Arts & Culture

A Little Green Sanctuary: a Beginner’s Guide to Minding Houseplants

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A Little Green Sanctuary: a Beginner’s Guide to Minding Houseplants

Image courtesy of Pexels

From tropical-like shadows cast across your living room walls, to fairytale-like leafy vines draped over head, adding a little greenery to one’s everyday life goes a long way. With all that’s happening in the world; people have been taking the time to obtain new skills and hobbies, as well as refine old ones. 

That being said, now would also be the perfect time to finally take up home gardening or planting. Other than the fact that plants and flowers have always been used as decorative elements around the house, they also happen to have a variety of other beneficial qualities. 

According to an article on Forbes about houseplants, they are proven to reduce stress and anxiety, enhance air quality and even enhance cognitive skills. While some plants are beneficial in that they serve specific functions – much like fragrant flowers such as Jasmine, Gardenias or Lavender are used to help with sleep – gardening or planting in general has a multitude of mental and psychological benefits as well. 

An article on Psychology Today mentions that gardening can help with practicing acceptance, moving beyond perfectionism, developing a ‘growth’ mindset, connecting with others and the world, reducing stress and being present. 

Minding for a plant, let a lone a few or many, may seem like a daunting task – below is a simple guide on how to get started. It would be best to start small and simple with a few indoor plants. 

Indoor Plants that Are Easy to Care For

There are quite a few houseplants that one could get their hands on, that would be perfect for those who are just starting out. The following plants are both beautiful, as well as being very low maintenance when it comes to caring for them. 

Cacti and Succulents

Cacti and succulents are beautiful indoor houseplants to mind for, especially for beginners (those who have never cared for a plant before). They are quite easy to maintain as they do not need frequent watering. The size of your cactus or succulent, as well as the time of year, affect how often to water your plant, During hot summer months, watering them once a week should suffice. 

Spider Plant

Other than being very interesting-looking, Spider Plants are also very easy to take care of. These can be kept at any corner of the house, or even hung up from the ceiling. These plants thrive best under bright or moderately lit conditions, and what it most important is to keep the soil moist at all times. If the soil is dry, then it’s time to water the plant, and this might mean watering around once a week. 

Snake Plant

These gorgeous plants can thrive under almost any condition; what is most important with Snake Plants is to make sure the soil is almost completely dry before watering it again. These plants can be watered every two to eight weeks. 

Plants that have Mental Health Benefits

In addition to being easy to care for, most indoor houseplants also have a variety of qualities that can be both beneficial for your physical as well as mental health. Some plants, such as aloe vera and rosemary, have physical benefits (aloe vera is great for moisturizing and tending to wounds, while rosemary is wonderful for cooking), and others have a wide range of mental benefits, thanks to their soothing nature. 

Lavender

Beautifully vibrant and purple, lavender is a stunning plant and flower to have around the house. In addition to being aesthetically pleasing and very fragrant, lavender is known to improve sleep thanks to its aromatherapy qualities, as well as help with restlessness, nervousness, anxiety and depression. They also require very little water and attention, just make sure to water it whenever the soil is slightly dry.

Red-edged Dracaena

This plant’s narrow spike-like leaves can grow quite tall, creating a wonderful jungle-like feel to the atmosphere. In addition to this, Red-edged dracaena is also thought to promote relaxation and help reduce stress. The plant is easy to care for and doesn’t have any special requirements, although placing it in a lit place that gets lots of sunshine might be a bit better for this plant. 

Peace Lily

These gorgeous white flowers go beyond adding a touch of elegance to your home; just looking at this plant can give a sense of calm. Peace Lilies however, are also great as air purifiers as they contain natural elements that help clean the air, as well as filter our harmful substances that may be present in the air. Peace Lilies do not need too much direct sunlight and can be watered once a week.

Where to Find These Plants

There are various places around Cairo where one can obtain these plants, as well as so much more. Other than visiting the local florist, one can also visit the annual Spring Expo at Orman Garden in Giza. The Spring Expo is always full of a wide range of both indoor and outdoor plants. There is also an annual Fall Expo that takes place at Orman Garden. 

In addition to this, Mashtal Garden is another wonderful source for all sorts of beautiful plants; they even offer pots, planters and garden supplies. There are also smaller businesses such as Plant Cult and Jardin that have recently sprung up, that also offer a wide variety of easy-to-care-for houseplants – including tips for beginners.

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