My Dubai Rent: Meet the plant whisperer paying Dh59k for a one bedroom in JVC

Syed Zulfiquar Hussain looks after more than 200 different plants in his home

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My Dubai Rent takes you inside a reader's home to have a look at what they pay each month, see who they live with and ask what they like and don't like

Syed Zulfiquar Hussain lives in a one-bedroom apartment in Jumeirah Village Circle (JVC) that he shares with his wife and more than 200 plants.

The Indian, 66, who works as an adviser in the fragrance industry, said he wakes up at 4am every morning and spends the next two and a half hours watering and caring for his plants.

Among his prize possessions are dozens of bonsai trees that he has grown over the years.

Mr Hussain invited The National into his home to show us just why it is so special to him.

How much do you pay in rent?

We pay Dh59,000 ($16,000) a year over six cheques. Similar apartments usually cost around Dh45,000 but our landlord covers all the costs of the air conditioning.

He also furnished the apartment with white goods such as a cooker, fridge and washing machine.

It would have cost us a lot more in the long run to pay for all those separately.

What touches have you put on the place to make it your own?

I am passionate about plants, and I have been this way since a very early age.

There are more than 200 plants in my home, all of which I have grown myself from seeds rather than buying them fully grown.

People who visit often offer me money to sell them some of my plants, but they are not for sale.

I wake up every morning around 4am, even if it is a holiday, to water and care for them.

My wife often jokes that I love them more than her. I could not tell you which plants are my favourite though, as they are all special to me.

I have to make sure I care for them, especially those on my balcony in the summer as it gets extremely hot.

I often talk to the plants and play music for them. I even bought a special stereo system to play music for them on — my wife said I was crazy!

I spray them about five or six times a day to make sure they are looked after and I have a humidifier inside that is on for 24 hours a day, to keep the conditions just right.

What is so special about the community you live in?

There are 16 parks here, which are great for us to go walking in. My son also lives in the next building, so if I need anything, then he is right there beside us.

It’s important to us that we are close to our family.

There is also a mall which is less than 100 metres away, so it is the perfect location for us.

Where did you live before moving here?

This is the second year we have lived in this apartment. Before that we lived in a penthouse apartment in Crystal Residence, which is also in JVC.

We were paying Dh110,000 to live in a two-bedroom apartment with a private swimming pool.

To be honest, we did not need all that space and we decided to move here.

What would you change about your home if you could?

There is nothing I would change. There are no disadvantages to living here. We have everything we need, from a gym to a swimming pool, in the building.

If I need to have a business meeting, there is also a conference room downstairs that I can use.

Updated: August 29, 2022, 4:29 AM
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