The Condo Dweller’s Guide to Houseplants and Flowers
Apartment living can be wonderful, but at the same time it presents us with some unique challenges like trying to grow flowers or plants. It’s no secret that houseplants add charm and beauty to our spaces, but learning to grow them or keep them alive can be difficult. No matter if you lack a green thumb or are a seasoned grower, the following guide will help you tend a variety of flowers or blooms to enhance your indoor areas.
Choose wisely. Look for flowers and plants that fit your personality and skill level. For beginners or forgetful caretakers, consider choosing indoor plants that don’t require a lot of attention, pruning, or watering. Surprisingly, some plants like geraniums, cactus, aloe vera, palms, and succulents thrive on neglect.
Pick the right pot and soil. Most plants were created to survive in the great outdoors, so occasionally indoor conditions can be tough on them. This occurs frequently during the winter months when low humidity plagues our apartments and dries out the soil easily. Try potting plants in larger containers to increase volume so the dirt doesn’t dry out as quickly. Also, consider using a blend of potting soil that contains peat or sphagnum moss to hold in moisture.
Seek out plants known for their air purifying qualities. We often hear about poor air quality, but not many people know that the air in our homes are laden with pollutants. In fact, indoor air pollutants are considered one of the top five environmental risks to the health of the public. Indoor flowers and plants can absorb some of these pollutants and even the soil’s microorganisms are hard at work cleaning the air around us. The best houseplants for improving air quality are spider plants, peace lilies, mums, aloe, and bamboo.
Pay attention to sunlight and windows. Plants do need sunlight to grow, but thankfully not all plants require the same amounts of brightness or intensity. Consider the amount of natural light your apartment receives and look for plants that will thrive in a bright or dim environment. In fact, some plants grow better when they are out of the direct sunlight. You may have to try rearranging your plants several times to find the perfect spot for their optimum growth.
Read to your plants. It sounds quirky and something your mother would have tried in the 70’s, but reading to indoor plants does help them grow and thrive. First, your breath is loaded with carbon dioxide and this can stimulate their gas exchange cycles. Second, if you are able to read with the available natural light then you will know that your plants are getting appropriate amounts of rays to grow.
Invest in plants that multi-task. Most apartments are small on space and every inch needs to utilized efficiently. When choosing a plant or flower don’t rule out edibles. Invest in herbs or try your hand at regrowing celery, lettuce, onion, lemongrass, garlic, and other food scraps to enhance your dinner options, save your budget, and brighten your home at the same time.
Retire the watering can. In addition to watering the soil, consider misting or using humidifiers to increase the humidity in the home for ideal growth. Misting is even a great way to keep leaves clean and provide moisture to new cuttings or growths that are just getting established. Experts recommend misting plants in the morning and avoid spraying plants that are fully exposed to the sun.
Avoid using water that has been softened by salt. Many of us live in regions with hard water and require the use of water softeners to improve the water quality. It isn’t uncommon to find water softeners that require salt to do the job. Unfortunately, if your softener uses salt this can build residue overtime in a plant’s soil and cause the plant to wither and die.
Use water to deliver extra nutrients. While we are on the topic of water, use it as a vehicle for delivering extra nutrients to keep our plants thriving. Once a week, tap into the science of hydroponics and consider using cool soda water, leftover water from boiling eggs, or tea to hydrate your houseplants and improve their lushness.
Get creative with container gardening. Growing houseplants doesn’t have to be boring. Turn to social media sites or blogs for some wonderful ideas to transform boring containers. If an item can hold dirt, it can be used to house a cutting. Consider repurposing pallets, plastic containers, boots, typewriters, and more. With a little creativity you can add a focal piece to your apartment and harvest the multiple benefits flowers and plants provide.
What tips and ideas do you have for growing plants in your condo?