Gardening is good for you

There is one proven way to lighten the mood and relax the mind, and the solution lies no further than the back garden.

Research from the Horticultural Trade Association suggests that 20 minutes spent outside each day, whether just enjoying green space or tending to plants, can help reduce stress and improve our mood. Find out why gardening is good for you…

 

A physical workout

Gardening can help our physical well-being by providing a great form of all-round exercise, with digging, raking and mowing utilising all major muscle groups. Add to that all the bending and stretching required for pruning and weeding, and all the walking involved in getting round your garden, over the course of a year you’ll have experienced a great outdoor workout.  It all adds up and is probably why avid gardeners are amongst the most fit and supple of their generations.

 

Calm the mind

And it’s not just the physical benefits that a garden can bring.  Spending time outdoors, after the hustle and bustle of our daily lives can help calm the mind.  Find a quiet spot for your most comfortable piece of garden furniture, or maybe just lie back on the cool, fresh grass, but most importantly leave your phone behind! Breathe in the peace, listen to the sounds of nature and inhale the scents and fragrances that surround you.

 

Clean air machines

And the benefits plants can bring aren’t restricted to the garden.  Considered to be ‘Clean Air Machines’, houseplants can also have a huge impact on mood and concentration.  Continuously working, they help filter out pollutants and release oxygen and moisture into the atmosphere, adding to the overall health benefits offered by mother nature.

 

Growing your own

And if you add ‘growing your own’ into the equation we believe there’s no better combination; fresh air, exercise and home grown produce.

You’ll find lots of ideas for growing your own in our Open Skies Glass House, from fruit trees and berries to salads and vegetables; crops to grow in beds and borders as well as choices for container gardening, perfect for the patio.  One of the easiest crops to achieve are herbs, and following on from our last blog on creating your very own herb haven here are a few more of our favourite choices and –  if you’ve not ventured into the world of grow your own before – an easy way to take those first steps…

 

OREGANO

A signature flavour of the Mediterranean, oregano is an easy-to-grow hardy perennial.  This bushy, dark green herb can grow to 2ft tall and its leaves can be used fresh or dried as a store cupboard ingredient.  It makes an excellent seasoning for egg dishes, meats, poultry and breads and can be used in pastas, pizza toppings, sauces, soups and stews.  Enjoys a light well-drained soil in full sun.

  • Oregano is a natural insect repellent

 

PARSLEY

A hardy biennial grown on a yearly basis and a must for any herb garden.  Whilst the curly leaf variety makes a great garnish, flat leaf parsley is a popular choice for cooks thanks to its stronger flavour. Parsley makes a great addition to spice up veggie dishes and as a tasty ingredient for pesto, tabbouleh and salad dressings.  Prefers full sunlight and fertile soil.

  • As a natural anti-bacterial remedy parsley can bolster your immune system& neutralise bad breath!

 

THYME

Common thyme with its attractive bushy shape is the easiest to grow variety of this hardy perennial, but for a more zesty citrus flavour try lemon thyme or lime thyme.  In the kitchen, thyme pairs well with other herbs such as parsley, onion, garlic and ginger and on its own, its tiny, pungent leaves add a mild tang to fish, pork, poultry and vegetables. Enjoys a well-drained, light soil in full sun.

  • A good source of antioxidant vitamin A, beneficial to eye, skin, hair, and nail health. Sip thyme-infused tea for an effective natural remedy against colds, coughs, and sore throats

 

MINT

A great hardy herb that is very easy to grow.  Its robust nature means it can be quite invasive so best grown in its own container. Mint is often used to season salads and sauces as well as a healthy addition to flavour tea.  And as a garnish, add a sprig of peppermint leaves to berries, fruits, coffee or hot cocoa.  Enjoys moist, fertile soil and plenty of sun.

  • As a herbal remedy, peppermint tea can help clear sinus congestion, sooth a headache and relax you after a hard day.

 

Orchids

Orchid Care

Summary

Orchids are some of the most commonly grown houseplants.
Provided they have proper growing conditions, it isn’t difficult to learn how to take care of orchid plants.

