Tools of the Trade

Which tools and products can’t members of the Interior Plantscape Association (IPA) do without when designing, constructing and maintaining their clients’ interior plantscapes?

Thanks to IPA members who gave their trade secrets to Gabrielle Stannus, IPA board member, for IPA’s latest article on ‘Tools of the Trade.’ You can read the full article in the September issue – Interior Plantscaping section Hort Journal Australia

Q 1. Which tool or product can’t you do without when designing, constructing and/or maintaining your clients’ interior plantscape? And why?

Ambius Australia – Nationwide

Graeme Armeni, Ambius Technical Manager: Our SOP’s (Standard Operating Procedures) and SWMS (Safe Work Method Statements) to ensure correct designing, installation and service. This ensures all Ambius work is carried out within our safe working practices. Tools of the trade would be our pipettes which ensures correct water levels in our sub-irrigation reservoirs to mitigate under and over-watering, which subsequently can lead to pest and/or disease and other problems.


1. Technician from Ambius Gaye inserting pipette-min 2. Pipette close up Image Ambius-min


Nerida’s Interior Plantscaping – Victoria

Nerida Hills: The tool that the team at Nerida’s Interior Plantscaping absolutely could not do without when maintaining indoor plants is a soil probe.  Without it I believe you are just guessing when trying to determine how much moisture is in the soil.  Not only can you test moisture levels, it’s also great to get a feel for the soil type (potting mixes can vary greatly) which we also take into account when deciding how much water to give our plants.  Even when using containers with a water reservoir, we regularly check the moisture levels in the soil – you do not want to keep filling an empty reservoir if the soil is already waterlogged!

A soil probe can also be used to aerate the soil if it becomes waterlogged or a bit compacted and when maintaining large numbers of plants we often leave it in a plant to mark where we are up to when we have to go off and collect more water.


3. Soil probe Image Nerida's Interior Plantscaping Victoria-min


The team from Tropical Plant Rentals NSW

Graeme Reid: Quality well trained staff, watering can, water meter, water cart to carry water for larger sites, good fertiliser.

Alison Pennell: Water meter, scissors, leaf shine, insecticide, watering can

Jayne Billinghurst: Scissors – good control for trimming, good workbag to hold the tools with separate compartments, needs to be the right size and shape to fit on a trolley, small lightweight good quality trolley – it makes watering much more efficient and has your tools onboard as well.

Kylie Cann: Watering car, watering carts for large jobs, microfibre cleaning cloths, good quality trolley to transport plants, pots etc, floral snips, pest oil, leaf shine & seal, fertiliser

Mitchell Reid: Watering can, good quality secateurs, good organised vehicle that allows you to carry everything you need and all the things you don’t think you need, soil wetting agent throughout COVID-19 has been a godsend for sites where access has been restricted.

4. Soil moisture meter Image Tropical Plant Rentals NSW-min

Q 2. Which tool or product do you wish you had? And why?

Ambius Australia

Graeme Armeni, Ambius Technical Manager: A magic wand would be great! 

 Nerida’s Interior Plantscaping

Nerida Hills: I would love to have a computer program that enables me to show clients how a design will look in their space. I am sure there is something out there, but I would then obviously need the time and knowledge to use it properly!

 Tropical Plant Rentals

Kylie Cann: A tool that could speed up the water flow on taps; energy efficient taps really slow us down. More local wholesale nurseries that stock indoor plants.

BONUS BLOG from top US interior plantscaper!

Gabrielle also spoke to well-known interior plantscaper from the USA while writing this article. Clem Cirelli, Jr. is a career horticulturist and interior plantscaper at Belmont Greenhouses in Belle Mead, New Jersey, with over thirty-five years’ experience in all segments of the green industry. Clem shared a blog that he wrote for the NewPro Containers website: ‘Equip your plant technicians for success.’ In this blog, Clem detailed his preferred professional and functional tools of the trade. He covered watering machines, cutting tools and accessories, cleaning/polishing tools and products, and miscellaneous tools and accessories. It is highly recommended reading!

Your turn!

Which tool or product can’t you do without when designing, constructing and/or maintaining your interior plantscape? And why?

Which tool or product do you wish you had? And why?

Share your stories and photos on the Interior Plantscape Association (IPA) Facebook page.

Article written by:

Gabrielle Stannus | IPA Board Member | Inwardout Studio

By | 2020-08-27T18:54:31+10:00 August 27th, 2020|