Bring nature home with indoor plants

In these days of shrinking spaces, maintaining an expansive garden may be a luxury. But do not lose heart. You can have a piece of garden inside your house too, writes BIJU GOVIND.
PHOTO: COURTESY MASTER PLAN, CHENNAI & K.GAJENDRAN

GREEN INTERIOR: Indoor greenery Gardening is not just a hobby. It allows people to interact with nature. It helps people even change their attitude to life. Ask any hobbyists. Life has become satisfying, beautiful and tranquil - they will say. However, not every one is lucky to have a gorgeous garden in their yard. People living in cities face the challenge of limited space. Shrinking spaces may have forced many to abandon the idea of having a good garden. Now people are beginning to choose another and better option - indoor gardening. It is as relaxing as outdoor gardening. You do not need any experience to start with. And it is neither expensive for beginners. In fact it is like bringing nature into the home. Florists say that a helping hand from like-minded neighbours, friends, tips from gardeners, reading books about gardening and browsing websites is all what you need to build up a booming garden inside your home But some essential things you must know are the general nature of plants, which plants to grow and what will grow outside and inside homes. Mastering the skills of growing plants can be done within a few weeks. With a good collection of plants you can create an absolute paradise in the interior of your home. A large number of varieties of ornamental tropical plants are available in markets. To start with choose plants, which are easily available and are cheap at the nurseries. Gardening can become expensive only if you are getting too much involved and engaged in collecting plants known for their exotic varieties. One of the commonest varieties is the anthuriums usually grown in pots. These beautiful indoor tropical plants are actually grown for their long lasting. Some of the specimens are most suitable in hanging baskets. However, these plants need acclimation to light as well as temperature in a new surrounding. A few of the

plumerias and bromeliads are plants. fertilisation and soil. Overuse and under-watering can destroy a plant. These are also known as the Lady Palm. fern asparayas. mosaic plant and Christmas cactus. bananas. other factors affecting plant growth are temperature. Heliconias. ventilation. Moisture level of houseplant requires constant attention. Some of these varieties are insect resistance. Other durable indoor tropical plants are Chinese evergreen. Dragon tree or corn plant. They have thick sturdy leaves and are found in many green and variegated forms. Ficus. Indoor plants Thousands of varieties of indoor houseplants are available in market these days. Although these are usually grown outside it can also be grown inside as well. These plants are also easy to maintain. Rhapis is another common variety. Peace Lily and Arrowhead Plant. Light is required for all plants. Hanging plant. Experts say that the original growth of the houseplant is determined by sun or shade. Acclimatise the houseplants to a new location. gingers. creeping bloxinia. Plants should look clean and well-potted. which are grown in pots. buy indoor houseplants free of disease and insects. honey plant. Fertilizers .plants suitable for hanging baskets are the basket-vine types. humidity. Apart from light and water. Incorrect proportions will prevent plant growth indoors. Gradually reduce the light level or increase them. Using water is another essential thing. red ivy. Some plants need bright filtered light while others need to be kept near the window. However. If they have new flowers and leaf buds with healthy foliage it would be good.

houseplants usually tolerate normal temperature fluctuations. Pots are also available in ceramic. Disbudding is another caring activity in which flower buds are removed to obtain larger blooms. This is done to make the plant more attractive stimulates new growth. Plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Clay pots are the healthiest kind containers for houseplants. indoor gardening helps to improve room air and increase beauty of your room. Ensure regular cleaning of the leaves. plastic and fibreglass materials.Similarly using fertilizers for indoor plants is another element. Pinching is the removal of new stem and leaf growth. Apartment is not only place for dwelling but also a place where you spend major part of your life. . Humidity and ventilation are other vital factors. You may be looking for making your apartment beautiful and there is no argue that nature is beautiful. pruning and disbudding. Some of the other activities include pinching. Regarding temperature. Occasional re-potting is another essential thing in caring for indoor plants. Other areas in which you can enhance houseplant care are selecting pots for the plants. brass. building. Use of pesticides is not recommended. What is indoor gardening? Growing houseplants within a residence. greenhouse or in a conservatory is called indoor gardening. Indoor gardening makes them possible for you. You can bring nature into your apartment. Provide enough headroom for proper watering and bottom drainage. Indoor gardening is garden that suits most for city dwellers where space for garden is limited. Pruning is the removal of an entire branch of the plant so as to keep it compact. Some plants do not need fertilizers at all. Care has to be taken to keep the indoor plants from insects and diseases.

