10 Amazing Indoor Plants That Purify Air!

indoor plants that purify air

indoor plants that purify air

Do you think that spending time indoors would save you from polluted air outside? Think again! The air inside your home is polluted even if you keep it absolutely spic and span. In fact, the indoor air levels of many pollutants are 2 to 5 times higher than their corresponding outdoor air levels.

Air purifiers, household cleaners, cooking and frying stuff, pesticides, radon, lead, combustion, tobacco smoke are among the various factors that cause indoor air pollution. You can often find traces of formaldehyde, benzene, ammonia, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide in addition to several other pollutants inside your home. This is usually the case in compact, urban living spaces. To add to this, poor ventilation causes indoor air to stagnate and harbor allergies and breathing problems.

What you could do is to clean your indoor air naturally by keeping potted plants inside. These indoor plants can purify the air around you and make you feel stress free. In fact, microbes present in the potting soil also help with the cleaning of indoor air.

Must have Indoor Plants For Your Home houseplants that purify air

Devil’s Ivy aka Money Plant

This humble vine can help you breathe clean air. It steers the air clear off VOCs (volatile organic compounds) arising from wall paints, air fresheners etc. It is a typical low maintenance plant. This creeper can get pretty invasive though and grows real fast. Make sure you keep it trimmed.

 

indoor air purifying plants

Peace Lily

Peace lilies are very easy to grow. They bloom throughout the year, producing lovely white flowers. They need less sunlight and can thrive on less water. Place a pot of peace lily in your living room. It looks gorgeous and filters the air to control high levels of formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and benzene.

 

indoor plants - aloe vera

Aloe Vera

This succulent is easy to grow and maintain. It needs minimal watering. Aloe Vera is a highly effective air purifier. It can also be used as an all purpose medicine for a variety of ailments.

houseplants

Snake Plant

Can you believe this one is also known as “Mother-In-Laws’ tongue?” How true is that! The snake plant is an evergreen, ornamental plant with beautiful, elongated leaf blades that grow vertically upwards from a base rhizome. This one does not require much light and can grow well indoors.

spider ivy plant

Spider Ivy

This is very cute little plant with long, drooping leaves with white or yellow stripes. Small white flowers bloom on its stalks making it look prettier. It can withstand tough temperature variations. Inexperienced gardeners can grow a spider plant easily. It acts tough on air pollutants and purifies air by pumping oxygen back to it.

rubber plant

Rubber Plant

The round shiny leaves of a small rubber plant look very attractive. You can keep a potted rubber plant in your living room or bedroom, away from direct sunlight. It doesn’t require regular watering. Rubber plants are good air purifiers.

money tree bonsai

The Braided Money Tree

This good looking bonsai is so called as it is believed to be a harbinger of good luck and fortune according to Feng Shui principles. It looks beautiful on account of its braided trunk. The money tree can grow in dry conditions and low light. Its braided trunk sets it apart from other bonsais and easily captures the attention of guests. Its air purifying capabilities are well known.

broad leaf palm ree

Broad Leaf Lady Palm

This is another ornamental indoor plant that is an excellent air purifier. Its large palm fronds attract tropical butterflies and small birds if planted near the window or balcony. This one is pretty resistant to pests.

indoor houseplants

Boston Fern

Ferns have always been preferred house plants. They are quite easy to care for. The drooping fronds of the Boston Fern look attractive in a hanging pot. A potted fern looks elegant when mounted on a short balcony wall. Ferns purify air and keep you healthy.

house plants that clean indoor air

Corn Tree

This is another popular houseplant also known for its air purifying properties. Its shiny leaves look beautiful. This plant bears scented white flowers. The rough brown stem makes it look like a beautiful, young tree.

Are these plants safe for pets?

NASA has compiled an entire list of houseplants that purify indoor air as part of its
CLEAN AIR STUDY. Examine this list to see if the above indoor plants are toxic to pets or not.

A splash of green here and there inside your living space can prove to be a great stress buster. So go ahead and get a few potted greens for your indoors right away!

