Plant Mama 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Indoor Gardening

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A Beginner's Guide to Indoor Gardening


When you live in a city full of blooms and the luscious scents of summer, but no outdoor garden space, it’s likely you’ve considered creating an indoor garden. I definitely did. 

I moved into a 300-square-foot studio last year, and in six months time I had acquired 40 plant babes. There was no hiding my obsession with the herbs, succulents, and other green goodness thriving in my apartment’s every nook and cranny. At one point, a friend came by for a chat, and upon entering, laughed a deep belly laugh and said, “There’s no room for humans in here!”

I’m not a master gardener like ACHS CSO Erika Yigzaw, but I have a whole lot of love for and experience with plant babies. To get you started with your own plant family, here are three simple tips to cultivate an indoor Eden: 

1. Find the light.

Spend some time throughout the day observing your space. Where will your greenery fit best? Where does the light fall throughout the day? Every plant species has a preferred sun exposure, humidity range, and temperature variance. This information is readily available from any nursery staff member, on the tiny card in your starter soil, or online hereLacking light? Don’t fret. Invest in a simple timer and a grow light!

Tiffany's Garden2. Aerate the soil.

Oxygen is crucial to growing plants. I didn’t realize this as a less-informed plant lover. Now, however, I take a chopstick to the soil and poke holes down to aerate the soil once a week. This prevents root rot and allows for the oxygen to penetrate beyond the top layer. In other words: give your plant babies some air! 

Photo by Tiffany Stout – Instagram @tutugram

3. Water as a ritual.

With nearly forty different species of plants to water, I created a “cycle system” as part of my weekly wellness routine. Every afternoon, I decompress from the day by spritzing all the varieties that appreciate humidity. On Sunday mornings, my tropical plants take a “bath,” which means I put the whole pot into my bathtub and give the soil a good soaking. Every two weeks, I check in on my cacti and water their pots as needed. Creating this routine for the plants has, in turn, helped to foster a grounded self-care flow for myself.

4. Start somewhere: Top 5 indoor starter plants.

Not sure what indoor plants work best for beginners? I’ve got you covered. Try these:

  • Snake plant: Easy to maintain and great for basement dwellers.
  • Cacti (all varieties): Loves sunny spots, requires infrequent watering.
  • Monstera deliciosa: Digs shade and humid environments.
  • Aloe: Loves sunshine, moderate watering, and can be used to soothe the skin!
  • Pothos: Easily grown in water or soil, and grows rapidly.

5. Observe.

While there are many more tips for first time plant parents about soil types, feeding, humidity variances, etc., the most important piece of advice in cultivating healthy plants for me was simply paying attention. My peace lily wilted in the sunlight, so I moved it to a shady, cooler zone. My nerve plant perks up with a daily water spritz. My cacti like to be left alone. These small observations not only encourage you to be more engaged in your immediate environment, but allow you to cultivate your “green thumb,” or as I like to think of it, your “green eye.”

I’d love to hear your stories about houseplant successes and learning curves! Feel free to share in the comments. Happy planting!

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This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I am the Production Lead for American College of Healthcare Sciences, the Institution that publishes this blog. However, all opinions are my own. This blog may contain affiliate links. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”   

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