Time required: While choosing plant you need to know how much time you should spend to take care of your plant. you either plants that grow in medium or low lights or you can provide artificial heat for your plant. Remember to take care of same when choosing plants with throne. Make sure your plant gets enough sunlight. remember that some plants are poisonous in nature. Some plants needs more care and some other needs no extra care. . You can buy good container soil for your plant than taking soil form outdoor which may also risk of insect and other disease. Container garden helps you to grow your favorite herbs. Avoid dark place: Avoid keeping your plants in dark place of your room and in the place where it gets more cool air such as cooler and air conditioner. If your room is not getting enough sunlight. Container garden in indoor gardening Container garden is practice of growing plants in containers or in pots. select only those plants that will be able to grow in the climate and condition of your room. You need to check the date for seeds and plants are free from pests. While choosing plant for your indoor know the time required and whether you want to display them year round. Nowadays supermarkets and others stores come up with seeds and indoor plants. Starting an Indoor Garden Before you setup an indoor garden you must know the basic things required for thrive of indoor plants. y y y y y Sunlight: Sunlight is important for plants and flowering plants require more sunlight. Purchasing plant: While purchasing indoor plants. You can either start your indoor gardening with seeds or plants bought from nursery. Plants need adequate sunlight. You can enjoy the nature in your home with container garden. Keep in mind if you have small children or pets. If your room is setup with cooler or air conditioner. Purchase plants that appear pest free and with healthy foliage. soil and fertilizers for its growth. water.Choosing Right Plant Secret of successful indoor gardening is choosing right plant that suits your room temperature and climate. You need to organize artificial heat and adequate atmosphere for the growth of indoor plants. Pour enough water and bathe your plant occasionally. Outdoor plants require 6 to 8 hours sunlight for better growth and indoor plants need 1 or 2 hours sunlight for its growth. Indoor plants need more attention and care than an outdoor plant. Keep plants near window where it gets sunlight or keep them outside for one or two hours a day. You can setup miniature garden and develop your skill gardening skill in the limited space. Caution: While choosing indoor plants. Here are some tips for you to choose right plant for your indoor gardening. While choosing plant for your indoor you need to decide where you are placing them and will they get adequate sunlight.

Ponytail Palm can thrive for one or more day without water. It is one of the durable indoor plants Ponytail Palm: This one of the indoor plants which needs a little attention for maintaining its beauty. You can move plants from one place to another without disturbing the growth of your plant. y y y y y Size and shape of container: Container is available in various shapes and size that suits your need and for growth of your plant. Chinese evergreen: These plants grow in low light. Popular Indoor Plants You can choose plants that suit the theme of your room. you can choose container that suits best for your apartment or space available. you can treat those containers with appropriate spray without disturbing other plants. Chinese evergreen has silver gray and dark green leaves. dry air and in drought. Saves Space: One of the advantages of container garden is it helps in saving space. Here are some advantages of container garden in indoor gardening. Indoor plants purify air and reduce pollutants in the room. In container garden plants are well fed. The foliage of these plants arises from an unusual swollen trunk and best suits for those who forget to water. Proper nutrition: In outdoor gardening usually fertilizers fed for plants are either drained off or absorbed by nearby plants. pink etc. white. Amaryllis: Amaryllis is easy to bring to boom and comes in various beautiful colors of red. . Container is available in various size and shape. Pest free: Container garden helps to stop pests and if your plant is infected by pests. You can choose any shape and size for your plant considering space available in your room for indoor gardening Easy movement: Container garden provides easy movement of plants. Here are some plants used for indoor gardening.flowers or vegetable in your apartment.

