A (work)spot of green!

Indoor plants are emerging from the woodwork.

Indoor plants are emerging from the woodwork.  

NOTHING LIKE a spot of natural green to soothe the eyes and liven up the spirits. But what do you do if you are one of the thousands who are cooped up in an air-conditioned office in the midst of the city for the better part of the day? Bring the garden indoors, that is what.

With indoor plants emerging as an important part of decor, more and more offices and showrooms in the city are switching to potted greens. As commercial buildings like shopping malls, resorts and restaurants twiddle their green thumbs to enhance aesthetics and create a soothing environment, the market for potted plants is showing an upward trend.

While most establishments prefer potted plants strategically placed to relieve the monotony of an office environment, upmarket firms splurge on beautiful indoor gardens complete with waterfall, soft music and adjusting lights.

But none of this comes cheap. Professional agencies that offer expert advice and maintenance of indoor plants are springing up all over the city. Everything from delivery of plants, watering, cleaning and periodic replacement is handled by these agencies. Competition is fast hotting up with gardeners, landscaping artists and flower dealers jumping into the fray.

Philodendrons, Daffenbachia, Syngoniums, palms and ferns are the preferred varieties. Professional gardeners say that maintenance of indoor plants is not an easy task. "There are so many factors which could play havoc. It requires the precise amount of light to bring out the colours, hold enough leaves and look good. The choice of soil and fertiliser is crucial. So is the watering. The plants also have to be constantly monitored for pests and diseases," says a professional gardener.

There are also a couple of agencies that rent out potted plants for private gatherings and public functions. Even political parties have, of late, taken to the idea of lending a dash of green to spruce up their pandals and venues.

Interestingly, a recent study conducted by NASA reveals that the common indoor plant may provide a natural way of absorbing pollution. The two-year study found that a dozen popular varieties of ornamental plants were effective in removing several key pollutants associated with indoor air pollution.

The research suggests that one can use plants in the home or office to improve the quality of air and make it a more pleasant place to live and work - where people feel better, perform better and enjoy life more. Some species may be launched into space as part of the biological life support system aboard future orbiting space stations.

By Nandakumar T.

Photo: S. Gopakumar

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