Beginner’s guide on how to grow indoor plants

While outdoor gardens have always been an attractive feature for homeowners, it is a luxury that not everyone can dream of in the limited and cramped spaces that our cities and apartments offer. If you are an urban homeowner, with no outdoor space or little access to outdoor space, you can create an indoor garden and give your home an instant look. You can even grow your own fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers all year round, from the comfort of your kitchen.

Easy-to-maintain indoor plants, such as snake plants, spider plants, and money plants, are a feature an interior designer goes for to upgrade and beautify a space. You can choose the type of indoor oasis you want depending on the aesthetic you want, your experience with gardening and the weather conditions in which you live.

Not sure where to start? Refer to our helpful beginner’s guide to indoor gardening and building the green haven of your dreams.

What is indoor gardening?

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Indoor gardening is basically the cultivation and care of plants that you usually grow outside, inside your home. Incorporating nature into urban environments not only enhances the visual appearance, but also provides a plethora of other benefits.

Indoor gardens can improve air quality, increase your productivity, and help you stay connected to nature. Plants also regulate humidity by releasing water vapor into the air, which can improve respiratory and skin health for people who live in cold, dry areas. Taking care of plants can also help reduce stress and anxiety.

Whether you have a few potted plants in your entryway, in your office or in an entire produce garden, indoor gardening can be as low or as complex as you want it to be.

In addition, it is easier to control and regulate the temperature inside the house and create favorable conditions for your plants to thrive in. All you have to do is choose the right plants for your indoor environment and available space. Depending on the aesthetic design you’re aiming for, you can choose from many types of indoor gardens, including water parks, terrariums, living walls or fresh herb gardens.

Outdoor gardens are more likely to depend on the seasons and outside temperatures, which limits the number of plants you can grow throughout the year. If you get the right air, sunlight, and soil conditions, your indoor garden can hold delicious fruits, vegetables, and flowers no matter what the temperature outside.

Popular ways to incorporate a garden into the interior

There are no restrictions on how to grow your home garden. You can use ingenious ways to incorporate their vegetables even in tight spaces. From mini tropical forests and edible gardens perfect for home cooks to water gardens and terrariums for plant parents on the go, there is no dearth of ways to grow your own little green space at home.

Shared indoor gardens

live walls

living plant wall
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If you don’t have access to a suitable horizontal garden space, why not get creative and erect a vertical garden on one of your bare walls?

Green walls (also known as living walls, plant walls, or vertical gardens) are vertical planting systems, consisting of an integrated substrate such as soil or coir, various types of live plants, and, in some cases, mechanized irrigation systems. This system includes wall-mounted panels pre-covered with plants that can be made of plastic, expanded polystyrene or synthetic fabric. Pots and containers can also be used.

Plants such as moisture-resistant ferns, shallow-rooted bromeliads, low-maintenance succulents and vines and edible herbs can easily be grown in live wall gardens.

Hydroponic gardens

hydroponics garden
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The science of horticulture without a soil medium is traditionally called hydroponics. If outdoor soil quality is an issue, you can go into a hydroponic setup to grow your dream sustainable garden.

Hydroponic gardens are grown in a mineral-rich aqueous solution rather than soil and can thrive in little or no sunlight. It requires less water than traditional gardening, and is ideal if you want to be environmentally friendly and avoid dealing with unwanted pests and weeds. These gardens are a hassle-free way to produce quality herbs or vegetables year-round.

air stations

air stations
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With over 500 tropical species to choose from, air plants are epiphytes, meaning they don’t require potting soil to grow.

belonging to Thailand Sex, a part of Bromeliad Family, these flowering perennials absorb moisture and nutrients directly from the air through tiny scales on their leaves called trichomes. This feature also protects plants from the scorching sun. Unlike terrestrial plants, air plants use their roots only for physical support or to cling to pots or other plants.

terrarium plants

terrarium indoor plants
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The terrarium is like an aquarium for plants. It is a self-contained small plant ecosystem that grows in a glass container. This easy-to-care-for, slow-growing miniature forest can include cacti, succulents, or tropical plants and can thrive for years.

