No sunlight? You can still grow plants!

Those of us who have had green around our homes must have had perennial Money plants tucked in collectible pretty bottles (which could never been thrown away) or even pots that had the creeper trailing on the wall or balcony.  They were sunned once in a while or may never have seen the sun but yet they gave out new leaves and looked healthy.  If you now go to a nursery and ask for indoor plants you will be shown a wide range to choose from.   Indoor potted  plants thrive in the shade and beautify our homes and give us the much needed desire to be surrounded by green.

Italian Basil in your garden. Pic: Pratima Rao

This means all of us who have to live with little or no sunlight can have a green patch on the balcony or even a corner that’s been unused around your home.

There are many varieties of leafy ornamental plants and in many hues, textures and shapes available at local nurseries. Herbs and leafy vegetables also grow but will need at least 3 to 6 hours of sunlight.

Basically, a good rule to remember is that if you grow a plant for the fruit or the root, it needs full sun. If you grow it for the leaves, stems, or buds, shade is just fine

Salad Greens, such as leaf Lettuce, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Peas, Radish, Leafy Greens, such as  spinach, beans and carrots grow in shade without a problem. Recently,  I bought  about four English herb plants from Namdharis and they are growing happily in the shade.

Greens in your balcony. Pic: Pratima Rao

So plan your space according to the light it receives. Just spend some time and observe through the day to understand which part of your home receives most sunlight and place your vegetables or herbs in those spots. Cover the rest with ornamental plants and enjoy the green foliage.

I found this piece of information, mentioned below, which may be useful.  Google the names and you can see the plant images so that you can recognise them at the plant nursery. With the help of a compass check the direction of your balcony or front yard and you can be sure your plants will be happy.

  • North-facing:  Dieffenbachias, Aglaonimas, Philodendrons (bushy and climbing), Syngonium, Scindapsus and Marantas (suitable for humid climate)
  • East-facing: Impatiens, Spathiphyllum, Anthuriums, Saintpaulia (African Violets), Hibiscus and foliage plants such as Chlorophytum, Ophiopogonis, Eranthumum, graphatophyllums and Aralias
  • South-and West-facing: Pachystachys, Plumbago, Lantanas, Bougainvilleas, Ixoras inclusive of potted roses, Button roses, Taberna Montanas, Hamelias, Gulphimia, Petunias and Clematis.⊕

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