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Get rich with money plant

Among the plants that you needn't pamper are the money plants. These hardy plants will thrive with the minimum of fuss apart from giving the green hue to the interiors and the garden. Species of Scindapsus, Philodendron, Monstera and Syngonium are common climbers used as pot plants. They can also be grown as climbers on walls, trellis and trees or in hanging baskets.

Scindapsus aureus or money plant is an immensely popular houseplant. This is a perennial climber with heart-shaped dark green shiny leaves. Young plants bear leaves that are three-four inches long.

But they can be twice as big on older plants and bigger on climbers growing on trees. These plants can climb high up the trunks and along the branches of trees by attaching fleshy aerial roots to the dry bark.

Money plants are mainly used as indoor plant because of the foliage and rapid growth. They can trail down from pots or hanging baskets. Given light, water and fertilizer, Scindapsus will grow at a terrific rate. Bright filtered light throughout the year is best for the plant. In less light, the leaves lose much of the colour contrast.

Propagation is through cuttings of three-four inches below the node. Plant a few of the cuttings in pots containing rich soil. Cover the pots with plastic bags and leave them in bright filtered light till roots appear. Water moderately and transfer them into hanging pots and let the plants trail down. If you want the plant to grow bushy, trimming helps. Trim and re-pot whenever required.

One attractive way to grow money plant is to train it on sticks in pots. Moss-covered polythene pipes are used to give moisture and hold for the roots. But in dry places , the moss falls off. A wire-netting framework can be used to hold the moss in place. Instead of moss, coir ropes also can be used on polythene pipes. Coir gives grip and roots easily cling on to the sticks. When money plant grows vertically upwards on the sticks, the leaves will become larger. The plant will then produce leaves of different sizes and may demand more space. Flowers are not produced indoors.

Cut money plant branches arranged in glass containers will produce roots and the cuttings will remain fresh for a longer time. The fresh looking money plant grown in water is a cheerful sight and the show of green will last for many months. Add water as it evaporates. Change water once in a month.

The cuttings kept in water will develop many roots and they may need replacing. These rooted cuttings can be planted in pots or in beds.

Scindapsus will do well as ground and wall cover. Given some care, it will grow well and add colour to your garden

CHITRA RADHAKRISHNAN

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