Potted pleasures

Potted pleasures

Indoor plants

Individual pots are among the easiest, safest and least expensive options for gardening enthusiasts, suggests A Dyuti.

We all want some greenery in our homes. But, in our urban set-ups, cramped apartments and pocket-sized homes deny us this opportunity. So, what’s the solution? Indoor plants, of course! Whether it is time or space you lack for having a full-fledged garden, you can still green up your haven by arranging plants in pots or containers around the house. Did you know that recent research has reaffirmed indoor plants can diminish air pollution. Isn’t that a bonus? Read on for ideas.

You can grow indoor plants in humid, cool or dry atmospheres. Indoor light or sunlight, temperature, humidity and ventilation determine your plant selection. Plus, are your plants meant for aesthetics (flowers) or food-supplementing (growing vegetables, fruits and herbs)? Do you want to grow plants organically or otherwise? Choose from among various flowering and foliage plants apart from cacti and succulents. Grow them in pots, boxes or terrariums. Individual pots are among the easiest, safest and least expensive options for beginners. Raise lovely flowers and luscious fruits and vegetables, apart from aromatic herbs in containers of different shapes, sizes, materials and hues. The greatest advantage of pots/containers is that you can grow plants anywhere and rearrange them often for novelty. Place them on window-sills, porches, patios and balconies, besides strategic spots indoors.

Choose your spots

So, which are the best spots indoors for potted plants to double as decor items? Indoor plants are most commonly found near windows, doors and entryways. Arrange them beside bookshelves too. Decorate the staircase landing with a single real plant in a big pot/urn. The latter’s especially suitable if your landing has a window.

You could also grow pretty flowers in a window-box or hanging plants in this case. Lining the banister base with pots on each step is recommended only for special occasions, like a party or a celebration. For, these hamper movement on normal days and are a temptation to kids to embark on a pot-toppling spree! Once the party’s over, return the pots to their original locations. If you have opted for water features like an indoor fountain or waterfall, you can artistically display potted plants in the spot. If your house is based on an open-floor plan that does away with most separating walls, potted plants can be arranged to segregate disparate areas, say, the TV-viewing corner from the dining area. But, don’t place delicate pots or thorny cacti at heavy foot-traffic spots.

In your meditation-room, bamboo plants in clear, glass vases contribute to the Zen scenario. Spruce up your home-office with indoor plants. On your balcony, you can have pots on the floor besides vertical garden and hanging baskets. Complaining of the lack of space for water features here? Then, go for a small tub with a water lily/hyacinth! Only, introduce a few goldfish into it for feeding on the mosquito larvae.

Place plants seeking direct sunlight near a sunny window. The same location with shades to dull the sunlight can be used for others that don’t demand so much sunlight. If natural light isn’t adequately available, use fluorescent lights. Avoid exposure to warm appliances. If your house isn’t breezy enough, keep a small fan on low at a distance from your plants for better air-circulation. Safeguard against chilly, night temperatures in winter by drawing heavy curtains and layering the window-panes with newspaper-sheets. Else, move pots away from the window at night using a trolley. Since blossoms turn towards light, rotate the pots frequently to make the flowers visible to the room’s occupants. Otherwise, only folks passing by your window outside can enjoy them!

Maintenance

Place plates underneath the pots to collect excess water flow. Over-watering spawns mould, mildew and fungi, while under-watering kills the plants. Shun hard water. Collected and stored rain-water is ideal. Place pots in a tray of moistened gravel to heighten humidity. Or, spray foliage lightly at intervals. Dust, grime and fumes settled on leaves hinder transpiration and choke the plants. So, clean them regularly. Wipe shiny, smooth leaves with warm water. Gently give hairy ones the occasional brushing. All plants need a daily change of air. Check foliage, blooms and fruit for signs of insect damage/disease regularly.

Indoor ferns can grow in tabletop containers, floor stands or hanging baskets. Some fern varieties like the Boston fern, Japanese holly fern and the Rabbit’s foot fern are especially suited for indoors. Place indoor ferns near a window, but not in direct sunlight. The containers should have a hole for drainage. But, remember, ferns are likely to rot faster, are more sensitive to overwatering and vulnerable to insects than other plants.

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