Tag: plant

Plant friends: 7 varieties to keep at home – Italian Cuisine

Plant friends: 7 varieties to keep at home

The (surprising) effects of the plant world on our lives are known, but did you know that a ficus can be a prodigious air purifier?

“A beautiful thing is an eternal joy”. Thus proclaimed Mary Poppins, extracting from her magic carpet bag a large plant (perhaps a variety of Philodendron, a plant belonging to the Araceae family often found in our homes) to brighten up her room. What Mary perhaps did not know was that keeping one or more plants in the house not only has a decorative and highly therapeutic function for the mood (how much did we need green in the last year? How many windowsill gardens were born?), But it is also a powerful filter to purify the air. We asked Rita Baraldi, researcher of the National Research Council of Bologna, Institute for BioEconomy (IBE-CNR), to explain to us how they work and which varieties are best suited to the various environments of our homes.

The complete interview can be found in the January issue, now on newsstands. Here we present some of the varieties with the ability to "clean" the air to choose from.


Dark green lanceolate leaves with white to red heart-shaped "flowers" (spathe). Loves the heat, fears the stagnation of water.


Also known as a phalanx or ribbon, it has long light green streaked leaves and small white flowers. In a bright position, not in current. It resists dry air in apartments well.


We all know it as potos, a climber with heart-shaped green leaves sometimes spotted with yellow. Love the light, not direct. Requires moderate watering.


It is the Christmas star, and it will be easy to find it in our homes at this time of the year. It fears drafts and sudden changes in temperature.


The first with small oval and sharp leaves, no more than 12 cm long, the second with fleshy leaves up to 40 cm long. They love the light, but not direct. They fear drafts.


Rustic plant, typical for outdoor use. It also adapts well to less bright and poorly heated interiors. It requires little care.


It has long lanceolate leaves, from May to August it "blooms" producing spadici (species of small white panicles) wrapped in white spathe. Love humid heat.

Illustration Luca De Salvia

How an avocado plant is grown indoors – Italian Cuisine

Our new avocado seedling can grow from that large kernel that we usually discard. Here's how to overcome the social challenge of the moment

The quarantine weeks gave us time to rediscover our domestic passions. Including the one for the world of plants, of course, which combined with that for the kitchen has given rise to one of the most popular home challenges of these times, often and willingly also taken up on social media: the test in question consists in growing a seedling of avocado simply starting from the large central core, usually left to itself after asummer salad or an attempt to guacamole. Difficult? No, not particularly, although it is obviously necessary to follow some basic rules.

Photo Getty.

To make the tree you need the core

Everything, it was said, starts from the core of the avocado, which must be left half soaked in water and half exposed to air. So let's take four toothpick and with great delicacy we go to stick them perpendicularly in the core, so as to form a sort of cross-shaped structure. At this point we take a glass and fill it with water to the brim, and then lay our core on it, supported above the edge by the toothpicks: the most rounded part must be the one immersed in the water, because it is from there that will come out roots.

We put everything in a corner of the house – or the balcony – lighted on average and prepare to wait. It will take a few weeks (three or four) before it roots and Bud peep out: in the meantime, let's remember to change the water in the glass about once a week, and to keep the level constant day by day.

Photo Getty.

From water to the pot

At this point the roots will be well projected inside the glass, while on the upper part a graceful leaf will appear like a flag. It's time to photograph our avocado and make a feast of likes on social media, of course, but also to move on to the second phase of the operation #AvocadoPlant. We prepare a vase of at least 30 centimeters in diameter and fill it with potting soil. At this point we remove the toothpicks from the core and go to place them on the surface of the soil, burying the roots, but still leaving the upper part well in the air.

Let's water it regularly, even every two or three days, but make sure that there are no stagnations of water, because they could rot our green creature. And after all the effort – or rather, the wait – it would really be a shame. For the rest, everything can be done safely on the balcony of your home, or even on a window sill, at any time of the year: avocado, as a tropical plant, fears only the temperature changes and temperatures below 4 degrees. Then when the map reaches i 20 centimeters high, it must be ticked 5 or 6 centimeters at its top: a fundamental operation to be repeated from time to time, to encourage it to grow further. And, crossing the fingers, to produce some beautiful fruit.

Photo Getty.

Garden on the balcony: what to plant in September – Italian Cuisine

Garden on the balcony: what to plant in September

September, the month of transition between summer and autumn, a favorable time to dedicate to the care of the vegetable garden, even the one on the balcony!

The vegetable garden on the balcony is a widespread trend. Having salad, tomatoes, zucchini, onions at hand without having to leave the house is a great advantage. And even more so is the security of knowing what we bring to the table because … we have cultivated it!

September, with its beautiful days characterized by a mild climate and temperatures no longer as high as in the summer months, is a perfect month to devote to thevegetable garden on the balcony (or even to create one!) and sowing those vegetables that you can enjoy during the long winter months. Many are the plants, but also the flowers, to sow or transplant in this period: from spinach to leeks, from salad to onions.

Garden on the balcony in September: where to start?

Often returning from vacation, after one or more weeks away from our balcony, the situation we find is not the best. The first thing to do, therefore, is to put our vegetable garden back on its feet. Let's start by cleaning up the plants and weeds from the pots and soil.
We then buy the soil with fertilizer and start a manure the earth we have in the pots or in the seed beds. A good idea is also to use a home-made compost with food waste instead of commercial fertilizer.
Before starting the new sowing it is therefore essential that the soil is rich in nutrients. That's why the first thing to do is fertilization. Only then can we proceed with sowing.

What to sow in September?

It's time to think about which vegetables to sow. Our thoughts run to the cold winter evenings when on the table it is customary to taste hot soups and stews.
You will be pleased to know that this is the best time to sow such vegetables lettuce, chicory, rocket, catalogna, endive, spinach and even leeks, onions, turnip greens, radishes, carrots and cabbage. All vegetables, especially the latter, that you can safely grow in pots, obviously taking into account the spaces that each vegetable requires.
For cabbage and cauliflower – in addition to preparing pots of adequate size – better to take advantage of the first days of September and not wait too long, otherwise the best moment passes.

Look at the moon!

Since the dawn of time moon phases have affected the agricultural activities of man, especially the moment of sowing. The movements of the moon affect the amount of water and moisture that from the ground it radiates towards the roots, with direct effect on the growth of the plants. This is why it is important to take into account the moon phases when in the sowing period.

When the moon is growing the seeds absorb more moisture from the soil, to reach a peak on full moon days. While when the moon is waning it is considered a rest period.

The most widespread advice is therefore to wait for the crescent moon to sow plants, we have the desire to make flowers bloom as soon as possible (first they bloom, first the berries ripen) such as tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, etc … While it is good to wait for the waning moon to sow plants and vegetables that end the production cycle with flowering: lettuce, chicory and leafy vegetables in general.

Not just vegetables!

If there is no lack of space on your balcony, this is also the perfect month for plant flower bulbs (like primroses, daffodils, carnations, tulips) that with a bit of luck, as well as adequate care and a good dose of green thumb, will announce the arrival of spring towards February / March, filling your balcony with colors and scents!

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