If you’re an inexperienced gardener or passionate about plants and have little time to spare, terrariums are the ultimate shortcut to adding greenery to your home.

Moisture-loving bathroom plants

bathroom plants
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Bathrooms serve as the perfect backdrops for some beautiful moisture-loving houseplants. They can enhance the décor of a space and even act as a stress reliever, perfect for long, relaxing baths after work.

Three factors to consider when choosing plants for a bathroom corner are low light, high humidity, and temperature fluctuations. Indoor plants, including asparagus plants, elegant peace lilies, bamboo plants, potho plants, begonias, snake plants, and spider plants, work best for bathrooms and their gloomy environment.

Edible gardens (herbs, fruits and vegetables)

herb garden
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Perfect for decorating your home’s sunny spots, you can grow fresh herbs and vegetables indoors, no matter the season. Some herbs that can be grown at home are basil, rosemary, thyme, and oregano.

Fresh herbs are the best indoor plants because they give you an endless supply of scent year-round and are easy to propagate. Simply take cuttings from their stems and leave them in a glass of water by the sunny window, and you are good to go.

Conditions required for indoor garden cultivation

The conditions required for your indoor garden to grow will depend on the type of garden and the types of plants you want to include. In general, your plants will need sunlight, soil, water, and fertilizer to varying degrees.

Soil and other substrates

indoor plant soil
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Indoor plants, apart from water gardens and air plants, will need a well-ventilated, good-quality, fast-draining mixture. A good all-purpose potting mix for houseplants might include compost or worm castings, coconut or moss, perlite, vermiculite, and some store-bought coarse sand or potting soil.

This type of potting mix absorbs moisture quickly and works wonders for drought-tolerant plants such as aloe vera, agave, bougainvillea, sage, rosemary, lavender, and jade. Moisture-loving plants such as ferns may need soil of a different composition with water-retention properties.

Sun light

Sunlight for indoor plants
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All factories have different lighting requirements and interact with their surroundings accordingly. Finding the perfect spot in your home for your houseplants can be a fun exercise that all plant parents will love. While apartment owners may need plants that can survive in low-light locations, a few sun-loving plants can be squeezed out to soak up bright sunlight through a south-facing window.

If you live in a house with plenty of sun, you can opt for sun-loving species such as viper, geranium, fiddle-leaved, and sweet basil. Conversely, if you have plants that need shade, keep them away from direct light. As a general rule, avoid harsh, direct sunlight for all indoor plants, as it can burn their leaves.

temperature and humidity

temperature and humidity
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Humidity of 40 to 60 percent is well suited for most indoor plants. Since we can adjust and improve the temperature and humidity inside our homes, a wide variety of plants can be grown year-round.

If you choose tropical plants that grow best in a humid environment, you can use a humidifier or build a small garden in your bathroom. Greenhouses or aquariums are great options for controlling temperature and humidity.

Water and repotting

Watering indoor plants
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The most common mistake new plant parents make is over-watering their houseplants, which causes root rot and other problems. Make sure you do proper research on plant care and write down the specific requirements to ensure they are correct. Always water your plants with room temperature distilled water for best results.

It is recommended that you move your plants to larger pots once a year or when you leave the roots without much room to maneuver. Pots or planters should have adequate drainage holes at the base to avoid root rot. This is important for the health and long-term growth of plants.

Fertilizer

Fertilizers
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Unlike ground-bound plants, houseplants do not have access to the constant flow of nutrients that the soil provides, because they are confined to pots or planters. The nutrients in the potting soil are depleted over time, putting the health of your plants at risk. Slow-release fertilizer is a great way to combat this problem and lasts for several months before re-applying is necessary. When you use a high-quality fertilizer for your plants, you will notice shine on the leaves and healthy growth patterns.

If you are looking to create an indoor garden, here are our top picks for houseplants

(Main and featured image credit: Huy Phan/Pexels)

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