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"Greening Your Space: A Beginner's Guide to Choosing and Caring for the Best Indoor Plants"

I have always generously admired the mountainous heap of verdant green girdling the valleys, the canopy of huge trees hovering over large strips of road, and the stubborn creepers climbing eagerly on giant old trees. Travelling through the hills is one of the intimate memory I have always cherished, and the picturesque views are so deeply seated that they appear on the canvas of my mind like dilated green paints, oozing nostalgia. Now, when I am living in the suave city, far from the mountains of the northeast, I find myself longing for a walk amidst the narrow roads hovered by tall trees and feel the gentle rustle of the leaves whispering to the trespassers. As the shift from the green lands to the urban terrain, with buildings and houses, arrayed close to each other, with trees sparsely seen here and there, made me a little uneasy, I thought of creating a tiny shard of green in my room. Growing indoor plants might be as demanding as taking care of a pet. Not just keeping them alive, but also feeding them with the right amount of light and water is important, and it's all about maintaining the balance.

"Girl surrounded by a variety of thriving indoor plants, including succulents, ferns, and snake plants."
Surrounded by green goodness

A small green plant sprouting new leaves in a clear glass jar placed on a wooden surface. The plant is photographed from above, with the natural light shining through the jar.
From North to South, This Tiny Plant Survived the Journey and is Thriving in Its New Home! - photographed by Ammu Ghosh

People who are fascinated by the idea of indoor plants must bear in mind that just like any other venture, taking care of a plant demands patience and care. However, some plants cannot be grown indoors, despite the extra effort we put in. But there is also a group of plants that would spread its root and branches out without much pampering, irrespective of its surrounding. Some plants, despite the variation in climate, can grow without any difficulty in different places. I remember how the shoot of a plant that I got from the cold northeast, thrived in Kerala. This was one of the plants that needed little maintenance. As I started shifting to different cities, my longing for having a few plants in my room grew even more. In my experience, money plants are one of the most known indoor plants, which can be either grown in soil or dipped in water. Indoor gardening can seem quite easy from the outside, but it is important to create an atmosphere conducive to healthy growth.

I cannot recall the number of times people have complained about their plants dying. It's hard to see to leaves and flowers wither too early, or if the stem starts rotting. Most of the time it is difficult to bring back the dying plant to life, and sometimes we cannot do anything but be helpless spectators to the unpleasant view. Good intentions are not enough to keep our plants healthy, we also need to act carefully and be vigilant while parenting them.

Factors to consider when choosing indoor plants for beginners

There are numerous factors that decide the health of indoor plants. One of the important elements is light. As they are grown in an artificial environment, inside the four walls of a room, we ought to regulate the light that the plant requires. There are many plants that do not require a lot of sunlight in order to thrive. But there are also plants that can be damaged because of light. In such cases, it is better to place them near the east or west-facing window, so that the scorching mid-day light does not damage the plant, and arrange the positions of the plants according to their needs. The intensity for each indoor plant can vary from bright light, low light, and partial light. As light is one of the prime factors to synthesize food for themselves, it is definitely the foremost thing on our checklist, when placing an indoor plant in our home. Grow lights and light meters can be utilised to better provide our precious friends with the ultimate environment.

Water is another factor that promotes plant growth. But one has to understand how much water is too much and how much is too less. Some plants can grow in water, whereas some need soil to thrive, and some need some sprinkled over the soil. The requirements also change according to season and weather, and one needs to be keen about their plants’ requirements. Keeping the soil moist can be wonderful, but keeping it too swampy can be perilous for the plant. It is also quite important to check the water as some plants can be extremely sensitive to chemicals and PH levels and you can do so with moisture checkers. Getting yourself aesthetically pleasing watering cans could be an add-on to your home while pleasing your indoor plants.

Creating an amicable temperature for plants is another crucial area one must pay heed to. Sudden fluctuations in external conditions can have a huge impact on the plants. Plants convey the message to be cautious through their symptoms like curling up of leaves, yellowing, and falling out of leaves. Balancing water and light is one the easiest ways of protecting the plant from harsh temperatures. It is also advisable to keep the room temperature constant. You can always keep an eye on the changing temperatures with household thermometers.

Indoor plants are known for their air-purifying properties and their ability to produce more oxygen. Well, all these good sides are accepted by many of us. However, one needs to be extra careful when we have kids and pets in our house. These naive beings roam around the house and explore almost every corner of the house. Kids, when they start crawling, put everything in their mouths. These acts can seem to be adorable, but on the flip side, some of the things they put in their mouth can have ill-effect on their health. Some plants like peace lilies, and aloe vera can cause allergic reactions, whereas others can cause infestation, nausea etc. Well, not all can be harmful, some of them can also be culinary herbs.

There is a high chance that our pet cats, dogs, rabbits, and any other pets can ingest leaves or flowers of indoor plants. Even the very thought that our pretty plants can be fatal to our pets is unpleasant. It is advisable to not get such indoor plants though, it is advisable to keep a first aid kit at home to avoid any unpleasant situation. Good research on plants and the toxic elements they might contain, is always safe, for parents with either toddlers or pets. This awareness about plants and their harm can give us an idea of what plants can be perilous and help them place accordingly in our house, away from their reach.

Indoor plants are one of the best ways of beautifying our house. Some of us might be wanting to create an indoor garden, but also would be scrambling to get the right type of plants to begin this noble endeavour of gardening. Well, there are a number of plants that are easy to maintain. These plants are also best for busy people, who love plants but are worried if they would be able to meet their needs.

low maintenance plants

Pothos, which come in different hues, colours, and patterns, can be found almost in every house nowadays. These plants can be grown in water or soil and can be kept indoors or outdoors. They would grow at their own pace, irrespective of the place.

Cacti are a part of the succulent family and need very little water. The plant will thrive even if they are not watered for a few days. They basically like dry weather and lazy plant parents.

Aloe vera can also is one of these plants. Known for their cleansing and medicinal properties, it doesn’t need too much water, however, misting it every day would not do any harm. They also love bright light. So placing them on the verandah or near a window would be a great option.

low light plants

Anglaonemnas can be grown in shady places, and do not need to be exposed in sun for a long time. Its delicate wide, green leaves may wilt and change into yellow if exposed to direct sunlight for a long time.

Dumb canes can thrive in low light and diffused bright light. Depending on the variety of the plant, the intensity of the light may differ. However, like Anglaonemnas, these plants may begin to shrivel.

Snake plants are also low maintenance. These plants with tough and tall leaves can be placed anywhere in the house. They won’t mind if we keep it in a dimly lit, windowless room, or even in bright sun.

Air purifying plants

The white bloom of peace lily not only enlivens our living space but also cleans up the air by subduing the toxins. They are also known as cobra plants. They are also known for their ability to absorb acetone and mould spores from the air and make it suitable for us to breathe.

Spider plants are also known for their cleansing property. They help restore oxygen by eliminating harmful gases like carbon monoxide, xylene, etc.

Boston ferns also make excellent indoor plants. Its lush green leaves add to the interiors of the house, not only bestowing an elegant look but also acting as a natural humidifier by preventing dryness.

Caring for indoor plants