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Updated: December 28, 2012 15:32 IST

Hanging by a thread

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Creepers need good sunshine and very little care
Creepers need good sunshine and very little care

Training creepers and hanging plants is an art. When I say train I mean guide them towards a direction or form to grow. We can even make a green curtain or fence with creepers. Plants like Money Plant or Devils Ivy, (botanical name Epipremnum pinnatum) Blue Bells and Asparagus ferns are easy to grow and maintain. All they need is good sun light. In fact, Money Plant can be grown in just water in a large container placed on a windowsill. However, it is an established fact that all plants grow well with a good mix of garden soil and compost. The interesting thing about these kinds of plants is that you have the option to grow them either as a a bush with a supporting stick, or as creepers. I am fond of growing them as creepers and that too on one side of the balcony to form a kind of a screen.

Pots of green

Let’s start with the first step for growing a creeper with money plant. Get a terracotta pot of about 10 or 12 inches size. Garden soil is easily available in nurseries or you can mix 1:1:1 portion of red earth, manure and river sand to make a perfect blend of garden soil. With this, you may add half a portion of cocopete for aeration and water retention. Money plants are best propagated just by cutting stems from the parent plant and planting.

Fill the pot after ensuring that the soil does not clog the drain hole in the terracotta pot. Fill the pot up to 3/4ths with soil, make a few holes and place the cuttings and then fill to brim to hold the plant. Wait for a few minutes and then water the plants. You may initially feel the plant is wilting, but wait for it to perk up after a few days. This is normal as the plant or the branch just needs time to get over the trauma of re-orientation. Now place this pot where there is plenty of sunshine, at least for a couple of hours. In about four to six weeks you will see the plants have grown well and are taking roots. Just water them every day. It is good to be patient and try not to handle the plants much. After about six months you will be ready to train them. Just tie a thin rope to the tip of the stem, leaving a few leaves to wind on the string, and the other end high to the place you want to create the curtain, you will also find there are several branches that have propagated in the pot and you will have more branches to train. These can be done with gold or silver ropes, ribbons or threads readily available in any fancy store to add to the aesthetics

When you want a quick cover in the area, you could use two or three pots of plants. You can plant more than one branch in a pot but don’t crowd it.

Maintenance

Maintaining these plants is actually easy. Once a year add manure on top and just mix the soil, making sure you don't disturb the roots. Re-potting is easy and can be done once a couple of years or when the roots start getting out of the pot. To re-pot, remove the plant from the old pot and refill half with fresh soil put the plant back in the pot and cover with compost or leaf mulch.

Blue bells and Asparagus ferns can also be planted in the same way. Other creepers with blue flowers like morning glory or Jackmanja look beautiful as curtains in a balcony or verandah. Asparagus ferns can be placed in a pot holder and hung on the wall to have hanging plants. All these plants are easily available in nurseries.


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