The ultimate guide to growing plants at home

The ultimate guide to growing plants at home

Creating a small home garden is known to boost the mood of family members and help manage stress. For Ananya Chowdhury, a software engineer by profession, gardening enthusiast and anthophile, the love for plants and flowers has blossomed during the pandemic.

Many scientific researches have proven many times the benefits of indoor plants. Besides being effective in improving air quality in homes, houseplants also provide many physical and health benefits.

“After intensive care of the plants, when they start producing vibrant and healthy fruits or flowers, it is really satisfying. In addition, gardening during the stressful times of the pandemic helped me calm my nerves and relax my mind.”

So far, Ananya has grown different types of flowers and plants which include hibiscus, roses, jasmine, amanda and indoor plants like money plants, pothos, devil’s ivy, jade, spider plant, rubber plant, coin plants, lucky bamboo plants and aloe vera. . “It is easier to start with small plants that are available locally,” she says. “We can grow herbs or leafy vegetables like coriander, fenugreek, basil, oregano, mint, curry leaves, spinach, red amaranth or lettuce.”

Being a city girl, Ananya says she faces some challenges. This makes choosing the right equipment, soil, and location for growing plants extremely important. Mid-day Online is based in Mumbai Gardening experts On board to share an easy guide to caring for houseplants in city homes.

According to Dr. Ekta Chaudhary, Ph.D., Ecologist, and founder of GardenUp – a company that provides plant maintenance and plant preparation services for offices and homes in Mumbai, having plants at home provides a variety of benefits, the most common of which is air purification. “Most plants remove formaldehyde. It is a toxin commonly found in the home and emitted by lubricants and wall paints. Likewise, carbon monoxide is another toxin found in homes and comes from emissions from vehicles. Thus plants like Peace Lilly or rubber absorb “The plant removes these toxins efficiently, ensuring fresh air in the home.”

For Shan Lalwani, Director of Vriksha Nursery, plants are more than just decorative pieces used to enhance the aesthetics of your homes. “In addition to purifying the air,” he says, Indoor plants “It goes a long way in calming the mind and helping deal with anxiety.”

Additionally, Anish Shah, founder of Earth Harvests, says, “Having edible plants at home is especially beneficial because it ensures fresh, clean produce that is free of chemicals and pollutants.”

Plants to grow at home
To be able to make the right decision, one must take into account the main factors. Chaudhary mentions two main categories of plants – one is ornamental or ornamental plants and the other is edible plants. Ornamental plants are also generally divided into two types, those with leaves and those with flowers.

Plants grown for flowers have certain restrictions. It cannot be grown in some places, especially in most homes in Mumbai. Given the space constraints that most Mumbaikars face, Chaudhary says, “Not every house in Mumbai receives an abundance of sunlight due to the fact that most houses face north and hardly any sunlight enters them.”

For homes that do not get much sunlight, it is always a good idea to plant leafy plants such as peace leaf, fiddle leaf fig, monsteras, pachira, snake plant, areca palm, dracaena, English ivy, anthurium, Or pothos.

If your home gets enough direct sunlight and wind, consider choosing Star Cluster, Bougainvillea, Tulsi, Aloe Vera, Ficus, Office Plants, or Vinca plants. You can also grow edible plants such as tomatoes, spinach, fenugreek and coriander. They can be grown on the balcony or windowsills if you have three to four hours of direct sunlight, which can later be harvested and used in the kitchen.

These are some plants that can be easily grown and cared for at home.

Common challenges
Speaking of challenges, Anish Shah of Earth Harvests and Shaan Lalwani of Vriksha Nursery have listed three common challenges you should know about:

1. Availability of sun which is minimal in Mumbai homes.
2. Air conditioning is a part of every home in Mumbai. Plants find it difficult to adapt to changing room temperatures.
3. Plant leaves turn yellow or wither due to insufficient sunlight and essential nutrients from the soil.
4. Insufficient watering of the plant leads to its death.

To avoid these challenges, Shah says: “It is necessary to mix the soil properly so that the plant’s roots can breathe easily, and no excess water remains at the bottom of the pot. By getting appropriately sized pots with drainage holes and using a good potting mix (soil, Compost, compost, coir, perlite), and a lot of love, one can give a new boost to their plants.

Moreover, Lalwani mentions, “People are always on the run, with many traveling for a week. Hence the pants are often left without water. Using self-watering planters is a simple and effective way to ensure that your plants are watered while you are away.”

Taking into account the landing Air quality in Mumbai Regarding plant protection, Shah says, “Indoor plants are the best for purifying polluted air and help absorb all the bad particles. Nothing happens to plants in polluted air as long as they are taken care of in the right way.”

Caring for plants according to climatic conditions
Plant care varies in each climate (winter, summer and monsoon). The most important thing is to water the plant correctly every season, as water evaporates from the soil differently. Check how long it takes for the top two inches of soil to dry. If it is not watered properly, the plant will die. This is how you will know when your plant needs water.

It can vary across climates. Care must be taken to water the plants during the summer. Other activities such as pruning to obtain new growth are usually done during the winter. This cannot be done in any other season. Moreover, to maintain plant health during monsoon, application of soil organic matter is essential instead of liquid fertilizers.

One has to change the plant care routine depending on the climate.

Plant care and common mistakes to avoid
When thinking about plant care, what many fail to realize is that it’s not about the leaves of the plants and how they appear. It’s about what lies underneath – the soil. It is necessary to reform the soil to ensure good growth. Get well-drained soil. What this means is that when you put water into the plant, it should flow immediately. If it doesn’t, you need to fix it.

Using the right type of water is also key. Water with a high percentage of dissolved solids should not be used. Use pure water or get plants that tolerate these water solids.

Fertilize with vermicompost containing micro and macronutrients once every three months, and add seaweed solution once every three months. These help plants grow and introduce good microbial growth into the soil.

Clean your leaves once every 15 days. Mumbai is a city where continuous construction works go on which results in a lot of dust accumulating on the foliage. Dust particles clog the stomata (pores that help plants let water out).

If you get a new plant at home, do not repot it. This will put your plant in shock because just like humans, it takes time to adapt to new settings. By doing this, you are also making the plant’s life difficult by removing it from one pot and placing it in the other.

Don’t over-water your plants. Many new plant parents have this habit. Monitor your plants. The more you watch your plant grow, the more you’ll know what the right thing to do is. There is no step-by-step guide that applies to all plants. Every plant is different and requires different specialized care.

Beginner’s guide
1. Get a plant without investing a lot of money in it. Buy a simple money or snake plant. These are tough plants, so even if you kill them, they have a chance to rebound.

2. Start observing and notice when the leaves turn yellow or start to droop. This is a sign that your plants need water. This will teach you how your plant drinks water.

3. Start propagating your plant after you learn how to keep your plant alive. This will give you confidence and a sense of accomplishment.

4. After you learn how to care for a snake plant or money plant, you can graduate to bringing in Lilly and Zz plants. Moreover, you can start growing edible plants. These plants can be used for consumption as they also provide multiple health benefits.

(Tags for translation) Physical and health benefits

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