Monthly Archives: July 2016

Indoor Bamboo Plant

One of the most popular cures in Feng Shui since the 90s, the lucky bamboo plant demands a lot of care and attention. These indoor plants are really difficult to maintain as they have a high tendency to wither quickly.

The lucky bamboo plant is a member of the Dracaena family and is well-known for its durability and resemblance to the bamboo plant. It is used more than just as an ornamental indoor plant. It is believed in Feng Shui that this plant can bring luck, prosperity and fortune. This makes it a widely preferred indoor plant to be placed in offices and homes. However, to make its chi more effective, it must be received as a gift rather than being bought yourself.

More About The Plant
Unlike what the name suggests, the lucky bamboo is not a bamboo at all. It is, in fact, a resilient member of the lily family that grows in the dark and tropical forests of Africa and Southeast Asia. But, the ones that are used to decorate indoors are imported from countries like China and Taiwan where they are professionally cultivated by botanists.

Beautiful lucky bamboo plant that has curled stems and may even have elaborate detailing in its design to increase its ornamental value, making it more expensive. This plant can survive in water alone as well as can be planted in soil. In the latter case, do ensure that the soil is kept damp at all times. This, however, does not imply that you make the holder a mud pool.

Why is this plant considered lucky?

Lucky bamboo plant has been associated with the eastern practice of feng shui for a long time now. It is believed to be an ideal example of the thriving water and wood element. Sometimes, a red ribbon is also added to fire the positive flow of energy or chi into the room. The plant is believed to spread tranquilizing vibes in its environment.

What do the different numbers of lucky bamboo stalks mean?

Did you know that according to ancient Chinese tradition, the number of stalks in your bamboo plant is associated with attracting a multitude of good fortuity in your life.

2 stalks: Luck in love
3 stalks: Happiness, success and longevity
5 stalks: Wealth
6 stalks: Peace, harmony
7 stalks: Good health
8 stalks: Prosperity
9 stalks: Good fortune
10 stalks: Totality
21 stalks: Blessings

Please note that a lucky bamboo with 4 stalks must be avoided at all costs since it is believed in Feng Shui that it attracts misfortune, to be more precise, death.

What steps should I take to care for my lucky bamboo plant?

  • If yellow stalk starts appearing on your plant, it must be completely removed to prevent damage to healthy green stalks. This also applies to dark, decaying roots and yellow leaves.
  • Water is one of the things that the plant requires to grow well. Do not use chlorinated water. Else, they will not survive.
  • To ensure that the water you use is devoid of chemicals, run tap water into a container and allow it to sit out uncovered for about 24 hours to allow the chemicals to disperse.
  • Change the water at least once every week.
  • If you have an aquarium at home, put the bamboo in it. The plant thrives on the microscopic organisms found in this water.
  • Light is another factor that contributes to the rate of growth, production of chlorophyll and overall development of the lucky bamboo. As this plant grows in the dense shade under the thick rainforest canopy of the equatorial Africa, excessive or direct sunlight would be too strong for it.
  • Place the bamboo in a room that receives no natural light. Ensure that you change its position every 3 to 4 days so it receives a sufficient amount of sunlight.
  • The lucky bamboo also requires nutrients for growth. Add a few drops of aquarium plant food to the water you use while refilling the container of 1/10th of the recommended strength of a standard plant food. This is to be done every two months or longer as feeding it too much may backfire.
  • If bacterial growth goes out of control and the plant seems to wither rapidly, add 1 to 2 drops of an antibacterial solution to the water. Do NOT exceed this quantity.
    Also, pebbles and stones and other ornaments placed in the pot/vase plant must be kept clean.
    Keep away from the reach of children and pets. If ingested, lucky bamboo leaves can be mildly toxic.
  • Do not place the plant near artificial sources of air temperature regulators like air conditioners and heaters.
  • This plant persists best at room temperature. It absolutely cannot endure hot/cold weather.

Although the lucky bamboo plant can survive for a long time, it needs appropriate care in order to thrive in a healthy manner for it to attract good chi. A healthy lucky bamboo plant has spotless white roots with thick, luscious green leaves and has firm stems. If it emits foul odor, the plant is definitely not in good case. This plant can only thrive in a clean environment that is devoid of bacterial growth and algae.

