On 12 March the world celebrates Plant a Flower Day, which was established to encourage people to make the planet greener and develop a deeper appreciation for nature. We know that plantlife is responsible for the air we breathe, but there are other benefits to them as well. Being surrounded by plants and flowers has been shown to boost mental health by giving people something to nurture and providing low-expectation companionship. It helps that they are also beautiful to look at!
Indoor plant sanctuaries are becoming increasingly popular. They allow you to bring nature indoors and create a green space if you don’t have a garden.
‘I started my gardening outside and I really loved spending time meditating and reading my books there,’ says Lola Ngcobo, better known to her following as Organic Baddie, who is an urban farmer and organic wellness entrepreneur. ‘But I realised that I didn’t have plants surrounding me when I was inside, so I decided to start looking for some house plants to create an indoor sanctuary, too. The benefit of having plants in your home is not just to make the space more beautiful and purify the air. Seeing them grow and change over time is relatable, and not unlike our lives.’
Want to cultivate your own indoor green space? Here are Lola’s tips on how to create, and look after, one. Get ready to become a dedicated ‘plant mom’!
1. Picking Your Plants
Before you rush out to your local nursery, do some research around plants that thrive indoors and suit your needs and lifestyle.
Looking for something seriously low-maintenance? Try succulents! Many of them are indigenous to SA and thrive in our climate. They also come in a massive variety of shades, so you can choose ones that match your decor scheme. Native aloe plants are also great and come with a host of useful beauty and wellness benefits.
Looking for something that purifies the air? While all plants do this to varying degrees, some of them are hailed for their purification properties. ‘Ferns not only cleanse the air, but they also bring that tropical feel indoors,’ explains Lola. ‘Spider plants are also a good pick, and are easy to grow and affordable.’
Looking for something to keep you calm? Plants are known to be good mood-boosters and stress-reducers. Basil is a popular choice when it comes to creating a calm environment (and comes in handy when cooking pasta!). Lavender is another goodie, with the scent being famous for helping people relax.
2. Getting Your Plants
Houseplants are great, but buying them can be expensive. ‘I collect plants that are in season when I go on hikes,’ says Lola. ‘My friends and I will then swap cuttings so that we all have a variety to plant and grow.’
Another place she recommends visiting? Indigenous nurseries. ‘They have plants that are suitable for our climate and are water-wise and are also a wealth of information when it comes to what plants will work in your home.’
3. Arranging Your Plants
‘To create your own indoor garden sanctuary you need to identify an unused space in your house and then look for plants that will thrive in it,’ advises Lola.
Consider things such as whether your plants will need direct sunlight or if it prefers the shade. You can then put them on surfaces, or put up designated shelves, that will suit their needs.
Need ideas on how to arrange them stylishly? Check out Pinterest for some inspiration.
4. Caring for Your Plants
Just like us, all plant species are different, so you will need to do some research around caring for your indoor sanctuary. While succulents only require minimal weekly watering, other plants need to be tended to more frequently in order to reach their full potential.