Vriksha nursery

Vriksha nursery is a second generation nursery based in Mumbai where we strive to change the face of urban gardening in India with over 25,000 gardens executed in Maharashtra/Goa/Gujarat. We have a team of dedicated professionals who will leave no stone unturned to give you gardens of the utmost quality. Vriksha nursery has been synonymous with innovation in our field be it set landscaping(over 15000 teleserials/movies/adfilms), temporary landscapes (over 2500 exhibitions and weddings),ikebana flower arrangements, urban farming, rooftop gardens,living walls etc.
contact us :9820704069 Email: shaan_lalwani@hotmail.com
or better still
Drop by at: 1 ganga apts ,
irla railway soc(2nd last bungalow lane opp papilon hotel )
mumbai 400056.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The "Hippy" Horticulturist of mumbai .


       Lets start by telling you guys this is a slightly off topic post. A post about guys and girls from age 18-40 who all of a sudden have taken a very keen interest in horticulture. These people stop by #Vriksha in hilariously colourful outfits dreadlocks wearing funky glares and using terms like "Bro" "Groovy" they say goodby too in a funny way..."peace out" " Booom" "Jai Bholenath" .
 A few weeks ago i had a similar client i asked him why ....why do you guys only want to grow this 1 plant....why not tomatoes , why not chillis i showed him some of the magical plants we had at vriksha i showed him cactis ,succulents ... glow in the dark plants carnivores etc i showed him how good fresh herbs smell.....i served him a home grown salad....i spent an entire hour trying to get him all excited about the magical world of plants...he took him a herb basket , a tomato plant , a venus fly trap and soil for his seeds.

   "Jack" sold his cow to get his magic seeds. these guys buy them online....they get them from all sorts of places. These guys adore these seeds they keep them in boxes fancier than those the jewellers use for diamonds. They come asking for advice they speak about artificial lighting to grow plants when i tell them the lights are expensive they dont mind they say.... they want to sit and discuss soil Ph for hours . The right growing medium the right N.P,K required to grow their "Precious" seeds.
        An Average plant shopper that visits us has a few simple questions ... Name of the plant ,will it flower ,will it fruit , how much will it flower how much will it fruit, how much sunlight , how much water....when do we add manure etc etc.But these guys are different they aren't interested in the fruit the aren't interested in flowers all they want is the budd.


      Its the case of Dr Jekkle and Mr Hyde here the Dr is an expert gardener who checks soil moisture levels to keep the plant in good health...he fertilizes his plants expertly using only organic manure that he has got of flipkart. The other guy forgets to water his tomatoes for a week .

     Let me make one thing clear here ....I do not sell seeds nor do i sell plants of this special plant banned under " the NDPS act of 1985 . So dont call asking for it .
Spotted him at a local starbucks a few months later... he was extremely excited to see me...telling me his plant is doing well ...very well and offer me some of hi homegrown budd...i politely declined...i told him i was happy for him and asked how the others were doing...the spearmint the rosemary...has he cooked with them ? i was curious...i wanted to know did he harvest the tomatoes...did he show his friends the venus fly trap...he looked at me and said..." No brooo. They all dies in a week of taking them....i forgot to water them for a week cause i had my exams even my cactus died cause i dropped hot coffee in it one day and forgot and then ants came n ...BLAH BLAH BLAH. I dared to enquire further...how did your seeds survive...how did that plant do so well...a big bush of 5 ft (he showed me images on his cellphone) . oh those i wake up and water...then i water them in the evening again depending on the soil moisture and humidity levels that day.


          In this article i merely want to state a simple point....There are thousands of plants in nature each one more beautiful than the other...i know you love your high...but have you ever eaten a freshly plucked tomato...have made tea out of fresh cut leaves of a spearmint...have you ever seen a venus fly trap in action...its simply spellbinding. The world dosnt need more pot heads ....it dosnt need more engineers or more industrialists it desperately needs more horticulturist , it needs more naturalist . And i know this generation of people have it in them to be probably the best only if only they apply the same love to growing other plants as much as they do when they grow weed.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Honey i cooked the Cactus & the Succulents!!!

