Want to know a secret? Lean in close and I’ll tell you… I have two degrees involving plants, a garden full of fruits and veggies, and a beautifully landscaped yard containing a mix of perennial and annual plants.
But I have a shamefully small amount of plants indoors. It’s not for lack of want, but rather poor growing conditions. One day I dream of a house filled with south-facing windows so I can reap the benefits of indoor gardening!
Whether or not you have plenty of gardening space outside, having plants in your indoor space is a great way to bring your hobby indoors while taking advantage of all the amazing benefits houseplants offer.
- 1 Benefits of indoor gardening
- 2 Overcoming the challenges of growing plants indoors
- 3 Conclusion
- 4 BTW How To Grow Indoor Garden Easily?
Benefits of indoor gardening
A quick search on the internet will show pages and pages documenting the benefits of having houseplants indoors. Many of them are health-related, and this only skims the surface of the advantages of indoor gardening.
Improved air quality
One of the biggest advantages of houseplants is their natural ability to improve air quality. During photosynthesis, plants take in carbon dioxide from the air to create glucose molecules within their leaves; they then release oxygen as a byproduct for all living organisms to use in respiration.
Along with reducing the carbon dioxide that contributes to global warming, plants filter our indoor air as well. They have the ability to remove almost 90% of all volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, benzene, carbon monoxide, ammonia, and xylene. Don’t believe me? NASA has spent a great deal of time and money researching the pivotal role plants play in improving air quality when in an indoor environment.
When leaf openings called stomata open up to take in carbon dioxide, VOCs in the air are absorbed at the same time. Beneficial microbes associated with the plant roots convert the air pollutants into plant-usable nutrients through a process called phytoremediation.
NASA recommends a minimum of one (or better two) houseplant per 100 square feet of living space for improved air quality. The following are some of the best species for air purification:
- Azalea (Rhododendron simsii)
- Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea sefritzii)
- Chrysanthemum (Chrysantheium morifolium)
- English ivy (Hedera helix)
- Gerbera daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)
- Golden pothos (Scindapsus aures)
- Mother-in-law’s tongue, aka snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’)
- Peace lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii)
- Red-edge dracaena (Dracaena marginata)
- Red-edge dracaena (Chlorophytum comosum)
Improved mental health
It’s no secret that plants are known to reduce stress levels, tension, and anxiety, leading to an overall improvement in your well-being. They can also reduce anger and hostility and even improve depression.
Better work productivity
In the workplace or homeoffice, research shows they can also improve concentration and creative-problem skills, and improve idea generation. According to a study done by the University of Michigan, they may boost memory retention by up to 20%!
Ever wonder why hospital gift shops sell houseplants and florists have such a thriving business from get-well deliveries? While it may sound cliche, it’s because plants actually do promote faster healing and recovery after surgery or other medical procedures. Researchers at Kansas State University have proven that contact with plants is beneficial to a hospital patient’s health.
When they had plants in their room, patients needed less pain medication, they demonstrated lower blood pressure and heart rate, had reduced anxiety and fatigue, and conveyed a higher level of satisfaction with their recovery rooms.
At night when photosynthesis halts because of a lack of sunlight, most plants switch instead to a process called respiration where they absorb oxygen and release carbon dioxide. A few though, such as bromeliads, orchids, and succulents have altered this process so they absorb carbon dioxide during the day and release oxygen levels at night. Putting one or two in your bedroom aids in a more restful night’s sleep.
Increased relative humidity
Plants constantly take in water through their roots to be used for different metabolic processes and transport nutrients through plant tissues. When all is said and done they release approximately 97% of the moisture they absorb from the soil surrounding their roots, and the air around their leaves to increase the relative humidity (RH) in your space.
This can attribute to about a 10% increase in RH and benefits people in proximity as it helps to reduce the incidence of dry skin, sore throats, dry coughs, and colds.
Having an indoor garden also means you can grow a couple of your favorite herbs indoors to have year-round access to them for recipes. Parsley, oregano, chives, cilantro, sage, basil, and mint are all extremely easy to grow, even for beginners.
For mint, you can grow it either in soil or in water. The same is for garlic – read my post to find out how you can grow it for both greens and cloves.
Check out more indoor herb garden ideas here.
You can also grow veggies such as delicious potatoes (read my guide to find out how to do it).
Many plants have incredible medicinal uses; adding them to your indoor garden will provide some all-natural, basic first aid treatment(s) at the tips of your fingers.
- Aloe vera relieves sunburn (which is especially helpful in climates that have sunny weather year-round), prevents wrinkles, and can treat constipation.
- Calendula reduces pain and swelling, soothes a sore throat, speeds the healing of skin ulcers, and promotes hair growth.
- Chamomile treats insomnia, boosts the immune system, treats wounds, and eases the pain of sunburns.
- Echinacea reduces inflammation, shortens the lengths of colds, reduces anxiety, and promotes the growth of healthy cells (and you can easily harvest its seeds)
- Feverfew lowers blood pressure, relieves migraines, combats arthritis, and may ease menstrual cramps.
- Peppermint eases upset stomachs, relaxes muscle pain, and diminishes bad breath.
- Sage treats diarrhea, sharpens your memory, reduces inflammation, and supports bone health.
- Thyme boosts immunity, clears up coughs, lowers blood pressure, and can treat arthritis.
Overcoming the challenges of growing plants indoors
Growing plants indoors is fairly simple, but there are some challenges that present themselves compared to traditional gardening.
Lighting is without a doubt one of the most challenging aspects of indoor gardening.
Plants need plenty of sunlight every day for optimal growth since sunlight drives photosynthesis. When gardening outside it’s easy to choose a full-sun location that receives 8 to 10 or even more hours of sunlight every day. Inside it’s hard to get that same amount of light exposure, even with south-facing windows.
If your home or apartment doesn’t get adequate light during the day you can supplement your houseplants with basic growing lights. To mimic outdoor lighting conditions, suspend grow lights about 6 to 12-inches above your plants with high output T5 fluorescent lamps, compact fluorescent, or high-intensity discharge (high-pressure sodium or metal halide) bulbs.
Space, or rather lack thereof, is an issue that many of us face.
We’d like to try our hand at indoor gardening but may be limited in the amount of open space we could put houseplants. Get creative and put them on top of bookshelves, kitchen cabinets, and dressers. You can also buy plant hangers to suspend them from the ceiling or walls in brightly lit rooms.
Watering can be a struggle too, even for the most dedicated green thumb.
Not only do you need to remember to water your indoor plants at all but you need to get them the appropriate amount of water-based upon their needs: some like to stay a little drier, other plants like their roots constantly moist.
Research how much water your specific plants need, and then monitor them routinely to see how long you can go between waterings. Once you have a good feel for the amount of time you can set a reminder in your smartphone to jog your memory or you can implement one of many DIY watering hacks available online.
Besides adding some greenery to your indoor space and complementing your decor, indoor houseplants have some incredible health benefits as well. They can improve air quality, reduce stress and help you sleep better, promote faster healing, and even provide some medicinal benefits, depending on the species.
Herbs at Home is dedicated to helping you find, grow, and harvest flavorful herbs and microgreens indoors.
BTW How To Grow Indoor Garden Easily?
If you want to have an indoor garden easily and effortlessly, you may want to take a look at portable, counter-top solutions.
Another way is to get a Garden Tower 2. Read how easy it is to use it!