How to Plant an Herb Garden

Homeowners are always seeking ways to breathe new life into the spaces in their homes. Using nature to achieve this transformation is beneficial in several ways. Planting an herb garden not only helps to make your kitchen feel fresh and sustainable, but it can make your food taste better, too. Here are some tips for getting your herb garden started.

How to Plant an Herb Garden

Like other indoor plants, the key to properly supporting your herb garden is to cultivate fertile growing conditions. Herbs love sun, so you’ll want to position your plants in an area where they have access to sunlight. If sunlight is hard to come by in your local climate, consider investing in a grow light. Even if space is limited, the following locations can be a fitting home for your herb garden:

Container Garden

Container gardens give you the flexibility to move your herbs around the house. This can be especially helpful if you get inconsistent or spotty sunlight.

There are various options when choosing materials for your containers. Terra cotta, plastic, and ceramic planters all have their respective advantages, but what’s most important is that you pair the herbs with a container whose size is conducive to its growth and has proper drainage holes.

Hanging Garden

A hanging garden is a stylish way to incorporate nature into your home. To properly set up your hanging garden, you’ll need adequate wall space. Again, prioritize access to sunlight and easy accessibility. Vertical bookshelves can make for a simple, multifunctional hanging garden, while other DIY options can help to spruce up your kitchen. Whichever route you choose, consider using lightweight materials. A mobile hanging garden can come in handy when doing chores and rearranging the house.

Window Box Garden

Box gardens are a fixture of landscaping and gardening design and can help to improve your home’s curb appeal. Once they’re filled with soil, plants, and water, window boxes can be much heavier than you’d expect, so sturdy woods that don’t rot easily—cedar, mahogany, redwood, etc.—are popular material choices. As always, proper drainage is important when crafting your window box garden. If you’re building your window box yourself, drill the proper drainage holes before assembly. Add a layer of landscaping fabric along the bottom to prevent soil from leaking.

 

Image Source: Getty Images – Image Credit: deniskomarov

 

Easy Herbs to Grow in Your Garden

After you’ve decided where you’ll set up your garden, there’s the question of which herbs to grow. The following herbs are perfectly suited for a beginner gardener’s touch and happen to be culinary staples.

  • Basil: Fresh basil is a game changer. Sow basil seeds around twelve inches apart to allow them to reach their full potential. This herb will take your homemade pizzas to the next level, kick your pesto recipe up a notch, and provide the perfect garnish for countless other dishes.
  • Thyme: Rich soil fused with organic matter will create ideal growing conditions for thyme. This herb loves the sun, so making sure it gets plenty of sunlight will maximize its flavor. Thyme pairs perfectly with roasted and slow-cooked dishes, adding a perfect layer of warmth and depth.
  • Cilantro: Make taco night unforgettable with fresh cilantro. With enough heat, cilantro plants will grow quickly and are known to self-sow for multiple rounds. To clear up confusion, cilantro and coriander come from the same plant. “Cilantro” refers to the leaves, while “coriander” is the name for the plant’s seeds, which are often ground up when used in cooking.
  • Mint: Potting mint is key to keeping it well maintained. Without a proper container, it will run wild. There are many varieties of mint, ranging from classics like spearmint and peppermint to exotic strands such as chocolate and cinnamon mint.
  • Parsley: Parsley takes its sweet time to germinate, so consider buying plants rather than seeds to speed up the growing process. Countless recipes lean on the fresh taste of parsley, so you can’t go wrong dedicating a decent amount of real estate in your herb garden to it.
  • Oregano: Oregano thrives in sunny conditions. To maximize growth, plant its seeds some time in spring when the soil is warm. A staple of Italian cooking, having fresh oregano in your herb garden will give your pizza and pasta recipes an extra kick.
  • Chives: Known for their grass-like look, chives are closely related to onions but have their own distinct taste. Sow their seeds in spring and water regularly to keep their soil moist. Chives are a flavorful alternate for onions or scallions, while their bright green color makes them a perfect garnish for soups, salads, and sauces.

For more information on cultivating your home garden, read our Quick Guide to Urban Farming

The post How to Plant an Herb Garden appeared first on Windermere Real Estate.

The Best Indoor Plants for Every Room

With thousands of plant species, it can be hard to distinguish which plants are best suited for each room in your home, which greatly depends on sunlight exposure and temperature. A simple rule of thumb is to make higher maintenance plants more accessible to you. Some lower maintenance plants can go weeks without watering and require very low levels of sunlight.

Here’s a quick guide on indoor plants and where to place them in your home based on the level of care and management.

