You may think because you live in a rented home with little or no outdoor space that you can’t enjoy a garden. Well you’d be wrong! You can create lush indoor gardens, utilise balcony space, and if you do have a garden in a rented home, there are still ways to transform your green space.
Creating an indoor garden and scattering house plants around your home not only makes your space feel fresher and more lived in, they also help purify the air, suppress bacteria, help counteract central heating by adding humidity, and can even make you feel happier and more relaxed. Growing plants indoors is actually easier than outdoors, as you don’t have to deal with bad weather conditions or diseases.
Low/medium light plants:
- Chinese evergreen, Pothos
- Snake plant, Zeezee plant
- Peace Lily, Bird’s Nest Fern
- Spider plant, Rubber plant
- Dracaena, Prayer plant
- Parlor Palm, African Violet
You can fill empty spaces on bookshelves or in corners with potted plants, or create a no-mess terrarium to use as a unique table centre piece by putting small rocks, soil, live moss and low maintenance plants into a large, wide-mouth jar. Bathrooms are great spaces to grow plants as they provide warmth, moisture and light. If you are accident prone, opt for woven and material planters to avoid disaster, or if not you can choose quirky glass or ceramic pots to add decoration.
Unique ways to display houseplants:
- On a repurposed, decorated ladder
- In old light bulbs filled with water (for indoor hydroponics like English Ivy and Philodendron)
- In small vintage teacups
- In an small, recycled drawer set
- In a range of different coloured pots with different materials and textures
- Create a fairy garden in a small wooden crate
- In repurposed mason jars, decorated if you want more colour
- Hung up vertically to save space
Home central heating can really dry out plants; in this instance most people would be tempted to water them more, but this can damage and kill them too! Instead what they need is to have the leaves misted with water daily to add humidity again. However, if you don’t have a great track record with growing plants, these are the hardest to kill: Aloe, Kentia palm, Arrowheaded vine, Golden pothos, Zebra Haworthia, Ghost plant and Geranium.
Succulents are also a great choice of plant to grow in the home: use loose cactus soil, expose to medium sunlight, only water when soil is completely dry, use plant food to input nutrients, let air get to them, and repot occasional in large containers to give them room to grow. The best succulents for rooms that receive a lot of light are Aloe Vera and the Jade plant.
Best purifying plants:
- Aloe Vera, Areca palm
- Baby rubber, Bamboo palm
- Boston fern, Chinese evergreen
- Mass cane, Ficus alii
Herbs are great for your indoor garden as they also can be used for flavourings in your cooking! To plant herbs: soak seeds for a couples of hours, fill plant pots with soil/coarse sand mixture, plant seeds 3 times deeper than seed width, water only when soil is dry to touch. Herbs are ready to harvest when flowers bud; cut 4-6 inches above the base of the plant and harvest in small amounts.
The best herbs to grow on your kitchen windowsill are: basil, chives, coriander, fennel, lemongrass, parsley, rosemary, sage and thyme; and they’re also best for seasoning your food. A great way to display them when ready to use is hung up vertically so they are easy to reach up for when cooking; unique and practical!
If you are lucky enough to have a balcony or a back garden, you have more choice, but you still have to be careful in a rented home! For balconies, vertical or hanging gardens are the best option as they leave room to put seating and a table so you can sit and enjoy the nature. It’s also a chance to get really creative without making any changes that would lose you your deposit! You can hang baskets on the balcony railings, and if you want to create more privacy, put in a trellis and grow climbing plants to create a natural barrier. You don’t have to splash out on new things to display your plants; you can reuse old items such as a ladder for great vertical display, a decorated shower caddy or hanging shoe rack.
The key for back gardens is to avoid digging anything up; instead use pretty plant pots to grow flowers, or set down wooden crates and fill with soil to plant, which will blend in more to the natural surroundings. Balconies and gardens also offer the opportunity to grow a little vegetable garden in containers.
Best container vegetables for beginners:
- Tomatoes, Peppers, Lettuce
- Chilies, Onions
- Beans, Peas
- Eggplant, Carrots
Even on tiny balconies you can add a couple of seats and a chair to create an outdoor space you can enjoy, or throw down loads of cushions and blankets for a chilled vibe. As well as plants to create your garden, decorations are just as important; fairy lights and lanterns look stunning at night on balcony, as well as a back garden. With a house garden you will usually have more space to be creative and to add seating and tables, or be a little different and put in a swing seat or hammock! Rented back gardens can tend to be a little plain, so add anything to give it personality and make it your own space, just no digging or serious landscaping!