How to green-up your small space
For some of us, gardening doesn’t come easy. Over the years, many of us have likely left a trail of dead houseplants that have withered away from neglect, drowned in too much water, or were simply unsuitable for their environment. Add to that, living in a small apartment or space, and embellishing your immediate environment with plants becomes complicated. But just because you don’t have a green thumb doesn’t mean all is lost. With a little research, you can find there’s something suitable for even the smallest of spaces and the most hopeless of gardeners.
A few rules of (green) thumb
First off, keep it small. You don’t have lots of space to work with, so there’s no point in purchasing a plant that will need replanting in a few months. Make sure to ask your local nursery or commercial greenhouse for plants that will be happy in the container you brought them home in.
Remember that plants that require too much sunlight may not work in your apartment if it’s dark and only has artificial light. But if you have loads of sunlight, make sure to find a plant that thrives on it. It’s all a question of finding the appropriate plant for your space and conditions.
The first plant that comes to mind when you’re researching hardy indoor plants is the Peace Lily. It’s such an easy-going plant and requires so little space and so little sun it’s often referred to as the “Closet Plant.” It does need regular watering, but for gardeners who can never tell when that is, the Peace Lily makes it easy on us. Its leaves droop when it’s thirsty.
The Jade Plant is another you-can’t-kill-it plant, perfect for the absent-minded and the lazy. It’s actually the happiest with indirect sun and little watering. The best way to water it is to “drench and drain” according to numerous online gardening sources, which basically means you water it generously and then let it dry out completely before watering again. The Jade Plant is also called a “lucky plant” or the “money tree”, so not only are you bringing home an easy-to-care-for plant, you’re also increasing your odds of winning the lottery.
The Heartleaf Philodendron is also extremely popular with people who forget to water their plants. It can go for long periods without water and it remains small, making it perfect for those tiny apartments.
Surprisingly enough, the African violet isn’t only for your grandmother’s living room. This classic of houseplants is a favourite for a reason. It doesn’t require lots of attention, it only needs a little sunlight, and as long as you keep the temperature in your condo even and about the same throughout the year, this plant will thrive.
When we think of houseplants, we often forget about herbs, but not only are they beautiful, aromatic, and take up little space, they also serve a very practical culinary purpose. Rosemary, sage, and thyme are particularly hardy and can easily survive the winter indoors if you water them and place them near a sunny windowsill. Keep in mind that mint easily takes over any container, so keep it separate, unless you don’t mind it imposing its special brand of plant dictatorship.
And if all else fails…
Yep, it’s time to purchase a cactus. They’re beautiful, they’re resilient, they produce gorgeous, colourful flowers, and because of their ability to store water, they won’t die on you. Just place it in a sunny window, water it once a week, and leave it alone.
Even the most hopeless of brown thumbs can have some success with the options presented here. It’s all a question of combining the right plant with the right environment, and choosing plants that are forgiving and less finicky than some. Happy goof-proof small-space gardening!