Creating A Green Space

With working from home being an ever-growing norm moving into 2022, Malaysians are spending more and more time in their homes. With this stark reality in mind, we are seeing more households improving their living and work spaces at home to make it more conducive towards supporting a healthy work-life balance, in the midst of other family members who also share the same living space. One great way to do this is by increasing the number of indoor plants within the home. This not only adds aesthetic value to the home, but also supports many physiological benefits.
It has been scientifically proven that plants can indeed reduce stress levels and act as natural mood-boosters. Some studies have even found that having a plant at your desk can help with concentration. Even the act of gardening itself offers mental health benefits, as it supports mindfulness and calm. Plus, there is immense satisfaction to be derived from watching a fledgling shoot bloom into a full-grown plant, which is why many “plant parents” see their blooms as their very own “children”.
The best part is, even those without a garden, such as those staying in apartments or home offices can benefit from cultivating the right kind of plants.
If you haven’t already, what better time is there to unleash or hone your inner green thumb? For the uninitiated, however, growing indoor plants may seem like a daunting and expensive prospect. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, growing plants indoors can be a simple, inexpensive, and most importantly, rewarding hobby. So, in conjunction with Houseplant Appreciation Day held on Jan 10, what better time is there to try your hand at growing small houseplants on edible greens to brighten up your home?
Here are three simple steps to get you started.

Areca Palm. Supplied.
Areca Palm. Image supplied.

Step 1: Start with the basics
You don’t really need much to get started. In fact, a few simple tools and items – a spade, a rake, a pair of gloves, a watering can, soil, pots and seed or seedlings – are all you need to get started. All these can be found at a relatively low budget at your local hardware store or nursery. A good storeowner or nursery keeper can even guide you further on what kinds of equipment you should have based on your living space, needs, budget and the kind of plants you would like to grow. But with anything else in life, it all begins with that small first step. That’s all there is to it!

Step 2: Identify the right kind of plants for you
One good thing about living in a year-round tropical climate in Malaysia is that there are a plethora of plants of varying shapes and sizes to choose from, to complement just about any living or working space. Many of these are even child and pet-friendly as well. A great one for beginners is the Spider Plant, which is easy to grow and maintain. What’s more, they will thrive in a variety of conditions with minimal care and supervision. Meanwhile, the Areca Palm makes for a lively addition to any room in your home – even the bedroom. These have additional air purifying benefits, making them ideal for those with respiratory or sinus issues. Another plant to consider is the Money Tree. Don’t let its odd and twisted trunk fool you for they grow into a wonderful work of art if well cared for. These plants have also been known by many quarters to bring in good luck and financial success to its owner, which makes them great to give away as gifts too!
While many plants require soil to thrive, others don’t. One perfect example is the Tillandsia Fuego air plant, which only needs water, light and a well-ventilated area in which to thrive. Although slow growers, their sturdy hair-like roots aid in the growth of their vivid cherry-red leaves. Another air plant which is relatively easy to grow is the Spanish Moss. Requiring minimal supervision, they also do not need regular watering – once a week would suffice! However, a bright and naturally lit area in your home would aid its growth tremendously. Meanwhile, the Nerve Plant – named after its vein-like pattern on their deep green leaves. These veined patterns can come in an assortment of colours, ranging from silvery-white, red, pink, white and green. While not foolproof, all these are great and easy-to-grow plants for beginners. But this list is not exhaustive. Like them, there are numerous other plants that are not difficult to care for. A simple online search will reveal that the choices are indeed aplenty. The rule of thumb towards growing them successfully is to understand each plant’s characteristics and the specific care it requires, such as the amount and frequency of water and sunlight required and their repotting needs.

Spider Plant. Image supplied.
Spider Plant. Image supplied.

Step 3: See your plants thrive with the right TLC (tender, love and care)
Once you’ve got your plants up and growing, the right nutrition, fertiliser and care may be required, while protecting them from natural pests and diseases. These may require a number of products, based on your plants’ specific needs. However, that may not be always necessary.
So, there you have it – three simple steps to get your houseplant game on! Start small and who knows? You may soon see every nook and corner of your house brightened up with a beautiful set of plants, as it can be a very satisfying, rewarding and beneficial hobby. As the old proverb goes, “the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.”

Editor’s Note: This article was written by Plantonic in conjunction with Houseplant Appreciation Day which was held on Jan 10.

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