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The trend of indoor gardening is on the rise and it is valuable for those living in apartments, where there is a dearth of land to cultivate a garden. Indoor gardens can be easily designed and managed and it does not require a lot of space.
“Gardening is one of the most rewarding activities, as the greenery can improve one’s well-being. Moreover, one can enjoy pretty flowers, delicious vegetables and if space permits, even juicy fruits. Once you fall in love with gardening, horizontal and vertical spaces and every corner, become potential spots to host additional beautiful plants,” says Smita Shirodkar, founder of Earthoholics, a social enterprise headquartered in Mumbai that specialises in urban garden training, edible landscaping consultancy and set-up services.
How to display plants in an indoor garden
Think creatively, when it comes to the placement of plants indoors, to ensure that it complements the overall décor. You can keep greens in the balcony, living room, study, kitchen, or even in the bathroom or on windowsills. Group them together in one corner of the room, to create a cheerful ambience. Place them on both sides of the entryway, near the main door. Some plants can be kept high up on a shelf, allowing it to flow downwards or you can even place it on a multi-level stand. Select fancy pots and arrange them on the floor, tables, or shelves, or hang them up, to create a thriving indoor garden.
See also: How to grow indoor water plants
How to grow a vegetable garden on the window sill or balcony
Window sills and balconies with direct sunlight, are ideal for flowering plants and vegetables. The common veggies that can be grown include tomatoes, chillies, spinach, fenugreek, basil, coriander, etc.
“Flowering and vegetable plants yield well, when they receive direct sunlight for six to seven hours. However, one can grow all herbs and leafy vegetables with two to three hours of direct sunlight or bright light at home on the window sill or next to the window,” says Shirodkar.
Micro-greens for an indoor garden
If one has small windows or no balcony space or less or no sunlight, one can grow indoor plants which are shade loving, indoor micro-greens, terrariums or dish gardens.
See also: Kitchen gardening for beginners
“Micro greens are baby plants, harvested in a span of seven to 14 days and are ideal for homes with low light and less space. Also, the seeds for these plants are readily available in most homes like methi, mustard, beans, peas, chickpeas and others. Any old container/tray, food parcel packaging boxes, egg trays, coconut shells or any container that has a height of one to two inches, can be proportionate to the quantity of microgreens you wish to grow/harvest. The best results are seen using coco peat or coco soil as a medium to grow the micro greens,” says Shirodkar.
Beautify your indoor garden with a DIY terrarium
If space is an issue, you can use miniature gardens, referred to as dish gardens, to incorporate greenery at home. Terrariums are mini eco-systems showcasing creative designs.
“For making terrariums, use a clean glass container and assemble layers in the order of pebbles and charcoal to absorb impurities, soil mix and the plants. Depending on the size and shape of the glass container, select plants which fit and grow well. For a classic fish bowl-shaped, 10-inch terrarium, opt for plants like syngonium, hypoestes, peperomia, fittonia, button ferns or any variety of miniature, indoor plants,” says Shirodkar.
Create a landscape design of an island or a fairy garden and decorate it with miniature ceramic animals, rocks and coloured stones. Terrariums can be open or closed. Closed terrariums are low maintenance and some can go without watering for long. Open terrariums and dish gardens need to be watered, just like potted plants.
See also: Lucky plants for the home
How to create an indoor vertical garden
Vertical space on walls in the living room or in balconies, can be decorated with ornamental plants, by adding wall panel planters or by simply using low-cost, wall-mounted shelves. One can grow herbs, leafy vegetables or flowering plants like petunias, portulacas or money plants in hanging baskets or in PET bottles.
See also: Add greenery to a small space, with vertical gardens
Ideal plants for indoor garden
Money plant: Grows in soil and water, needs indirect light and regular watering.
Spider plant: Needs medium light and moist soil.
Peace lily: Needs bright medium light and moist soil
Boston fern: Needs moisture and bright, indirect sunlight.
Other plants like palms, crotons, snake plants and varieties of succulents also do well indoors.
Tips to take care of the indoor garden
- For indoor gardens, choose pot sizes of six to 12 inches, based on the plant’s size and type. Use a mixture of two parts of red soil, one part of any manure/compost and one part of porous material or coco soil.
- Always keep the indoor pots on a drainage plate, so that the table or shelf is not spoiled. Regularly clean the plate.
- Place the plant in the light according to its need, as plants can die due to inadequate or too much light.
- Inadequate watering may not kill the plants and can be dealt with but excessive watering will surely kill the plants and is hard to reverse.
- Plants bought from nurseries are often sold in small pots. Place them in bigger pots, as otherwise, the plant’s growth will be stunted.
- Ensure that the leaves are free of dust. It helps the plant to grow better.
- For pest problems, use neem oil which has antimicrobial properties. Chili-garlic spray made by crushing and boiling 10-12 green chilies and garlic is also effective against insects.
See also: Tips for designing a house garden
How do you design an indoor garden?
The basic principles for designing an indoor garden are to choose the right space for the plants, keeping a minimum number of plants and choosing the right plants.
Where do I put my plants in my apartment?
Apartment owners can place plants on the windowsill or on the grills or in the balcony or even put up hanging pots in the rooms.
What are the best plants for indoor gardens?
Herbs, micro-greens and easy-to-grow vegetable and flowering plants are ideal for indoor gardens.