      Our nursery is a testimony to our love for cactus and succulents we have one of the largest collections of them in mumbai....they work so well in creating tabletops landscapes and terrariums one of the most easiest plants to maintain iv come to fall in love with this family of plants....as a child one chapter of my favourite cartoon moments was when silvestre or the wolf in road runner or tom from tom and jerry smacked or landed on cacti....jevenile humour yes i know ...but i fell in love with the cacti the plant somehow came across as a symbol of karmic justice to me...hahahha....funny but true... So when i came across an episode of master chef australia where one of the mystreybox ingredients was "prickly pear" cactus i was beyond thrilled it opened up a whole new world of plants that i just had to eat!!! So lets dive down to the varieties of plants that you can eat and grow easily in mumbai :-
1) Prickly Pear :-
           Commonly called prickly pear, Opuntia ficus-indica is perhaps the most common edible succulent. The name refers to the juicy, reddish-purple fruit that develop atop the leaves in summer. While wholly edible, the fruit is filled with seeds that prove difficult to digest for many people. The flat, spiny pads of prickly pear are also edible and are widely eaten across Latin America as a vegetable called nopales. Both the fruit and pads of prickly pear must be cleaned of their spines before consumption and both can be eaten raw or cooked. However, the pads are more palatable when cooked since they have a slightly soapy taste when eaten raw.

2)Night-Blooming Cereus:-
     Night-blooming cereus is the common name for several species of epiphytic cacti within the genus Hylocereus You may commonly know these guys as Bhrama kamal. The plants bear fragrant, showy flowers during the summer months that later develop into edible fruit called pitaya, or dragon fruit. Each fruit is filled with creamy white flesh that has a subtly sweet flavor and scent. Many gardeners grow night-blooming cereus as an ornamental and most will never see a fruit develop, but you can greatly increase the likelihood of the plant developing a fruit if it is kept under warm, bright greenhouse-like conditions.
  3)Aloe Vera :-
        The clear, mucilaginous sap found inside the leaves of aloe vera plants is widely used as an herbal remedy for skin irritation and burns, but it is also edible and sometimes consumed as a drink to relieve digestive upset. Extracting the edible sap from aloe vera is simple and takes only a knife to cut the leaves lengthwise and a bowl to catch the sap as you squeeze it out. No special preparation is required before consuming aloe vera sap, but its thick texture and slightly bitter taste is unpleasant to many people and can be greatly improved by mixing it with an equal measure of filtered water. 

    To the indigenous people of the American Southwest, few plants are as versatile as the yucca. Species such as Spanish bayonet (Yucca baccata) and Mojave yucca (Yucca schidigera) are of particular value since most parts of the plants are edible and can be eaten fresh or dried and stored for later use. The young flower stems, fruit and seeds all provide a palatable source of nutrition, and the leaves can be eaten steamed or lightly sauteed when still young and tender. It is best to avoid eating the older leaves and roots of yuccas since they contain a high concentration of saponins, which possess a soapy taste and can cause gastrointestinal upset if eaten in large quantities.

5) Dragon Fruit :- Yes that wildly cool look fruit thats taken the market by storm grows on a cactus,i could go on and on trying to describe the fruit to you but then again we all know what the beautiful dragon fruits taste like. They come in two types one with the red flesh and one with the white flesh .

6)All of the Sedum species (also called "stonecrops") are edible (. They are used in salads and are said to have a sour or peppery taste. Eat these sparingly; some can cause indigestion if eaten in large amounts. Purslane is my favorite of the edible succulents, being useful as ground cover in moist areas, easy to grow, and quite pretty -- not to mention extremely tasty when cooked. In the US, purslane is considered a weed, but it is excellent in stews and soups, as well as tasty fried and reasonably good in salads.

10 Plants we have at Vriksha that will make you fall in love with nature all over again !!

      #Mumbai has a host of Plant nurseries , Jhadwalas ....hawkers who sell plants when a 6 years back i came back from the Uk post my degree i questioned myself what do we need to do that sets the store apart...One of the 1st things that came to mind was ..." Have different plants" so over the years we hunted the length and breath of india and even abroad to get in some unbelievable plants...This is by no means my last article on this subject cause we are on a quest to keep adding new and different and plants that will make people come visit us from far and wide .

10) Sorrel :- A New addition to our plant list is an interesting  salad leaf a plant that looks like lettuces but tastes like  a kiwi fruit or a strawberry !!! The plants got quite a fan following at the nursery and urban farming enthusiasts , naturalist and foodies aloe have been smitten by this little guy

9) Heirloom Purple corn :-  We 1st displayed these seeds at an exhibition in my school and the reactions from parents and kids alike were couldn't believe that corn is purple . We  had several question like " How did u colour them" to "did you genetically modify them" and each time we had to explain how corn is not just the white and yellow genetically modified "bhutta"you see at your local vegetable vendor.

8) Stag horn ferns :- These were my favourite plants as a kid i remember my dad took me for a plant exhibition and i had stomped my legs rolled on the floor...and i think refused to eat till he go me this beautiful fern. This plant is quite unique it looks as the name suggest as the horns of a stag and what i find most amazing is how it creates its own pot with its leaves...you will find several of these beautiful ferns all over the nursery on trees on the walls or just hanging around .

