For those of us, not good enough to have sprawling backyards fit to house thriving gardens, stepping out and taking a walk in the park will be too hot to handle this summer. So why not bring the garden home with these clever indoor alternatives? Oh, not to forget the surplus O2 and purified fresh air at home!
Mix and match different-sized pots and line them up against blank spaces with your favourite ferns and petals or even tiny trees to create a manicured sanctuary or leafy urban jungle. Dwarf-sized Olive trees are the houseplant trend du jour that’s ushering out the humble fiddle leaf fig and Madagascar Dragon Tree. Go with terracotta mud pots or their plastic cousins who come in the same earthy shade sans the stains. For a sleeker finish, pick pots in a metallic finish that blend with your décor or invest in colourful metal pots that are a bright contrast against the saturated green of their verdant inhabitants. Place them by window sills, empty shelves or open closets and any balcony areas.
So you can’t tiptoe through rows of tulips or cultivate a rose garden in your studio flat, that doesn’t mean ruling out blossoms altogether. Hardy succulents that can survive the most forgetful plant parents come in flowering varieties too. The Kalanchoe will breeze through extreme temperature swings and bloom into bursts of blush pink flowers even when you forget to water them. The pincushion cactus, which is known to endure droughts, will make it through your lack of a green thumb. Other great indoor flowering plant options are African violet, Jade plant and the toxin-cleaning Peace Lily.
Vines and climber plants are great leafy companions that come with the added advantage of aesthetics. Remember the classic money plant spilling over desks and cascading artistically over window sills? Go the extra mile and invest in hanging planter pots and sturdy wall frames so your indoor garden can double up as a statement piece/work of art. Grape ivy, pothos, and creeping fig are quick to grow and will add a green edge to your surroundings. They adapt easily to form vertical gardens and living walls.
Tending to a thriving vegetable garden, where fresh organic harvest translates into wholesome organic meals are the things domestic dreams are made of. If your kitchen can’t accommodate the size of your agricultural ambitions there’s always the quaint herb garden to fall back on. Fresh mint or basil perched on your kitchen window sill or an empty shelf/countertop will spice up both your décor and diet. Tastefully potted, these aromatic all-year plants add a kick to your lemonades and pizzas and kick out culinary odours (hello, fish-based recipes) by purifying the surrounding air. Go the eco-friendly DIY route and pot them in recycled tin cans and glass jars by spray-painting them with a colour of your choice. For a rustic vibe, label your wooden herb pots with chalk.
Here’s why terrariums rock: they’re microcosms of largescale gardens that fit in the palm of your hand but encompass an entire world. Ensconced in glass containers especially created to house them, the self-sufficient ecosystems add personality to study desks, mantelpieces, bedside tables and even your bathroom’s vanity and are the epitome of versatility. Made of robust moss and succulents layered with rocks, pebbles, bogwood and sand to recreate natural scenes, a single spritz of water is enough for days on end. Suggested succulents for beginners are Echiveras, crassulas and haworthias. Or just head to the nearest garden store and buy yourself a readymade terrarium.
Tillandsia, better known as air plants, are every brown-thumbed gardener’s prayer answered. These tropical epiphyte plants require no potting soil and absorb nutrients directly from the air. Yes, it sounds like something from a sci-fi novel but it’s very real and very easy to maintain. They come in a variety of shades of green as well as quirky colours and patterns, which offers you endless opportunities to experiment with and infuse some whimsy into your décor – they latch on to anything so whimsical driftwood, wall-mounted lattice displays, wide-mouthed terrariums or even that hollow rock you brought home as a holiday souvenir. Accompanied by two or three generous mistings a week they’ll flourish.