and keep it in moist soil less mix until it roots. Rosemary: Start with a cutting of rosemary.Tropical combo Bonsai: You can get taste of tropic right and can be cultivated in any small corner. Louis. Rosemary is also a natural mosquito repellant. Common indoor houseplants may provide a valuable weapon in the fight against rising levels of indoor air pollution. The plants in your office or home are not only decorative. formerly a senior research scientist at NASA¶s John C. NASA research on indoor plants found that living plants are so efficient at absorbing contaminants in the air that some will be launched into space as part of the biological life support system aboard future orbiting space stations. It grows best in a south-facing window. Bill Wolverton. both on Earth and in space has been carried out for many years by Dr. Research into the use of biological processes to solve environmental problems. . Miss Based on preliminary evaluations of the use of common indoor plants for indoor air purification and revitalization a study using about a dozen popular varieties of houseplants was done to determine their effectiveness in removing several key pollutants associated with indoor air pollution. A sophisticated pollution-absorbing device: the common indoor plant may provide a natural way of helping combat "Sick Building Syndrome". but NASA scientists are finding them surprisingly useful in absorbing potentially harmful gases and cleaning the air inside modern buildings. Stennis Space Center. Bay St. While more research is needed. Wolverton¶s study showed that common indoor landscaping plants can remove certain pollutants from the indoor environment.

Other good performers are Dracaena Massangeana. Cordyline is a single stemmed. and Golden Pothos. The leaves are rich crimson or copper green with red shades that take on darker hues as they mature. "Plants take substances out of the air through the tiny openings in their leaves. CORDYLINE TERMINALIS is a popular indoor plant. roots and soil bacteria are all important in removing trace levels of toxic vapors". Belonging to the family Agavaceae."We feel that future results will provide an even stronger argument that common indoor landscaping plants can be a very effective part of a system used to provide pollution free homes and work places. Each plant type was placed in sealed." Wolverton said. spider plant and the golden pothos were labeled the most effective in removing formaldehyde molecules. Flowering plants such as gerbera daisy and chrysanthemums were rated superior in removing benzene from the chamber atmosphere. usually unbranched shrub or small tree originally from Pacific Islands and Australia. It is closely related to and frequently confused with dracaenas. " he concludes. Plexiglas chambers in which chemicals were injected. `Cordyline terminalis' is a popular indoor plant known for its beautiful foliage. mainly grown for the beautiful foliage. stiff lanceolate leaves . "But research in our laboratories has determined that plant leaves. Philodendron. Spathiphyllum. Good luck plant Believed to bring home good luck. These evergreen shrubs have leathery.

These hardy plants will thrive with the minimum of fuss apart from giving the green hue to the interiors and the garden. They can also be grown as climbers on walls. They do tolerate oil and gas fumes in moderation and make for ideal plants by the window. Philodendron. Any good quality well-drained potting mixture is good for the plant. CHITRA RADHAKRISHNAN Get rich with money plant Among the plants that you needn't pamper are the money plants. Scindapsus aureus or money plant is an immensely popular houseplant. Bright even light brings out the highest colour of Cordyline. Leaves of Cordyline generally remain on the plant for two years. you can expect some lower leaves to fall in summer. They should be sprayed in summer and kept away from direct sunlight. Young plants bear leaves that are three-four inches long. trellis and trees or in hanging baskets. The leaves are about 20 cms long and 10 cms wide have no leaf stalk and spring out from a central growing point. When the stem grows too tall cut off the tops. Cordyline should be kept well watered during warm weather. with or without leaves. They narrow at the stalk as well as the tip. Tiny pink or reddish flowers appear on 30 cms panicles. root them in moist sand for propagation. Species of Scindapsus. compost and organic fertiliser is suitable soil. Cordylin is believed to bring good luck. which elongates to a short stem with age. . After about four months move the plants into bigger pots with rich fertilised soil. Supplement with regular doses of plant food and change the topsoil every year. About fivecm-long sections of the old stem. Monstera and Syngonium are common climbers used as pot plants. A mixture of sandy loam. This is a perennial climber with heart-shaped dark green shiny leaves. will root normally if each section includes at least one growth-bud.arranged in loose rosette. but allowed to dry out between watering.

