Guide to Low-Maintenance Indoor Gardening

This is a guest post by Meredith Hale, of

Gardening is one of the most fulfilling hobbies you’ll ever enjoy. It’s also one of the most physically demanding and time-consuming. Maybe that’s why the garden is one of the first things to fall by the wayside when our bodies become frail and less limber. Instead of thinking of yourself as “over the hill,” why not try to climb that hill, and even plant something on it along the way?

There are a variety of indoor low-maintenance gardens to choose from. Once you determine what type of gardener you are, you can set out to build the indoor garden that will bring you the most pleasure, year-round.

Herb Garden

If your idea of a great garden means having a never-ending supply of fresh herbs to use in your kitchen, then it’s easy to eliminate the digging, weeding, and unpredictable weather by bringing the herb garden into your kitchen.

If you’re living in a senior living community without much counter space, a wall-mounted herb garden in a sunny space may be just the thing. If you happen to have a wide windowsill that gets a lot of light, a self-watering countertop planter may hit the spot.

The benefits of self-watering pots cannot be overstated. Herbs require a good deal of water and need a bit of fertilization as well. Choosing the best herbs to grow is mostly a matter of taste. A good system that keeps the roots well-hydrated will ensure you can benefit from your garden with minimal effort.

Flower & Foliage Garden

If you immediately think of color and blooms when you hear the word garden, then you will be well-served by any number of tropical perennial plants that boast showy blooms and brilliant leaves without requiring much more than a little fertilizer and water. Try planting multiple varieties in large pots together, or clustering pots planted with different species for great visual effect. Consider inviting others in your senior living community together for a “potting party.”

Bromeliads and orchids will give you tropical color in exchange for occasional fertilizing and weekly watering. African violets will bloom all year long in indirect sunlight, Anthuriums and Birds of Paradise will wow you with their dazzling (and long-lasting) blooms, and Rex begonias offer psychedelic foliage colors that will stun you.

Cactus and Succulent Varieties

If the word “garden” conjures up images of fleshy green bodies erupting in flowers, jade plants, and barrel cacti, or large, grayish agaves and juicy aloes–then you’ll want a cactus and succulent garden.  Your garden of choice just happens to be one of the easiest to maintain, as long as you have a few indoor spots that benefit from long, sunny hours of southern exposure.

Every garden center will have a number of cacti and succulent plants suitable for indoor gardens. Providing they have the same care requirements, you can combine different cacti and succulents in the same large, shallow pot. Most cacti and succulents do best if not over-watered, and will profit from having their pots rotated from time to time.

No matter what your gardening style, you can rekindle your love of gardening by bringing it indoors and choosing plants that ask little of you, but give a lot in return. You don’t stop gardening because you get older.  You get older when you stop gardening!

Meredith Hale is a gardening and landscape writer, and design addict. She has coordinated the design on many house flipping projects, admitting that her favorite part is creating inspired outdoor spaces.

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