Want to give your green thumb a workout this winter? Then it may be time to look into indoor gardening.
Cultivating greenery and flowers indoors is a great way to brighten up your home. In addition to bringing lovely, natural decoration into your living space, building up your indoor garden can help purify the air in your home, allowing you to breathe easier and feel better, all season long.
Looking to get started with an indoor garden? Here are three big steps you can take to make sure that your indoor plants stay healthy and happy:
1.) Pick a Prime Position
What’s one of the most important things to keep in mind as you get started taking care of plants indoors? Remember that where you keep your new green additions can play a big part in how safe, healthy, and beautiful they’ll be in the long-term.
As Elle puts it, “even the most dedicated gardener can’t make a sun-loving plant thrive in a cold, shady area.” So, as you get started, be sure to really research your plants to make sure you know where to keep them in order to promote their good health and wellbeing.
For instance, make sure that your plants will be well-suited to the temperature and light levels in the room where you are thinking of keeping them. Some rules of (a green) thumb? Elle reminds beginning gardeners that most plants do not thrive in either too much direct sunlight or in too much shade. Similarly, Reader’s Digest recommends that you make sure you avoid keeping plants in rooms with extreme temperatures (that is, too hot or too cold), and that you position plants away from draughts, such as a breeze leaking in from an old window, or the air circulating around an AC unit or vent or radiator.
Another thing to keep in mind? Be thoughtful about your containers. Many different types of containers can be used to store plants. Be creative, and don’t be afraid to reuse or recycle an old pot or another home product—just make sure that the container has one or more drainage holes at the bottom, to let water through. Think about pot size, and be ready to move your plant from one container to another, as it outgrows its current home. You may need to do this fairly regularly, depending on the plant.
Finally, think about decor and design, as well. How do you want to “style” your plants? Within a terrarium? As a hanging element? Along your windowsill or in pots that are bolted up against the wall? Answering these questions will determine which types of plants may work best for you.
The big thing? Don’t be afraid of a little trial and error. It may take experimenting with several types of containers, and several different positions around your home, before you find the perfect conditions for each of your leafy new friends.
2.) Be Watchful With Your Water
Just as H2O is essential to keeping our bodies and minds working at peak capacity, it’s also important to make sure that your plants get the right amount of water to keep them looking and feeling as healthy as possible.
But remember that unlike people, plants aren’t supposed to drink eight glasses of water a day— instead, they have their own unique rules for staying properly hydrated.
Be sure to research how much water each of your plants will need, and create a schedule to make sure their thirst gets quenched—without running the risk of overwatering.
Here’s some practical advice that Rebecca Bullene of Greenery NYC shared with Apartment Therapy:
“The key to happy plants is consistency. If you have trouble remembering to water, think about putting your plants in a sub-irrigated planter, which has an indicator that tells you when it’s time to refill, and a water reservoir that lets the plants drink when they need to (and means less frequent refills).”
A few more things to keep in mind? In many cases, you do not need to flood your plants and their soil directly with water. Instead, consider watering from the bottom: place the pot upright in a dish that has a good lip on it and pour water into the base. As long as there’s a hole in the bottom of your pot or container, the plant’s roots should soak that fresh water right up. In other cases, plants may love a light misting from a spray bottle instead of a deluge from a watering jug.
One way to tell if your plant is getting optimum moisture is to “check the soil moisture daily,” as Popular Mechanics explains. “Sticking your finger into the soil is a quick way to tell if it’s getting enough water. It should be moist all the way through so that roots will go downward.”
3.) Let the Light Shine In
How much light will each of your plants need, and what type of light will do them the most good?
These are important things to look into as you get started with your indoor garden. To get started, Real Simple offers a handy breakdown on deciphering the light recommendations on different plant labels:
- The tag direct light indicates that “the plant needs six or more hours of bright sunshine a day, hitting it head-on.”
- Moderate light suggests that the plant needs bright, direct sunshine only some of the time, say, a few hours a day.
- Indirect light means that the plant needs only ambient light, which means that you should keep it out of direct sunlight.
- Low light indicates that the plant needs no direct sunshine and not much ambient light, so these varieties may thrive in dimmer/shadier conditions.
Equipped with this information, be sure to be thoughtful about the spaces in your home. What areas get the most light? Which get the least? Spend some time watching and waiting, and be thoughtful about where you store each of your plants. Nature’s Path even suggests that you may want to “move your plants around so they receive maximum light and warmth,” while also taking care to “keep your windows clean to allow in as much light, sunshine, and heat as possible.”
In some cases, you may also want to look into using artificial light to help keep your plants looking and feeling their best. Apartment Therapy recommends looking into a few options, including LED grow lights and lamps, which use red and blue light to “target chlorophyll absorption” and “accelerate plant and flower growth” for indoor plants. Full-spectrum CFL lights can also provide full-spectrum light, without becoming too hot or abrasive for your plants, according to Popular Mechanics.
Having trouble figuring out the exact amount of light to provide to a plant? Bullene recommends the Light Meter App, which allows you to test the lighting in an environment in order to determine if it will work for your plants.
We’d Love to Hear from You
Here at the Enrollment Specialists, we’re not just your go-to health insurance superheroes— we’re your go-to resource for all things health and wellness.
What are your indoor gardening secrets, tips, and tricks? What do you do to keep your home feeling beautiful, inviting, and healthy, all year long? We’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas! Don’t hesitate to drop us a line on Facebook to keep the conversation going.