Growing plants in your own space not only improves air quality, but also has a calming effect on the human mind.

Bhopals’ Sakshi Bharadwaj took this advice and created a ‘mini jungle’ behind her house, where she grows 4,000 plants of 450 species.

What’s more? There are 150 species of exotic varieties like Monstera, Begonias, and Calathea. They are all grown in a vertical set up using hollowed-out coconut shells, upcycled bottles, and cans.

“I drink coconut water every day. I thought — why not propagate new saplings into the coconut shell?” says the 25-year-old microbiology graduate.

She adds husk was a great solution for water retention and the medium was sturdy enough to never break.

Sakshi picked out coconut shells, cleaned them thoroughly, and let them dry. She created two holes at the top of the shell, fitted metal wires and ropes to hang them against the wall.

To support the ropes, she had nails drilled into the wall. Finally, she filled the shell with organic potting mix, vermicompost, and kitchen compost and placed the saplings within.

“Till date, all the plants continue to grow and I keep propagating new ones. The plants have no pest issues, and the coconut shells are a natural source of nutrition for the plants,” she says.

To make the recycled planters look attractive, Sakshi spent every Sunday during the lockdown painting them in different colours using water-resistant paint.

She also used plastic covers including milk packets as polybags to propagate seedlings. In the future, Sakshi hopes to run a nursery that specialises in distributing exotic species of plants.