Get some greens home this summer, says Monika Poddar
I have, till date, seldom come across people who do not have a soft spot for plants but have always heard people being sceptical of gardening. Reading between the lines, I felt that they were more concerned about the aftercare and maintenance. So instead of sharing fanciful names with difficult scientific names to pronounce, I’d rather try and share simple things to make people shake off their scepticism and dig in with their green thumbs.
There’s an old saying that reads: “The best time to plant a tree was 10 years ago. The next best time to plant is today”. You don’t need a huge terrace or a large balcony, all you need is a little space inside your house, and more importantly, in your heart for these beautiful and useful plants.
Summer is the best time to plant more greens inside the house as they will refresh your surroundings, help you beat the heat and lower your AC bills. And here are some easy-to-keep indoor options to start out with:
ARECA PLANT: This leafy plant can be grown anywhere in the house and they add lush, beautiful foliage to your interiors. It works as a great humidifier and is a great addition to the backdrop of your walls.
You can create a green wall-divider using few of them to segregate spaces within your apartment. For example, between your living and dining area or between the kitchen and dining area. Remember to choose the pot size in proportion to the height of the plant. It’s a very hardy plant and requires practically no maintenance. Just water it enough to keep the soil moist and a bit of sunlight to keep them happy and cheerful.
ALOE VERA: This succulent plant species is unique and full of goodness and health. It is nature’s greatest healer. Even the legendary beauty, Cleopatra, is said to have used aloe vera gel. It not only works wonders on your skin and complexion; it is very effective when applied on cuts, bruises and sunburns. In addition to this, it also has a great cleansing effect when eaten in the morning on an empty stomach.
Aloe vera plants like to be dry and warm, so water only when you see the soil dry. Aloe vera placed in full shade will not thrive, so choose a sunny spot near a window in your home. Get a nice, bright round pot, soil and plant, and you’re ready to go.
SPIDER PLANT: The plant gets its name due to its uniquely shaped leaves which dangle like spiders on a web. They come in different shades of green so you can mix and match to create your own combination. It’s very safe if you have pets.
It looks lovely if you line up your windowsill with it. You can, alternatively, keep it on your corner table or consoles next to some accent pieces or some pretty candle stands. It helps to remove harmful chemicals from the air. To have a healthy plant, just be careful not to over-water it.
KOCHIA: Kochia is a hardy plant and can be grown as ornamental or as foliage. It’s a quick-growing plant and tends to form a round shape. It looks very artistic if you line up your balcony with it as it requires sunlight. Give the sculptor in you a chance and try to give it your desired shape — round, square or pyramid. Choose identical pots so that they look nice, lined up like a little army of plants.
SUNFLOWER: The sunflower is unique as it provides vibrancy, warmth and happiness. It symbolises the sun, providing energy and adoration with their open faces. I call the sunflower my happy flower. They come in different varieties, the popular ones being the dwarf and the larger ones that we usually see.
As the name suggests, it needs the sun, so choose the placement according to that. Sunflower is fairly easy to grow and propagation takes place from seeds and it requires sunlight and moderate water. Get yourself some pots and get going. Gift your loved ones sunflower plants to instantly brighten up their homes and hearts.
Monika Poddar owns plant boutique Chlorofyl.
Reach her on Facebook @ChlorofylKol