If you’ve been outside at any point in the last few weeks, you can feel it: the sticky, wet chill that rolled in pretty much as soon as the calendar flipped to October that left your knees rattling when you wake in the morning. Fall has officially swooped in across the south, and while it’s a nice reprieve from the strange sweat in uncomfortable places, it also takes away the lively greenery that colors our days and keeps our spirits high. Seasonal depression and general malaise can sneak in, if you aren’t careful, and one way to uplift yourself is to create a lush summer inside your space.
I’ve been a plant mom since I started college, and I enjoy reading about ways to care for my babies. At my height, I had 12 plants scattered across my room (RIP Oscar I, Oscar II and gone too soon, Oscar III), but a good balance for a new horticulturist might be two to three small ones. Here are some tips for building and maintaining a good window garden for when you need a little sunshine on dreary fall days.
Choose the right plant for you. If you have a lot of things to maintain, a nice hearty cactus might be best. They work well being alone for a while, so you don’t have to worry about watering them daily. I prefer succulents such as my aloe (specifically, Vera Farmiga), due to the usefulness of its leaves, and my hens and chicks due to their cute little buds. There are dozens of varieties at your local garden store, and even more at a speciality store, though they may be pricier. Even ask a few friends for clippings from their plants. Whatever works.
Find a good pot or paint your own. I love thrifting and will sometimes find an oddly shaped or uniquely colored bowl and refuse to leave it in the store. Find a local shop or run to the hardware store for cheap clay pots and a spray can. Get creative. No one is going to judge your handiwork, and your plants need a big enough home to grow.
Give your plants adequate room to spread out and grow.
As above, so below. In addition to an adequately sized pot, research your potting soil. I’m an over-waterer. I learned this after a year or so of drowning all of my plants. It’s my desire to constantly feel like I’m caring for something. Luckily, Miracle Gro makes a soil just for Nervous Nancies like me. I also prefer to mix soils, so I use the Cactus, Palm and Citrus soil with the Moisture Control soil so my plants don’t die a slow, bitter death. You can even add small pebbles to the bottom of your pot to ensure even drainage. Don’t forget to repot your plants after four to five months to ensure they have enough nutrients in their soil.
Leave them alone. Stop watering them every day. Don’t touch their leaves or disturb their soil too often. Talk to them, put them in the sun and sit with them. Let them be. They’ll grow well on their own.