybotrya ‘Raindrop’ (often confused with Pilea peperomioides).

  • Check out some images from Michael’s trips below. All images are copyright Michael Perry.

Question of the week

A listener question with a difference this week - Ami wants to know why her Spathiphyllum is hissing and shaking its branches at random moments! See the full Twitter thread here. Listeners shared some thoughts on the podcast Facebook group, including something living in the pot, but I’d love to hear your theories!

Want to ask me a question? Tweet @janeperrone, leave a message on my Facebook page or email ontheledgepodcast@gmail.com.

This week’s sponsor

Thanks to Audible for sponsoring this week’s On The Ledge. Get your first audiobook free along with two selected Audible Original titles and exclusive fitness programs when you start a 30-day trial. So take the time to listen. On Audible. Just visit audible.com/ontheledge or text ‘ONTHELEDGE’ to 500500 to get started.

Coming up this year…

I am giving a talk on the magic of houseplants at the Highgate Literary and Scientific Institution on April 9… if you are in the London area do come along! Full details here. There will be more talks and appearances coming up, so stay tuned for more details!

I am also making plans for the 100th episode of On The Ledge which will happen some time in May or June! If you have any ideas as to how to mark the occasion, please let me know…

I’d also like to hear your ideas for episodes: I will be doing another OTL sowalong soon, so order your seeds now - there’s info for UK and US growers on my blog.

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Credits

This week's show featured Roll Jordan Roll by the Joy Drops and Overthrown by Josh Woodward, plus ad music from the Heftone Banjo Orchestra with Whistling Rufus, all licensed under Creative Commons. Logo design by Jacqueline Colley.