So many indoor planters to choose from, so little space. Choose the right type of planter for you to make your very own plant paradise.
Blooming blossom is a welcoming sign that spring has arrived. The streets and parks that seemed so dull and boring, suddenly flourish with wildlife and colour. We all want a little bit of green of our own to escape in but unfortunately not all of us have a big space to work with. However, even if you are limited for space there are various types of indoor planters that you can use easily to create your very own plant paradise.
Planters for indoor space
Planters with lights
Plants use light in a process called photosynthesis, where light energy is converted into chemical energy to create carbohydrates out of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Plants then use carbohydrates as an energy source to build leaves, flowers and seeds. Some apartments can be restricted for light, which is obviously vital for plant growth but this doesn’t mean that you can’t grow plants inside. You can get planters with grow lights attached or you can buy grow lamps separately.
There are three popular types of grow lights, that are on the market. Light emitting diodes (LED) are favoured because they are very efficient at emitting light at specific wavelengths. This control is needed to support plants when they are in generative development (fruiting and flowering). High intensity discharge lights (HID), also known as high pressure sodium lights (HPS), emit the brightest light, making them great for their photosynthetic value. However, they do produce large amounts of heat as a by-product which is consequently wasted energy. Sulphur plasma lights have a longer lamp light and durability and emit light in frequencies and wavelengths closest to that of the sun.
If you are short of room on the ground, wall vases are a great way to utilise wall space, especially if they are bare! They will instantly make a room more visually exciting and allow you to create a green space which has many levels to it. There are many different kinds and shapes of wall planters, made from various materials such as metal, glass, wood and ceramic but most will have a flat back, enabling you to attach it evenly to the wall. Often the vases will be transparent and by playing around with rocks, soil and different plants etc. you can create layers inside the vase, making it even more striking to look at.
Adding herbs to any meal will produce plenty of flavour…that will taste even better if you know you grew the herbs yourself! Sometimes it can be tricky to find ways to make your kitchen look more inviting and ‘green’. Growing your own herbs will certainly add a touch of welcoming plant life and ensures they will be within arm’s reach for when you do need to cook with them.
There are many herb planters available to buy but there are DIY methods too. Using old food cans/tins is a popular, cheap and easy way; you can fill them with soil and seeds or plant already grown sprouts in them. If you are after a more retro and rustic feel, used objects can often create this look. Think out-of-the-box with the different containers you could give a new purpose too. You will also be helping the environment by reusing objects that would otherwise be thrown away and wasted.
Like wall vases, if you are restricted for floor space hanging planters are a perfect way to add green to any room. Varying in shapes and material type, there are many styles to choose from. The way that the planters attach to the ceiling also varies; some can be secured with rope for a more artisan feel and others often with wiring, that is usually decorative and is practical for securing with. Again, experiment with the resources and plant types that you choose to fill your hanging planter with. Once put in place, the planters may be hard to reach so; succulents, snake and spider plants might be good options as they require very little care.
Planters for your windowsill
Hanging baskets can be a wonderful way to bring colour to your home. Not only will the planted flowers be beautiful to look at, they will also boost ecosystems, attracting bees and butterflies and other wildlife. Hanging baskets can come in lots of designs and most of the time; you will buy the hanging basket and lining separately. Choosing a lining for you basket is important as you want it to be easy to shape, water absorbent, strong and durable. Popular liners that are widely available and reliable include those made of natural coconut fibres or those made of recycled compressed paper pulp.
We’ve all seen flat blocks that look so uninviting; rows after rows of plain balconies, that all look the same. Spring is the perfect opportunity to bring personality to the outer space of your apartment and to create your own green space. Make use of the railings by fixing planters with hooks over the rails. You can grow all sorts of flowers and even herbs in these balcony planters. They will blossom and fill the area with fragrance and life all season long!
Sometimes growing vegetables requires early seed sewing in March or April, depending on the type of plant. However spring weather can be unpredictable. Your windowsill is the perfect place for the seeds to begin to sprout as they will still be in a position to get sunlight but will be protected from the harsh cold nights and possible blowy weather. You can buy the trays and plant pots separately or some trays will already have individual cells built in.
Another element to think about is getting a greenhouse cover for your tray. A greenhouse cover, otherwise known as a propagator, provides a stable temperature for plants to grow in. This happens because the light energy that first beamed through the transparent cover is only ever reflected back in and cannot pass out.
Planters for your balcony
For those individuals that are fortunate enough to have a balcony and are interested in growing vegetables, it may be worth purchasing a miniature greenhouse. This doesn’t mean you have to invest in one that has glass, like what many of the full-size ones are made of, as there are many available, that are fabricated with a plastic film, PVC or a plastic screen.
Such as the greenhouse cover that I mentioned in the ‘Seed Trays’ feature above, the plastic is transparent and creates an invariable environment for your plants to grow in. So, despite the miniature greenhouse being outdoors, your mind can be free of concern; knowing that your plants are sheltered from even the blowiest and coldest of weather.
Vertical/stack-able plant pots
These styles of planters not only utilise a small space in an efficient way, as they allow you to grow more than one plant in the same pot, they also can look really eye-catching and quirky. However, it is best to research which specific plants you want to grow in them as there could be a number of reasons as to why they shouldn’t be grown together. Some plants may be affected by the same type of pests which could lead to heavy plant damage, or one type may be a big feeder and absorb all the nutrients from the soil, leaving other plants with very little or some may stunt the growth or yield of others.
For example, basil and parsley can be grown together but separately from rosemary, thyme, sage and oregano, though those four types of herbs can be grown in the same planter. Some plants can also act as natural pest repellents, such as; marigolds and chives, making them very useful to have growing in your planters.
Vertical wall planter
These types of planters have become very popular recently. Vertical wall planters look very effective but many that are available to buy are artificial; requiring no maintenance at all but still providing the same visual impact that real plants would. You can also buy vertical plant pockets that are attached to one another in a vertical and horizontal pattern, which you can then put individual shrubs in to create your very own; living breathing plant wall.
Water is vital for plants for many reasons; if the plant cells are not kept full of water then the plant will droop and water transports nutrients around the plant’s structure etc. If you have a very busy life, you may not always have the time or memory to water your plants. That’s why self-watering planters are great because they ensure that the soil is kept hydrated. Self-watering indoor planters are manufactured with a container at the bottom, which acts as a reservoir system. As long as you keep the tank filled with water, the soil is able to soak up it up and transports the water up to the plant’s roots.
You can also get various self-watering plant accessories. They usually work by having an opening at the top of them which catches water. This is then gradually diffused down into the soil, keeping the plant constantly hydrated.
Grow bags are manufactured out of plastic or fabric and are most functional for shallow-rooted plants. This is because the shorter roots will not be stunted by the depth of the bag. Some plants that are good to grow in them are tomatoes, strawberries, flowers, cucumbers, peppers, aubergine and courgettes. Fabric grow bags have many advantages over using plastic plant pots such as; they are made from a breathable material so when the weather is hot, excess heat can escape rather than remaining trapped like plastic pots do.
They also allow overflowing water to leak out, preventing over watering and when the plant roots reach the edge of the fabric grow bag, they sense the drier soil (due to its exposure to air) and become “air pruned” which means that the roots will not grow any longer, ensuring no damage to plant structure. Another perk is that they are foldable so can be easily and neatly stored away.
If you love the colour and greenness that Spring brings about, value the little space that you do have and create your own plant paradise – easy peasy! Depending on the type of area you have, try out some of the leafy ideas mentioned above and get sprouting with these versatile indoor planters.