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The World Of Indoor Plants

By on November 17, 2012

“I hold no preference among flowers, so long as they are wild, free and spontaneous!”
Edward Abbey – Desert Solitaire “Cliffrose and Bayonets”

Waking up in a quiet whitewashed cottage with a tiny garden, set in a picturesque lane! Taking a hike amidst the lush foliage of tropical plants and dappled sunlight! Remnants of an exotic dream probably lost in the humdrum of living a life far removed from the spoils of nature. But the plant enthusiast in us doesn’t have to fade out, for one can easily bring nature indoors without having to sweat it out with a rake and a hoe. Indoor plants have since long, been accepted as the perfect décor as they magically transform any living space into a micro-jungle. The dark leaves of an ivy twirling round a window sill, wide variegated leaves spilling out of a potted fern, hanging plants in a wicker basket, tall palms that mellow down the interiors; a profusion of shapes and hues that gladdens the heart every time one walks into it!

Contrary to the notion that indoor plants need constant care, it’s actually smart gardening that reduces the amount of effort one puts into indoor gardens. Plants need just the right amount of moisture, sunlight, air, soil mixture, temperature, humidity, pest control, drainage and above all space. Crammed into a corner, plants tend to wilt in an effort to compete among each other for their basic needs. It’s very important that pots complement the size of plants they hold and the room they are placed in. Pots should be of neutral colors so they don’t age easily and lose their ornate charm. It’s better to have indoor plants that can easily withstand fluctuating temperatures, change of seasons and light conditions for they need time to acclimatize into the indoor atmosphere. During spring and summer it is essential to keep the soil (mixed with a controlled-release granular fertilizer), moistened regularly whereas during autumn and winter one needs to reduce the frequency of watering. Old yellow and wilting leaves should be regularly picked off to keep the plants healthy, vibrant and looking lively.

While creating an indoor garden, one needs to carefully choose plants to complement the interior décor. A tropical look with Zanzibar gem, golden cane palm and bromeliads goes well with teak/mahogany furniture and soft pastel colored fabrics. Modern interiors with bare furniture and geometric patterns can be livened up with tall textured foliage and large fronded plants like Madagascar Dragon tree and lady palm. On the other hand, the antique cottage look is best achieved with pink-and-white flowers and potted ferns. Dark leaved indoor plants are able to photosynthesize easily and thus can be placed in low sunlit rooms. Ferns with variegated leaves and Bromeliads on the other hands need to be placed near open windows or skylights to allow enough sunlight for their growth. The stunted growth of plants like Cacti, bonsai and orchids make them suitable as table-top plants, while the tall Golden Bamboo, palms and Monstera plants with their tall stems or large fronds look better placed in corners. Potted herbs and African violets can be placed in the kitchen sills to serve their inherent purpose while they liven up the space. A touch of gold and red is welcome amidst lush greens. Flowering indoor plants with succulent leaves and ferns like Azalea, Peace lily and Anthurium are a great favorite among indoor garden enthusiasts. Given the proper conditions it is even possible to grow bulbs like Narcissus, Crocus, Hyacinth and Gladioli.

Apart from adding to the aesthetic value, indoor plants help cleanse the atmosphere inside, reduce toxins in the air produced by paints, varnishes and airborne pollutants while improving the quality of indoor air; talk of a ‘green’ home! It’s time to escape back into the nature, engulf one’s senses in the scent of the forest, soothe the mind and nurture the soul, lost in the dappled greens and mellow ambience of an indoor garden.

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