Planning To Be A Plant Mom? Start Here.
While I was a student, I remember having plants that looked perpetually on the verge of dying – despite watering them every day. Not feeling terribly confident about their survival, I left them alone for a couple of weeks while I visited home. I came back to them blooming! I had been over watering them. It was a small triumph. Not all of us have green thumbs but there are plenty of plants that are easy to grow that can help you add to your eco-conscious lifestyle.
Indoor plants and sustainable living
Sustainable living includes three main pillars – the society, the economy, and the environment. We believe having plants at home can benefit you on all three counts and more!
Social sustainability promotes our well-being at large. All of us have experienced how good a walk in the park or a hike in the wilderness makes us feel. For those who are interested, there’s even a term coined for this ‘Biophilia’. It basically means that we as humans are genetically programmed to love nature. So why not bring some of it into your home?
Gardening is a wonderful way for children to learn where their food comes from and the effort it takes to produce it.
Spending time taking care of your plants has been shown to be a stress buster and to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. If you’re feeling low – make like a child and play in some mud!
Now this one can depend on a few factors – how much time you want to put into your house plants, how green your thumbs are, and what you grow. Organic food is often pricey or sold out at your favourite store just when you need it. A simple solution is to grow some of your own. Cherry tomatoes, basil, coriander, chillies, bhindi, and spring onions are all easy to grow in pots. There are plenty of tutorial videos online and even small start-ups that can help you get going.
Apart from the direct economic benefits of growing your own veggies, an indirect one is that plants have been known to boost productivity. With so many of us working from home currently, your plants could set you well on your way to a raise!
There’s a lot of hoo-ha these days about the quality of air in our cities – rightly so of course. But unless you’re living in Delhi or Beijing, how many of us think about the quality of air we breathe in our homes? Synthetic furniture, paints and other building materials, mildew and the breakdown of plastics like computer parts can all contribute to indoor pollution. Indoor plants can help reduce indoor air pollution, a fact studied by NASA way back in 1989. Their study found that plants like English ivy, peace lilies, and gerberas can effectively filter out toxic chemicals commonly found in indoor environments like benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde. Additionally, plants can help increase humidity levels indoors in dry environments and lower air temperatures too. And of course, plants reduce CO2 levels too!
A few things to think about while buying plants:
1| Start slow
The first one is the most obvious, the space you have at home. Going for a vertical garden with a whole wall of plants is probably not the best idea if you’re growing plants for the first time. Start with just 3 or 4. Find easy-to-grow, hard-to-kill plants, your local nursery will help you with those. Aloe vera is a good example – it’s useful, looks pretty, and is virtually impossible to kill.
2| Be mindful of where you buy your plants
Online plant shopping has become quite a trend these days – you can order plants and seeds from big retailers like Amazon and Flipkart. These plants are flown from the depots to your city racking up plant miles. They typically also use quite a bit of plastic packaging. A simple way to avoid this is to buy from the plant-wallah down the road. If you must order from an online retailer, then ask questions about the packaging – is it natural and compostable?
3| Re-use your pots
Plants die. It’s a fact. While you should avoid buying plants with a short lifespan in the first place, chances are some of the ones you get may die anyway. Re-use those pots. Local nurseries will be happy to pot new plants in them for you.
4| Read up or ask around about the ones you are planning to buy
A great way to get new plants is to read about it online, ask a friend, or the plant-wallah before investing in it. You may also participate in plant swaps. Get new plants though cuttings or share seeds with friends. You’ll probably pick up tons of gardening tips along the way too!
Indoor plants can help you manage your vegetable waste in an eco-friendly way too. But more on that later. Adding plants to your life can a rich and rewarding experience – and I hope this you take that first step towards becoming a proud plant parent.
Until next time.
Your proud plant parent and eco-storyteller,