 

 

Photo Credits—
Money Plant by License
Aloe Vera by License

Snake Plant By Martin Olsson (mnemo on wikipedia and commons, martin@minimum.se) Own work CC BY-SA 3.0
Rubber Plant by License

Broad Leaf Palm Tree by License

Amazing Trick To Grow Roses From Stem Cuttings And Potatoes

Growing Roses From Cuttings In Potatoes

Growing Roses From Cuttings In Potatoes

Who doesn’t love a gorgeous looking rose bush in their front porch or apartment balcony? As seasons change, your beautiful rose plant undergoes changes and withers away.  Sad? Nah! Unless you know how to propagate the same set of roses using cuttings, a humble potato and some cinnamon! Here’s how!

Growing Roses From Cuttings And Potatoes

Choosing a rose stem to cut

Cut a healthy stem from the rose plant that you wish to propagate. The stem must be approximately 9 inches long and ripe (you can tell if the thorns break off clean). Clear it of thorns and leaves. Spare a few leaves if needed. Cut it at a 45 degree angle from just below a bud.

Choose a good spot for planting your rose cutting

Choose a spot in your garden that gets sufficient morning light. This place must be well shielded from the harsh afternoon sun. You will plant your rose cutting here.

How to plant your rose cutting

Dip your rose cutting in powdered cinnamon. This is a great anti fungal agent which prevents your cutting from fungal infections and decay. It is also an excellent rooting agent. Next, cut a fresh potato in half; remove eyes if any. Scoop out a deep hole in it. Set your rose stem into this hole.

Dig a small pit some 8 inches into the ground. Add some sand at the base. Sprinkle some compost and potting mix. Place the potato along with the rose cutting into this pit. If you plant many cuttings, set them at least 5 inches apart.

Water the cutting only till the soil looks moist. Do not soak the soil.

Why should I use a potato?

The potato provides adequate moisture and nutrients for the rose cutting to grow roots. It also keeps the stem rooted firmly in the ground. After some time, as the potato begins to decompose, it also acts as manure.
In two to three months time, your cutting will have developed roots.

So try this one and let me know how it turns out.

Photo Credits: www.freedigitalphotos.net Cinnamon-Gualberto107, Potato-anankkml” Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons, by JLPC under CC BY-SA 3.0

Amazing Natural Fertilizer For Curry Leaf Plant

curry tree

I love my curry leaf plant; and not without reason. South Indian cooking can’t do without the inclusion of green, fragrant curry leaves. These leaves are packed with medicinal magic. They’re good for your hair and aid digestion. These also help in keeping your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check. These leaves also top the list of herbs that facilitate anti-ageing.

curry leaf plant - natural fertilizer

It broke my heart to see an army of slimy slugs making a meal of my plant. I did get rid of the slugs, but my plant was reduced to a mere stick with a few leaves on it.

Curry Leaf Plant – Natural Fertilizer

curd - natural fertilizer for curry leaf plant

That’s when my mom came visiting. She loves gardening and is an expert at it. She made a quick solution of 3 teaspoons of sour curd in 2 cups of water. This was poured at the base of the curry leaf plant. “ Of all things CURD?”, I thought. This actually worked like magic. Two weeks later, my curry leaf plant grew taller, stronger and greener with lots of aromatic leaves.  The trick is to keep using the sour curd solution for your curry leaf plant thrice a week, initially. Later on, once a week is more than enough.

Organic fertilizers are best for your vegetable garden. Note that curd has so far worked only for the curry leaf plant. I am yet to try this on other plants.

I have since then given more importance to organic pesticides for plants as well. In case we have another aphid infestation or slug attack, I’m better prepared to handle it. Check out how to make organic pesticides at home.

 

Photo Credits: Curry Leaves – dlanglois  CC BY-SA 3.0, text added
Curd – ji-elle CC BY-SA 3.0, text added

Activities For Kids – Gardening Tips

how to garden for kids

Kids could do with some gardening tips from elders when playing outdoors, in mud. Take advantage of this fact and nurture in them, a deep love for plants, trees and nature. Teach kids all about planting a garden with seeds and saplings. Teach them a thing or two about landscaping with the help of beautiful miniature gardens.

