Are you obsessed with loving and tending to indoor plants? Have you mastered keeping them alive and helping them thrive? Now, it’s time to venture into the realm of making your Eco-Friendly Indoor Gardening than they already are.
Gardening adds beauty to your home, color to your soul, and peace to your mind. Most indoor gardeners do not contain the yard space to go all out with their greenery, so indoor gardening can provide options to enjoy one of life’s blessings and nurture your green thumb.
There are ample ways to create a more sustainable, waste-free indoor oasis that will help save the planet and your wallet. This article will divulge all the ways we have discovered to be eco-friendly indoors with your garden.
What To Grow for Eco-Friendly Indoor Gardening
The first question you should always ask yourself is what to grow? Are you looking for a plant with beautiful flowers? Do you want to grow your food indoors? Are you not a flower person but like succulents? Have you thought about growing your own herbs? Do you need easy maintenance plants, or do you have the extra time to devote? Some plants serve a purpose, and others are preferred due to their pleasing eye abilities. What type of space constraints are you dealing with? How much natural light beams through your windows?
All of these are questions you should filter through before ever adding a plant to your indoor environment. It is best to set yourself and your plant up for success.
As we are all aware, Indoor plants are capable of providing air-purifying abilities. Air purifying capabilities are huge, especially for pets, allergies, or the desire for more fresh air.
Besides air purification, though, what other ways can we become more mindfully eco-friendly? Well, let’s take a look.
NASA has done us all a favor and created a list of the 18 best indoor plants for air purification.
English Ivy, Pothos, Peace Lily, Snake Plant, Parlor Palm, Dracaena Marginata, Chrysanthemum Morifolium, Dendrobium Orchids, Aloe Vera, Dracaena Deremensis, Boston Fern, Areca Palm, Kimberly Queen Fern, Spider Plant, Flamingo Lily, Philodendron Cordatum, Weeping Fig Tree, and Rubber Plant all make NASA’s clean air list.
Cooking with your garden is a great way to become eco-friendly. You can grow tomatoes, berries, cucumbers, peppers, basil, parsley, mint, and more indoors and use them every day. Growing your food is not only great for the environment by reducing food waste, but it is also great for your pocket saving on your grocery bill.
Besides using your indoor-grown food for cooking, whatever does become waste can be converted into creating compost. Compost is old, broken-down natural food that can be used as a fertilizer to help your plants grow and flourish.
In addition to compost, you can use water from cooking to water or clean your plants. Let your water cool to room temperature, and you are good to go. You can mix soap and your reused water to create an eco-friendly bug spray instead of opting for harsher chemical pesticides.
Pots and Containers for Eco-Friendly Indoor Gardening
Deciding which container to use is commonly based on aesthetic preference. However, recycled containers are a great alternative to big fancy expensive pots, especially for growing indoor herbs or vegetables.
Egg Crates, Yogurt containers, and soda bottles are fantastic alternatives to the average pot. Also, you can use a popsicle stick or corndog stick to double as stakes to help your plants grow upright.
If your plant is too large for the kitchen alternative pots, then definitely opt for an average potting container; however, you can make these standard containers more eco-friendly indoors by reusing them repeatedly. When you trash a dead seasonal plant or if you decide to rearrange your plants wash out the old pot and reuse it. There is no reason to buy a new one when you have a perfect one to reuse.
If you’re new to indoor gardening, ask family and friends if they have any old pots lying around, you will be surprised what you can find. Some indoor gardeners enjoy getting creative if they cannot find old potters to use and need something larger than a yogurt container. Try an old shoe, teapot, coffee cup, or any niknak you have lying around. You only have to be able to drill a hole into the bottom to allow your plant to drain, and then anything can become a pot.
Statistically, one of the most significant wastes among plant owners is discarding old potting soil. When repotting a plant, there is no reason to throw away all of the old potting soil. To remedy the unnecessary waste, mix the old and new soil 50/50.
Of course, if you repot your plant due to fungus or mealy bugs, do not reuse soil, but if you are simply repotting because your plant needs a fresh look or fresh nutrients, then it is safe to mix old and new soil.
Save Dying Plants
Breathing life back into dying plants is super beneficial to the environment. Refreshen potting soil, give it thorough watering, and provide ample amounts of indirect sunlight. Those are the basic three steps to help revive any dying plant.
If your plant has pests or diseases, become adamant about treating your foliage. If your plant is overwatered, provide sunlight, and give it a chance to dry out and start over.
Besides saving a dying plant, you can join Facebook gardening communities and swap plants with your friends.
Saving and swapping old plants before purchasing new ones is an excellent way to keep from wasting money on new plants that aren’t yet needed.
When a plant is dead, and revival is not an option, we have to accept the fate of throwing it out. At first, throwing your old plant and the dirt outside or reserve may seem like a fantastic idea. Take a step back before you do that.
