The Tropical Guide to Indoor Plants: Part II

The Tropical Guide to Indoor Plants: Part II

So I covered air purifiers, ornamental foliage, and succulents in my last post. This one’s for those who are eyeing a kitchen garden, and also those who love to be surrounded by flowers.



If you’re looking to have a kitchen garden, mint is the best plant to start with. Not only is it hardy, and easy growing (you can even start off a nice stalk in just a glass of water), but also a shade loving, fragrant herb, making it a great choice for a window sill. 


Thyme (Ajwain)

They like warm weather, and blossom into light pink or purple flowers. The leaves are aromatic, with a fresh, clover scent.


Bay  Leaf

This one’s a desi favorite. From biryani’s to f, bay leaves makes an appearance in some of the most fragrant and delicious preparations. The best part: their medicinal properties are priceless, ranging from easing respiratory infections to acting as nerve–soothing painkillers. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings, and make sure to protect it from the wind. Outdoors, in the balcony, if you live in the mountains, or in otherwise cool weather, partial shade if you have a burning, sunlit- balcony in a hot climate.



The ubiquitous dhaniya, or kothamalli in my native Tamil, gives the perfect finishing touch to anything from salads, to curries, to sandwiches. They’re what you call cold weather plants, so make sure to keep them in shade if it’s too hot outside. The quick growing time (sprouts in 5-7 days), makes them a very satisfying plant to tend to.


Flowering Plants


Begonias grow well indoors in the tropics. Place them in part shade that allows access to bright, filtered light. With their rich red blooms, and earthy, unusual foliage, they add character to a room.


Wild Petunia (Ruellia)

Pretty purple petunia showers are an unusual way of adding a statement visual centre of attraction in the house. Growing to about 3 feet high in the right conditions, these tropical evergreens grow well in shade, and aggressively in full sunlight.


Desert Rose (Adenium)

Adenium is a stunning succulent that blooms into pink blossoms, especially in the winter. Popularly grown as a bonsai, this plant grows a thick base, trunk from which it takes on its characteristic appearance. Place them in a spot that receives ample sunlight, but make sure t rotate the plant regularly to prevent the trunk from getting too twisted, thereby weakening it (they tend to lean towards the sun).



Growing hibiscus indoors requires some effort. Plus, they tend to get discouraged by constantly changing light conditions, so this is going to be a plant that you reserve one spot for the length of its lifetime.



A classic flowering for fragrant indoors. Jasmine likes it’s light bright, and filtered, so should be relatively easy to grow in one pretty nook in the bedroom, or even the bathroom. The best part- they grow into vines, for a fairy-tale effect.


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