The cuttings kept in water will develop many roots and they may need replacing. Trim and re-pot whenever required. the moss falls off. But in dry places . Cover the pots with plastic bags and leave them in bright filtered light till roots appear. the leaves will become larger. One attractive way to grow money plant is to train it on sticks in pots. These plants can climb high up the trunks and along the branches of trees by attaching fleshy aerial roots to the dry bark. A wire-netting framework can be used to hold the moss in place. Coir gives grip and roots easily cling on to the sticks. Money plants are mainly used as indoor plant because of the foliage and rapid growth. Scindapsus will grow at a terrific rate. The plant will then produce leaves of different sizes and may demand more space. Cut money plant branches arranged in glass containers will produce roots and the cuttings will remain fresh for a longer time. Change water once in a month. Moss-covered polythene pipes are used to give moisture and hold for the roots. Given some care. Propagation is through cuttings of three-four inches below the node. If you want the plant to grow bushy. trimming helps. water and fertilizer. Instead of moss. Water moderately and transfer them into hanging pots and let the plants trail down. In less light. the leaves lose much of the colour contrast. Given light. Scindapsus will do well as ground and wall cover. coir ropes also can be used on polythene pipes.But they can be twice as big on older plants and bigger on climbers growing on trees. it will grow well and add colour to your garden Splash of colour There are dozens of varieties of Cymbidium . These rooted cuttings can be planted in pots or in beds. Plant a few of the cuttings in pots containing rich soil. Flowers are not produced indoors. The fresh looking money plant grown in water is a cheerful sight and the show of green will last for many months. Add water as it evaporates. When money plant grows vertically upwards on the sticks. Bright filtered light throughout the year is best for the plant. They can trail down from pots or hanging baskets.

each up to (6 cm across) in a single season. yellow. Flowers are borne on long or short racemes from the bases. ranging from deep brown. The plants have 8-10 narrow to linear leaves. to red. China. with yellowish white and deep red lips. Flowers are scented and can be in a variety of colours. Australia and Malaysia. . Cymbidium Lisa Rose has pendulous linear leaves 75 cm long. pink. It bears up to 12 rose pink flowers. on upright racemes.Cymbidium: ideal indoor plant THE GENUS Cymbidium includes 50 species of evergreen epiphytic or terrestrial orchids from the tropical areas in India. Many hybrids have been produced. Japan. green and white. These are often grown as indoor plants and can produce as many as 30 flowers.

has dusky red-pink flowers. These are borne on upright racemes. writes Nivedita Ganguly Indoor plants need a lot of care to remain healthy. They should be kept under the sun for a specific time.. Nurseries and terrace gardens have caught on as a concept in the city.Cymbidium insigne bears upright racemes of white or white flushed pink flowers.. say once in 15 days . Cymbidium flowers from December to June. with pink spotted lips. There are dozens of varieties and all reward you with arching sprays of waxen blooms in a range of colours that last for weeks. with red-banded white lips. Cymbidium Pontac bears dark red flowers. If a garden flowering in gay abandon is not possible because of space constraints. it is still not difficult to indulge your green thumb. terrestrial orchid with pseudo-bulbs and linear leaves. on long upright racemes. with yellow tips marked deep red and pale pink. 6 cm across. Keep the compost nicely moist. Keep away from direct sunlight in cool places or window boxes. The beckoning bloom. Cymbidium Strathdon.. Feed with liquid fertilizer when new leaves and shoots form.

In our own land. For instance. In the garden history. a love expressed by the Duke of York to the Countess of Stair through a letter which used all the scientific meanings of the 'rhododendron' species to describe his feelings. It's complete joy to watch a series of colourful flowers sit demurely in the bed of greens. have caught on as a concept in the city. pile up over 3. An all-consuming love made Ernest Henry Wilson.000 species from China and Southern Europe. Gardening in ancient India was an integration of Nature with everyday life. Nurseries and terrace gardens. And it can be a pleasure watching your soul bloom. the red roses redefined the look of our shaan-e-baghs (i.e. This passion for flowers and gardening is eloquently etched in their history. medicinal or aromatherapy purposes or doing your bit for the environment. the greatest British plant collector during the Great Wars. . whether in cottages or palaces.R. The heady fragrance and colours of flowers and foliage stir the senses. water channels and. Whether it is for spiritual. of course. there is exercise and much sanity to be derived from a garden patch. gardens). it seems. DEEPAK A carpet of manicured greens gives that rejuvenating feeling. the great love of the Lodis and the Moghuls for terracing. none can really deny that the British had a great love for their gardens.COLOURFUL Plants of different varieties are available in the CMR Nursery Garden PHOTOS: K. A pleasant feeling runs down and joy compounds if you have this strip of green in and around your house that you can call your very own garden.

