The reasons for indoor gardening, explains Arundhati Surendran, can be purely for enjoyment, strictly practical, or maybe a little of both. Whatever your reason, this is one activity that brings you the pleasure of watching nature bloom in your closed room
For those who have had to stay at home during the pandemic, picking up new things to pass the time other than mindlessly scrolling on social media may have led you to the wonders of indoor gardening. Or perhaps you were a fan of it previously –but for those who have not explored this avenue, let me enlighten you of the most high-stakes yet low-pressure activity of all time.
There isn’t much to explain regarding the premise of it – the term ‘indoor gardening’ is ample information – but there are many nuances to the hobby, and depending on what you want out of it, you can better your own experiences with plants.
Perhaps you want to upgrade your surroundings – adding a bit of green and life to your house is only ever a good thing! The best option for a low effort sprucing is to go for succulents – plants with thick leaves that store water in jelly or sap. They barely need any watering, and a quick search is enough to figure out the best succulent to suit your house’s conditions.
You could also liven up your balcony or terrace with colourful flowers – which, while may take more effort, are well worth it in the end. Flowers like amaryllis and orchids have inspired designers and artists for generations and for good reason. For blooming plants, it’s better to go for plants that have already matured rather than seeds, since most flowering plants will take a while to grow into their splendour. Make sure to let them shine in the sun and give them the care that they need – they are working so hard to beautify your home after all!
Another option is to plant a herbal garden – there would be no more reason to eat your spaghetti ungarnished if you grow the garnish yourself! Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme and other perennial herbs are among the easiest to grow if you are a beginner. Basil and Lemongrass are also well suited for the indoors. If you are careful, a warm sunny window and regular watering would be all you have to do to reap the flavorful rewards.
There is also the option of growing your own fruits and vegetables – but this isn’t for gardeners’ who want it easy. Homegrown vegetables are more sensitive and require a bit of patient tending, but the satisfaction of eating a meal whose ingredients you have grown yourself isn’t one you can describe in verbal totality. Start with the easy ones like Hot Peppers or Carrots and work your way up. It is tedious and takes time, but that is what ‘fruits of labor’ is all about, isn’t it?
While the concept of indoor gardening sounds easier said than done, there are different options for everybody and based on what suits your tastes, you can pick and choose the best method for you. There is even hydroponics where you can avoid soil altogether!
Regardless of which type of gardening you are interested in, the activity has loads of benefits. The quiet activity forces you into peace and concentration. There are a myriad of studies showing that indoor gardening reduce stress significantly – both physiological and psychological. And though the reasoning behind it hasn’t been determined exactly, having a real plant in your surroundings can increase your concentration and performance for sure.
This is the big reason why Millennials and Gen Zers have a strange but healthy obsession for indoor plants. Many live in urban environments with demanding jobs, busy social lives, where nature is hard to come by. Not only does having an indoor garden encourage nurturing, patience and self-care, it also fosters a bond in a world where people can otherwise feel isolated.
One of the other most cited benefits of indoor gardening started with a NASA study in the 1980’s that stated that plants do far more than you think for the air around you. Of course, there is the obvious conversion of Carbon Dioxide to Oxygen that goes on – but more interesting is the effects of Phytoremediation. The term Phytoremediation is used to define the process of plants essentially leeching out the pollutants from the air. The study was looking for ways to better the air quality in a sealed aircraft and discovered that plant roots and soil absorbed airborne volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
More recent studies have called this into question and said that you would have to have a large number of plants to imitate modern biofilters, but the plants still do have a significant enough impact to be noticeable. The most effective houseplants in this regard are spider plants, rubber trees, bamboo palms and Boston ferns.
Even if you choose to ignore every scientifically proven health benefit, it is impossible to deny the calming nature of having noiseless, low effort dependants, and the pure aesthetic value of having more of these green home-mates around.