7) Edible roses :- My wife finds it hilarious how i love rooafsaa (rose drink) that was the main reason for the hunt for the perfect edible rose i think....we found this rose with an amazing lady who has been growing roses for over 50 years After an interesting conversation about what she thinks about some of the new hybrid teas being mass produced in the market she took me to this guy..."the flavour and the smell is unequal" the taste ...oh the taste guys is so beautiful i actually ate 7-8 flowers on my way back to the nursery!!!!

6) The repellants :- mosquitoes , rats , pigeons , fleas , ticks ,bed bugs ...you name the pest and we have a natural repellant for the same . These came by when we noticed that the Bmc started an ill informed campain against house plants dissuading people to grow plants in their home!!! yes they actually ran adds , put up posters saying that house plants cause dengue !! On 1 hilarious morning we had a BMC we had a Bmc fumigation guys come and served us a notice cause they claimed that mosquitoes were breeding in one of our plants...The pitcher plants to be precise ...

5) The candle light Tree :- this one was left to me by my dad...i was 10 i think and i wondered wht this wierd drumstick like fruit was hanging from our bonsai...he sat me down and explained " this is called a candle tree...why candle tree cause the fruits look like candles and when the fruits dry they actually have natural wax in them that enables them to burn as wax candles !!!

p.s this plats als amazing cause they have flowers on their barks not in the foliage amongst the leaves make a very very beautiful bonsai.

4) The glow in the dark fern :- This beautiful fern we spotted on one of our treks up north where i saw amongst all the weeds this beaautiful blue fern no that dint survive the trip well but i went on a hunt for them and found them with one of my favourite nurserymen supprised to see it with her i asked her if she was selling them...she replied ya but that plant is something nobody buys ...i got 100 from her in the 1st go and since then iv sold more than 5000 of them in the last 3 years !!!!

3) The magic berry :- These little red berries like the names suggest are truly magical...also called miricle fruit when consumed will basically alter your taste buds into believing everything sour is sweet!!!

2) The lithops :- They are also called " The Living Stones "
Popularly called "Living Stones", Lithops are some of the world's most fascinating plants! Since their discovery by John Burchell in 1811 when "on picking up from the stony ground what was supposed a curiously shaped pebble, it proved to be a plant", Lithops have been avidly sought by the collector of succulent plants.

1) The #carnivorous plants :- The #Venus fly traps , The saracenia pitchers , The nepenthis all alavialbe in fully matured condition the joy of watching these guys eat mosquitoes fruit flies and othe rinsects in absolutely something else.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Maintaining Succulents/cactus in Mumbai

     Vriksha has suddenly seen an increase in demand of succulents over the past few months. I dont know what how or why but people have taken to succulents with some gusto so much so as to keep us with the increasing demand we had to make a separate section at our Mumbai nursery dedicated to these succulents and cacti.Technically, a succulent is any plant with thick, fleshy (succulent) water storage organs. Succulents store water in their leaves, their stems or their roots. These plants have adapted to survive arid conditions throughout the world, Fortunately for us, this adaptive mechanism has resulted in an incredible variety of interesting leaf forms and plant shapes, including paddle leaves, tight rosettes, and bushy or trailing columns of teardrop leaves. Be it in terrariums or table top arrangements our 1 out of 3 people that walk in has been asking for these beauties and we have over 35 different varieties for them to choose from. And though maintaing these is extremely easy but most struggle to keep these tiny guys from rotting away. So we decided to write a little article to help you guys maintaing these plants in the best yet easiest way possible :-