Activities For Kids - gardening tips

Photo Credits: Woodleywonderworks

Gardening Tips For Kids

Garden Supplies

Get going with some basic garden supplies. You will need a spade, hand gloves, spray bottle, watering can, potting mix, seeds or saplings. Buy them from your local garden store or plant nursery.

Gardening Basics For Kids

Pick a nice sunny spot in your garden that is easy to bring water to. In case you do not have a garden, select a sunny spot by a window or in your balcony, where you can place your plant pot. Make sure your plant does not get too much of exposure from the sun. A spot facing south is the best. Let your child wear hand gloves. Next, teach him to prepare a potting mix with 1/3 parts compost , 1/3 parts of garden topsoil and 1/3 parts sand. This potting mix is healthy for plants and provides good drainage. Take a plant pot with holes at the bottom. Add your potting soil to this pot. Leave an inch of space from the top of the planter. Plant seeds or a saplings in this potting mix. Pour adequate water. Let kids learn more on self watering planters.

Green Gardening Tips

Reuse old plastic containers or small, old earthen pots with holes at the bottom, as planters. Use Organic fertilizers and  effective home made pesticides for gardens.  Inform your kids of the benefits of organic fertilizers and pesticides over chemical ones.

Landscaping With Miniature Gardens

gardening tips for kids - landscaping

Photo Credits: anacik

miniature gardens kids

Photo Credits:gregor_y

This is one of the top gardening tips that can teach kids how to landscape. Teach kids how to build miniature gardens. Use old wooden boxes, desk drawers, plastic trays or crates for the flower bed. Fill this with well drained potting soil. Plant saplings or seeds of flowering plants, wheat grass or ornamental plants. Allow kids to place attractive pebbles, stones and other embellishments to decorate and create pretty borders for this garden. A miniature garden is a great idea for small urban spaces where kids can build one in their balcony or even place it on wall stands. It is also an interesting DIY project for kids.

Garden Maintenance

Do not let your child get away, once he plants the saplings. Garden maintenance is an equally important gardening tip. Let kids use organic pesticides in spray bottles to keep insects and pests at bay. Make your own organic pesticide at home by mixing 1 teaspoon of baking soda and half a teaspoon of Neem oil to one liter of warm water. Use a spray bottle to spray this pesticide on plants. Teach kids to add fertilizers to the soil in correct proportions, periodically, along with pruning and weeding, if necessary. Let kids maintain a plant growth chart. Make plant maintenance work, an attractive activity, by rewarding kids with something they like.

Benefits Of Gardening For Kids

Gardening is therapeutic in nature. It heals emotional wounds and inculcates patience in kids. These gardening tips for kids teach scientific facts and contribute to the overall development of your child.

Organic pesticides – Homemade pesticides for small gardens

organic pesticides, homemade pesticides

Organic pesticides are the best alternatives to harmful chemical pesticides for small gardens. Gardening in urban spaces means either you have a rooftop garden, a simple balcony garden, planters in your window sill  or indoor plants.  These pesticides are very effective in removing a scourge of garden pests and insects.

organic pesticides, homemade pesticides

Check out these super inexpensive and natural organic pesticides to bust harmful pests and insects in your home garden and indoor plants.

DIY – Organic Pesticides

Garlic-Onion-Pepper spray

Finely chop 6 cloves of  garlic along with a small onion. Add a liter of warm water. Keep it aside for 3-4 hours. Add 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and one teaspoon of liquid soap. Mix well, strain and use as an insect repellent spray. Make sure you do not add liquid detergent. It must be liquid soap – You can use any liquid hand wash for the task.This will last you for a week, if refrigerated. Garlic – Onion – Pepper organic pesticide spray is an excellent remedy for aphids, flea beetles, caterpillars and other sucking/chewing insects.

Neem Oil

Neem oil is a very powerful organic pesticide and repellent. When used alone, it does ward off pests but the plants get all oily. So mix 8ml neem oil and 5 ml liquid soap with 1 liter of warm water. Shake the spray bottle well. Spray this all over the plants. Neem oil is an excellent remedy for getting rid of spider mites, mealy bugs and practically most of the plant pests.

