|Green is beautiful. Make the dull indoors of your home vibrant by simply devoting a little time in nurturing your precious plants, says Radha Prathi.|
|If you think your green thumb is not being put to good use in urban areas—which are mere concrete jungles, put aside your frustration and create a green environment indoors. In doing so, you will not only be beautifying your home by ushering in mother nature but will also help fighting illnesses that are directly related to the quality of indoor air.
A little initial investment of your time and money can translate into verdant joy, which can last for at least a year without being an overbearing responsibility in your busy schedule.
All the same, you should be prepared to spend a few minutes everyday to tend to the plants and perhaps spend an hour on them once a fortnight to attend to their exclusive needs. If you are mentally prepared to make a sincere commitment for the green cause, launch into the project without much delay.
What you need to do
If you visit a botanical nursery in your vicinity you can pick up all your requirements in a one-stop shop. You will need fairly large earthen pots with drain holes, some gravel, charcoal, a bag of soil, sand, half a kilogram of Suphala, half a kilogram of rock salt, a small shovel, a water sprinkler and plants of your choice.
It is preferable to use earthen flower pots over other materials to grow your plants for they will offer an earthy comfort zone to your plants besides keeping your room cooler.
Make sure you choose fairly large sized earthen pots with drain holes for your indoor plants. Once you get the pots, soak them in water overnight and check them for cracks or for patches with soaked water. If you find the pot very patchy with moisture, you can be sure that it will not last very long. If you are unable to get them exchanged, you could break them and use them to fill the base of your other pots. The ones that emerge clean will last for a long time to come.
Fill the bottom of the pot with a layer of gravel. Then toss a few pieces of charcoal and broken terracotta pieces on the gravel to help the soil retain moisture in case 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 kilogram of Suphala, fine sand and rock salt, each, and mix them thoroughly before filling the pots.
Make sure that you do not pack the soil to the maximum capacity for the soil may harden and obstruct the roots from growing. Once the ground work is done, pot the plant of your choice and water it lightly everyday for a fortnight. During this period keep the pots in a place that receives sunlight for at least a couple of hours a day. Once you are certain that your plants have gathered roots, place them in spots of your choice within your home or office premises.
Since the plants are meant to be kept indoors make sure the visual treat does not become cumbersome to the upkeep and the aesthetics of your home. Place the potted plants on a plastic plate or place them in an aesthetic looking container made of brightly coloured plastics. Brass containers can give that touch of class to your emerald spot besides protecting your expensive flooring or carpet from getting ‘soiled’.
Take your pots out and place them in the sun once in a fortnight for a couple of hours and prune them if necessary. If these plants collect dust or cobwebs, don’t even attempt to wipe the leaves, for you will be crushing and blocking the pores of the leaves causing irreversible damage. Instead spray water over the plant with a hose or a sprinkler to get rid of the unsightly body. Sprinkle a layer of turmeric powder over the soil keep ants and other insects at bay. This routine will ensure a healthy green indoors for at least a year after which you can repot the plants in the prescribed method.
Repeating the process year after year will fetch you rich rewards, for the exercise will not only spruce up your home but will aid in cleansing the air naturally, improving the acoustics and cooling the atmosphere besides cutting the cost of your electricity and medical bill substantially.
Do not discard the new saplings clustering in the pots or the pruned branches for they can vegetate into a new plant if you pot them again in new earthen receptacles. If you find it difficult to accommodate the new arrivals give them away as gifts. They can prove to be a priceless gift in a world which is boggled by pollution and pollution related allergies and diseases.