So you don’t have a garden, perhaps you live in a flat or only have a balcony? No worries. You don’t have to be green with envy over your friends’ gardens for a second longer. Bring the outdoors in by creating an indoor jungle even Tarzan would be proud of!
Here’s how to transform your home into a green oasis with all the best house plants, maintenance tips and ways to pimp up your balcony.
Factors to consider
First off, bear these factors in mind before deciding on which leafy plant ticks your boxes.
- Light levels: Determine how much light your home gets and in which direction it comes from. North-facing windows will bring in an abundance of light whereas south-facing windows won’t get the sun as much. Think about how much sunshine your plant of choice needs and place it accordingly.
- How much it needs watering: Some will need watering way more than others. If you’ve got a history of killing plants, stick to low maintenance ones to begin with. That said, make sure you ramp up your watering routine to avoid history repeating itself!
- Plant food: Give your plants extra nutrients every so often to keep them looking lush. You might even be rewarded with a few miniature friends as a result of all your hard work.
Aloe vera plant
An aloe vera plant is a great shout for a house plant as it’s fairly undemanding in terms of care and doesn’t need to be pruned – big tick! Better still, it smells amazing and you can remove the sap from the leaves to soothe cuts, burns and dry skin.
How to look after: Keep this popular house plant relatively moist and do not over water. Ensure your aloe plant has got good drainage and put it in a place that’s facing the sun for best results.
Looking to jump on board the cactus bandwagon? Cacti are ideal for beginners as they only need the occasional watering. In addition to being hard to kill, they’ll suit a range of interior styles. Why not make your cactus your new desk buddy in your home office?
Did we mention they also make great housewarming gifts? If you happen to be buying one for this reason, we have a wide selection of great new home cards to pair it with.
How to look after: Cacti love being placed in a well-lit spot, but avoid putting them in direct sunlight as this can burn the leaves. Be mindful they are naturally grown in the desert – only ever water cacti when the soil is completely dry. Give them a good soak rather than watering them a bit at a time.
The Areca palm plant will create a grand focal point in your home and evoke a feeling of height – ideal for making your space seem taller. Place it in the hallway to give guests a grand entrance or use it to give purpose to a lonely corner in your living room.
How to look after: Position it under bright, indirect light for best results. It doesn’t need lots to drink so water sparingly. Allow it to dry out in-between each watering in winter and make sure it’s slightly moist in summer.
If your home gets a low amount of natural light, then devil’s ivy is the house plant for you. A stylish climbing plant, it requires little upkeep and can tolerate extremely low light levels. One of the best house plants you can buy, it even cleanses the air by removing toxins, so it’s a win-win. Plus, it’s a great choice if you can’t be trusted to water the plants regularly. Hallelujah! Style tip: use it to frame a mirror or fill a gap in a bookshelf.
How to look after: Make sure the soil is moderately damp rather than being drenched in water. Even though it will enjoy a bit of light, keep it away from direct sunlight and avoid placing it near a draft.
Peace lilies will bring an instant sense of freshness to your home and they’ll also purify the air. Better still, they thrive in humidity and prevent mould by absorbing moisture from the atmosphere, making them a great choice for the bathroom. Place your peace lily on the middle of your bath rack to create a striking focal point.
How to look after: Peace lilies enjoy partial light rather than direct sunlight. In fact, some can even survive in rooms with no windows at all. thortful tip: place your peace lily on a saucer with water and pebbles to increase the humidity levels. Water them every few days and spray their leaves to keep them looking oh-so-fresh.
How to create an urban garden on your balcony
If you’re lucky enough to have a balcony, then you have the freedom to be a little bit more adventurous with your plant choices. You can make your balcony look like a miniature garden in no time.
But, it’s important to bear in mind where it faces. Buildings and trees can block out sunlight, so take the surrounding environment into account when picking your plants as this will dictate which will be most suited.
If your balcony is sunny, then you’re best off with plants that can bear the heat and a lack of water. You might also need to create shade or wind-breaks to stop them from drying out. Geraniums are a popular choice because they won’t wilt (there’s a reason why you’ll see them hanging off balconies in hot countries). If your balcony is sheltered, you’ll need to make sure you give your plants a drink regularly.
Think about fragrance too. Having scented plants on the balcony can make it feel atmospheric when you’re sat out lapping up the glorious views. Jasmine will give off a refreshing aroma. Herbs also create a powerful scent and won’t take up much space. Plus, they’ll provide you with lots of fresh flavours for cooking. Pop them in wooden planters to keep them looking stylish.
If you’re looking to grow some veg on your balcony, tomatoes and chillies are great choices – just remember that your balcony will need to be positioned in a sunny spot.
You can also send your indoor plants on a much-needed summer holiday by placing them on your balcony. Some succulents such as aloe vera will thrive in the heat of the outdoor sun. But, not all plants will, so check the instructions before sending them off on their travels.
For an urban garden that really wows, deck out your balcony with a strip of artificial grass and adorn it with potted plants. You could even house some of your plants on old wooden step ladders for an unconventional look. Hanging planters, baskets and cute window boxes will add extra appeal and create leafy views from the windows.
Now we’ve provided you with some ideas, it’s time to test how good of a plant parent you are to all your new leafy friends. We’re rooting for you! For more inspirational ideas, head over to our blog.