Basil Tea

Boil 1 cup of fresh basil (Tulsi leaves) in half a  liter  of water. Add 1 teaspoon of liquid soap to this mixture. Spray this on the plants. This acts as an excellent homemade pesticide  for aphids.

Epsom Salt

Dissolve 2 teaspoons of Epsom salt in  1/2 a liter of water. Spray this on the plants. Epsom salt does not harm the plants. It contains magnesium which is nutritious for the plants. This is an organic pesticide that also acts as a nutrient for the soil.

Baking soda spray

Mix together 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon oil and 2 liters of warm water. Put this mixture in a spray bottle and spray it on the plants. Baking soda gets rid of fungal infections of plants. Baking soda spray must be used regularly till the fungal infection is gone completely. The mixture has to be made fresh for every use.

Eucalyptus Oil

Put a  few drops of Eucalyptus oil on the affected areas of plants. It drives insects and pests away immediately. Eucalyptus oil is great for flies, slugs and aphids.

Dried Chrysanthemum flowers

Chrysanthemum flowers(guldaudi or chandramallika in hindi) have a natural pest repellent called pyrethrum. Pyrethrum plays havoc with the nervous system of insects. Boil 50 grams of  dried  chrysanthemum flowers in half a liter of water. Cool, strain and use as a spray. This can be used for a week. This homemade pesticide spray kills mosquito larvae breeding in your home garden or in the water collectors placed under flower pots.

Organic pesticides are the best for home gardens and indoor plants, especially in urban areas. They can be easily made at home, give instant results and come sans the harmful effects of chemical pesticides.

Note: For making small amounts of organic pesticides at home, just halve the proportions mentioned above.

 

Window Garden – DIY

Window garden - window sill garden - window herb garden
Adding a bit of green  to your living space, creates a calm and beautiful atmosphere at home. Window gardens are the best way to plant a garden in less space, especially when you live in apartments or condominiums. Planting organic window gardens are ideal for the aged, with mobility problems. Using window planters and flower pots, you can grow your very own kitchen  garden with organic herbs, medicinal plants, flowering plants. Learn how to garden with a window box suited to your window. All you need is a few basic garden supplies and planters.

Tips for a beautiful window garden

Plants shown in the picture above are basil or Tulsi, Murraya koenigii or curry leaves, yellow hibiscus and a few flowering plants to make your window garden look pretty. Basil, hibiscus and curry plant have medicinal properties and can be used in curing a variety of ailments. Of these, basil and curry leaves are used extensively for cooking.

Choose terracotta planters, as they are porous and allow the roots to breathe. Also, they do not retain too much of water and have good thermal properties. Use planters that are at least 6 inches to 12 inches deep. You may use individual containers or a single long container for 2 or 3 herbs planted together. Mix some organic fertilizer or organic compost to the potting soil. Add 2 inches thick layer of  this potting mix, place the plant over this. Fill in the remaining potting soil, firm it around the roots. The soil texture must be just right i.e. a proper mix of sand, clay and silt, properly aerated. Make sure you leave 2 inches space from the top of each planter for watering.

Ensure that you do not overcrowd your window with planters; this may block the view from your window. Leave some space in between the planters. In case of window grills, you can use a wrought iron or steel rod for hanging flowering shrubs from the top, as shown above. Ask for shrubs that do not grow tall and just trickle down the sides of the flower pots. You can even grow bougainvillaea, money plants etc. in hanging flower pots, keeping the growth in check by trimming the leaves periodically. Grow ginger, tomatoes, chillies and useful herbs this way.

Tips for choosing plants for your window garden

Select plants whose growth is suited to the available space. I planted yellow hibiscus for the medicinal properties of the flowers and leaves. Hibiscus flower tea taken internally lowers blood pressure and reduces bad cholesterol levels(LDL). Tea made of hibiscus leaves is an excellent conditioner for your hair and a good remedy for dandruff. However, the plant grows quite tall unless you prune the stems and leaves as and when required.

While selecting flowering shrubs, make sure you ask the expert at the local nursery, if the pollen or any part of the plant can be allergic to you.

