Indoor Plants: The Greener Side Of Your Personality

Happening Issue 55 Jul, 2010
Text by Utsav Shakya

Indoor plants brighten up your home or office, and caring for houseplants makes for a great hobby during the long inclement months of winter, and even throughout the year. Indoor plants are nothing but good news. Another very attractive benefit is the clean air provided by indoor plants that take in carbon dioxide (which you exhale) and in turn release oxygen for you. Indoor plants also brighten the room, providing a cheerful sight for those grey and often dreary winter days

I took a tour of a local nursery in Kathmandu to find out what was popular. To the right of the bridge that links Teku to Sanepa is Hem Mukteshwor Nursery run by a friendly woman, Ms.Sona Kunwar. “The most expensive plants can go up to six thousand rupees”, she said beckoning proudly towards the huge Chamedora plant in the middle of her nursery. The Chamedora is a huge, attention-seeking plant suitable for big lobbies and extravagant living rooms. Its size and color pronounce prosperity. They need less attention in maintaining and are ideal for people that do not have green fingers all week. Watering them once in three days is enough and that done; the Chamedora should add its worth of charm and personality to your home.

The Nalina and Phoenix were according to Ms. Kunwar, the most sought after plants in the valley. These two plants are of average size and are popular because of their affordability and easy to maintain nature. If bought in a poly-bag, which are small plastic bags that hold a young shrub of the plant in a little soil, they can be yours for as little as a hundred rupees. These plants are also available for those who just want to buy them fully grown, in flowerpots. One such grown Nalina or a Phoenix will set you back by about five hundred rupees.

According to Feng Shui (originating in China 5,000 years ago, Feng Shui is the art of placement to draw in life force—“Chi”), placement of three plants in the master bedroom underscores another Feng Shui tenant. One or three plants plus light is the desired balance. The three plants placed there create a pathway to new life, career and personal growth. Upon enquiry about what kind of plants were suitable for small spaces such as a bedroom, Ms. Kunwar guided me through her rich nursery to a very attractive red leafed plant that I later learned was called a Dressina. These I was told were also available in white and green! Dressina is amongst a very few variety of indoor plants that you can find in more than one color and make for great eye catchers amongst other simple plants in your living space.

This said about the advantages of having indoor plants in your house, attention must also be given to taking care of them well. A dying plant is a symbol of poorness according to Feng Shui. Dying leaves must be clipped and a dying plant must be immediately replaced with a more expensive one to nurture wealth options.

The light that a plant gets is also a vital part of taking care of the plant. Each plant thrives best in a particular type of ambient light. If the light is right, the plant quickly adjusts to its location indoors and looking after it, such as watering, feeding and cleaning is fairly routine. If the light is not suitable, no matter how much you pamper it, the plant will remain unhealthy. Artificial light as we all know has a mere fraction of the luminosity of natural light. For optimum results in indoor landscapes, natural light sources should be supplemented with artificial lighting. The rule of the thumb here, as I recently learned on light requirements is based on the color of the leaves. The darker green the leaves, the less light they need.

This means that if you happen to have light leafed plants, you are to provide artificial light to supplement the natural light that the plant might or might not be getting. Even an ordinary 150 watt incandescent light bulb, illuminating a plant for twelve to fourteen hours a day will stimulate plant growth noticeably.

However, there is only one thing that can make your plants add that charisma to your home and that is presentation. No matter how expensive the plant and how well tended to, how you present the plant (read as where you place it and how) makes all the difference.

Indoor plants are just something that makes you feel “nice” when you enter your room. An indoor plant has character and it says nothing but that about your personality. It’s one of
those small things that makes your house feel like a home.  Utsav Shakya