Add a dash of green to your living space

Who doesn’t like a place away from all the grime, dirt and pollution outside?
What better way, than to create and nurture such a space in your own house! Pollution levels in urban India have reached alarming rates and an aesthetic way to fight the problem is by fostering indoor plants.

Right placement

Not an expensive proposition, spending a little time on the exercise can make your living space, greener. A proper selection and placement of plants at home can do a world of good for the residence. It will not only give your house a lively facelift but also cleanse the air, apart from improving acoustics and will help you to bring down cooling costs substantially.

A recent survey has revealed that 40 per cent of illnesses people suffer from are related to the quality of air in their homes. Reason enough for you to get into action. A visit to the local botanical nursery can give you an idea about the variety of plants you can grown indoors.

Common Indian favourites are the Golden Pothos, Marble Queen Pothos, Split-leaf Philodendron, African Violet, Aloe Vera among others. Once you choose the kind of plant you want, the next step is to follow a few ground rules.

Firstly, choose fairly large sized earthen pots with drain holes and fill the bottom of the pot with a layer of gravel.

Then, toss a few pieces of charcoal and broken terracotta into the gravel to help the soil retain moisture, incase you forget to water them for a day. Prepare the soil for all the pots together in the following proportion — for one large bag of red soil, add half a kg of urea, fine sand and rock salt. Mix them thoroughly before filling the pots.  Make sure that you do not pack the soil to the maximum capacity as it may harden and obstruct the roots from growing. Pot the plant of your choice and water it lightly everyday. Since plants are kept indoors make sure you place them on a plate or place them in an aesthetic looking container made of any material of your choice.

Containers

Brightly coloured plastics and brass containers are an option as they lend a touch of glamour to your green niche, apart from saving your precious flooring from getting soiled. When these plants collect dust, wipe the leaves on either side with a wet cloth but don’t attempt to do the same with hairy leaves as it may damage them. Spraying water on leaves can act as a substitute.

Keep these pots out in the sun once in a fortnight, for a couple of hours and prune them if necessary. They can be repotted annually at your convenience in the manner prescribed earlier. For extra nutrition you could toss a dispirin or a paracetamol once in a month into the pot to rejuvenate them.

If you find ants or other insects attracted to your plants,  sprinkle some turmeric powder on the plant to ward them off. Also, if you choose to have water plants like money plant or bamboo shoots, make sure that you change the water once in every three or four days. A tiny pinch of salt and sugar in equal proportion added to the water, will discourage mosquitoes from laying eggs in it and will provide additional sustenance to the plants.

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