Care And Maintenance of Indoor Plants

Growing houseplants or indoor plants is one of the most rewarding tasks that one can take up as a hobby. Besides creating a pleasant and warm environment in a house, indoor plants can give fresh air by cutting down the level of indoor air pollution. Placed beside a window or on a table, houseplants can add that long-cherished elegant and natural look to a house, that can be a treat to the eyes of the beholder.

But growing houseplants demands a lot of care and attention. Most of the indoor plants are native to the tropical regions, and so they prefer a humid environment and indirect sunlight. However, there are exceptions. For example, succulent plants require a dry climate to grow, while gardenia thrives on bright sunlight. So, it is important to understand the specific needs of the different plants, in order to create an environment that can resemble their natural habitat.

Maintenance of Indoor Plants

Good plant care begins with the selection of a place that can provide the ideal environment for its growth. Also important is to provide the right amount of water and light, and maintain the appropriate levels of temperature and humidity, in order to ensure the healthy growth of plants.

Light
Light is one of the most important growth factors for any plant. As most of the indoor plants are native to the tropical areas, they grow well in indirect sunlight. Such plants can be placed close to a window with sheer curtains, so that they can receive enough filtered sunlight.

If you place them further away from the window, they will not receive adequate sunlight. However, you can take the help of artificial light sources for plants placed in dark rooms. For plants like gardenia, you have to choose a location that receives bright sunlight. If you observe growth only in one direction, then be sure to rotate the position of the plant at regular intervals. This would encourage more uniform growth.

Watering
One of the most common mistakes observed in indoor gardening is the tendency to overwater the houseplants, in an attempt to promote their rapid growth. But, this often causes the roots to rot. At the same time, under-watering can also cause the leaves to turn yellow and fall prematurely. The best way is to check the soil carefully before watering the plant. If the soil is still damp, then wait for another day or two, till the top soil dries out. But, if the soil is dry, then water the plant sufficiently. It is better to use well-drained soil so that it does not hold a large amount of water for a long time.

If the soil is heavy, then you can add some sand and perlite to make a good soil mixture. Otherwise, you can make a soil mixture by combining two parts of organic matter (like peat moss) with one part each of perlite and sand. Also, make sure that the container or pot used for growing the plant has the appropriate drainage system or drainage holes at the base, so that the excess water can flow out of it. For watering the plants, you can use rainwater or tap water. If you want to use tap water, then let the water sit for the whole night. The chlorine present in tap water can be harmful for your houseplants.

Humidity
Maintaining the appropriate level of humidity is also important. Tropical plants usually require a high level of humidity, as compared to other houseplants. So, you can place the plants close to each other, so that they can utilize the water or moisture evaporating from each other. You can also mist the leaves at regular intervals to provide them with adequate moisture.

Temperature
The ideal range of temperature for growing houseplants is 60 to 75°F. Most of the indoor plants can tolerate slight fluctuations in the temperature. But excessive temperature fluctuations can inhibit their growth. Therefore, they need to be protected from cold drafts, as well as from excessive heat. They should not be placed near warm appliances. Most of the houseplants usually prefer a night temperature that is slightly lower than the day temperature.

Winter Care
The growers of houseplants can face a different set of problems during winter. It is the dormant period for most of the plants, for which they limit their new growths and enter a resting period. During this dormant phase, it is important to reduce the frequency of watering, and protect the plants from cold air. So, be sure to place them away from doors.

In winter, the humidity level drops significantly. A humidifier can however, easily resolve this issue. The winter is usually not the ideal time for fertilization. As far as lighting conditions are concerned, this period is characterized by only 8 hours of sunlight a day. So, it is very important to place the indoor plants in those areas, which receive adequate sunlight. For example, a window facing the west or south can be ideal for keeping an indoor plant during this period.

Apart from these, one should also prune the plants from time to time to remove the diseased and damaged branches and leaves, and also to maintain the desired shape. It is important to understand that each plant is unique, and hence has different requirements. So, before growing any indoor plant, do some research to learn more about its specific needs.

Benefits of Indoor Plants

The lifestyle of the urban people is slowly taking them away from enjoying the greenery and nature. Moreover, deforestation too is increasing at a fast pace. Since most of the daily time is spent indoors, there is a possibility of the development of ‘Sick Building Syndrome’, a syndrome developed as a result of spending large amounts of time in a closed environment.

