Lifestyle Books and Art 16 Nov 2018 Beginner's guid ...

Beginner's guide to indoor plants

Published Nov 16, 2018, 3:13 pm IST
Updated Nov 16, 2018, 3:13 pm IST
Judith de Graaff author of 'Urban Jungle, Living and Decorating with Plants' shares her tips on houseplants styling and care.
Beginner's guide to indoor plants. (All Photos: Judith de Graaff)
 Beginner's guide to indoor plants. (All Photos: Judith de Graaff)

A bit of foliage around the house is enough to brighten any space, no matter how big or small your living quarters.

However, houseplants can be tricky business. A pretty little potted plant could be dead within days in the hands of most of us who have not yet mastered the art of indoor gardening.


Yet it’s one of those stylish home decor accessories that can be immensely beneficial for your health, as well as help curb air pollution (a big issue in India).

Whether you're contemplating incorporating interior leafage in your home, or need a bit of inspiration, Judith de Graaff, author of Urban Jungle,Living and Decorating with Plants shares her tips on indoor plant styling and care.


Choose a plant that is aesthetically pleasing to you, suggested Graaff. "Start easy! Pick plants that you like visually and that fit your lifestyle.”


Different plants require different amounts of light. Plants like cacti and succulents require bright direct light, while others thrive in indirect bright light, or in shadier corners. Examine the light conditions you can provide in your home or use a light meter to determine the amount of light available in your home. Graaff said: "You'll be amazed that a place that looks bright to you, is much darker than you would expect.

"Many plants love to see the sky, without catching direct sunlight on their leaves."


The amount of water a plant requires varies. Some plants like their roots to be soaked in water; others prefer to be watered from the saucer or to be misted regularly.

Dedicate one plant-care day per week to make sure you are meeting their needs. Graaff explained: "You can then check on your plants, see how they are doing, if their soil is dry and needs water, or prune some leaves, check on pests, see a new flower coming to bloom, and simply enjoy the presence of your plants.

"You will soon find out that some of your plants may need more attention than just once a week, and that others thrive on neglect!"


"Depending on the amount of space, you can go for an oversized ficus elastica, a kentia palm, or a big monstera deliciosa. If you have room on a wall, why not hang a few shelves on the wall that you decorate with plants in all sizes and some personal objects, books, gems, photos, ceramics, a nice candle," advises Graaff.


Is your plant dying on you? Here are three questions you need to ask yourself:

- Did pests invade it?
- Did it dry out?
- Are the roots rotting?

If there is no possible way to save it, fret not, you can always try again.  "Don't worry, killing a plant happens to everyone, it's a good incentive to adopt a new plant friend!" Graaff assures.


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Having houseplants is not only aesthetically pleasing, but it can also do you some good. Graaff said: "Many indoor plants have air purifying abilities and clean the air we breathe from various toxins.

"They also release fresh oxygen thus making our living environment healthier and better. With fresh oxygen we can concentrate better, we can relax and sleep better.

"Taking care of our houseplants is also a very relaxing activity: watering, pruning, feeding and checking up on them from time to time slows us down."

Happy indoor gardening!