Guest Editor: Alice Vincent

Author, columnist & urban gardener Alice Vincent shares her tips to care for your indoor plants

As our access to the nature has been temporarily paused while we isolate at home, there are still many ways we can enjoy greenery while indoors.

Known to be natural mood enhancers, houseplants have the ability to transform your home and give life to any room, while being soothing and uplifting at the same time. Studies have proven that keeping and caring for plants have a direct impact on our wellbeing — including boosting concentration and creativity, as well as reducing stress and fatigue. The simple ritual of watering, checking over and watching our plants flourish gives us the moment of calm we all need to navigate the unprecedented and unknown days ahead.

Returning in the second part of our two week series, author and self-taught gardener, Alice Vincent, shares her green tips on transforming our spaces with indoor plants, no matter the size. Whether you are a novice plant parent or someone who wants to dip their ‘fingers’ into urban gardening, uncover Alice’s fool-proof secrets to growing the happiest and healthiest houseplants…

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We all know that bringing plants into your home can make a space more inviting and calming - but looking after them isn’t always as straightforward. With spring well underway and more hours at home than usual to tend to our plants, what better time to indulge the greenery that helps to connect the outside world with our interiors?

When bringing plants into our homes, we often think about which are the most beautiful or suit our tastes, and then wonder why they don’t always thrive. That’s because the happiest, healthiest plants are the ones that are suited to the spaces you have. How much light your home gets is crucial to plants’ happiness, and this can vary massively from home to home.

I’ve lived in flats with so much natural daylight that only succulents really thrived, and I currently live somewhere where nearby woodland means that light levels are low, so I’ve chosen suitable plants accordingly. If you have lower levels of light, look for plants that will tolerate it - spider plants, sansevierias, pothos and philodendrons are among these. If you have areas of direct sunlight, go for the opposite - flowering plants and those hailing from the southern hemisphere.

Make sure you keep your plants in containers that have holes in the bottom to allow the water to drain out through the root system before transferring to a decorative pot

Once you’ve got the right plants for your space, it’s important to make sure that they are in suitable containers. Ideally, your plants will be in containers with holes in the bottom to ensure water can drain out through the root system. If water lingers at the bottom of a pot, or can’t escape, this can rot the roots and kill the plant. Instead, let water - ideally from the tap in your sink or bathtub - properly drain through the plant pot before returning it to any decorative container. The best way to tell if your plant needs a drink is to test the soil: put your finger in the soil up to the knuckle. If it feels moist, you don’t need to water for a couple of days. If it doesn’t, water thoroughly and check a week or so later.

Spring and summer are the key time for plant growth, so it’s a good idea to feed your growing plants. I prefer to use organic liquid feed, and apply after I’ve watered to make sure the plants roots really benefit. It’s also a good time to check if your plants need bigger pots: see if roots are coming out of the bottom, and upgrade them to a new pot a few centimetres larger than its existing one. Then, sit back, relax, and enjoy watching your plants grow

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Alice Vincent is the author of Rootbound, Rewilding a Life and the creator of instagram.com/noughticulture.

For even more urban gardening tips, shop Alice’s books:

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