For the green-thumbed among us, gardening is one of life’s simple pleasures. It provides exercise, beauty, satisfaction, nourishment and adds to one’s environment.
But if time, space or circumstance prevents you from gardening, growing indoor plants is a wonderful way to beauty your home, purify the air and satisfy your desire to grow things.
Houseplants are generally more delicate than their outdoor cousins, but they create an easy sense of serenity, soften hard minimalist lines and help to create a really homely environment.
We are fortunate in New Zealand to have some really wonderful garden centres, which cater for both indoor and outdoor gardeners, are open nearly every day and offer expert advice.
To grow plants indoors, you really need very little space and equipment. It is not such a messy and labour-intensive job as working outdoors either.
Firstly, choose your style. Would you like bold pots, statement plants, a herb box for the window sill or plants to soften the décor and create a feeling of calm?
Next, do your research. Garden centres are lovely places for an outing, many have cafes attached, so you can meet a friend for lunch, grab a coffee and then ponder a myriad of choices.
Houseplants aren’t exposed to the sun, rain and seasons, so in some ways require more care (in the form of water, as you will most likely be the only source of liquid) and less, in that they not buffeted by the wind, bitten by frost or devoured by bugs.
Ensure pots are big enough for the root systems to grow and invest in mats or protective squares for underneath the pots. Pots should not be placed straight onto carpet, wooden floorboards or flooring containing glue in case they leak and stain or lift the flooring.
Each plant has different requirements, but the labels will give you a clue. Choose houseplants that thrive in high sun for your (hopefully sunny) living area or more delicate plants for darker areas.
Indoor plants require potting mix rather than earth and will need to be fed. Again, check the labels for the optimum feed.
Once you get the hang of hardy plants that are simple to grow, branch out. It is easy to create an indoor herb garden, which is both beautiful and functional. Either keep small pots on your windowsill or make a feature of a half wine barrel or interesting planter box in a sunny conservatory.