Indoor Gardening

These days, due to shortage of open spaces, it has become necessary to grow the plants indoors. Lucky are those few who have open gardens of their own. Calling a plant as “Indoor plant” is nothing but a sales gimmick. No plants need shelter of a house. The term “House plants” has caused many beginners to dismay and wash their hands of this wonderful hobby. They feel that the shelter in the house is the primary need of these plants. Thus the so-called houseplants are kept anywhere, even in dark corners in the house, which are absolutely not suitable for any plant. “In spite of being ‘Indoor plants’ why do they not thrive when kept indoors?” is a common ignorant question. When such plants die, a beginner feels that he has no green fingers and it is no use pursuing this hobby.

The so-called house plants are normally shade loving plants. But what is shade? Bright, but diffused light in a balcony or near a window also is a shady place and darkish corner on the staircase is also a shady place. What the shade loving plants need is bright-diffused light and not the dark places. Most shade loving plants will thrive if tender direct sunlight is available to them in early mornings or in the evenings. In open spaces too, where bright sunlight is available, the shade loving plants can be grown, but under shade nets or under coloured plastic sheets. Apart from shade these plants also need high humidity in atmosphere. High humidity should not be confused with excessive watering of plants. Air in summer and monsoon season is normally more humid than in winter. Air conditioned places too are very dry and prevent healthy growth of shade loving plants.

To increase humidity around the plants, following things can be done.

” Keeping potted plants in bigger groups
” Providing water filled shallow and wide trays under the potted plants
” Spraying water on foliage frequently
” Keeping potted plants on moist ground

As the humid air is heavier than dry air, a humid micro-atmosphere is created around the plants by using the above methods – provided the fan or harsh breeze do not disturb this micro-atmosphere. Due to lack of humidity leaves of certain plants will bend downwards or may get brown dried edges.

Suitable plants for Indoor Gardening

How to identify the suitable plants for indoor gardening is a common question. Money plants that can grow in complete shade (not to be confused with darkness) or a rose plant that loves bright sunlight; a tiny African violet or sapling of a rubber tree which can grow in to a giant tree can all be used for indoor gardening. But then one will have to see that the proper place for each plant is provided. The rose plant will have to be places in a sunny balcony, money plant and African violet on a shady windowsill and the rubber tree sapling as long as it can be accommodated in the pot and indoors. Sun-loving plants too can be kept indoors temporarily, say for a function, such as a birthday party. A list of some plants suitable for keeping indoors is given below.

Decorative foliage plants : Dieffenbachia, Aglaonema, Dracaena, Maranta, Ficus Varieties, Palms, Schefflera, Brassaia, Alocassia, Ferns, Alpinia, Oxalis, Anthurium.

Suitable for hanging baskets : Fittonia, Ferns, Chlorophytum, Begonia Rex, Peperomia, Pellionia, Pilea, Plectranthus, Tradescantia, Selaginella, Helxine, Episcia, Money Plants, Hoya, Orchids.

Flowering plants : African Violets, Episcia, Impatience, Spathiphyllum, Orchids, Flowering Begonia, Calla.

Creepers : Money plant, Philodendron, Syngonium, Cissus, Hoya, Passiflora tricolour, Piper crocatum, Vanilla, Hedera helix.

If the natural light is not insufficient for a certain location, artificial lights can be used to supplement the light requirements. Alternately plants should be shifted to a brighter locations at regular intervals.