IKEA Rudsta Wide cabinet.

Cut out a hole to feed the LED light power cable and fan cable through.

Fan for airflow tucked away in the bottom corner.

Magnetic hygometer (eBay) to keep an eye out on humidity levels.

D-Shaped weatherstripping (Bunnings) added to keep the humidity up.

Most if not all of the people who have converted IKEA display cabinets to greenhouses are using the same brand of cheap LED strips. I’ve instead gone all out and bought a legit Viparspectra P1000 hydroponic LED light with the right light spectrum for growing plants. Overkill? Probably, but it has a dimmer so I should be AOK (and it’ll probably be safer to run in a humid cabinet than cheap LED strips now made to withstand moisture).

Magnetic spice racks (I ended up using them upside down for more surface area to hold bigger pots).

An Elephant Ear I plucked out of the ground from my old house.

Got roots? Root growth one month later in leca (Semi-hydroponics).

And we’re off!

2 month update.

Previously a brown thumb guilty of killing every single plant I’ve even been given or bought I went into my new plant keeping hobby with trepidation, but I was determined to “get good”. As an over-thinker and someone who’s naturally obsessive compulsive about anything I choose to get into I’ve definitely spent countless hours on worrying about stuff I didn’t need to worry about, as well as money on stuff I didn’t end up needing, so here’s a list of observations:

1) Research – As with most hobbies in life, there’s always someone succeeding in doing it their way vs the highway. IE: there is no right or wrong. I’ve spent a few hours a day down the YouTube plant hobby rabbit hole and I’ve now gotten to a point where I’m starting to calm down, ingest less and take everything said with a grain of salt.

2) Keep your hands out of the tank! – I’ve been a keen aquarist most of my life and one of our biggest tips for beginners is to keep your hands out of the tank! When you’re new to the aquarium hobby you’re so into it that you’re constantly putting your hands in the tank to adjust the scape, or constantly playing with water parameters in an attempt to find the perfect conditions for your fish. All of this fiddling is actually doing more bad than good (more stress on your fish and slowing down the maturity of your tank), and I’ve found the same with plants (IE: stop fiddling! Let the plants acclimate to your conditions).

I’ve spent hours researching humidity and how to raise it. I’ve done a lot of research on humidifiers, pebble trays, water fountains, misting and more. In the end of the day all I needed to do was add some weather stripping and more plants. My cabinet sits at 75-80% humidity for most of the day and night but drops to 60-65% for a few hours a day when the harsh afternoon sun hits my apartment (or when I open the doors which I do once a day to let fresh air in).

3) Overbuying stuff – In my excitement from late night research sessions I’ve hit the buy now button on stuff I just didn’t need, namely: Clear acrylic corner shelves (cost me a LOT to get these shipped to Australia but I have no room for them!), a water fountain (I just don’t need it!), an extra fan (one is plenty), 7 extra magnetic spice racks (again, no room for them!), a tonne of different pots (this actually isn’t necessarily a bad thing!).

4) The good stuff – I have bought a few things that have made my journey so far so much more pleasurable: A moisture meter which I use on the plants I have in soil so I know when my plants need a drink. LECA! As someone who’s killed every plant from overwatering, LECA is like a God send. In fact the plants that have all shot out new leaves are in leca. A water filter: Our water has chloramine in it (it kills fish!), so I figure it can’t be great for plants either.

Three months in and I’ve not killed a single plant, nor had any signs of pests at all (yet!). I’ve run out of room in my cabinet which has, for now, stopped me from buying more plants (but trust me, the urge is strong!). I’m seeing so much new growth that plants may have to be moved out of the cabinet WAY sooner than I realised.

I am loving my new hobby and it’s a huge bonus that the online plant community is a LOT more positive than any other community I’ve ever been a part of (Much more positive in Facebook groups than reddit, but hey, reddit is… reddit!). Ultimately I’m finding more peace (in life!) with the hobby. Watching new leaves unfurl is SO rewarding!