The Gardens of Versailles. Kew Gardens. Keukenhof. Madison Square Garden. These are some of the most beautiful gardens in the entire Northern Hemisphere. But you shouldn’t have to travel thousands of miles to enjoy the beauty of the natural world.
Anyone can create their very own indoor garden, whether they live on 100 acres, or in a studio apartment in the city. While a living, thriving garden may require a bit more dedication than say, a Ryan Gosling bathroom shrine—we promise, it will be well worth it.
Why an Indoor Garden?
City-dwelling plant lovers often have no choice but to start an indoor garden, making use of the space they have available. But those of you who already have flourishing flower beds and manicured lawns can benefit from indoor gardening as well. There are tons of benefits to indoor house plants—for both the gardener and for the plants themselves.
Indoor plants can be good for both your mental and physical health, improving the air we breathe, and even the thoughts we think.
Luckily, indoor gardens are here to help. According to the NASA Clean Air Study, indoor plants not only convert carbon monoxide into oxygen, but they also help to remove harmful pollutants from the air. These pollutants include formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, and trichloroethylene, the ingestion of which can lead to serious health problems such as cancer and lung or heart disease. Plants like Dieffenbachia, Parlor Palm, and Peace Lily are some of the top plants for improving air quality.
Indoor plants are also excellent for our mental health, as it’s very important for humans to feel connected to nature. In Japan, there is a practice called Shinrin-yoku, in which people spend time taking in the atmosphere of the forest, which leads to a better mental state of mind.
With indoor gardening, you’re essentially bringing a small portion of the garden home with you. In a study conducted at hospitals in the San Francisco Bay, 79% of patients said they felt more relaxed after spending time in a garden. Indoor plants are also known to improve mindfulness, increase your attention span, and reduce stress.
You wanna be a baller? A shot-caller? Well then, indoor gardening is for you. Unlike outdoor gardening, gardening indoors allows us to control every aspect of a plant’s growth. From light conditions to pest control, indoor plants can be as spoiled rotten as a rich old lady’s house cat.
Some of the indoor gardening benefits to plants are:
- No Extreme Weather - No sudden snowfalls, aggressive winds, overwhelming rain, or brutal heat. Just that sweet AC and 21st-century insulation.
- Light Control - Some plants thrive in low light, others in direct sun. Thanks to a handy invention called windows, we can choose which plants get the most light. When natural light isn’t enough, indoor gardeners can employ grow lights for even more specific conditions.
- Longer Growing Season - Indoor plants will grow all year long. However, it’s important to remember that just like their outdoor counterparts, indoor plants will need a little extra care to survive the winter, from careful watering to maximizing light. You also may want to invest in a humidifier to make up for the dry air of the winter months.
- No Pests - We all know the horror story called “The Hungry, Hungry Caterpillar.” Well, he better get used to eating less, because our indoor plants are not to be used for fine dining. With indoor gardens, you take common pests like beetles, aphids, caterpillars, and weevils out of the equation.
Common Types of Indoor Plants
When indoor gardening, you can have a diverse range of plants to choose from. You can group them together, combining big and small, spiky and leafy, to make unique-looking combinations that you would rarely see in the wild.
However, when arranging your plants, it’s smart to group them based on their various requirements. For instance, if you’re putting a group of plants in a north-facing corner of your space, you should choose exclusively low-light options. If you’re using a bathroom as your garden (an under-rated choice!), we recommend using tropical plants that thrive in humidity. If you’re placing all your plants on a bright window sill, try succulents and cacti.
Here are some common house plants perfect for your garden.
Tropical plants often prefer warm, low-light environments, similar to their natural habitat on the forest floor. They’re adaptable and make ideal indoor plants.
Chinese Evergreen - A popular houseplant native to - you guessed it - Southeast Asia, the Chinese Evergreen thrives in low light conditions. It’s a slow grower, so you don’t have to worry about it outgrowing its space anytime soon.
Peace Lily - The waxy green leaves and delicate white blooms of the Peace Lily will add tropical beauty to any space. They’re more tolerant of under-watering than over-watering, so don’t get a heavy watering can hand.
White Bird of Paradise - With long, arching leaves almost as dramatic as its name, this tropical beauty is sure to turn heads. It grows up to 10 feet tall, so place it in a corner, and watch it steal the show.
Succulents and Cacti
Did you know that all succulents are technically cacti, but not all cacti are succulents? Oh, you did? Well anyway, these desert-growers are some of the most popular plants for indoor gardening. While they need sunlight to thrive, they’re often low maintenance and can last for weeks to months without water.
Zebra Haworthia - A small succulent, growing only five to eight inches tall, Zebra Haworthia is perfect for beginners. They don’t need tons of light or water, so just step back, and admire those stripes!
Yucca Cane - This large, tree-like plant can grow up to five feet tall. But, it’s just as low maintenance as the Zebra Plant. Native to Central and South America, the Yucca Cane will add a bold vibrance to your space.
Copper Spoons - Once you look at its fuzzy leaves, it becomes apparent how Copper Spoons got its name. It hails from Madagascar, and prefers bright, indirect light, but not much water.
Mistletoe Cactus - Christmas has come and gone, but are you still looking to steal a kiss? Try the mistletoe cactus, a small succulent with red appendages at the end of its green stems.
A herb garden is perfect for the kitchen because you harvest them and use them to make your favorite meals. And, well, there’s just something extra special about growing your own ingredients. You’ll want to harvest your herbs often for the best taste, as well as to ensure future growth.
Basil - Any chef worth their salt should own a basil plant. These versatile herbs will garnish any dish and are essential to any kitchen.
Parsley - Parsley is a herb native to the Mediterranean. You know Italians don’t mess around when it comes to cooking, so trust them by putting fresh leaves on everything.
Mint - The most distinct scent of any of the common herbs belongs to mint. It’s a fast grower, so make sure you plant it in a pot to hold those wild roots.
Cilantro - Sometimes known as “Chinese Parsley”, Cilantro is less universally loved as basil or Mediterranean Parsley. But this unique herb is full of antioxidants.
Time To Get Growing
You’ve now learned about the benefits of indoor gardening, as well as some of the best plants to get started with. Soon, you’ll be watching your plants grow with the pride of the parents of a middle school honor roll student. Good luck!