Indoor plants like mother-in-law tongue are environmental weeds. If you dump this plant into your yard outside, it can wreak havoc on all the areas around it. When weeds get into a natural environment, they will not hesitate to spread like wildfire.
A better alternative to outside dumping is to add your old plant to your compost bin, or in this case, dumping it in the trash may be more eco-friendly.
Peat Moss Vs. Coco Peat for Eco-Friendly Indoor Gardening
Peat moss is common among indoor gardeners because it can hold up to 20 times its weight in water. This water retention capability is necessary to keep plant roots moist. A better alternative to peat moss is coco peat.
Coco peat is a cheaper and more environmentally friendly option compared to peat moss. Coco peat is developed from coconut fibre, making it a sustainable waste product.
While cheaper than peat moss, Coco peat will work just as well, if not better than the average peat moss.
Routinely Remove Dead Leaves
Removing dead leaves is essential to help your plant focus its energy on the new flourishing growth rather than the slow dead growth. When removing dead foliage, always use scissors or sharp pruning shears. Tearing, twisting, or breaking off dead foliage will strain the healthy plant and cause more harm than good.
After removing the dead stem and leaves, place them into your compost bin with your food scraps to reuse as fertilizer for your plants.
Bug Spray Considerations for Eco-Friendly Indoor Gardening
Earlier, when discussing reusing water, we mentioned creating a soap spray. A simple mixture of one teaspoon mild soap with two cups of water, sprayed on your plants once weekly, is very effective to rid and keep away whiteflies, beetles, aphids, and mites.
If soap spray isn’t your thing or does not work for you, another natural option compared to chemical pesticides is neem oil. Neem oil is non-toxic to pets and biodegradable. To mix the correct neem oil formula, use two teaspoons of neem oil, two cups of water, and one teaspoon of mild soap. Spray this mixture all over your plants to fight off any infestations. If your plant is severely infested, it is entirely safe to soak your plant in the neem oil mixture.
The third option for bug control is peppermint oil. Mix two cups of water with ten drops of peppermint essential oil. This mixture is excellent at helping repel bugs. Be sure whenever you use peppermint on a plant, you do so at night. Peppermint mixed with sunlight could cause your plant to burn.
Fertilizer for Eco-Friendly Indoor Gardening
We also have three options for natural fertilizers: Tea Leaves, Epsom Salt, and Banana Tea.
If you make your tea at home, stop throwing out your teabags. Instead of wasting the tea leaves, mix them into the soil around your plant or add them to a compost mixture. Tea leaves make plant soil more decadent, and richer soil leads to a happier, healthier plant.
Using Epson salt with your plant can give it the kick it desires. We mix Epsom salt in our bathwater or massage it into our skin to relieve our frail bodies. The same concept for plants, dilute a bit of Epsom salt with water to water your plants, and you will quickly notice your greenery soaking in the boost it desires.
Lastly, use banana tea for a fertilizer kick full of nutrients. Adding banana peels to your compost has always been recommended, but making banana tea can be a quicker, more efficient boost. There are two ways to create this tea. Take your old banana peels and soak them in a pitcher full of water for about a week or boil your banana peels for a quicker route.
Don’t overthink this one. Cleaning your plant will help it thrive and keep it healthy. Cleaning is simple, so do not make it harder than necessary. All you need to do is occasionally, when you thoroughly water your plant take it into your shower and rinse off the leaves and stems in the process. If moving your plant into a shower is not an option, grab a damp cloth and gently wipe down the leaves, including the underside.
To save on water, reuse cooking water or collect rainwater. Collecting rainwater and reusing boiled cooking water is a great way to save on your water bill and provide your plant with a natural, chemical-free water source.
Creating an eco-friendly indoor plant environment is easier than you may have thought. Consider everything you use in your day-to-day life and discover ways to implement it into your foliage.
Coco peat is not necessarily better than peat moss. They both overall achieve the same goal when used for your plants. Coco peat is just preferred by many because it is cheaper and biodegradable.
Growing your own food is good for the environment and your pocket. Tomatoes, peppers, leafy greens, radishes, strawberries, potatoes, herbs, and more. The possibilities are the same for indoor plants as they are outdoors. Unless you are considering an apple tree, that may cause some issues to your home.
Cultivating compost for your plants is highly beneficial to not only our indoor plants but the environment. Making compost is as easy as throwing food waste into a bin and letting decomposition do its thing. Eggshells, coffee grounds, banana peels, rotten fruit and vegetables, old plants and soil, anything natural you can think of, is a great option to add to your compost bin.
NASA has created an entire list of the best plants to purify your air indoors. Some personal favorites are the Peace Lily, Snake Plant, Aloe Vera, and Parlor Palm.
Not at all. There are many ways to incorporate your everyday life into your gardening. Think of the commercials for recycling. Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Anything you can do to reduce waste, reuse resources, and recycle old materials is all it takes to be eco-friendly.