How are we doing? Over here, we’re slowly muddling through and taking each day as it comes, grabbing each slice of sunshine with both hands when the rain gives us a moment outdoors. Last month you might remember I shared a few thoughts on getting green-fingered outside, and this time around I wanted to talk about soaking up a little ‘plant power’ inside the home, too.
Indoor - or ‘urban’ - gardening has been on the rise for some time, but if you’re yet to tentatively dip your toe in, there couldn’t be a better time to start. As well as reaping plenty of physical benefits (indoor plants have been linked to reduced stress levels and improved mood, to lower blood pressure and decreased pain levels) there’s something very special about growing and caring for a living thing. Especially right now.
With many of us in cities unable to access a pocket of green space to enjoy nature’s healing powers (and the weather turning cooler once again) it’s about time we made our living spaces really bloom. I’m trying my best to think carefully about where I source my plants and seeds from, too - choosing home-grown offerings from small businesses where possible, and seeking inspiration from people like Sarah Layton (@Growthfully) a former psychotherapist whose podcast, My Garden, My Life explores plants, wellbeing and beyond. Here are some of my favourite plants to help you start building your own indoor haven...
English Ivy (Hedera Helix). Usually found snaking its way over charming old buildings, English Ivy makes for a magical indoor plant, too. Hang her in the bathroom if you have room (those heart-shaped leaves will drink up moisture) or in a hanging basket by the window to enjoy the leaves cascading down.
Snake Plant (Sansevieria Trifasciata). If you don’t have the best track record with indoor plants, the Snake Plant (or Mother-in-Law’s Tongue) is perfect as it doesn’t need mollycoddling. If space allows, Snake Plants are a lovely choice for the bedroom since they release oxygen at night, making sweet dreams even easier.
Cactus. Catci make wonderful starter plants and love the light, so try positioning them by a window if possible (ideally somewhere dry – I’d avoid the bathroom). If they can handle desert conditions, thriving in your home will be a doddle! Want to know more about cacti (and there are plenty to pick from)? Turn to Bristol-based cacti and succulent specialist Tony Irons.
Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis). The cute little aloe enjoys a bright, sunny spot (although not too sunny, be warned). You don’t need to water them often, but a bit of TLC promises to pay off – snap a leaf and apply the cool gel to burns for a beautifully soothing home remedy.
Rubber plant (Ficus Elastica Robusta). Part of the fig family, the rubber plant is a brilliant way of bringing that foliage feeling indoors, and it’s wonderfully low-maintenance - it just needs a weekly watering and a little leaf-dusting now and then. Just keep away from pets who might like a nibble, it won’t end well…
Happy pruning, folks. I’ll sign off with this quote,
“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”