Time to put down roots

It’s the perfect weather to start an indoor garden.

If you’ve always wanted to start an indoor garden, now’s the best time to begin putting down roots, so to speak. It’s not too hot, it’s not too cold, and there’s just enough light to let your greenlings thrive. Here’s a quick guide for noobs: First, leave the seeds alone. Start with something basic. Like a money plant. The process is simple. Steal a piece (with roots) from a healthy plant, protect the “baby” piece till you get home and put in water, and voila! Your very first plant! Forget a pot, or even a bottle, I’m fairly certain you can grow this thing in a cracked mug. Just remember to keep the water level high. You can always re-pot it into soil once it picks up.

Money plants too simple for you? Try succulents, those fabulous cousins of the cactus. These babies also grow best when split from a healthy plant. Plus, they need very little maintenance. “They’re basically cacti,” says hobby gardener Hazel Lewin, “so they need once-a-week watering but a decent amount of sunlight.” You can also grow herbs in your garden. “Mint and corriander are super easy to grow,” says Preeja Aravind, who likes picking these fresh from the jars she grows them in.

If you have plenty of water and space on offer and don’t care about flowers, consider the spider plant, the song of India, the Boston fern, or just about any variety of palm. They’re natural air filters, and look fabulous indoors and out. However, they tend to get super thirsty in the summer, and grow wild when they’re happy, so make sure you have both.

An indoor plant with outdoor leanings, the peace lily is a dream for those with a little more experience. Even when it’s not in bloom, its great for a pop of green, particularly in a workspace. Plus, it’s a great air purifier. “I like plants with dark green leaves. There’s some magical about them,” Neeraj Sharma said.

But… flowers, you ask? “Petunia, zinnia, calendula, chrysanthemum and marigold all bloom in the winter; the zinnia is tough enough to withstand summer in the city, while the other two are great for pest-control,” professional gardener Raju Kumar says. Pots, planters, your grandma’s old pickle jar or Pinterest-inspired bottles: plants don’t care what you put them in as long as there’s enough soil for their roots, plenty of sunlight and a hole at the bottom of the container to extra water to drain through. Plants need water, yes, but over-watering is a major no-no, as this writer discovered first-hand. Proper fertilizers and soil alkalinity are also important, but you can worry about that later. For now, why not soak in some winter sun with your new friends?