Your green thumb guide: caring for your indoor plants
We’ve all had a significant lack of outdoor time recently, and it’s been difficult for many of us. Maybe you’re still in lockdown, or you’re starting to be able to travel outdoors a little more. In any case, we are strong advocates of bringing the outdoors into your homes and creating a sanctuary for all things plant-y.
Whether you want to grow succulents, herb gardens, or larger indoor plants, we have put together the ultimate green-thumb guide to answer your questions.
How indoor plants can boost your emotional wellbeing
Having indoor plants can help both your body and your mind. The simple act of taking care of something can give you a deep sense of satisfaction and achievement. And the plants themselves seem to help many by reducing stress levels, boosting mood and improving productivity. Some say that this is because of their ‘air cleaning’ capabilities; opposite to us, they produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide.
Finally, bringing nature into our homes is a great way to improve your room décor. Adding plants into a room can be a great way to decorate without having to paint any walls. They bring color, movement and can add a feature to enjoy.
How to choose the right indoor plant
Choosing the right plant for you really depends on your home. Do you have a large or small space? Do you have sun-filled rooms or are they dark? What kind of plants do you want; herbs, succulents, large-leafed plants? There are a host of options out there to fulfill your green-fingered needs, but here are a few tips to get you going.
- In your bedroom, go for plants that release oxygen when the sun goes down (most plants release carbon dioxide in the dark, which can make for a challenging sleep). Opt for orchids, succulents, snake plants and bromeliads.
- In the bathroom, the moist air is perfect for air plants and kokedama, or Japanese hanging moss ball. If your bathroom is sun-filled, make the most of the heat by filling it with ferns or palms, succulents or cacti.
- Picking plants in your living room will depend on how much space you have. If you have a large space to fill, cheese plants or ferns are a great option as they love to expand. Or if you have limited space, choose vertical like a rubber plant or hanging plants like the devil’s ivy.
How much should you water your plant?
Firstly, you should find out what the plant’s natural environment is. If it belongs in the desert, it will be able to survive without much water at all. But if it comes from tropical rainforests, it will need misting and high humidity.
With plants that aren’t desert- or rainforest-dwellers, you can measure whether your plant needs water by putting a finger an inch into its soil and checking for moisture. If it is dry, you can water, but leave it alone if it’s still a little wet; otherwise you might drown your little green friend!
As a rule of thumb, do not repot your plant to one without drainage holes; keeping them in a drainage a pot allows them to release any excess water, and to ‘drink’ from the pot at their own will.
How much light does my plant need?
The short answer to this question is: some. But that’s not very helpful!
As with watering, you can find out a lot by knowing its natural environment. If a plant belongs at the bottom of the forest, it is probably going to do quite well with low levels of light. However, if it is from a desert, it will thrive in plenty of sunlight. To make things a little easier for you, here are a few tips for you:
- Bright rooms: avoid putting your plant directly in the sunlight, as it can often burn them.
- Dark rooms: try to bring your plants towards the window in darker rooms, as your plants may not be able to find enough light to survive.
- If your plant’s leaves are turning pale or drooping, it might be a sign that it needs more light.
- If the leaves are turning brown and crispy, it might be getting too much sun. Move it a little further away from the direct sunlight.