Windows, shelves and corners provide areas in a kitchen where space can usually be found to create a plant.
Conditions for plant growth
Kitchens do not usually provide the ideal conditions for house plants. Temperatures often fluctuate dramatically, with extreme heat when a lot of cooking is being done, and cold night-time periods when the heating is off. Unless ventilation is good, with an extractor removing fumes and steam, greasy deposits will fall on kitchen surfaces — including plants.
If your plants refuse to flourish in the kitchen these may be some of the causes. To help control the problems sponge thewith soapy water at room temperature, then rinse again to remove dirty deposits; make sure too that plants on a windowsill spend winter nights inside rather than outside curtains or blinds.
Finding space for displays
Windowsills are the traditional spot for plants in the kitchen. An indoor window-box which fits the sill makes an excellentfor plants which could otherwise get knocked over. Use it to grow a variety of or create a fern garden in a north-facing window, a desert garden on a sunny south-facing sill.
The window area can also be used for a group of hanging baskets suspended at different heights, and this is a good way to hide an unattractive view. Alternatively, fix shelves across the window for rows of smaller plants.
Shelves used todecorative china can take one or two trailing plants. Position the plants at the ends of shelves so that they will not be too much in the way when removing and repositioning the china. Open shelves used to divide the working section from the eating area are also a good spot for displaying a few trailing plants.
Dining areas within the kitchen usually provide space for larger plants. Consider placing a group in a corner by a French window, or display a group of miniature plants as a table centrepiece.
Siting plants out of busy walkways and working areas is not impossible. Here are some ideas:
- Use hanging baskets to divide working and eating areas.
- Put up a shelf in a space between wall cupboards for trailing plants.
- Make a simple triangular box for an unused worktop corner to hold smaller plants.
- Place a wide shelf across the top – of the window.
Herbs in the kitchen
The idea of being able to pick fresh herbs in your kitchen to pop in the cooking pot or a salad in the making is very appealing. Herbs grown in the kitchen need a sunny spot. They also needand fresh air, but protect them from draughts.
Herbs to grow:
Mint and Lemon Balm are among the most robust of herbs. Plant them inon their own as they quickly take over. There are so many mints with subtly different tastes, Apple, Pineapple, Eau-de-Cologne, Peppermint, to name a few, that it is fun to grow a number of them together in a .
Marjoram, Tarragon, Garlic and Sage will grow to around 45cm (18in) and will provide a decorative display with their variedshapes. There is Sage with deep purple leaves and one with variegated leaves as well as the more common green Sage. Grow the three together.
Some herbs are too large to be grown successfully indoors and these include Dill, Fennel, Lovage, Bay and Angelica, but young plants can be temporarily sited on the windowsill.
Suchas Basil and Parsley can be grown from on a sunny sill.
Plants for a kitchen windowsill
Choose just one flowering plant to add colour to a group of green plants or create a blended effect by using plants within different shades of one colour. Pick a colour that matches the kitchen scheme or, for a pool of bright colour, use an opposing colour such as yellow in a blue kitchen or red in a white one.
In spring show off containers of bulbs lined along the sill —, , Grape , , Dwarf Tulip or .
Gloxinias, with their showy, trumpet-shapedof pink, white, violet or magenta, would look dramatic lined along the sill.
For a north-facinguse African Violets in pink, purple, or white.
Try growing a bright or pale blue Morning Glory up one side of a south-facing window.
and Begonias will provide rich autumn colour.
For a Christmas display use bright red Christmasand .
For a north-facing window consider, with its silver-patterned foliage, or Artillery Plant with its tiny, closely packed leaves. Carex, which has grass-like leaves, provides another shape and will put up with more adverse conditions.
For a south-facing window try Comb Flower with its decoratively variegated leaves (protect from direct sun). Peanut Plant also likes bright light, as does Desert Privet with its variegated leaves. Polka Dot Plants will flourish here so choose from their wide range of decorativecolours.