If you’re interested in learning more about indoor plants, you’ve come to the right place!
In this blog, we discuss indoor gardens: what they are, how they’re beneficial, what they comprise (spoiler: you’re allowed to have artificial plants too!), and how you can get the kids meaningfully involved in the project.
WHAT IS AN INDOOR GARDEN?
We define indoor garden as any systematic arrangement of plants (and fungi, if that’s your thing) in the house. There need to be at least two or three plants before you can call it garden with a straight face, though your garden need not be located in a single location like a kitchen windowsill or sun room. Indeed, an indoor garden may run through the whole house with groups of plants here and there.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
Given there is some initial cost to an indoor garden, is it really worth it?
In our opinion, indisputably so. As Tonia Gray from Western Sydney University has written, “[c]ontact with nature can enhance creativity, bolster mood, lower stress, improve mental acuity, well-being and productivity, cultivate social connectedness, and promote physical activity”. What more could you want?
Images courtesy of Glowpear.
WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS?
No matter the ultra-crisp images of rainforest-like indoor spaces you might see on Instagram and TV, indoor gardens come in all shapes and sizes. While healthy gardens are better than unhealthy ones, beyond that there aren’t really any gardens which are objectively better than others. You just need to find which plants will be best for your garden based on two considerations: type and purpose.
Indoor gardens consist entirely of real plants, right? Wrong. While many indoor gardeners value their real plants more highly, these take time and can be expensive to maintain (especially if you’re going for a lot of flowers). So, more often than not, you’ll see people maintain some sort of mix in their garden. For example, while a person (who may or may not be me) may have bowls of fresh fruit and pots of herbs and office-friendly plants in their home, they might also have artificial magnolia flowers at the centre of their dining table.
Also, don’t feel like you’re lesser by mixing artificial plants in your indoor garden. Having artificial flowers, fruit and foliage in key spaces of your indoor garden will not only help it keeping looking lush all-year round, it will help keep the garden child- and pet-friendly.
Most components of an indoor garden can be classified into one of two purposes: consumption or decoration. The former includes everything edible, be they herbs, veggies, fruit, or mushrooms. The latter includes everything which is not edible, though most edible gardens also happen to be quite decorative. Think flowers, foliage, and decorative fruit.
As with the former category, most indoor gardens don’t align exclusively towards one of the two purposes. It might be, for example, that you have an impressive cactus collection while also growing one or two herbs you use with your favourite meals. Alternatively, you might big on the microgreens trend but also interested in hanging artificial decorative plants here or there. It’s all up to you!
HOW DO I INVOLVE THE KIDS?
This is easy: make them responsible for a plant!
Involving your kids in your indoor garden has a lot of positive consequences. In addition to the benefits already discussed, encouraging your kids to develop reciprocal relationships with other living beings is great sustainability education, being so visible and hands-on and encouraging an ethic of care.
Kids being kids, you’ve got to choose the right thing—something cheap, easy, edible, and fast to grow. You’ve also got to give kids a say in what they grow, lest you kill their interest from the outset (because it becomes a chore rather than a choice).
One great set of options we’ve spotted are the mushrooms and microgreens grow kits supplied by Life Cykel. Like us, this company has a strong focus on minimising waste, and they even help people run school fundraising schemes, giving kids a healthier and sustainable alternative to chocolate boxes.
Image courtesy of Life Cykel.
However you choose to do it, involving your kids is a great opportunity for your indoor garden to become a family project and will help your garden quickly establish itself as an essential part of family life. Now get planting!