Leaf it to Wildcat's plant rental service to green up your office in style

It's time to ditch those dusty, drab and dated pot plants in favour of sexy metal planters filled with an ever-changing assortment of lush greenery

01 December 2019 - 00:00 By Mila Crewe-Brown
Wildcat Indoor Plant Features is reinventing the office plant.
Wildcat Indoor Plant Features is reinventing the office plant.
Image: Chloe O'Doherty Kiss Kiss Photography

Cast your mind to the current corporate and hospitality plant scene: considerable budget goes to flower arrangements and potted plants that have to contend with neglect, poor lighting and the constant blast of air-conditioning.

And honestly, the plants themselves are hideous - varieties deemed "unkillable", so dated you'd never put them in your own lounge. Think: peace lily and bamboo palm.

And then there's the plastic variety - a smart solution, if only we had access to world-class fakes in SA. But then we'd be losing out on the oxygen injection that real plants offer.

Enter Wildcat Indoor Plant Features, a newcomer serviced plant offering that differentiates itself with a curated selection of coveted, Insta-worthy indoor plants, cared for entirely by Wildcat and displayed in a series of sexy powder-coated-steel plant stands. Not a white plastic planter or mother-in-law's tongue in sight!

Founder Lida Howe-Ely, a Joburg-based ex-advertising creative director, explains the concept: "Rather than one permanent plant, our stands are packed with a weekly curation of plants from our greenhouse. The result is a Wildcat plant stand with a lush new look, week after week, no matter the light, humidity or temperature."

Clients can select the stand that suits them, from rectangular trays that take a few pots to single-pot cylinders, and there's even a hanging variety.

"A lot of what we see is pretty uninspiring aesthetically. For many years, indoor plants, certainly in corporate spaces, have been background add-ons to a space, rather than being embraced as a feature," says Howe-Ely.

Scale is another point of difference for Wildcat. The opportunity to offer large-scale greening for the hospitality and corporate sector has been overlooked until now. And by large scale, we mean up to 2m high and 1m wide. Proportioned for large spaces, Wildcat's stands are beautifully clean-lined and contemporary, and are all handmade locally by crafters in Johannesburg.

Howe-Ely's own green-fingered wizardry can be put down to the fact that she comes from a line of plant-loving and plant-selling family members. She is even the owner of an inherited plant, "kept alive and passed down through generations by means of cuttings. The original plant belonged to my great-grandmother," she says.

Clients of Wildcat are the recipients of the most lush and happy specimens, tended to diligently by Howe-Ely.

What's in her greenhouse? Among many others: Phlebodium aureum (Blue Star Fern), Philodendron scandens (heartleaf philodendron), Chinese money plant and various alocasias, calatheas and ficuses.