Indoor Plants for Home Garden – A guide for the beginner (Part1)
What indoor plants can we use for our indoor garden? This is a common question that many of us face while beginning our gardening journey. There is a slightly elaborate process to setting up an indoor garden. This process becomes even trickier because there is no set guideline to help us out with it. The main reason for not having a set guideline is the fact that urban homes differ for sizes & space availability, access to sunlight & individual’s lack basic understanding about indoor plants in general.
In this article we are addressing the part about basic understanding of indoor plants & talk about how it helps in selecting the plants for your indoor garden.
Note** – For the sake of simplicity let us assume that we have identified space for our plants within indoor space and have a fair idea of the availability of sunlight at the spot where plants will be kept.
Alright, so what is it that we should know about indoor plants in order to help use choose right plants while setting up an indoor garden? At the onset let us tell you, we can categorize indoor plants as follows.
- Foliage Plants also known as Ornamental Plants
- Flowering Plants
- Vegetable Plants & Fruit Bearers
It is very likely that you may have heard some or all these terms earlier. The first 3 mentioned here are typically non edible plants whereas the last 2 fall in edible category. The reason we mention them here is because – type of plant determines a lot of aspects about an indoor garden we would be able to set at home. So let us understand them first.
Foliage Plants – Ornamental Indoor Plants
Foliage or ornamental plants usually carry more of an aesthetic value than others. These plants generally don’t bear flowers or fruits & are mostly non edible. They are characterized by Foliage (leaves) with different shapes, textures, sizes, patterns & colours among other things. The variety available is quite simply jaw dropping! Spoilt for choices? Yes we are!
Another important attribute associated with these plants, is that many of these grow well indoors as they don’t necessarily need direct sunlight for growth. The fact that they don’t bear flowers & fruits render them capable of carrying out their growth functions with moderate or limited resources as well. This proves of distinct advantage when setting up an indoor garden.
These plants generally exhibit moderate, slow & steady growth cycle which is a major plus as we, the urban population, may not have sufficient space or time in our busy lives to cater to their needs on daily basis.
We can use combination of colors, shapes, sizes, textures and patterns of Foliage plants to build an indoor garden worthy of a head turn. Choose a plant which grows with smaller yet taller spread or wider spread. One that grows like a vine or the one that stands erect in a pot kept on floor. You may also have plants which have hardy strong leaves or the one that grows like a bush. Possibilities are enormous; choose what suits your sense of style and personal interest. It is always a hit.
Additionally, many of these foliage plants are in fact low maintenance & easy to grow which adds an additional layer of comfort for all beginners or experts alike. So, when you want to have a small indoor garden within your living Room or bed room always choose foliage plants. The space available isn’t really a concern here as we get foliage plants in numerous options.
Flowering Plants as Indoor Plants
As the name suggests these are plants that bear flowers. We all have to agree that colours seen in flowers are quiet simply stunning. Lucre of these flowers is so much so that in general most of us choose flowering plants without really asking for any other types of plants. There is a bias towards them and it is understandable. The major factors, while choosing flowering plants, revolve around seasonality and exposure to sunlight & watering.
Yes, not all flowering plants are perennial meaning they don’t flower throughout the year; a distinct disadvantage for setting up an indoor garden. It is also common for many of them to die / dry out post flowering season and thus we need to change them. It is not to say that replacing them is particularly tedious job but hey we need some extra efforts for sure.
The other factor of sunlight requirement also needs attention. Flowering plants in general need more exposure to sunlight with preference for bright direct sunlight in many cases. In urban homes finding such spaces may be a task at times. Flowering plants also need more attention especially with respect to watering. Some of them need daily watering some even twice a day. Yes, they like being center of attention for producing those gorgeous wonders of nature.
This is not to discourage you from choosing flowering plants for your indoor garden but just to make you aware of possible scenarios one has to face while nurturing for them.
A balcony or patio space is ideal for setting up an indoor garden with flowering plants. These places generally have more exposure to direct & bright sunlight, usually have more open space for plants to grow in comparison to living room etc.
The pot sizes needed for flowering plants are generally on the bigger side as they develop fast and have considerable spread. We also need to supplement flowering plants with fertilizers more in comparison to a typical Foliage plant. They bring a sense of grandeur and charm & liveliness to any surroundings a sure boost to a gardener’s pride. Additionally sheer joy of looking at pretty flowers is thing to experience. So it’s worth the effort.
In recent years many urban gardeners have been favoring succulents. These type of plants have distinctly different appearance than the usual plants. Their leaves store water and have a hardy look to them. They carry tremendous aesthetic appeal and are proving to be an absolute delight to be kept indoors.
Additionally, succulents usually have smaller size and are perfect for table tops, desks, coffee tables, study tables, small shelves etc. Many consider them to be easy care plants because of lower and less frequent watering needed. We shall say it is not as easy as it may seem. Managing water cycles and amount of water for succulents is tricky. They are usually very delicate and a little mishandling will lead to plant being damaged. The media needed for its growth is not the standard one that is used for other type of plants. Succulents are grown using sand, coco peat, moss etc.
Succulents carry enormous aesthetic appeal though. Coupling them with other design accessories has been in trend for a while now. Accordingly many urban gardeners try and create small succulent arrangements purely as a showcase of style and class. Indeed a smart choice if you can maintain it though.
With this we wrap up the part 1 of the article on Indoor Plants for home garden. We have now covered all major non edible plants in this section. The part 2 will cover edible plants that you can grow at home.