First off, I will say that succulents tend to grow best outside. As cute as they are, they don’t make the best indoor house plants but they work none the less. That said, if you love them as much as I do, you’ll grow them anyway! And you should! There are a lot of other indoor house plants that may not be as picky as succulents, but succulents are tough enough that they still survive and do fairly well inside. Haworthias and Gasteraloesare two genus of succulents that do especially well indoors.
When succulents are indoors it’s often hard for them to get enough sunlight.
     They generally about 3 hours a day. You’ll want to keep your plants as close to the window as you can, but be careful not to let them get sunburned if the light from the window gets too hot. This tends to happen most with south facing windows (which tend to get the most light if you’re in the northern hemisphere). I’ve kept my succulents in an east facing window, right up against the window, and they have done really well. If your succulents aren’t getting enough light they will start to stretch. colourful Echeverias are especially prone to stretching indoors. If there isn’t anywhere that gets brighter light (or more hours of light), don’t worry! After it get’s too stretchy for your taste, just cut off the top and propagate it! The bonus is that you’ll also get more plants :)
WATER LESS :-This is only true during the winter months of growing your succulents indoors. If you are growing succulents indoors during the summer, just water as normal, waiting for the soil to dry out before you water again. During the winter though, succulents don’t need very much water at all. Since they are dormant, they aren’t growing and they don’t use up as much water. I generally water my indoor succulents about every 2 weeks in the monsoon. Many people recommend even less, but I’ve found that having the heater in my house running tends to dry out the succulents pretty quickly. Just keep an eye on the soil. You’ll want to let it dry out completely and then give it about a week before you water again.Here is a little secret, just like all plants, eventually the lower leaves of succulents are going to shrivel up and die. You should only be concerned about dying leaves if the newest or uppermost leaves on your succulent are shriveling. If it’s just the ones near the bottom of the stem (closest to the soil), you don’t have anything to worry about!

     Soil   : Succulents should be potted in a fast-draining mixture that's designed for cacti and succulents. If you don't have access to a specialized mix, considering modifying a normal potting mix with an inorganic agent like perlite to increase aeration and drainage. These plants generally have shallow roots that form a dense mat just under the soil surface.

 Fertilizer: During the summer growing season, fertilizer as you would with other houseplants. Stop fertilizing entirely during the winter.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Why Not To Buy Plants Of The Cyclewalas / Road Hawkers !!!

The Nursery retail scene in Mumbai has evolved over the years of lately iv noticed a trend where most old time nurserymen in the city were either disgruntle or shutting shop i often found myself wondering why these amazingly knowledgable , some extremely talented people absolute legends of the field i cant stress this enough people who have been in the line for 50-70 years have just suddenly shut shop...
          I sat talking over a cup of tea to one of these guys and he exclaimed " the property rates are through the roof....the #BMC is only out there to harass us fineing us at the drop of a hat ...while doling out hawking licences to every tom dick and harry with a bihari surname and a political linq " yes i do think that was a bit over the top but last few months i decided to take a closer what i saw i was horrified !!!
         I suddenly have seen a spurt of these hawkers on pavements , cycles with carts/cycles , selling plants .Plants with huge hibiscus flowers ,deep red roses and tulsi....oh so many tulsi....and a few other basic varieties. So i met this hawker and struck up a conversation learnt quite a few things that completely surprised me here is what i learnt :-

1) The Water :- Im sure most of you know one of the essential things a plant needs for its well being is water . The Roadside nursery guys find it extremely difficult to get hold of clean water as they basically reside in slums and shanties around their display so what they do is use sewage water either from the drains , storm water drains or worse still shulabh shauchalayas !!! (public toilets) How can you spot this ...look at the top soil of the plants you are buying...its either going to be dark brown or a black .

2) The Traveling plants :- These guys are essentially traders they dont grow absolutely anything travel to other nurseries in packs of 4-5 buy plants and sell them on a premium ...bot they do not have space to store or keep these plants when they come into the city so most of them are kept very small spaces. Now the main issue here is the guys who roam around in the hot sun with carts full of plants...yes the flowers are big and showie yes its convenient to just call out and buy a plant off this guy but do they last ? answer is no they never last cause the plants undergo severe scorching in all this travel .....dust ,car smoke ,loss of water , etc etc these plants may look to have a flower but its going to fall of the very ext day !!! .

3) The chemicals :- These guys who sell these plants are uneducated and basically they know 1 thing that you will buy the plant only if it has a flower or a fruit on it.So they will basically spray absolutely anything to make the plants flower not realising the plants will have a severely reduced lifespan. The plant will be like one of those bodybuilders who are on steroids the moment you stop all sorts of problems ensue.

4) The Varieties :- There are billions of species of plants one more beautiful than the other the hawkers just sell a small fraction of the vast offerings of nature . They do not know their proper names or their proper upkeep or what biodiversity means (or for that mater how it spells).v seen indoor plants being sold as outdoor plants , a guava tree sold as a jamun its appalling .They get in all these random invasive plants that do not do any good for our environment basically anything that has a flower on it they will sell ( iv seen so many of these sell white oleander which is highly poisonous).

5) The Maintaince :- These guys will tell you anything to sell the plants . Everything will be easy to maintain and everything will be perennially flowering and everything will need basic khaad and mitti and all diseases will be cured by rogor or bavistin...these guys will say anything to make a sale.

Know better guys go down to your local nurseries most of these will have way better quality of plants they will have better varieties and better info on the plants you buy.