Plant People’s co-founders advise on how to maintain indoor plants
Memories of her mother’s elaborate and beautiful green corners at every home she moved to as an army kid and constantly being drawn to the lush green beauty of the outside world respectively led Komal Garg and Angud Bhalla to craft ‘Plant People’, a Mumbai-based botanical design company, about two years back.
'Plant People' is for anyone looking to creatively do up their space with greens. "The idea is to create planned, designed green spaces with a clear aesthetic rather than just adding pots and plants. Same goes for smaller plant arrangements and green gifting. We believe that no space is too small to add a healthy dose of green – give us anything and we’ll turn into a lush garden," say Komal and Angud. The husband-wife duo, formerly an ad man and a television writer, generously gives us advice on how to bring in and maintain indoor plants in our homes.
For those who are starting out
We specifically ask Komal and Angud for advice for folks (like us!) who are just starting out with indoor plants and are still a bit apprehensive about being able to maintain it. First off, the duo says, there are way too many advantages of having indoor plants. "From upping oxygen levels to improving concentration and reducing mental fatigue, the benefits of a green-friendly home are well-known. But there a few things to keep in mind for those considering or just getting into decorating their home with plants. When choosing the kind of plants that you want to add to your space, the most important factor to keep in mind is the amount of natural light that the spot is receiving and the level of humidity in the space."
Another thing they highly recommend while designing a new space is thinking about its botanical design right from the interior design and construction stage. This is to ensure that the overall design language of any given space is incorporated with the green decor, letting the greens gel into the space organically.
Angud Bhalla and Komal Garg
"With the air quality outside going from bad to worse, people are a lot more aware and conscious of the importance of plants and trees as air purifiers. They’re turning to keeping plants indoors in a big way," say Komal and Angud, when asked about people’s shifting attitudes towards incorporating plants or other botanical elements into their homes, specifically in the urban context.
The biggest challenge with making indoor plants and green decor a staple in urban homes is the limited amount of space they have to offer. "We’re constantly coming up with innovative, decorative ideas for vertical or hanging gardens to increase the available space," they add.
Also, life in an urban city and time-crunch go hand-in-hand. While maintaining indoor plants might seem easy enough, what’s easier is the tendency to lose interest. The duo shares a few easy, convenient, and reassuring ways of tackling the problems that come with a busy life in a buzzing city. "Start small. Buy a few plants, like ones you can keep on a table. Keep an eye on them to see how they're doing. Are the leaves shedding, is the plant drooping, is there fresh growth? It takes some time but eventually everyone can get comfortable with plants and get past the 'will I kill it?' stage. A little bit of love, care and patience go a long way."
Additionally, the rules of plant-upkeep are different for different lifestyles. "Plants are living things that require varying degrees of attention, depending on the variety you choose. So, if you travel a lot, for example, it is wise to get low-maintenance, hardy varieties of plants, like the ZZ plant or Snake plant that would thrive even if neglected," they add.
"Clients are not looking for the regular pot and plant anymore – they want something unique that reflects their personality and enhances the design of their space,"
Coming to DIY tips and tricks that can work great for any home, there are a few Komal and Angud swear by. The first being the Japanese art of Kokedama. The practice of covering a ball of soil with moss as a base for an ornamental plant is a versatile one. "To give it your own spin, try wrapping some ropes around the moss balls, or throw in some colour," they add.
"Macrame plant hangers are another great way to up your green game. A wildly popular trend in the 70’s which is making a comeback in a big way. It’s ideal for making decorative plant hangers to hang from the ceiling or walls."
For easier and lesser elaborate arrangements, the duo suggests turning literally anything into a planter, resulting in a unique plant arrangement, from bags to wine bottles to old boots to cups and saucers. "The list is endless. Just use your imagination or take inspiration from the internet. We’ve even seen an old, tattered car turned into a mini-jungle by someone in Goa!"
"Clients are not looking for the regular pot and plant anymore. They want something unique that reflects their personality and enhances the design of their space," say Komal and Angud, citing the internet, decor apps and websites in particular, as the driving force behind people’s imaginations running wild, and in the process, inspiring their own.