The level of air pollution in the environment has risen in the past few years. Poisonous gases and particulate matter that are emitted from the vehicles, factories, and other sources, that result in various diseases.

The indoor environment emits chemicals that are equally dangerous when compared to the external pollutants. The furniture, paints, adhesives, carpets, insulation, building material used in the house and many such items emit the volatile organic chemicals (VOCs). Indoor plants absorb these chemicals and helps to purify the air.

Indoor Plants Benefits
There are many benefits of indoor plants. The mere presence of plants in our surroundings bring a feeling of refreshment. Plants are not just decorative items used to stuff the vacant space. The most important benefit of indoor plants is their ability to absorb carbon dioxide. In return they emit oxygen and help in cleansing the air. They also absorb harmful chemicals and toxins. The experiments conducted to test the absorption capacity of indoor plants have yielded excellent results.

Employees
Plants are also known to have destressing effects on the mind. The green color that the plants possess relaxes the mind. Placing plants in offices have resulted in the rise in productivity of employees working in a firm. According to the studies conducted, the offices having enough plants in the premises have resulted a drop in absenteeism. It also showed an enhancement in the creativity of employees and reduction of minor health problems like fatigue, headaches, etc.

Children
Other than the destressing effects of indoor plants, they hold many more benefits. Children can learn about different species of plants if planted indoors. Spending time in the vicinity of plants not only gives results in mental satisfaction, but also helps in learning many things. It is possible to give indoor gardening lessons to children by means of indoor plants.

Planting trees in premises of schools is also a good practice. It generates a calming effect and helps in soothing the mind. The Royal College of Agriculture located in Cirencester, United Kingdom, had conducted an experiment to monitor the behavior of children in the presence of plants. The restlessness and other behavioral symptoms among children in rooms having plants, were reduced by 70%.

Indoor Gardening Tips

Indoor gardening is a convenient and practical option for those who have limited space. In this article, you’ll get some tips on how you can go about designing your own little green patch, indoors.

If you live in an apartment that does not have a balcony for a full-fledged garden, then indoor gardening is the thing for you. It is a very handy option that you can explore if you do not want space to come in the way of your love for gardening. You can have your own little corner flourishing with beautiful plants right inside your home just by using some of the tips mentioned below.

Tips for Indoor Planting

When you think about an indoor garden, you need to ensure that you take into consideration all possible points before actually starting it. First, you need to decide what kind of plants you’ll be planting. Then you need to pick a good location. If the plants that you’re planning to plant need sunshine, then you’ll obviously have to pick a spot near the window where they are exposed to sunlight. If they need shade, then you can have them under the window sill, where they are protected from the sun. Next, you need to make sure that the area is properly cordoned off. Nothing from the inside of the garden gets out, and nothing from the outside goes inside. This way, your garden remains clean and so does the rest of the home. The next thing you need to take care of is proper drainage of the water. All plants need water. So you have to make sure that the water that seeps out gets properly drained and does not mess up the entire room. Given below are some ideas that you may want to try out.

Herb Garden
Nothing looks prettier in the interior of a home than a herb garden. The lush green herbs, together with their tantalizing aroma all mixed together in the air, render a sense of peace and exquisite ‘flavor’ to the house. If you don’t want them on the ground, you can have them in hanging garden planters all around a room. Your options for herbs can be coriander, thyme, mint, etc.

Flower Garden
Nothing says garden better than flowers. And if you don’t have the space for a full-fledged landscape, you can have your own little miniature flower garden inside your home. Pick one flower that blooms in different colors. Roses, gerbera daisies, and orchids are good options but tulips definitely take the cake in indoor flower gardening. They look stunning, especially when they bloom against a wall in a contrasting color.

Vegetable Garden
Another popular idea is a vegetable garden. It is practical and very useful. While most of it will be container gardening, if you have a balcony, you can allot a corner and plant the vegetables directly into the ground too. Chillies and tomatoes are very good options. Avoid roots and tubers for indoor vegetable gardens as they could get quite messy.

Cactus Garden
An unconventional yet fabulous idea for an indoor garden is a cactus garden. Go to your local nursery and get different varieties of cactus plants. The best part of this idea is that since cactus plants are really hardy, you do not have to bother about watering and taking too much care of them. They do that for themselves.

Indoor gardening can bring a sense of peace and calm to your home. It beautifies your home and makes it appear more friendly and relaxed. So, get started on one for your home right away.