Indoor gardening

Being in nature is important for all of us. Trees and plants make us feel calmer, less stressed and provide us with a sense of stimulation and focus. But being in nature might be a little tricky for many right now due to self-isolation and social distancing, and for some not having access to their own private garden. If we can’t get outside to enjoy nature, we’ll just have to bring it inside with us!

Having plants indoors helps with the mind, body and soul. They remove carbon dioxide out of the air and use it to produce oxygen. They trap and capture pollutants. They lower blood pressure, anxiety, pain and fatigue when looked at. And they improve concentration, memory and productivity.

We’ve got a couple of ideas below to help you get started.

Succulents in an old frame

Create cuttings from established succulents by chopping stem sections one to two inches long and discarding the lower leaves. Let cuttings dry on a tray for seven to ten days for the end to dry out. Using an old wooden box frame; remove the glass and staple a layer of chicken wire or wire mesh in its place, to the frame. Make sure the back of the frame is in place, then pour in cactus soil until it reaches the mesh. Push the succulents into the soil coming to rest on top of the mesh. Once the frame is filled with succulents, leave this flat for one to two weeks, out of direct sunlight, while the succulents begin to root. Gradually increase the sunlight they have, but do not water for two weeks. Once rooted, you can hang this up on a wall as a piece of living art. Water once a month and set near a south facing window or in the brightest part of the home.

Air plants

Air plants, or tillandsias, don’t need soil. Place these in well-lit areas of your house. Dunk them in water two or three times a week and gently shake off, being sure to not leave them in standing water.

Plant bulbs indoors

Firstly, pop your healthy daffodil, tulip, crocus, hyacinth or iris bulb(s) into a paper bag in the fridge for three months. When the time is up, get a vase or glass jar (at least as tall as the flower stalks will grow), place in two inches worth of stones and fill with water to just below the top of the stones. Place your bulb(s) on the top so the roots will grow into the water (keep the pointed side upwards). Keep the container in a bright room, away from direct sunlight for the roots to form. Once leaves and stems begin to grow, move the plant to the brightest spot in the home. Keep water topped up to just below the stone line.

Stack pots on the windowsill for herbs

Find a shallow pot as wide as your windowsill will allow, and another smaller but taller sized pot. Fill both pots with potting soil and stack the smaller pot on top toward one edge. Plant your herbs into the pots. Fertilise and water regularly.

Regrow vegetables

Save the bottom inch from a spring onion, place in a little water, change every day, and you’ll soon have a new spring onion. You can regrow lettuce, celery and lemongrass in much the same way too. Keep the tops of chopped carrots, place in a shallow dish of water, change daily, and the greens of the carrot top will grow again. With a little more patience you can also grow an avocado tree from the seed of an avocado, grow a new pineapple from a pineapple top and more sweet potatoes from a sweet potato.

Low maintenance house plants

Snake plant – good to poor light needed, water when soil is dry.

Epipremnum – does well in bright indirect sunlight but also low light, water every two weeks.

Dracaena – good to low light is best and away from full sun, water every two weeks.

Zamioculcas (ZZ plant) – needs good to medium light levels, water every two weeks or when dry.

Spider plant – bright but not direct sunlight, water well April-Sept and less in winter.

Rubber plant – bright indirect light is best, water every two weeks or when soil is dry.

Aloe Vera – Bright to full sun is best, water when soil is dry.

There’s plenty more ideas for indoor gardening out there on the internet, find the project for you and bring a little of the outside in.

 COVID-19 (coronavirus) alert

Under NHS England guidance, if you have developed a high temperature or new continuous cough, please self-isolate for seven days. Click here for more information.