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Garden indoors to make the home come alive

Courtesy of Laxmi Natarajan
Indoor plants can bring calm and serenity to an often high-stress area, such as an office. They provide extra oxygen and act as a filter for the air.

Many people spend a majority of their time indoors working in office spaces, home offices, school classrooms, restaurants and the home. As one of those people, I began working with indoor plants to bring a slice of nature inside.

I previously focused on designing with outdoor plants, shrubs and trees, so it was a learning process to understand a new set of plant materials and their care. I was excited to discover a wide variety of indoor plants that provide different colors and textures.

The benefits of indoor plants include the sense of calm and serenity they bring to a space, the freshness they provide by increasing oxygen and reducing carbon dioxide and their ability to act as a filter for dirt and other air pollutants. Studies show that humans are more productive and less stressed when they are surrounded by nature. Greenery can make a space warm, inviting and alive.

When deciding which plants to use where, consider these important factors: What kind of light is available, what shape of plant can fit in the space and how big the plant should be.

If you want a plant to provide some screening, then use a tall and dense plant. Some plants do fine in low light conditions and others thrive in bright light.

My favorite plants are easy to care for, extremely hardy and work well in indoor environments. A few different varieties of Dracaena – Dracaena Lisa, Dracaena Janet Cragii, Draceana marginata, Draceana ‘Ricky’ and Draceana Lemonlime – top my list for their versatility, hardiness, variety of green shades and ability to bear low to moderate light. Sanseveria, Schefflera, Ficus, Palm, Philodendrons, Pothos, Crotons, Aglaonema, Spathyphyllum, Hedera, Yucca and Aspidistra all come in different varieties. There is ongoing research to make them hardier and pest resistant and new hybrids are constantly introduced on the market.

You could place a single planter in a corner, a set of planters in an arrangement or fill an entire garden room with indoor plants. You can have atriums with beautiful ferns or a sunroom with tropicals. There are plenty of options for creativity and imagination when designing and building beautiful indoor plant gardens.

Planters come in all shapes, sizes and colors – from traditional to contemporary and modern styles – and they are sold in home stores, in garden centers and at retailers. Self-watering containers and sophisticated container-watering irrigation systems are available for those wanting to install something more reliable and solid. You can also set up drip irrigation if you have a garden room with many planters together.

Indoor living walls, a trend these days, are easy to install and maintain, with ready-to-hang wall systems. In addition to interior decorating, we can now interiorscape our homes, offices and indoor spaces, enjoying healthful green living indoors.

Plants bring life to spaces, so whether you have a spare room to convert to a garden room or a small apartment nook, bring some green indoors and enjoy a touch of nature.

Laxmi Natarajan, a member of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers, is a garden and flora designer at Bagicha Garden & Flora Design, which specializes in creating custom living walls and indoor plantscapes. For more information, call 703-9756 or visit

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