Love escaping to tropical islands, luxury hotels and indulgent day spas, and how they give you that peaceful, relaxed feeling? Have you ever wondered what it is that these spaces have in common? They ooze greenery and plants and surround us with nature. What you feel in those calming environments is ‘biophillia’, the human urge we feel to connect with nature. Wouldn’t it be nice to create that same atmosphere in your own home? You can, and it’s simple with our easy-to-follow guide to creating your very own indoor garden.
Step 1: The options
Deciding on how to incorporate an indoor garden depends on your scope and budget.
Herb gardens are adaptable to any home environment. Small planters with good drainage are the ideal choice. These petite pots of edible goodness are perfect placed on kitchen bench tops or window sills. Be mindful of watering needs and enjoy home grown freshness with every meal.
Get creative and personalise your very own capsule of green with a terrarium. Simple and affordable, you’ll need a glass jar, some gravel, soil, plants and a few mini decorative characters to help set your scene. Get the kids involved and let your imaginations run wild. Place your terrarium anywhere except in direct sunlight to avoid plant burn and drying out. These flexible and easy-care indoor plant scapes require minimal watering and maintenance.
Bring that green vibe to your home styling with cacti and succulents. Minimal care and maintenance make these little additions perfect for the amateur gardener. Distribute generously and enjoy a clean, fresh and welcoming atmosphere throughout your home.
Container planting brings flexibility to indoor gardening. Scatter pops of green goodness throughout your home to create consistent styling and vibe. Get creative with your container choice and placement incorporating mixed materials and textures. A lined wicker basket in a corner or a concrete planter on a hall stand; the possibilities are endless.
Hanging plants are the perfect solution to beautify empty corners and bare walls. Relish in the macramé revival and align your artistic flare with green space creation. Ensure effective drainage with catch basins or source pots in pots where the outer pot serves as a collection point for water overflow.
Super on trend at the moment, vertical gardens are also perfect for urban living spaces and offer benefits including the cooling of ambient temperatures, light diffusion and sound buffering capabilities. They work by attaching systems of pots to narrow frameworks where the often soilless plants mimic natural growth ecology seen growing up rock faces and large trees. Vertical gardens are a permanent feature and demand commitment. Regular watering and care are essential.
Go all out and bring the outside in with a modern atrium. Best incorporated into new home designs, the inclusion of an outdoor space in the middle of your home won’t disappoint. From grassed children’s play zones, to tranquil ponds, pools and hidden courtyards, the modern atrium ensures the ultimate statement.
Step 2: Create the perfect look
It doesn’t take much to create the perfect indoor plant vibe when you appreciate the key to doing so is in creating layers with pot and plant selection and arrangements. Look to include an assortment of textures, sizes, shapes, colours and materials when selecting pots. Enjoy being spoilt with pot material choices in concrete, glazed ceramic, terracotta, wicker, paper and metal. Plants variation is equally important so be sure to include variety in plant and foliage height, shape and colour.
Dedicate kitchen window sills to growing edible herbs and aromatic plants and bring those health and healing vibes into the hub of the home. Use plant stands, occasional tables and hanging plants for height variation, ensuring larger plants are placed at the back. Create balance in your home when you arrange groups of succulents and cacti on your book cases, dining tables, side tables or coffee tables. Complete the ambiance with complementary rattan furniture and macramé wall hangings.
Step 3: Plant selection by style and care
Correct plant selection goes a long way in achieving the indoor plantscape look you’ve been dreaming of. Two factors will dominate your choice; your interior house style and the environment in which the plant will need to survive.
Minimalist styling demands bold rubber plants and single Weeping Figs placed in corners against stark white walls. Incorporate Fiddle-Leaf Fig trees for that contemporary feel and an abundance of Apple Cactus, Staghorn Ferns and Japanese Moss Balls for boho styling. The clean lines of Scandinavian design trends will be satisfied with pots of Devil’s Ivy and Chain of Hearts whilst Mid Century styling can’t escape the Boston Fern or intriguing Swiss Cheese plant. Go Coastal with Bungalow Palms and Mother-in-law’s tongue or if it’s the industrial vibe you’re chasing find Giant Birds of Paradise and include indoor herb gardens throughout the kitchen space.
Understanding your home environment is especially important when it comes to selecting plants. If your home is light and airy select plants with coloured or patterned leaves that thrive on extra Vitamin D. Angel Wings, Chinese Happy plants and Lady Palms are perfect. If on the other hand your plants will be placed where natural light is limited, choose plants with dark green foliage that require less light to survive. Consider Peace Lily’s or Cast Iron plants more best suited to such conditions.
Air plants, ferns, moss and Mondo grass love humidity filled environments and are perfect for placement in bathrooms. For vertical walls and plants that love to climb, source Bromeliads, Fushia’s and Callisiafragrans.
Step 4: Care and maintenance
Before dedicating to the purchase of any plant, it’s important to be realistic about the level of care you’re willing to commit. Think carefully about your lifestyle, do some research and talk to the experts about what to expect.
Once you’ve committed and made your selection, be mindful that new plants need time to acclimatise. Increase water and fertiliser care during this period until resilience is established. What’s important here is to recognise when your plant is happy and knowing when to ease up on the H2O.
When it comes to watering, it’s important to not be too enthusiastic. Many an indoor plants come home vibrant and lush, to barely survive the first month! Indoor plants need only be watered about once a week, and up to twice a week in summer. Check soil dampness or dryness by pressing your finger into the soil to indicate whether watering is necessary. Brown tips on leaves often indicates over watering.
Caring for your plant goes well beyond watering. It’s a good idea to use liquid fertiliser fortnightly or slow release fertiliser every six months. This way your plants continue to receive vitamins and trace elements necessary for plant growth and survival. In addition be sure to remove dry leaves, dust off leaves and ensure sufficient drainage. Your plants will also thank you for taking them outside for essential boosts of Vitamin D.
Be conscious of artificial heating and cooling that may adversely affect your plant. Be sure to place plants away from air-conditioning, heating and be mindful of drafts created by open doors and windows.
With the right care and maintenance your plant should survive the test of time; filling your home with boundless fresh air and a true sense of calm. All things going to plan, don’t forget to repot plants that outgrow original potting. It’s necessary for plant health and a great excuse to add a new colour, shape or texture to your ever-expanding pot collection.