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Posted at: Jan 13, 2018, 1:17 AM; last updated: Jan 13, 2018, 1:17 AM (IST)

Maintain the exotic grace in winters

Maintain the exotic grace in winters

Amarjeet Batth

Most gardening enthusiasts are always fascinated by exotic plants for their colours, forms and foliage. Over a period of time these exotic plants have sneaked into our homes and it’s impossible to think of a garden without them. Plants like Aglaonema, Dieffenbachia, Pothos (Money Plant), Schefflera, Dracaena, Syhgonium, Philodendrum are popular choices and survive in protected conditions both indoors and outdoors. Even though most exotic species survive well in the sub tropical climate of north India, the extreme low temperature and frost witnessed between December and February can damage these. Hence these exotic plants need extra care during this period.

Under cover!

When kept in the shade of big trees, these plants survive well even in the extreme winters provided the humidity level is maintained by spraying water around the plants. The potted plants may be shifted along the wall of southern western side of the garden, preferably under a canopy.  

Dusting time

In tropical region, frequent rains wash the dust on their leaves which is not the case in plains of northern India. In fact, due to long dry weather more dust gets accumulated on the leaves and reduces photosynthesis. It is, therefore, necessary to remove it using soft brush, moist muslin cloth or light soft spray of water, especially on indoor plants as they receive low or indirect sunlight.

Watering formula

Irrigation is a tricky affair in winters. Overwatering can damage  the plants. Keep the soil moist not wet as temperature drops. A little dryness on the top soil keeps the plant in good health.

Fungal alert

During high humidly environment in winters  the foliage may get damaged by a fungus.  Prophylactic spray with 2% ‘Bavistan’ should be done covering the foliage. 

Shuffle regularly

The reserve food capacity of indoor plants also gets reduced in low or indirect sunlight. In order to maintain good health of the plants it is necessary to charge them by regularly taking them outdoors. As they remain indoors most of the time their resistant to tolerate heat is reduced when they are exposed to sunlight after long time. Therefore, keep on reshuffling and bring plants kept in the dark corners to bright windows spots. Sometimes, extreme low temperature may damage the foliage but the plants regenerates from the hardened stems or rhizone as the temperature rises.

Aglaonema: This plant  flourishes without direct sunlight. However, avoid keeping it in cold locations  as that can damage the foliage.

Chlamandorea Palm: It is suitable for indoors as it maintains moderate height and doesn’t need bright sunlight at all times. Regular mild application of fertilisers advised round the year. 

Crotons: These need full bright and direct sunlight, which helps colourful leaves. Inadequate sunlight, especially during winters, turn leaves green with yellow veins and may even lead to damage to the leaves. Reduce watering during winters and allow the top soil to show dryness.  

Dieffenbachia: This plant requires bright indirect light. Give shallow irrigation so that soil remains slightly dry to moist. 

Schefflera: It should be placed at a bright spot where it receives indirect light. In low light it will grow ‘leggy’, and in strong sunlight the leaves might burn. Leaves of this plant turn yellow and fall due to over watering and wrinkled leaves may indicate under watering. 

Drascena: It should be placed 

in a bright spot but not in direct sunlight and needs cover during winter months.  

Syhgonium: Leaves of this plant are arrow shaped. When grown in bright sunlight ensure that it is kept wet, but do not overwater  when placed in low light. 


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