By Desa Roma
Are you worried that your summer garden might be overwhelmed by harsh winter weather, leaving you with no fresh greens for your kitchen? Or are you a city dweller looking to bring a piece of nature into your concrete home? Whichever the case, what you need is an indoor garden. There is a wide variety of houseplants that thrive in indoor spaces, but they vary in terms of aesthetic beauty, care needs, and benefits. Don’t worry if you are new to indoor gardening because this post has got you covered.
Indoor Garden Room Ideas
Creating a garden room is advisable if you have the space and budget for home additions. Don’t beat yourself up if you cannot afford one because houseplants can thrive in the tiniest of spaces. If you can, this is how to start an indoor garden room:
With the help of a general contractor, decide the style that you want your garden room to have. You can opt for a tropical paradise- your little indoor summer space, or an English garden- a space where you and your guests hang for evening tea. Any idea you could have for your indoor garden room is executable if you hire the right contractor.
Choose a location, again with the help of a contractor. If you intend to convert an existing room into a garden room, consider its lighting, humidity, and temperature before bringing plants in. You can improve the lighting by adding an extra window or widening an existing window. You can, on the other hand, improve the room’s temperature (and lighting too) by installing LED or any other broad-spectrum lights. As for humidity, you can always bring in a humidifier.
The good thing about converting an existing room is that you can DIY. If your room has a wooden floor, consider replacing it with linoleum, slate, or ceramic flooring. Wooden floors can be damaged by excess moisture from plant watering.
- Check the room’s airflow. If the room is poorly ventilated, consider adding fans on the ceiling and a few on the floor for better airflow. Plants need a constant flow of clean air to be healthy.
Choosing the Right Plants for Your Indoor Garden
How can you tell if a plant is good for your indoor garden? There are 3 key qualities of good indoor plants:
- Their roots are light in color, healthy, and thick.
- They have thick foliage- The kind that you can’t see through.
- They don’t have white dots on the leaves, sticky residue on the stem, and have no bad odor. If a plant has any of those, that plant is unhealthy.
How can you tell if a houseplant will survive/look good in your home? By considering a plant’s properties and needs vis-à-vis your personality and environment!
- If your indoor grow area is dim, choose plants that thrive in low light. These include Snake plant, Maidenhair fern, Dieffenbachia, English and Algerian ivies, and Pothos.
- If your grow area gets lots of direct sunlight, or if you are looking for a plant to place on your window, go for plants such as Dwarf umbrella tree, Jade plant, Cacti, Jasmine geraniums, and Hibiscus ponytail palm.
Note: Your grow area gets lots of sunlight if its window faces South, medium-light if the window faces East/West, and insufficient light if it faces North.
- Some plants do well in high humidity, such as the birds’ nest fern and the staghorn fern. Those are good for bathroom décor.
- If your schedule and love for plants allow you to regularly water your garden, choose houseplants that love wet soil. These include Boston ferns (Nephrolepis exaltata), Baby’s tears (Helxine soleirolii), Cyperus albostriatus, and Cyperus alternifolius.
- If you are the kind of gardeners who forget to water their plants, low-water plants such as Red Aglaonema, Sago palm, and Ponytail palm are good options for you.
- Choose easy-care and self-sufficient plants like terrarium if you cannot promise to water or prune your garden regularly.
Best Houseplants for your Living Room (Or Office)
High-traffic areas such as offices and living rooms need plants that are beautiful and that have proven air-cleaning properties. Here are a few suggestions for you:
Jade plant. On top of being beautiful, this plant is also believed to bring fortune and wealth. It is also an easy-to-care plant.
Kalanchoe. This plant blooms colorfully. It’s known for adding warmth to small spaces. It needs lots of sunlight.
ZZ Plant. It stays strong and beautiful even when neglected.
Peace lilies. Their decorative properties are unbeatable, especially the leaves. They are great air purifiers too. They do well in dark areas, but they need moist soil and good drainage to stay healthy.
- Boston fern. The plant is uniquely stylish and beautiful. Its kelly-green foliage will leave your space looking sophisticated and stunning.
Growing Veggies Indoors
Most veggies and fruits that grow in your summer garden can thrive indoors, except that they need lots of light (8-10 hours per day for fruits and 4-6 hours for vegetables). You will need to invest in grow lights to meet these requirements. Veggies also require deeper soil than other plants, so you need relatively bigger growing pots. Some of the veggies that you can grow indoors include:
- Leafy salad greens like kale, spinach, and arugula.
- Green onions
- Pepper plants
- Herbs such as chives, mint, parsley, oregano, cilantro, and rosemary.
Beginner’s Guide to Taking Care of Plants
How do you care for indoor plants? Here are a few basic tips:
- Always ensure that the potting soil isn’t too dry or too wet. Keep it moist by watering regularly and then poking drainage holes at the bottom of the pot to prevent the water from stagnating.
How do you know when to water your indoor plants? Lift the plant up and if it feels abnormally light, it probably needs watering. Wilting leaves browning on the edges, yellow leaves, and mushy leaves indicate possible under/overwatering.
- Meet the plant’s lighting needs by installing grow lights or placing them near a natural light source. Keep low-light plants away from light.
- Prune your plants if they get tall and spindly.
- Only apply fertilizers that are labeled for your plants’ species, and that are made specifically for indoor plants. Always check the label.
- Regularly spray the stems and leaves, especially the undersides and tops, with insecticidal soap to get rid of bugs.
Health Benefits of Houseplants
- Indoor air poisoning comes from toxic substances such as benzene and formaldehyde. Houseplants absorb these pollutants and consequently make your indoor air clean.
- Plants boost humidity levels indoors by releasing the vapor into the air. Humid spaces enhance respiratory and skin health.
- Because plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, they increase indoor oxygenation and consequently boost mental focus, mood, energy, and work performance.
- Bringing plants indoors is equivalent to bringing a piece of outdoor nature inside. Scientific studies show that being around nature can alleviate stress and anxiety.
The Best Gardening Apps for Beginners
Technology, through a multitude of gardening apps, has made it possible for even the greenest thumb to turn their homes into indoor gardens. Here are some of the gardening apps you can try:
Gardenize: This app has a dynamic news feed and rich content on crop rotation, watering, and fertilizing.
Garden Answers: This app brings together horticulturalists who answer users’ questions on basic plant care as well as pests and diseases.
Garden Tags: This is a platform where passionate gardeners converge to help and encourage each other. You will get instant help here in case you are stuck.
Garden Manager: This is a subscription virtual gardening tool. It tells you when, what, and how to plant. It collects data from weather stations and alerts users on possible weather changes.
GrowIt: This is another community for passionate gardeners. Information here is cataloged in projects which makes it easier for you to find the advice that you need.
Creating a beautiful home or office isn’t hard or expensive at all. All you need is the enthusiasm needed to care for plants, a small budget for seeds and growing pots, and a small space to keep the plants. Only that and this article, of course, and you are well on your way!