‘Growing plants in water is an old method, and one that’s been around me forever. I remember my mum always had plants in jam jars on the windowsills of our apartment in Seoul when I was little’, Jin says. ‘Soil is needed to keep plants from tipping over and to provide nutrients, but some small house plants and most herbs can easily be grown without it’.
‘The round vases are particularly useful for delicate plants and flowers – their narrow openings prevent the entire plant from slipping into the water. They hold the plant in place, just like soil would do, and will make sure only the very end of the stem and its roots are submerged’.
ARKET’s small mouth-blown glass vases are made to arrange twigs and odd flowers, and were chosen by Jin to hold rooted leaf cuttings and young plants. The larger vases are inspired by traditional fruit-and-vegetable conservation jars, distinguished by an everted rim, and used here for bouquets and foliage, as well as for potted plants.
Plants are ‘living sculptures’, Jin says, with an ability to transform the environment they are in – each with their own unique character, expressed in different shapes, colours and growing habits. ’I’m so lucky to be working with a living material, and try to play with the plants’ characteristics. It’s not an exact science, I don’t think it can be or should be. Sometimes a plant will do the job itself, regardless of my intention for it’.
Hedera, Tradescantia and Philodendron are easy plants to start with. ‘But have a go with whatever you already have at home. A few cuttings won’t kill the plant. Just make sure the cut is made below a leaf, at the leaf node, and place it in a glass container with water. You’ll be surprised by how easy it is to propagate your own plants, and I think they look magical when the roots are exposed in the water, with light shining through’.
Combining her own cuttings and plantlets with foraged city wild flowers, Jin Ahn of Conservatory Archives created a series of botanical still lifes with ARKET’s glass vases, to showcase how they can be used for simple propagation.