the Chandana Mohan Rao Nursery Garden houses a vast variety of plants. Yes.Situated in lush. however. The latest rage is the miniature lotuses. Tens of hundreds of flowering. with a slender stem that spreads in all direction. The butterfly creeper is a handsome one shaped liked the butterfly's wings. Leaves shaped like ribbons. Siliguri. close your eyes. green environs along the bustling National Highway No. and take a deep breath. . continue to remain popular because of their bright hues.75 to Rs. Baroda. it is the smell of a pristine forest. This plant requires least maintenance and grows to an average height of 3-4 feet when kept indoors. The costliest among these is the Cycas plant that ranges from Rs. There are about 50 varieties of show plants. fruit-bearing.5.5. indoor and ornamental plants are found here.000. This oasis is one of the popular nurseries in the city. Pune and Bangalore. Darjeeling. apples or like a duck's foot add to the charm of this plant. 103 of flowering plants and 35 of indoor plants available here that are brought from far off places like Kolkata. Just walk in to the nursery. which grow in a pot full of water and look adorable! Creepers are another attraction at this nursery. The crotons.

give a classy look to the frontyard of the house. they have a range of popular ones. cast your eyes on the sides .V. Though in a developing stage. it is still not difficult to indulge your green thumb. Ferry flowers With flowers enclosed in boat shaped bracts. if a garden flowering in gay abandon is not possible as you live in an apartment. They should be kept under the sun for a specific time."Indoor plants need a lot of care to remain healthy. . If the flat balcony is small and you also have to accommodate a clothesline. ideal for warm climes. like the Golden Duranta. Most balcony plants should be exposed to the morning sun. Boat Lily is a fascinating indoor plant. say once in 15 days. and if your apartment is your dream house. Money plants need little sunlight and can be grown in pots with moss sticks or in bottles and stay evergreen and brighten kitchen counters. perhaps. Rao." says B. Even as you wait for that bus before you to move on this one of the busiest roads in the city. These can be cut in various artistic shapes to suit the ambience of the garden. They have about 25 types of roses. Diefen Beakia and Aglonima are the popular indoor plants that come in different varieties. then choose plants that are short like varied crotons and ferns. If you're one of those who rush down the Jagadamba junction during daytime. With such wide varieties of plants available. it has quite a good range of plants especially hedge plants which. 15 of hanging plants and 20 of indoor plants lined to the collection. then your balcony can be your imaginative corner.there's an entire way of life on the stretches flanking this arterial road. The MVP VUDA Central Nursery is. nevertheless. you can't fail to notice the sudden flashes of colours on the stretch beside Lepakshi. These roadside small nurseries may not have all varieties of plants. the in-charge of the nursery. the oldest nursery in the city.

although not a lily. The leaves are fleshy and can easily be broken. moist place will be ideal for the plant. The plant. The specific name spathacea refers to the large bracts that enclose the flowers and discolouring explains the double colour nature of the leaves.Hance a British botanist. A native of Mexico. A semi shady. A delicate looking indoor plant that grows well even in warm Chennai or Hyderabad with an unexplained generic name Boat Lily. the plant. Owing to the shape of the bracts. with flowers in boat shaped bracts found below the leaves. dark green on the upper surface and purplish underneath. is a member of the family Commelinaceae. the plant should be given more shade and water but water logging around the roots should be avoided. is also known as the Boat Lily. Rhoeo spathacea (Rhoea discolour). .AN ASSORTMENT of vivid plants can enliven the interiors.P. The small white flowers are not showy but they present a curious appearance like a child peeping from its cradle and hence the common name `Moses-in-the-cradle'. In summer. The leaves are erect and lance shaped up to 25 cms long and 5 cms broad produced in conical rosettes. it was named Rhoeo by R. . should be kept in a place where it will not be disturbed. thus being delicate.

Mature plants produce plenty of offshoots and they come in handy to propagate the plant. . Rhoeo spathacea (Vittata) with yellow lengthwise stripes on the upper side of leaves with a red tinge is a variegated variety of the plant. A loose compost mixture in which an extra amount of leaf mould is added will be ideal for the plant.

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