Get your teenager to start gardening today
Updated: Jun 24
While teenage could be a complicated phase of life, it can also be a very exciting one to explore new skills. Children of this age are bubbling with energy, that can be directed to learn a constructive hobby such as gardening. Studies suggest that gardening can help deal with anxiety, stress and focus, a problem nearly every teen faces.
Here is a list of plants your teenager can grow on a window sill, even in a hostel or a PG room:
Lavender is a sweet-fragrance ornamental plant that does well in cities such as Pune, Bangalore and the cooler parts of the country. To start the plant from seeds, sow at least 4" deep in a pot, or directly in the ground. It requires 3-4 hours of sunlight and 20 - 30C of temperature. Fertilise the soil with composted manure and water every-time the top-soil feels dry on touching. For better drainage, add pebbles at the bottom of the pot.
According to a NASA study, the spider plant has been identified as an air-purifier, which makes it a great indoor plant. It can be propagated from a baby plant (known as a pup) growing off the main plant. This plant requires moderate amount of indirect sunlight to sustain in Indian conditions. The soil should be well-draining.
There is a wide variety of succulents available in the market, ranging from the native aloe vera to the exotic echeverias. For Indian weather conditions, we recommend three in particular: aloe varieties, haworthias and all varieties of cacti. They usually grow well outdoors, with 3-4 hours of direct sun. The soil should be well draining and water only when the soil is completely dry(7 days recommended for Indian weather). You can use a ready-made succulent mix, or prepare your own at home (see here).
4.MOTHER IN LAW’S TONGUE/SNAKE PLANT
Snake plant is a popular houseplant native to West African highlands. It can do equally well, both indoors and outdoors. We highly recommend it for low-light spaces. It won't complain even if you forget watering it for weeks, but we suggest watering once in ten days.
Peace lily, if provided with ample amount of natural light, produces white and off-white flowers round the year. It grows well in moist soil with regular (monthly) addition of a good quality fertiliser. They can be grown in water too, but keep a close eye for root rot and change the water every week. For general plant health and flowering, use a phosphorus-rich fertiliser.
WARNING: all parts of peace lily contain calcium oxalate which, if consumed in high doses, can cause respiratory and stomach irritation. So best kept out of infants' and pets' reach.
All the plants mentioned above can be easily found in Indian plant nurseries and garden centres.
Also, since these plants are meant for teenage kids, we have been cautious to include the ones that are hardy and can tolerate negligence.
Pro-tip: Before you decide on the plant you would like to buy, assess your space in terms of natural light it receives. Once you know, if its a well-lit or a low-lit space, then decide on the suitable plant.
-- By Shagun Rana, Team Garden Up