A BEGINNER'S GUIDE
Backyard & Garden Design Ideas|Issue #18.1
How to grow happy indoor and house plants
ANGIE THOMAS

Indoor plants continue their exponential rise in popularity, as more people bring home boxes and boot-loads of plants to fill their interior spaces. Plants grown indoors have multiple benefits, including improving air quality, softening the hard lines of furniture and becoming design features in their own right, as well as bringing emotional and mental health benefits to their owners.

Beginner gardeners may find the thought of caring for their first indoor plant quite daunting, or perhaps previous indoor plants have come and, heartbreakingly, gone. With a few simple tricks, however, beginners can find real success with growing plants inside and, before they know it, create their very own leafy oasis. Here’s how to get started.

CHECK YOUR LIGHT LEVELS

Most indoor plants prefer a brightly lit spot that’s protected from direct sunlight. There are some plants that will tolerate lower levels of light, but a general rule is bright, indirect sunlight. For more dimly lit positions, choose plants like mother-in-law’s tongue, Zanzibar gem, devil’s ivy and cast iron plant. Take note of the light levels that your indoor spaces receive over the course of a day and match the plant’s light needs to those spots.

ASSESS YOUR AVAILABLE SPACE

Indoor plants come in a dizzying range of sizes, from pint sized zebra cactus and African violets that are perfect for a small shelf to impressively tall fiddle leaf figs that can fill the corner of a room. Before a plant shopping spree, look to see what spaces you’d like to fill with greenery.

PROXIMITY TO HEAT & COLD

Heaters during the depths of winter and breezy summer air conditioning can all affect the health of indoor plants. The air can become dry, which many tropical plants don’t enjoy, resulting in yellow or damaged leaves and poor plant growth. You may need to move sensitive indoor plants into a room away from heaters or air conditioners, check potting mix moisture levels regularly and consider misting the foliage of humidity-loving plants like anthuriums, ferns, syngoniums and calatheas.

WHERE TO BUY INDOOR PLANTS

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