It’s not uncommon to see plants in indoor spaces. Let’s face it – they are attractive, bringing a little bit of nature indoors during the coldest winter months. They can liven up a room with beautiful foliage and blooms while providing a fresh scent. In short, they make our indoor spaces more pleasant and attractive.
But creating a nice environment isn’t the only reason to consider an indoor garden. Per a NASA study, plants are one of the best ways to improve air quality. They act as natural air filters, removing certain harmful chemicals from the air and, in return, providing fresh oxygen. Knowing that our homes can be hotbeds of indoor air pollution thanks to modern construction techniques that can impede the flow of fresh outdoor air, plants offer an affordable and beautiful way to make the air indoors a little healthier.
For those seeking a natural, low-cost way to freshen their air, creating an indoor garden can be a fun weekend project. However, before you hit up the local nursery, it’s time to do a little research and pre-planning to ensure that your garden is the best it can be.
Step 1: Decide on Your Location
While plants vary in their desire for light, even low-light plants will need access to dim, indirect light at the very minimum. Certain plants also prefer higher humidity levels, such as those present in a kitchen or bathroom. Keeping this in mind, doing a tour of your home and determining which locations are the most plant-friendly will help you decide which plants are going to work best in your environment.
Once you have identified a good potential location for your indoor garden, take note of the surrounding conditions. Which direction are the nearby windows facing? Southern windows get the strongest light exposure and may not make a great habitat for low-light species. Are there any nearby vents? During winter months, the heat emanating from the vents could cause plants to dry out quickly. Get an idea of the strengths and weaknesses and use the information when you make your plant selections.
Step 2: Pick the Right Plants
After you have chosen a location for your plants, it’s time to select plants that will work in your home and with your gardening skills. For new gardeners, it’s best to choose plants that are easier to care for and don’t require a laundry list of special care instructions. Finicky plants can be overly frustrating – you should enjoy your newfound hobby, not spend all your time trying to keep a prima donna plant happy. Check out this blog post on the best indoor plant for fresh air – most of the plants on this list are easy to care for and frustration-free.
If you have small children or pets, be sure that the plants you are purchasing a non-toxic. This will keep you from worrying if a leaf ends up in someone’s mouth.
Step 3: Pick the Right Containers
When it comes to designing your indoor garden, your imagination is the limit. Almost anything that will hold soil can become a planting pot if it provides proper drainage for the soil. Our indoor gardening Pinterest board shows some fantastic examples of homeowners getting creative with their plant container choices.
For those who are less creatively-minded, there are plenty of ready-made containers available for purchase at your local gardening center. There’s nothing wrong with those inexpensive plastic pots – they’re a great choice for drainage and temperature purposes. Terra cotta pots are lovely but beware their tendency to hold onto both heat and water. This can make some plants unhappy, meaning that you’ll have to provide some extra care to make the terra cotta pots workable.
Step 4: Prep Your Soil
So, you have your plants and your containers – now all you need is the right soil! For the sake of making life easier, you may want to pick plants that have similar soil requirements, so that you don’t have to create a unique environment in each container. If you need help with this, ask someone at your local gardening center. They’re a wealth of information and will be able to help you pick plants with similar soil needs.
Many indoor plants just require multi-purpose planting soil found in most hardware stores and garden centers. A good indoor plant fertilizer is also a worthwhile investment, but don’t go crazy with the fertilizer as you can damage your plants. If you opt to plant succulents, you will also require some gravel to get the environment just right for these hardy little plants.
Step 5: Create a Care Routine
The hardest part of maintaining plants for new gardeners is getting into a care routine. Unfortunately, caring for plants isn’t always as easy as watering everything once a week. A gardening care routine consists more of taking a good look at your plants and deciding what care they need. One way to get started is to check on your plants every couple of days. Some plants may need more or less water than others, so there is a bit of a learning curve to figuring out what your new plants require to be happy.
Don’t be surprised if you need to make some adjustments to your new garden. Even with all the proper planning, there are some plants that just may not be happy in a given location. Think of your plants as lower maintenance pets – they can have their own personalities, and you may have to work to figure out exactly what they want. But once you reach a point of stasis, maintenance needs will become second nature, and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful décor and fresh, healthy air.