Indoor Gardening for the Eco-Friendly

 Indoor Garden. Photo by Sydney Rae courtesy of Unsplash.

Indoor Garden. Photo by Sydney Rae courtesy of Unsplash.

By Avery Phillips

Special to Eagle

Gardening is a great way to add beauty to your home, add color to your life, and enjoy the feeling of cultivating life. Not everyone has the yard space required to go all out; for those of us whose yards aren’t suitable or are certified apartment dwellers, indoor gardening can be just as satisfying and eco-friendly as outdoor gardening. So what’s the best way to nurture your green thumb indoors?

What to Grow

One of the first questions an indoor gardener should ask is “what should I grow?” Not every outdoor plant works well indoors, and not every plant serves the same purpose. Ask yourself, “What’s my primary goal with gardening?”

Beauty

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. For some, a beautiful plant is something that flowers, while others enjoy the simple grace of succulents. Good plants for an apartment and other indoor spaces start with succulents, which are not only very trendy with interior designers but are low-maintenance for the horticulturally challenged. On the far end of the size spectrum, small trees, like a ficus, can add a lot of beauty to your home. Some plants, like peace lilies, bloom in low light and can brighten a dark corner. Draping vines, like a philodendron, can brighten up shelves and are great for first time gardeners. Hanging plants can bring a splash of green to high, bare spots in your home. Spider plants and ferns work well in hanging pots.

Air Purification

Indoor plants can do great things for your air quality. English ivy, spider plants, bamboo palms, and mother-in-law’s tongue all clear impurities from the air. Mother-in-law’s tongue has the added benefit of being a hardy succulent that can grow in just about all kinds of spaces, making it good for beginners.

Cooking

Fancy yourself a chef? An indoor herb garden can not only brighten your home but add a little extra something to your culinary masterpieces by way of fresh ingredients. Some of the best indoor herb garden plants include basil, bay, oregano, and parsley. Basil and oregano go great with Italian fare, and both require a fair bit of sun. Parsley also loves sunlight, and bay likes air circulation.

Eco-Friendly Practices

Your indoor garden isn’t complete without an eye at eco-friendly practices. While growing your own food (or in this case, herbs) already can help you reduce food waste, there’s so much more you can do. Of course, reusing potential waste, like potting containers, is a must. You can also use potential trash, like egg cartons, as planters. Popsicle or sticks from foods like corn dogs can double as markers or stakes to help your plants grow upwards.

Use leftover cooking or drinking water to tend to your plants, reducing water waste. For fertilization, add eggshells, tea leaves or coffee grinds to your soil. For eco- (and animal-) friendly bug spray, use a combination of soap and water instead of chemical pesticides. Your pets will be grateful, especially if you have one that can’t be trusted to stay away from anything they deem worth investigating.

With an eye towards the environment, your indoor gardening can bring your life color and flavor — as well as peace of mind