Tips on Creating an Indoor Garden

Built-in containers don’t have to be specially designed. You can make a simple square, rectangular or triangular box to fit the space available or use everyday items to form original and highly decorative indoor gardens.

Picking a position

The lighter the position you pick for an indoor garden, the greater the choice of plants you will be able to grow successfully. A window box that fits both the width and length of a sill is therefore ideal, but in winter make sure that blinds or curtains can be drawn between the plants and the window or they could suffer from frost damage. In summer they may need some shading to avoid leaf scorch.

Tips on Creating an Indoor Garden

Made-to-measure containers

A container that is made to fit the space and shape available and is painted to co-ordinate with the colour scheme in a room will create the best built-in result. Wood is the obvious material to choose, and oak and mahogany will last longer than softwoods like pine or deal.

Using what is available

Sections of old and damaged furniture can be turned to new use as plant containers. Screw an old drawer to a wood base of the same size and add castors so that it is easily moved about. Screw trellis to one side of a trough and use it as a frame for climbers that will provide a green screen between one section of living space and another.

Choosing the plants

Plants grow well when grouped as each plant gives off moisture which then becomes available to neighbouring plants. Choose plants of the same type or with the same watering and light requirements. If you want to include a flowering plant temporarily, sink it in its pot into the compost so that it is easily removed when past its best.

Always add a layer of porous material such as clay pellets to the base of any container without drainage.

Making a hanging garden

Plants in a hanging garden can create a striking waterfall of greenery in a hall, staircase and landing area. If the area is dark, artificial lighting will probably be needed to persuade plants to grow well. Group a number of hanging baskets together at varying heights and arrange so that they look equally effective from the landing above and the hall below. Hang plants in baskets by long ropes running through hooks in the ceiling to form a pulley system so that each can be lowered for maintenance.

Alternatively, position shelves at different levels on the wall and then place window boxes of plants on the shelves. Paint shelves, wall and boxes to match so that it is the plants that show up. Grow plants in their pots surrounded by moist peat, then they will be easy to remove, and water them with specially designed long-nozzled watering bottles.

Ideas for a built-in look

  • Ask your greengrocer for a wooden crate from a delivery of citrus fruit and use it for a display of miniatures: cacti, Club Moss or Mind-Your-OwnBusiness. Intersperse with light coloured pebbles.
  • Place a large trough at floor level below one section of a patio window, or place on a shelf or on brackets positioned so that the trough top is level with the base of a smaller window.
  • Remove a badly damaged top from an old chest of drawers and place pots in their containers to stand in the top drawer.
  • Screw castors to an old blanket chest and use as a plant container with the lid open. Line the lid with mirror to reflect the plants.
  • Use a large, circular wooden garden sieve lined with polythene as a kitchen herb garden to co-ordinate with a pine kitchen.
  • Large, low log baskets can be used as indoor plant garden containers if lined with polythene.
  • A decorative china bowl with a layer of tiny pebbles or clay pellets can form an attractive plant container.

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