Create an Indoor Garden

Berkeley Inspiration, Create an Indoor Garden, Bathroom

Make a statement with a green wall in the bathroom
Image credit: ArchiViz/iStockphoto/Getty Images

Plants bring life to our homes and bring us closer to nature – it’s in our DNA to feel calmer among greenery. Research has shown they can improve our mood, reduce stress levels and help us feel less tired. 

Many houseplants are excellent air purifiers, too. Plants that have been shown to remove VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in the air, which are emitted from furnishings and detergents, include the spider plant, common ivy, Boston fern, peace lily and dracaena. These are all easy to grow, if you’re a plant novice.

The key thing to remember when placing a houseplant is the mantra ‘right plant, right place’. Most houseplants hail from tropical rainforests, and therefore like plenty of bright but indirect light and humidity. And the majority of houseplants (with the exception of succulents and cacti, which will thrive on a sunny windowsill) do best a few feet from a window, away from radiators and draughts. 

More is definitely more when it comes to houseplants – they thrive when they grow together. Go for contrasting heights, leaf shapes and colours, and grow as many as you can. Here are some inspiring ways to display them to create your own indoor garden – for a home that looks good and makes you feel good, too.

Green Walls

Berkeley Inspiration, Create an Indoor Garden, Green Walls

This mini living wall of plants creates a stunning display
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Green walls (or living walls) are a big trend in interior design – they’re living art. Choose a location with lots of natural light from a window or skylight and select your plants carefully – pothos, philodendron, dracaena, anthurium, peace lily and spider plants are good options (avoid ferns, which have a tendency to shed their leaves). Self-contained living wall kits are available – The Little Botanical sells a good range and Botanical Boys offers self-watering plant picture frames. 

Alternatively, make your own ‘gallery wall’ by displaying your plants in wall planters, on a shelving system or on a display ladder. Another option is to train a trailing plant such as pothos along a wall, attaching it with transparent outdoor light clips. 

Berkeley Inspiration, Create an Indoor Garden, Green Walls

Use a ladder to display a group of plants
Image credit: petrenkod/iStockphoto/Getty Images

Terrific Terrariums 

Berkeley Inspiration, Create an Indoor Garden, Terrific Terrariums

A terrarium looks stylish on a coffee table and is a self-contained miniature garden
Image credit: Botanical Boys

Terrariums or bottle gardens – glass containers with slow-growing plants inside – are enjoying a revival. They look great on a desk or coffee table and are low maintenance and mess-free. You can buy ready-planted terrariums online, or make your own, from a kit (try Botanical Boys or The Art of Succulents) or from objects from around the home. The key is to combine small plants that thrive in similar growing conditions. A closed terrarium (with a lid) is best for moisture lovers such as the nerve plant, polka dot plant and tradescantia – the enclosed plants recycle air, water and food in their own mini ecosystem. An open terrarium is best for cacti and succulents, which like drier conditions.

Make a 'Plant Throne'

Berkeley Inspiration, Create an Indoor Garden, Make a Plant Throne

Surround a chaise longue with plants in layers
Image credit: Wild at Home by Hilton Carter, published by CICO Books, £16.99. Photography by Hilton Carter © CICO Books.

Our homes are our castles, and every castle needs a throne. So says plant stylist  and Instagram sensation Hilton Carter, who likes to surround a favourite chair or chaise longue with plants, creating an inviting green zone in which to read, drink coffee or take a nap. He puts a favourite chair next to a window so that there is light for the plants and a view to gaze at. He then surrounds the ‘throne’ with plants, starting with one or two large, lush statement choices at the back, such as a kentia palm, Swiss cheese plant or fiddle-leaf fig. He then layers in contrasting, smaller plants to the sides, ZZ plants, snake plants or stromanthe, choosing pots that complement the chair. 

The Art of Kokedama

Berkeley Inspiration, Create an Indoor Garden, Kokedama

A kokedama made from moss with crassula makes a striking work of art
Image credit: Hasret Sonmez/iStockphoto/Getty Images

Originating in 17th-century Japan, kokedama means ‘moss ball’. A plant is wrapped in compost, then moss, and suspended by a string to make a hanging decoration. One kokedama makes an attractive focal point, or you can group several together to make an indoor hanging garden. They are fun to make – you can buy kits online or make your own using compost, sustainable moss and string and plants such as string-of-beads, asparagus ferns, spider plants or orchids. Mist regularly and plunge the ball in a bucket of water when it feels light, allowing it to drain completely before hanging back up. You can also find ready-made kokedamas, that use coconut fibre, which is biodegradable (try Tranquil Plants).

Mini Water Garden

Berkeley Inspiration, Create an Indoor Garden, Mini Water Garden

A bird of paradise plant grown in water looks elegant in its glass container
Image credit: Bloombox Club

Growing houseplants in water (hydroponically) has become popular in the last few years. There’s no messy potting and you don’t have to remember to water. The plants get their nutrients from the water they are in – ideally collected rainwater (leave a bucket outside) or bottled water. You can buy beautiful hydroponic houseplants online (try Bloombox Club), or have a go yourself by taking plant cuttings and rooting them in water – try philodendron, Swiss cheese plants or spider plants. Choose tall, clear vessels with narrow necks to support the foliage. Rebel Plants sell a selection of stylish vases for cuttings. Replace the water around once a month, or when the water becomes cloudy. You can also buy kits for growing greens and herbs hydroponically in the kitchen.