life in a tiny apartment.July 21, 2015
Tip #128: Indoor/Outdoor Houseplants. I’ve got a fickle relationship with my houseplants. On one hand, I want a house that’s filled up with green things. Life! Breath! Fresh air! On the other hand, too many green things inside can start to make me feel hemmed in. If fact, while I often like photographs of plant-filled places, I know the reality is that I would feel claustraphobic with that much greenery. Then there’s the problem of plants growing. The nervy little buggers don’t stay tiny. They get bigger. They need repotting. A branch gets too heavy and it needs rerooting. If you’re like me, you might even find yourself married to a biologist who makes friends with the greenhouse keeper at the college where he works and suddenly you find yourself with a sill full of shoots and no where else to put them. For awhile I handled my plant phobia by bringing in only temporary fixes. But a well-placed plant or two? A delicate fern? A drapey string-of-hearts? A scultpural snake plant? They can do the trick to liven up a place. Especially when given a little breathing room to make an impact. In the summertime, I solve the plant encroachment problem by moving things around. No one ever said that a houseplant has to be housebound, so I embrace the idea of indoor/outdoor houseplants instead. Plants that can take the heat get moved out to the outdoor window ledge. Others find new homes on the estivating radiators. I’ve written before about thinking seasonally in a tiny apartment—advocating the idea of using a new season as an excuse to switch things up a bit—even if that only means moving a plant to a different perch. In our place, the extra inches we’ve gained on our indoor sill by letting our jasmine plant soak up some outside rays has made the whole place feel brighter. And the plant itself has been able to get some much needed fresh air and sunshine. (We’ll leave it out until the temperatures dip to encourage blooms in the winter!) Renewal all around. Right now I’ve got a few little crystals on our sill, just one houseplant, and a much-needed fan. When I return the plants to their sills come cooler weather, I’ll give them a good hose down in the kitchen sink first. And come winter, I’ll be ready again for the extra dose of green. For the curious: + The Sill is a favorite spot for plants that are already potted. Otherwise, check out your local nurseries for healthy looking plants. (I suspect that at least 75% of supposed-brown-thumb problems are related to starting with a less-than-healthy plant.) + The terracotta planters I used to pot my herbs are lovely indoors or out and they come already aged. + Connecticut’s Ben Wolff pots are some of my very favorites. The pot on our radiator started out white but has turned into the most beautiful sandy brown over time. + If you’re looking for a tiny planter, this white pot with built-in drip plate is simple and sweet for small plants. Tiny apartment survival tips #1-126, RIGHT HERE.