Find out the watering requirements for each plant. Check whether they grow well or wilt in direct sunlight depending on the placement of your window w.r.t sunlight.

All said and done, give a green thumb to container gardening in your apartment windows that will be well appreciated by friends and guests alike. Plus, you also contribute to a greener urban environment by reducing your carbon footprint. Following these tips, you can also learn  how to garden for kids.

 

 

How to grow ginger – top tips

Growing ginger in a pot is a great idea for urban gardening. You can grow ginger root with minimum resources in your balcony or roof gardens. All you need is a plant container and some rich potting soil which is loose and does not become solid over time. Do not use any pesticides or artificial fertilizers and you can grow organic ginger root in your garden.

grow ginger root

Tips to grow ginger

Fill a 12″ wide and 10″ deep plant pot with rich potting soil. Place a firm and healthy piece of ginger  just below the surface of the soil.  Place the pot in a sunny place. Cool temperature will result in poor growth. Pour less water initially before the shoots begin to appear. Use boiled and cooled,strained, plain black tea water to water the ginger plant. Tea is an excellent organic fertilizer for plants.

In 4-6 months, the ginger plant grows 2-4 feet tall. When the leaves begin to wilt and dry, it is time to dig out the ginger root.The ginger plant in the picture is mature and the leaves have started drying. Cut the wilted leaves. Then dig out the ginger root with a garden spade.
grow ginger root

Clean and wash the ginger. Place the washed pieces in the sun to dry.

grow ginger root
The best part is, it was planted by my little boy. He was so happy to harvest his very own organically grown ginger. So you see, this is an ideal  DIY organic gardening project for kids.

Health benefits of ginger
Ginger aids digestion. Hot ginger tea is a good remedy for cold and flu. It boosts immunity and is a powerful anti-oxidant. It lowers blood cholesterol levels and is good for bowel disorders. It also relieves headaches due to indigestion, morning sickness and eases asthma symptoms if taken regularly.

Health benefits of Indian Spices

Self watering planters

Do you often forget to water your plants? Or do you wish to go on a vacation without having to bother about watering your plants? Then these innovative and cool self watering flower pots are just the thing for you. These intelligent planters do not need manual watering daily, you just need to water your plants once and then these self watering plant pots will take care of the rest, say for a week or even two. Your plants will be just as fresh, when you return from work or from a week long vacation.

Self watering planters   Photo Credits: One wintry night pottery

Let us check out how these intelligent containers work. Self watering planters have a container that is filled with water. This is the water reservoir from which the soil draws water every time it dries up, by the basic principle of Osmosis. This also ensures that plants get just the right amount of water and not a lot of it. You can add a dilute solution of fertilizer to the water in the reservoir to achieve optimum results. These innovative planters save prevent wastage of water by way of evaporation and excessive watering. You can make eco-friendly, self-watering planters from recyclable materials instead of going for the more expensive ready-made ones.

Self watering plant pots Photo Credits: Sugar Pond

Self watering plant containers Photo Credits: canarsiebk

Points to note
1. This works wonders for many herbs, climbers and flowering plants. But some plants need drier soil conditions and cannot be planted in self watering plant pots. You have to ascertain this before planting.
2. Mosquitoes may grow in the water reservoir. You can prevent this by adding some drops of light weight vegetable oil to the water. The oil will float and suffocate the mosquito larvae.

How to build  self watering planters

Here is a very informative and useful video by BalconyGrow that precisely tells you how to build your very own self watering plant pot.

Now these self watering planters need not be all drab and ugly. You can add a dash of creativity by spray painting the outer container with some nice Krylon paint or arranging containers of different shapes and sizes on beautiful planter stands.

Beautiful planter stands for self watering planters Photo Credits: Haldane Martin

You can user beautiful pots made of  terracotta, stone and ceramic for making these planters. Large patio planters can be made from large buckets and barrels. By proper arrangement of these self watering planters, you can add a beautiful design to the landscape of your garden.

If you are not the ‘DIY’ types, you can even shop online for some beautiful self watering plant containers that embellish your garden. Overall, a self watering container can be an interesting add-on to your indoor as well as outdoor garden in addition to being a boon to your plants.