Pantone recently revealed “Ultimate Gray” as one of two 2021 colours of the year. “Illuminating,”
a complementary uplifting yellow hue, was also chosen for its therapeutic and psychological associations: optimism meets resilience.
Paint and plants can easily (and affordably) buoy moods meaning winter doesn’t have to be synonymous with grey! Add some green to this monochrome season by filling your home with the joy of an indoor garden. For those who count a Chia pet as their only qualification, we’ve gathered the necessary tips, tricks and tidbits to get you started with confidence.
Novice-friendly plant options
Succulents can double as natural place settings. They thrive in sunshine in well-draining pots and will let you know when they feel unwell or overhydrated by turning pale. Aloe plants are a good entry-level succulent and can provide instant relief from burns for newbie bread bakers as well. You can also plant a broken aloe leaf in soil and it will regrow just like a lizard’s tail.
Beginners who admit to a limited attention span will appreciate the self-sufficiency of a jade plant. Their leaves allow for a lot of water retention, and like a camel, they can go a month without water or attention. If you live in a condo or apartment with radiators, jade plants will love you for the warm and dry climate.
Cacti are another resilient newbie choice. The soil should be damp, not arid like the desert! Cacti love bright light and will enjoy a sunny perch in a windowsill. They come in strange and peculiar forms from the powder puff to conversation pieces like the rat tail cactus.
Paperwhite narcissus (or simply, paperwhites) are a fragrant and easy-to-grow choice. They can be planted in bowls or shallow containers (seven to 10 cm) packed with decorative stones and pebbles.
Greenhorns should also consider growing an amaryllis. The plant rewards its doting owner by flowering within six to eight weeks of planting. With a little TLC, the amaryllis will continue to produce flowers for your Instagram, year after year.
Indoor gardens with purpose
Why not turn your windowsill into an in-house grocery aisle? Grow your own indoor herbs for tomato sauce or salsa, cocktails or truly homegrown tea. Your favourite herbs (cilantro, mint, rosemary, basil) will add greenery to your windows and menu. If your space permits, you can even grow strawberries, tomatoes, carrots and garlic greens, too!
With a little ingenuity, you can turn your kitchen scraps into windowsill plants. Almost every fruit or vegetable can sprout into life again from a sweet
potato to the crown of a pineapple. Microgreens are a fun pursuit, too, and will add some fresh crunch to your sandwiches and salads.
Over Exposure: Plant SPF
Plants are sensitive! Especially the sensitive plant! That’s the beauty of plants — they always let you know what they don’t like or if they feel like they’re living in your shadow. Most plants prefer south or west-facing windows and at least six hours of sunlight. Some species might enjoy the humidity of your bathroom, too. A general guiding principle is to choose plants whose native environment is tropical. Air plants don’t even need pots as they smartly
absorb water and nutrients from the air.
Aerogardens and hydroponic systems take the guesswork out of growing and natural sunlight. Digital reminders let you know when to leap into action and the lights are on a timer. If you need to go vertical, living walls can be something to aspire to. Your most finicky plants will let you know when you’re ready to graduate!
Horticultural therapy is a professional practice. Like a long swing in a hammock or deep lavender-
infused massage, time spent with plants is restorative and nourishing for mental and emotional health.
Bonus: your greenspace can take whatever form you want it to! It’s experimental, ever-changing, and you can grow alongside your plant tribe!
Plants offer so much — they remind us of summer, exotic getaways, and give us an excuse to chill out. In 1967, composer Mort Garson released an electronic album called Mother Earth’s Plantasia for plants to listen to! Apparently, African violets like a little synthesizer, too!
Plants can be simple or sophisticated, delightful or daunting. Ask the best growers you know — the generations before you will have plant clippings and sage advice at the ready. Treat yourself to inspiring reads like The Kinfolk Garden by John Burns and Bonsai-Penjing: The Collections of the Montréal Botanical Garden by Danielle Ouellet. You’ll be green with envy in no time!