For many Minnesotans, heavy snowfall and bitter cold can force us inside all winter. We simply arent't built for life in the snow like our other Minnesotans. Rather than ice fish, ski, and play hockey we spend our time in the garden, caring for vegetables, and getting our hands in the dirt. So when the depths of winter cover our residential landscapes, we are compromised to indoor plants as our one and only fix for greenery. So how can we make the most out of these winter months? What are some practical uses for indoor plants?
Just because plants stop growing in the winter doesn't mean we have to stop using fresh herbs in the kitchen. Try making or purchasing a small container for your favorite herbs, spices, and seasoning to place inside. Make sure it is located near a window and receives enough sunlight to grow. Some of the best plants to grow inside are basil, oregano, chives, rosemary, or parsley. With a little bit of maintenance and care, you can a have a constant supply or herbs to elevate your cooking. Learn more about indoor herbs.
There may be a foot of snow outside, but you can still get a head start on your vegetable garden. Most retail garden nurseries grow their plants all winter with the help of climate controlled greenhouses. While a greenhouse may not be practical for most homeowners, a small container with grow lights will suffice in getting those seeds sprouted for spring. Simply plant the desired seeds in a container with the proper soil, temperature, and light conditions to germinate the seed. Once it is warm enough outside, move the containers outside or carefully transport the seedlings into their new garden bed. By doing this, you will have a head start on the growing season.
Bringing plants inside may look pretty , but there are some psychological and health benefits of indoor plants too. They can actually help clean the air from pollutants, lower background noise, and reduce stress levels. Many people suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) which is linked to the changing of seasons and natural light, but SBS (Sick Building Syndrome) is a less talked about issue for people who spend lots of time indoors. Having the right kinds of plants can help offset some of these common problems in buildings.
If you plan on bringing plants inside, you will want to make sure that your growing conditions are ideal. Plants thrive in temps between 65-75 degrees. Keep them away from drafty windows and doors, but also away from heat sources that will dry the plant out like vents. The proper amount of natural light or grow lights is crucial for the plant's growth while indoors.
Much of the appeal for indoor or tropical plants is that they are low maintenance compared to our perennial gardens. Certain types of cactus or orchid barely require watering while others seem impossible to kill. Double check what type of maintenance is required for your selected plant. Water, sun, and soil conditions all vary depending on the plant and can have a negative affect if not properly monitored. For those who are desperate for plants during winter, just bring them inside. The practical uses and benefits may surprise you.