There’s a Hospital for Plants in Incheon Airport?

Incheon Airport boasts the largest indoor and outdoor landscaping in Korea as large as 3 million square meters!

Curious how Incheon Airport takes care of all the plants on such a large scale? Let’s find out about the secret behind Incheon Airport’s flawless landscaping!

Greenhouse in Incheon Airport, reviving withered plants

Incheon Airport is built on land reclaimed from the sea. Thus, its land has a lot of salt with sea winds, which makes it difficult for plants to grow. Terminals have a lack of water and sunlight, which are required for plants to grow.

Nevertheless, plants worth KRW 1.3 billion are planted in a year for Incheon Airport’s landscaping. How is this possible? It is because the airport has large greenhouses which restore and cure plants.

Plants grown in large greenhouses are transferred to terminals in Incheon Airport when they are in their prime. When it’s time they start to wither, they are moved back to greenhouses for treatment and rest until they blossom again. In other words, Incheon Airport serves as a hospital for plants!

As such a hospital, two greenhouses are used in the airport: Greenhouse 1 in Terminal 1 and Greenhouse 2 in Terminal 2. Furthermore, a custom greenhouse for growing tropical plants will be completed in 2025.

Greenhouse 2, storing overseas plants such as papaya

Delicate care is required since plants prefer different temperatures and have different habits and characteristics.

Greenhouse 2 is as large as 650 pyeong (approx. 2,150 m2), which is equivalent to a large botanical garden! It is where new flowering plants are temporarily stored and plants imported from abroad are also grown.

It is so huge that it has three different buildings. Building 1 is intended for flowering plants, and flowering plants refer to the plants that produce flowers. Since flowering plants are more sensitive to temperature, Building 1 is maintained at a higher temperature than other buildings.

Buildings 2 and 3 have shrubs and trees. Shrubs refer to short-to-middle trees while trees refer to those taller than 8 meters! They must maintain the average temperature of 26°C and the humidity of 30%. With automatic thermostats and humidity controllers, they can automatically keep such conditions for plants.

You can see papaya, desert fan palm, and other exotic plants in these buildings where plants imported from overseas are stored!

Since plants imported from abroad may transmit diseases and parasites, their leaves and roots are all removed to pass quarantine inspection. They are grown here in this greenhouse so that they can regain their health and regrow their leaves and roots.

Sometimes even the most hopelessly dried ones return to their normal states with enough nutrients and delicate care.

Plants grown here are transferred to landscaping areas in Incheon Airport! Let me introduce Node Garden in Terminal 2, which Greenhouse 2 is in charge of!

Beautiful indoor garden in Terminal 2

Node Garden is a place where you can heal your souls with natural lighting and various cultural performances.

Among the 260 species which can be grown indoors with low lighting levels, the garden includes 90 species which can adapt especially well to such environment. Once the plants start to lose their aesthetic value, they undergo a replacement procedure. Flowering plants can maintain their best look for 30 days and leafy plants for 60 days. So, they are generally replaced after such days.

There is one species of tree that is, unlike the others, artificial! They are the pine trees, scattered all across the Node Garden. Some of you might be curious why only pine trees are artificial while all others are natural.

Incheon Airport tried to plant trees that best represent Korea, which are pine trees, since the airport is a gateway to Korea. Unfortunately, pine trees can not grow indoors, so artificial ones were planted instead.

During the construction of Terminal 1, some magpies perched on these artificial pine trees mistaking them for real trees J

Outdoor landscaping, seen everywhere near Incheon Airport

There are various outdoor landscaping areas near Incheon Airport, not just indoor ones!

Haneul Garden is a famous outdoor garden where you can see airplanes take off and land from Incheon Airport closely and enjoy beautiful natural landscaping. While it used to be abandoned due to too much salt in the soil, it successfully grew forsythia and rapeseed, and now it provides a beautiful landscape to visitors every year.

Another area well-known for its natural beauty is landscaping around Cargo Terminal Interchange built along the road leading to Terminal 2. It features a scenery of islands in the West Sea, created with the stone mountains in the area. It used to be a borrow pit used to construct Terminal 2 in Incheon Airport. During rock blasting, stone mountains turned into the shape of islands and silver grass was planted, creating a beautiful ecological landscape in a place which may have left unattended otherwise. It also won the ecological category in 2018 National Award of Korean Landscape Architecture Culture.

Today, we went over how plants grown in Incheon Airport’s greenhouses are used for landscaping! Next time you visit Incheon Airport, don’t forget to take a look at the airport’s landscaping and remember what we covered in this post!

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