Bringing the Garden Indoors — How to Successfully Incorporate Indoor Plants into Any Living Space

Bringing The Garden Indoors

Houseplants may reduce anxiety and stress, help sharpen attention, and can even increase happiness and life satisfaction. Despite the myriad of benefits, however, successfully incorporating indoor plants into one’s home can be a challenge — especially when ensuring that they are properly placed in order to thrive. For those who are new to the realm of indoor plants, considering factors such as lighting, occasional upkeep tasks, and even interior design can all work to set the stage for successful growth — whether you’re incorporating vines into your home or a simple kitchen herb garden.

The Importance of Proper Lighting 

Cozy and comfortable room with interior in bohemian style tub

Light is noted to be “probably the most essential factor for healthy indoor plant growth,” according to the University of Maryland Extension, which goes on to explain that the energy derived from photosynthesis depends on the amount of intercepted light by the plant’s leaves. By understanding the value of proper lighting, the needs of the specific plant, and the lighting that your living space offers, you can proactively set the stage for your houseplants to thrive long-term. Thankfully, indoor plants can be classified according to their needs for lighting: high, medium, or low, highlighting the value of knowing your space and the lighting in your home before selecting the type of indoor plants you’d like to have. “Select indoor plants according to the availability of natural light in your home. Otherwise, you will need to supplement light with artificial lighting.”  

If your home or apartment does not allow for a lot of natural lighting, it’s crucial to keep in mind that there are still plenty of options out there regarding low-light plants. The University of Minnesota Extension points out that low-light plants, which require little to not direct light are considered to be ‘understory plants’ in their natural environments (meaning that they grow under the branches of larger plants). It is further explained that a low-light plant would work well for a north window or even a fairly dark corner. It is also warned that while low-light plants can work well in such environments, it is important to avoid overwatering them, as plants in environments with less light grow slowly and use less water.

Valuable Interior Design Considerations 

Various houseplants near window with macrame hanging plants

In addition to factors such as proper lighting, taking the interior design of your home into consideration will further aid in successfully incorporating indoor plants into your living spaces. This can be particularly important in instances where space is an issue — while smaller living spaces can seem rather limiting when it comes to incorporating houseplants, thinking vertically can make a huge difference. Shelving, for example, can allow for multiple houseplants to be integrated into the space in an efficient and visually appealing way, though it is not the only solution worth considering. Macrame (the art of rope weaving) offers another unique display, with macrame plant hangers bringing a natural theme to any room. Another option, however, is to make a houseplant a focal point in the space, which will contribute to coherence (while making for an eye-catching statement). Strelitzia Nicolai, or White Bird of Paradise, is just one choice that happens to be reminiscent of a tropical rainforest. While unlikely to grow beyond eight feet indoors, the plant offers a unique and bold way to spruce up any space in the home.

Overlooked Tasks — From Repotting to Cleansing

Woman repotting plant

Ensuring that your houseplants are properly watered is imperative to ensuring they thrive indoors. However, watering is far from being the only chore associated with indoor plants, as occasional care tasks are equally as important. Repotting overgrown plants is just one task that can easily go overlooked (especially if the plant is a part of your daily scenery). According to Better Homes & Gardens, checking the root systems of the plant can help in determining whether or not it needs to be repotted. “If the roots are circling the inside of the container, it may be time to repot the plant.” Choosing a slightly larger container that works well with the interior design of your space will ensure that it continues to fit seamlessly within its surroundings. BH&G further notes that repotting presents as a great opportunity to divide houseplants with multiple stems in order to create new plants, and goes on to further note that spring and summer are the best seasons for repotting.

Home plant care concept cleaning the leaves of a home plant with a damp cloth

In addition to repotting indoor plants when necessary, cleaning the leaves of indoor plants can also be an easily overlooked — and equally as necessary — task. According to The Spruce, a layer of dust on foliage will block sunlight, and as a result will reduce the plant’s ability to photosynthesize. “A clean plant that’s photosynthesizing at optimal levels will be a healthy plant, and in-turn more resistant to diseases and pest infestations.” The Spruce goes on to detail the process of cleaning a houseplant’s leaves, with the process varying depending on the plant. For some, washing the plant with a spray nozzle is the way to go, though it’s noted that misting the plant with a spray bottle can work for those that cannot handle such force. Dunking smaller plants in water is another option, while the leaves of larger plants can simply be manually wiped down with a damp cloth. On the other hand, some plants may require the use of a soft brush in order to navigate sticky or fuzzy leaves.

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Indoor plants bring a variety of advantages to the table, from benefits that include reducing anxiety and stress to contributing to a visually appealing living space. When aiming to successfully incorporate plants indoors, it is imperative to consider lighting, your home’s interior design, and commonly overlooked tasks for plants that thrive.

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