Plants give off a feeling of freshness, an environment of pleasantness unmatched by a new coat of paint or any hanging decoration. The presence of nature in a household is inviting, exciting and invigorating. The color green is a symbol of natural beauty and prosperity, as prevalent in the flag of Pakistan. As said by Paul Brunton: “Green, which is Nature’s colour, is restful, soothing, cheerful, and health-giving.”
Any citizen looking to improve the ‘feng shui’ of their house or living space should definitely look into placing a plant or two. A smattering of chlorophyll can help with not only the look but also the feel, literally! The latter characteristic is especially useful in the wintertime, when residents tend to close up as much of their house as possible to retain the heat inside; this can lead to a dank environment due to lack of ventilation.
The right plant can be beneficial in all the right ways, and these are the top 5 houseplants to put in your private domicile:
- Snake plant (Dracaena trifasciata)
Alternatively known as mother-in-law’s tongue, this plant is special in the case that has the ability to photosynthesize in the dark, allowing it to convert oxygen from the surrounding carbon dioxide even at night time. Since oxygen is one of the two requirements for a human being to exist, the presence of a snake plant can provide a steady supply of fresh air in a closed space.
The plant can be placed easily in a small location. Should the need arise, you can cut a small piece of the stem and place into another pot, allowing you to grow more of the same plant in a different area. The plant can tolerate direct sunlight, but it grows well under a shade, as mentioned above. Because of its large leaves, they should be regularly wiped to remove any accumulated dust. Watering should also be done on the bottom of the pot, since the roots of the plant grow downward to provide structural support.
- Rubber plant (Ficus elastica)
Found in most households within Southeast Asia, the rubber plant is a very common ornamental plant known for its waxy leaves and larger-than-life appearance. The plant got its name from the milky-white sap that oozes out from a wound inflicted on the stem; this sap is latex that is used in rubber making.
The rubber plant is low-maintenance, requiring little effort to take care of. It should be placed in an area that is well lit, but not too hot. The soil should be kept moist during the summer season but relatively dry in the winter season. Because of its name, handling the plant should done be with caution, since the sap can cause skin irritation should it ooze out of an exposed stem.
- Money plant (Epipremnum aureum)
Also known as hunter’s robe, silver vine or the house plant, it is the most common type of plant growing in an indoor setting. You can commonly these planted in places other than the interior of houses, such as offices, shopping centres, etc. The plant is also notoriously easy to grown since it can grow in either soil or even hydroponically (in water). However, the money plant is well known as a natural air purifier; it can easily remove indoor pollutants such as formaldehyde and benzene on its own.
A money plant can be placed in an area exposed to indirect sunlight or even under fluorescent lights. It can survive in soils with a high water content or even on top of a water surface, making it suitable to be place in aquariums. Just make sure to keep out of reach of cats and dogs, if you have any.
- Aloe vera (Aloe vera)
A very common decoration, this breed of house plant is known particularly for its consumable health benefits. Besides its use as a simple decoration, it is also functional as the internal contents of the plant are non-toxic. In fact, the gel-like substance and the latex from aloe vera are used to manufacture commercial products, be it for consumption, topical treatments, etc.
Unlike the other plants listed above, aloe vera requires regular exposure to light. A porous pot should be used to house the roots of the plant, and regularly watered to keep the plant hydrated. Fertilizers should be used sparingly.
- Cactus (multiple varieties)
Although its main habitat is a sandy area severely lacking in water and constantly exposed to heat and direct sunlight, cacti can repurposed to live inside an enclosed area such as the common house. A variety of indoor cacti exist, with many of them being small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Their thorny exteriors and irregular shapes can be an exciting showpiece to any household.
Cactus, like aloe vera, is a ‘succulent’; this means they are adapted to survive in an arid environment. This should be kept in mind when looking to purchase or plant a cactus within the house.
Different varieties of cacti require different environmental conditions; some need bright light while others need shade, some need more water than others, some require a larger space for growth than other. The current season should also be considered when planting a cactus. Be careful with the variety you settle with taking; even a lowly thorn can demand constant care and attention from your end.
There are many more types of plants that can be placed indoors, but these five are the most common and most preferred. If you wish to grab one for yourself, you can visit one of the many nurseries found in the city of Lahore!
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