‘Creep’ing into your homes
Easy to grow and slightly tricky to maintain, creepers make for a perfect green balcony, giving you the much-needed break from bland urban structures
It’s monsoon and green is the colour of the season. Beautiful green hills, lush green forests, prosperous green fields, and just about every land is green right now. Why leave out your balconies and gardens then?
Among the many plants and shrubs that are ideal for our homes, creepers are a great idea for a good green cover on your terrace. While there are innumerable ones that you can choose from, the Bougainvillea is the most common in India. “This one is however more suited for a garden and not a small balcony. The one that gives pink flowers is ideal for the Indian weather. It grows very rapidly,” says horticulturist Jitendra Chalke of GoGreen Nursery.
You may not want to plant it in the monsoon though, he advises. The one creeper that grows year-round is the Thunbergia. “This too is a fast growing creeper that gives blue/ purple flowers,” Chalke explains, adding that the growth is however haphazard and must be trimmed and directed correctly.
Another year-long creeper is the Allamanda, with yellow flowers. Here too, there are two varieties: a fast-growing and a hybrid one.
Speaking of planting creepers, Chalke says that one must begin by digging a one-feet pit in the chosen area/ pot. “Add 50 to 100 gm of cow manure to the lowest layer of soil. Dust it with folidol powder (diethyl parathion) for insecticide resistance. You can also add a layer of coco peat for water retention towards the upper portion of the soil,” says Chalke.
With creepers, deciding the direction is crucial. You can either construct some designs on your walls with the help of thin wooden sticks or build a metal structure in your garden for a mandap-like creeper growth. Creepers, Chalke says, are often prone to insects. “Use the Confidor and hilban pesticides for protection. If you are using a chemical version, add 1-2ml in water and spray once a month. For an organic one, use 5 ml in water and spray once in 20 days,” he says.
Helmet Pepper, Long Pepper, Ceylon Green Champa, Gokarna, Juhi, Jasmine, Money Plant, Madhumalti Dwarf are some of the many other options you could try planting in your balconies and gardens for a greener, cooler home.