The Joy of Indoor Gardening
Plants are powerful – they allow us to invite the invigorating energy of the natural world from the outside in. With only light, water, soil, curiosity and patience, you can keep green things alive and thriving. You don’t need acres of outdoor space to try out your green thumb: indoor gardening brings the lively spirit of plant life – and the calming effect it holds – within your reach.
The KonMari Method is rooted in creating space for a more joyful life. The magic of plant life – learning about, caring for and observing – is one of the unending sources of wisdom and pleasure in our world. According to Marie, gardening is like tidying in that “they’re both ways to care for your environment and a chance to realize your ideal lifestyle.”
Just like each person is unique and has a different ideal lifestyle, your plants will each have individual ideal lifestyles of their own – especially when it comes to light, water, soil and pots. It is up to us – their loyal owners – to watch and learn more about their needs and honor them with attentive, loving care.
To perfect the art of indoor gardening in your home, focus on these 6 simple lessons.
Setting up a garden inside requires some basic light awareness. Spend a day paying attention to where the sun comes into your home, including through doors, windows or skylights. Notice how it moves through the course of the day and how long it lasts – this alone can be a powerful act of meditation and awareness.
The source and path of light will determine where you place planters and pots for the best chance at growth. Most plants need light, but different species thrive with different levels. Research what your plants prefer – full sun, partial sun or shade. Ensuring a successful gardening journey means choosing plants and seeds that match the light quality in your home. If one plant is getting too much or not enough sun – which you can tell from scorched leaves or stretched stems and yellowing leaves, respectively – adjust their location and pay attention to how they respond.
Plants need water, of course. But each plant differs in how much water it might need. Underwatering and overwatering are easy to do and are a common misstep in indoor gardening.
The roots of plants need a healthy amount to drink, but too much water and they’ll get waterlogged and can rot. Give each plant a joyful and safe home by choosing a pot with proper drainage – not one that keeps water near the roots for too long or not long enough!
Your plants will let you know what they need. Just watch closely!
“The love and gratitude I give to my belongings is the same as the care and passion I put into my plants. Both practices are mediative and relaxing for me; I feel focused and calm after doing either of them.”
Choose a potting soil best suited for each plant in your home. Different soils have different drainage, minerals, nutrients and ingredients. Cacti and succulents often have a soil that holds water temporarily but then drains very effectively, since they prefer a drier soil. Fluffier soil that holds more air pockets is great for plants with aerial roots like orchids or monsteras.
The pH levels in potting soils from garden stores is often already predetermined, so it’s a straightforward process to find the best fit. If you want to know more about how different plants grow and thrive, soil is a rich (no pun intended!) territory to explore.
You don’t need much to keep plants happy, but a few gardening tools may certainly make it easier. A watering can with a spout keeps water from hitting your floors. A pair of gardening scissors is great for nipping off dead leaves or broken stems. If you are growing cacti or thorny species, these bamboo gloves are great for protecting your hands. Keep your gardening tools – like scissors, watering cans, misters, gloves, plant food, pebbles and soil – organized together. This way, your plants grow – but your clutter doesn’t!
Growing plants need the right-sized pot like a hermit crab needs the perfect shell. There are many beautiful containers to choose from – or you can joyfully repurpose one you have.
If you are repotting a plant from its store container, make sure the pot lands in the sizing sweet spot: it should have enough space for the plant’s roots but also be fitted enough for stability.
A layer of pebbles on the bottom can help with drainage. Then, place the root ball into the pot and surround it with new potting soil. Gently press the plant in (don’t pack it hard!) and give it a good drink of water as it settles into its new home. A tray underneath the pot is good for keeping a reservoir of water and preventing any leakage.
Starting plants from seed is its own challenge, but if you have full light or can boost with artificial grow lights, nursing plants from sprout to fully grown can be wonderfully rewarding. If you have an outdoor garden, it’s often beneficial to start your seedlings indoors with a controlled temperature before moving them when the weather is right.
Start seeds in yogurt cups or egg cartons, with lights that can be easily repositioned higher as the seedlings grow. Seedling soil should be moist but not clotted with water. Seedlings – just like puppies or babies – need more attention than adult plants. But, if you are ready to begin a seed journey, the possibilities are endless.
Gardening can be meditative and intentional, just like tidying. Plants have lots to teach us about patience, attention and a simplicity of needs – just a little sunlight, water and loving care. Be open to the lessons that plants can teach you and you will be rewarded by the joy – and literal breath of fresh air – they bring to your home.