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‘I think my neighbours find me crazy’: Actor Benjamin Tan on his collection of 100 plants

The Mediacorp actor has spent around S$30,000 on his hobby so far, which includes tools and equipment, as well as the most expensive plant in his collection, a $2,600 Philodendron Joepii with two leaves. 

‘I think my neighbours find me crazy’: Actor Benjamin Tan on his collection of 100 plants

Plant parent and Mediacorp artiste Benjamin Tan has been collecting plants for over two years. (Photo: Instagram/bentanzx)

Take it from plant parent Benjamin Tan, letting your plants listen to classical music helps them grow. 

“My friends think I am out of control. In the past month, I went home with a new plant almost every single day,” the Mediacorp actor-host told entertainment site, explaining how his most recent spree set him back S$6,000.

“When I saw some of the plant accounts on Instagram were holding charity auctions to raise funds for breast cancer awareness, I bought a lot of plants. Of course, some people told me to stop using that as an excuse.” 

But more than just a pandemic hobby, rearing plants has been a long-time interest for the 28-year-old, and his collection has now grown to 100 pots placed inside and outside his four-room HDB flat.

Inspired by his father’s green fingers, Tan’s hobby started several years ago when he visited a nursery for the first time. After that, what began as the occasional IKEA house plant turned into a full blown obsession.

“I was blown away,” he said. “There are so many more species out there that I have not seen or heard of before and I (discovered) a whole new world of gardening.”

Rare plants can easily fetch a five-figure sum, but Tan made sure he was ready before spending a small fortune on his collection. 

“I was afraid I’d kill it, so I made sure I have steady green fingers before venturing into pricier plants,” he told, referring to his "first ever expensive plant" bought in January this year a unique Philodendron Pink Princess that cost S$250.

Now that Tan’s collection has grown, he doesn’t mind dropping thousands of dollars for a rare find. So far, his most expensive purchase stands at S$2,600 for a two-leafed Philodendron Joepii.

To date, the plant enthusiast has spent more than S$30,000 on his passion, which includes tools and equipment. While collecting rare plants can be an expensive hobby, Tan sees some of his plants as investment pieces. 

In fact, he spends more than two hours tending to his home garden every day. Besides watering and checking for pests, Tan also plays classical music for his foliage “babies” every week to “stimulate growth”.

“I think my neighbours find me crazy. I’m a bit zou huo ru mo (obsessive in Chinese),” he said. 

“If I have a day off, I will check every single one of them to make sure there are no pests infecting them. And when I am done watering them, I will place a chair in the middle of my mini garden and sip tea while admiring them. A lot of people say I am like an old man now.”

Following his big break in Emerald Hill High and Lion Mums 3, Tan has starred in Channel 8’s My Guardian Angels. Touted as one of the faces to watch this year, his role in the drama earned him a nomination for Best Newcomer in 2021’s Star Awards. 

Source: CNA/sr