 

The Best Indoor Plants for Every Room

Living room

A monstera, a.k.a. Swiss cheese plant, works well in the living room due to its size and their natural inclination to climb. Providing a monstera with a stake or a trellis will bring about some decorative growth. Another large plant, the fiddle-leaf fig, works well in larger rooms. Fiddle-leaf figs tend to be more top-heavy with their large, floppy leaves. Both of these plants could work well next to a couch or sitting area where there is ample overhead space for the leaves. These large-leaved plants are typically happiest with indirect sunlight. Proper watering can be determined by observing the dryness of the soil. Once the top of the soil is dry to the touch, which is typically once a week for these plants, it’s time to give them a shower. 

 

Bedroom/Office

Spider or jade plants can be great to have on a desk, and also work well to fill up shelving space. Adding a plant to a bookshelf here and there adds texture and brings a sense of wellness to the space, which is especially important when you’re working long hours from home. You could even swap a bookend for a plant to liven things up. Both of these plants are low maintenance and thrive in partial sun or shade. These plants typically require watering every two weeks, but when in doubt, check the soil to see if it’s dry.

 

Bathroom

Plants that require low levels of sunlight and enjoy high humidity—like ferns or bamboo—are great for the bathroom. Place them on your shower shelves or on a countertop to give your bathroom a spa-like feel. Because they can absorb water from the shower steam, they can go up to three weeks without a proper watering. Pothos, or Devil’s Ivy, is another great houseplant for the bathroom. They like to grow downward in a draping manner, so you can get creative with a hanging basket display.

 

Kitchen

Two plants that work well in kitchen spaces, such as on windowsills or in corners, are the Snake Plant and Cast-Iron Plant. The snake plant is known for its resiliency, and its thick leaves can handle the occasional splash from the kitchen sink or accidental bump from pots and pans. The Cat-Iron Plant is one of the toughest houseplants you’ll find. Where another plant may wither and die, the Cast-Iron Plant survives. Both are low maintenance plants can last weeks without watering. No green thumb? Fear not. These plants will keep on keepin’ on through harsh conditions or neglect, and their bright green leaves will help give your kitchen a fresh look and feel.

 

As the seasons change, your plant care routine will need to adjust to climate conditions. Some plants are known to go dormant in the darker months and require less amounts of water and sunlight. During springtime, fertilization can be done by adding fertilizer to the top of the soil.

Before you bring a new plant home that could end up in the hands (or paws) of a child or pet, do some research to be sure it’s safe for everyone in your household. Organizations such as the APSCA and the National Poison Center offer online sources to research the plants you plan on bringing home.

The post The Best Indoor Plants for Every Room appeared first on Windermere Real Estate.

Ideas for Decorating with Plants

At the mention of interior design, the first things that often come to mind are furniture, wall art, paint colors, and other material components. However, plants are an important décor element that have the power to refresh the look and feel of any indoor space, while making your home eco-friendlier. Keep the following tips in mind when decorating your home with plants.

 

Consider Your Space

Before you make a trip to the nursery, think about which spaces in your home are best suited for plants. It’s also important to research the needs of the plant varieties you’re considering. By knowing how much shade and direct sunlight they need, you’ll be able to identify the best home for each plant type and the care they need to grow.

 

Go Vertical

Empty vertical wall spaces provide the perfect opportunity to incorporate hanging plants. Whether you use planters or install shelving, hanging plants attract the eye and bring an organic, living element to what was previously a blank canvas. Hanging herb gardens are a wonderful addition to the kitchen, allowing you to keep fresh ingredients and flavors out in the open air and within reach at all times.

 

Floor Plants

Floor plants are typically large and require plenty of space. Due to their size, they are often used to balance the proportion of rooms containing large furniture items like couches, desks, and tables. Common floor plants include the fishtail palm, olive trees, the rubber plant, fiddle leaf fig, and bird of paradise.

 

Low Maintenance Plants

For those who don’t consider themselves to be green thumbs, cacti and succulents are the way to go. Most succulents come from hot climates with little humidity and have thick tissue that stores water for long periods. Accordingly, they are lower maintenance than most other plants and require little watering.

 

Decorate with Terrariums

Another creative, relatively low-maintenance option for indoor gardeners is a terrarium. Terrariums are contained indoor gardens, usually in a glass container that can be left either sealed or open. Closed terrariums are self-nourishing, creating their own water cycle. Plants that grow in humid conditions are best suited for this environment. Open terrariums provide a good home for plants that need less water, like cacti and succulents. Terrariums make for eye-catching décor, with styles ranging from minimalistic to intricate.

 

For more information on home design and the latest trends, check out our tips on how to upgrade your bedroom, home office, and kitchen, as well as the 2021 paint color trends and principles of timeless home design.

The post Ideas for Decorating with Plants appeared first on Windermere Real Estate.