“Five kgs of guava, a bundle of coriander, and thick aloe vera leaves,” grins Meenakshi as she plucks the ripened fruits and vegetables from her lush green garden. But not everyone is as lucky as Meenakshi. A large vegetable garden of one’s own, especially in metro cities, is today a luxury — rare enough to seem unrealistic.
But this does not mean that bringing green home is impossible. And what better occasion than a brand-new year to get more serious about your gardening hobby?
Here are 10 plants you can grow indoors. You don’t need a huge terrace or balcony: all you need is a little space right inside your home for these beautiful and useful plants.
1. Areca Palm
This leafy plant can be grown anywhere in the house in indirect sunlight. Make sure it is not exposed to direct sunlight, or the leafs will turn yellow. The plant can grow as high as 30 feet outdoors but it is restricted to about seven feet at indoor locations. Put it in a small container and the crowded roots will help in limiting the size of the plant. The plant is useful in filtering xylene and toluene from the air. It also works effectively as an effective humidifier. Water enough to keep the soil moist and let it dry a little between waterings in winter.
2. English Ivy
This green plant helps in reducing airborne fecal-matter particles. It also filters out formaldehyde found in some household cleaning products. The plant needs bright light to look fresh and might attract pests if they do not receive enough light. Take special care while watering and let the soil dry for some time before watering it again. Ivy does not like standing water.
3. Aloe Vera
This very useful plant clears formaldehyde and benzene, which can be a byproduct of chemical-based cleaners, paints and other toxins. Also, it is a widely-known fact that aloe vera can be used to achieve a great complexion. Aloe plants like to be dry and warm, not wet and cold, so water only when you see that the soil in the pot is dry. The best spot to keep this plant is a sunny window. Aloe in full shade will not thrive. Also, if you have just repotted the plant, do not water it for two to three days — wait for the roots to settle.
4. Indian Basil
Commonly known as Tulsi, growing this plant is a no-brainer. Seen thriving even after little-to-no maintenance, this plant has a number of medicinal properties. In addition, it helps in purifying the air and improves air quality. It can be planted in a simple pot. It requires regular sunlight, so the best place to keep this plant would be a sunny window. All you need to do is water it regularly (but be sure not to over-water) and watch it thrive.
This plant does not require direct sunlight and can grow up to 12 feet in height, so make sure it is planted at a spot that allows enough space to grow. Also, you can control its height by pruning. New leaves will sprout below the cut in a few weeks. Keep its soil moist but not soggy. Yellow leaves in the plant are a sign of over-watering or poor drainage. You can place it near a sheer curtain or a window.
6. Ladies’ Slipper Orchid
This plant will definitely bring that missing aesthetic vibe to any dull corner of your house. These orchids have unusual slipper-shaped flowers that bloom from between two leaves. It has dark green leaves which add to the beauty of the plant. Special care should be taken while watering this plant. If your water is chemically treated, allow it to sit for a few days in a container before using it. Water it once a week. Place the plant in shade where the plant is not exposed to direct sunlight.
7. Spider Plant
This lovely plant combats benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene, a solvent used in the leather, rubber and printing industries. The plant derived this unique name due to its uniquely-shaped leaves, which dangle like spiders on a web. The plant is also completely safe if you have pets. If you see the plant turning a little brown, do not worry. It is normal and it will get back to its green self soon! Make sure you use well-drained soil and do not make the soil soggy for a fresh-looking spider plant.
Azaleas grow in bright spots and and can help reduce formaldehyde levels from plywood and foam insulation. In spring, this plant produces beautiful flowers that last several weeks. They are shade tolerant, hence perfect for locations that do not get direct sunlight. Direct sun can burn the leaves. This lovely plant blossoms like a shrub and is available in many colours. While it looks beautiful when planted in a group in a large area, in a smaller space, a single plant works best. To maintain the plant’s shape, you can trim it when the blooming period has expired. Remember that bare side-table next to your sofa set? Complete the look by putting an Azalea on it.
9. Snake plant
The plant is best suited for bathrooms since it filters out formaldehyde, which is commonly found in personal-care products. It is one of the top air-purifying plants identified by NASA. This plant is one of the easiest to grow and requires no extra attention. Going out of town and have no one to take care of your plant? No worries. Forgot to water it on time? Again, no problem. This plant can be neglected for weeks and will still give you long, fresh leaves. The only thing to keep in mind is that they can easily rot, so they need to be planted in free-draining soil. Quick fact: this plant is also called mother-in-law’s tongue or Saint George’s sword.
10. Weeping Fig
This leafy plant helps against emissions from curtains, carpets and furniture. The weeping fig initially takes time to grow, but once it is in complete form, it can grow up to 10 feet. One thing you should keep in mind is to not move this plant around too much — its leaves can shed easily. Place it in a bright, indirect light and let it stay there. Also, keep it away from direct cold or hot air from doorways as this also causes leaves to fall. It is a long-lasting plant, you can enjoy its beauty for many years.
Here are more such plants who have been declared the best air-purifying plants by NASA.