Plants benefit interiors, too
Published on: Sunday, November 24, 2019
Text Size:

CAN you imagine how stale, cold and hard a town or city would be if not for the softening effect and naturalising atmosphere with the presence of shrubs, creepers, trees, palms and other kinds of flora?  

Can you also visualise the interiors of apartments and condominiums without interior naturescaping where only the walls of a hard concrete cube with furnishings and gadgets exist?  Such a setting would be truly but sadly unimpressive, plain, uninspiring and oh-so-ordinary despite the couple of million bucks plunked into the so-called home.  There will be little or no fodder for the usual yak-yak-yak sessions and no trumpet to blow among neighbours or between residents within the same block.

That is the cold, hard fact of the relevance of the presence of plants in our world today.  Forty or fifty years ago, no one would listen if one starts to talk about horticulture and landscaping.  

Indeed, the comments would be very negative and completely discouraging as those subjects were considered as something alien and from the future.  Then from thirty to thirty five years ago, the acceptance level began to improve especially horticulture in gardening and cultivation of edibles and other decorative and structural ornamentals in the front or backyard.  But nowadays, the picture is quite different, as there is nowhere to hide from plants, nor run away from them.

In our society, it is not just the garden that needs to be planted up with ornamentals, but also within the home, be it of brick, concrete or timber walls.  

Even walls made of fibre, chalk or gypsum board in homes or offices can be converted or modified to become green spaces once some simple but helpful tasks such as interior naturescaping is carried out.  

This is a special subject that, in due course, will be put up in this page to be shared with gardening enthusiasts or anyone who has a place to call home.  

It can therefore be seen that as the standard of living of society improves, tastes and preferences also change where want becomes need and the unnecessary becomes necessary.  

Fortunately, most of the horticultural items cultivated have dual or triple or even more uses, such as for food, or decoration and beautification, for compost preparation for planting purposes, or even as a herbal stuff for use in alternative medicine.


Keeping plants in interiors

Therefore, the importance of plants can never be overemphasised irrespective of whether it is in the general environment, gardens, homes, offices, and so on.  The essence is to have a softer and greener environment in which to live, work and play.  

This is evidenced by the fact that even in small kitchens and toilets, plants have a role to play. In fact, it has more than one role to play, chief of which is to beautify the surroundings in which it is placed, and secondly, it is involved in the oxygen-carbon dioxide circulation within the microclimate of coccooned spaces. 

Of course, balconies and window ledges, rooftops, and even car porch tops if solid enough, may also be converted into productive green spaces.

This means there are lots of scope to use natural materials to decorate and beautify the interiors without costing a bundle.  In the developed countries, plants have always been accorded great importance in interior naturescaping, and this is usually given a fat budget, which naturally indicates its importance as an item of necessity indoors.

Within the local scenario, things sometimes don’t look too bright when it comes to decorating the interiors with plants.  

It is likely that the usage of plants will include a hotch-potch of plants of all descriptions and from all sources including those collected from roadsides or throwaways from bins, or those donated by friends or colleagues.  

The end result is a collection of a medley of miscellaneous pathetic-looking plants that are unfortunately quite inappropriate for the development of a beautiful, comfortable and soft interior.

It is therefore quite common to see straggly and spindly looking plants that appear to be gasping for its last breath.  Or some plants may be pest-infested which are still put up indoors by ignorant owners. Worst still, many plants are made to live by the day in dirty, unwashed pots, cracked or chipped jars with rotten or koyak foliage.  

Obviously, these materials do not deserve a place indoors, and there are many reasons why such garbage can still be found in otherwise pretty, classy and well-furnished interiors, be they home of office.  One reason is the allocation of only a miserly shoe-string budget; another reason may be the lazy and tidak apa attitude that comes naturally in some enthusiasts; and yet another reason is the knack in many people to postpone what needs to be done now till tomorrow, which, unfortunately, never comes.


Decorating the interior with plants is easy

The simplest thing that one can do to introduce some green, growing things in the interior is to grab a few healthy potted plants and place them at strategic points within the interior environment. That is not a tough deed to do considering that these days there are thousands of choices available to choose from as far as potted plants are concerned.

In place of potted plants, permanent or semi-permanent structures including brick planter boxes, concrete or metal contraptions or even suitable hardwoods, may be used and fixed onto selected locations or walls designed to sustain a vertical green wall.  

A scenario like this may include a water feature, rock garden, stepped water falls, water chute, sprays or low spout jets, boulders, stone sculptures etc with accompanying greeneries namely woody and herbaceous shrubs and small trees, climbers, aquatic plants etc.  

Even mini gazebos, trellises, archs, inclined beams, tunnels and others, may be incorporated into the interior if space allows.  An interior naturescape of such a magnitude would be the centrepiece attraction within expensive dwelling units or commercial complexes.

Of course, it is much easier and more straightforward when using pots or other containers.  But it is necessary to ensure that you have a suitably-sized base plate or tray on which to stand the pot.  Otherwise you may sadly have to bray sayonara to your expensive carpet on which the pot is placed as there will be downward water seepage each time the plant is watered.


A few helpful steps before moving plants indoors

Firstly, make sure that the plants are healthy and sturdy without diseased or broken parts.  Also, check the foliage and terminals where accidental tears or bends occur especially during shifting and transportation.  

Before you part with your easily-earned cash, ensure that there are no finger nail marks on the leaves since many people have a habit of pressing or pricking or fondling fruits, leaves and flowers with their palms, fingers and nails.

Secondly, remove all weeds and foreign matter such as cigarette butts, tooth picks, Hacks wrappers, waste tissue from people who blew their blocked noses, etc.  In short, just keep the soil surface clean and presentable.  Also, wash or mop the pot especially the external surface to remove grime, moss, soot and algae and other growths and contaminants which may mar the beauty of the pot.  This is important particularly if the pots used are of the expensive porcelain, stainless steel or glass types.

Thirdly, scout around for a matching base plate.  Never use an over or undersized one as it can create an impression of an ugly bottom, even though it may have a gorgeous top.


Place plants at strategic locations

Generally, it is a matter of taste and preference when it comes to where to place the pots of beautiful indoor plants within the interior environment. Your interior naturescaping expert may provide their professional views and suggestions but your decision is the ultimate.  

Within any interior space, there are special places to display the plants to create maximum effect.  Such strategic points are normally plentiful in the indoors, provided one is willing to reshuffle some furniture and other arrangements.  Some people may be inclined to take into consideration fengshui ideas while others may consider their interior arrangements in terms of just plain practicalities.

Of course, the simplest way would be to use tall potted plants with matching footing plants to hide barren walls and empty corners to create an ambience of ‘fullness’.  Simple plants used in this way can result in an immense positive effect on the interior environment.

Shorter plants may be displayed on a pedestal or table top or on top of a display cabinet.  Such plants in nice pots have their own advantage in that they are light and easy to move around.  They may be set in soil, pebbles, sand or some other kinds of inert material and as such, they remain clean for a much longer period of time.  However, if is water-based cultivation, care has to be taken to prevent them from becoming mosquito breeding sites.

Plants used for interior decoration are normally shade-loving plants. Since the interior environment is usually cooler, the loss of water through transpiration is correspondingly lower.  

These minimal losses can easily be replaced by a little daily watering or once in two days, with a little soluble fertiliser added once in a month or so.  But remember to rotate the pots every couple of months to prevent the plant from growing in a direction that is not appreciated.


The writer may be reached at


Other News

Follow Us  

Follow us on            

Special Reports - Most Read

What the people say
December 20, 2014