Say aloe to my friend

Updated: Jun 28, 2020, 08:38 IST | Anju Maskeri | Mumbai

What better activity than gardening to boost your morale during the lockdown? A round-up of the hacks from Mumbai's best home growers

With our social lives on hold, Mumbaikars are learning to lift their spirits with the help of potted plants. Little surprise, then, that e-commerce sites are seeing an upsurge in demand for seeds, and Instagram is flooded with plant-focused feeds. We reached out to homegrown green enthusiasts to find out ways to curate your own little garden.

'Microgreen options are endless' Mallika D'Sylva

Mallika D'Sylva

Mallika D'Sylva's Bandra home is filled with tomatoes, chillies, lemon and bean clusters. According to D'Sylva, basil, mint and coriander are the easy herbs to grow in Mumbai's weather. A perfect houseplant for beginners is the pothos, a hardy indoor plant. When it comes to microgreens, the options are endless. "Mustard seeds straight out of the condiments box in your kitchen will give you delicious microgreens to top your salads."

Pro tip: Start local. See what grows around you. A cutting from the mother plant can yield great results.

'You'll need to be loving and patient' Laveena Nambiar

Laveena Nambiar

Marketing professional Laveena Nambiar and her mother, Rita, live in a 1,500 sq ft home with an outdoor courtyard in Belapur. "We have two big mango and coconut trees, which are almost 30 years old." Nambiar says the three most important steps to gardening are proper manure, rooting and a high-quality sapling. "Remember, this requires patience and commitment."

'You'll need to be loving and patient' Laveena Nambiar

Pro tip: It's better to take care of a few plants rather than making a crowd.

'Overwatering will be your biggest mistake' Shilpa Meti

'Overwatering will be your biggest mistake' Shilpa Meti

Mulund resident Shilpa Meti has turned her 12th floor balcony into a green haven. Over the past two years, she has grown a variety of plants, including penta, adenium, basil and kalanchoe. Meti says overwatering is one of the most common reasons why seedlings don't succeed. Water the plant until the soil is moist, but not soaking wet.

Pro tip: Do your research about the kind of plants you plan to grow. Always ask the local plant vendors for tips; they know best.

'Start with a stem in a mug of water' Zahabia Motorwala

'Start with a stem in a mug of water' Zahabia Motorwala

Zahabia Motorwala began growing creepers as a shield against prying eyes. "The building opposite ours is at close proximity. This works as a natural curtain," she says. Motorwala says you can start off by keeping a stem in a mug of water. "You may need to invest in a bigger pot so that the roots can grow with ease."

Pro tip: Don't give up. It happens that a plant dies. It's all part of the game.

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