Care Information

For in depth care instructions please follow this link to gardening know how.

Anthurium

Anthurium Care

Summary

The anthurium plant is grown as a houseplant in cooler areas.

Keep in bright, indirect sunlight and water moderately

 

Care Information

For in depth care instructions please follow this link to gardening know how.

 

Coffea Arabica

Coffea Arabica Care

Summary

Coffea Arabica  is an evergreen shrub  that has glossy, dark-green leaves with ruffled edges on willowy stems.

This plant needs bright light but should not be kept in direct sunlight and requires soil be thoroughly moist for most of the year.

Care Information

For in depth care instructions please follow this link to gardening know how.

String of hearts (Ceropegia woodii)

Ceropegia Woodii Care

Summary

Ceropegia woodii is a plant full of distinctive personality. The growth habit appears to resemble hearts on a string. The plant will thrive in a brightly lit room with moderate watering.

 

Care Information

For in depth care instructions please follow this link to gardening know how.

Air Plants

Air Plant Care

Summary

“Air plants are so-named because they use their short, wiry roots to attach themselves to branches, cliff-faces, even electricity and telephone lines, rather than rooting in soil.”

Air Plants should be kept in bright areas yet out of direct sunlight and they should be watered weekly.

Care Information

For more in depth care advice please follow this link to the RHS website.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera Care

Summary

“Aloe Vera is one of the most widely used medicinal plants on the Planet”

Like succulents Aloe Vera prefer dry conditions and cannot tolerate standing water.

Care Information

For in depth care instructions please follow this link to gardening know how.

 

Succulents

Succulent Care

Summary

“This plant group is extremely vast and diverse, from the very small and intricate to the striking and architectural.”

Most succulents can be placed on a sunny or bright windowsill all year round, and are watered sparingly.

Care Information

For in depth care instructions please follow this link to the RHS

Easy Planting – Ideal for Students (and other novice houseplant lovers!)

Be Inspired by our range of indoor plants. Houseplants are idea for keeping your space bright and fresh – whether it be your bedroom, kitchen or bathroom. They add a unique charm to any room and are beneficial for your health. However, many people can be put off by the idea of committing and keeping houseplants alive, especially if your space is dull or dark. Another concern people always bring to us is how much water their plant needs – there is such a thing as caring too much. On the other side of the coin, there is not watering enough, causing many plants to shrivel, wilt and inevitably die.

But what if we told you that there were some plants that thrive off neglect? Plants that even the most inexperienced indoor gardener would sustain with no trouble. Equally, we understand that it is currently ‘back to school’ season, and many students may be looking for some plants to brighten up and freshen their new dorm rooms. Students lead hectic lives balancing their work with critical social time, and so the last thing they need to worry about is taking care of a needy plant that is incredibly sensitive to its prime conditions.

We have rounded up our very best, easy-care plants for you into one place, to help you pick your next room mate. Read on to find out our expert suggestions.

Cacti And Succulents

Cacti and succulents are right on trend at the moment, and we don’t see them going away any time soon. They are a huge hit in-store, whether as an individual plant or as an arrangement. With the right care, these guys can last for years. These plants are particularly unique as they come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes which makes them suitable for everyone.

We recommend watering all of your houseplants just once a week, but these plants can survive with much less than this. Generally, a splash of water is enough to sustain the above-mentioned, with a little bit more in the hotter months. In Winter, you should let the plant dry out before watering again.

TIP: the soil on the top of your plants will dry quicker than the soil surround the roots, so ensure you check the bottom of the soil either through the drainage holes on your plant pot or by sticking your finger or a wooden stick about a centimetre into the top. If you water the plant when the bottom is still wet, this can cause the roots to rot. This can be applied to the majority of houseplants.

The main difference between cacti and succulents, besides appearance, is that they react to water differently. An underwatered cactus may shrivel, reduce in size and fade in colour. Any of these characteristics are a sign you need to water your plant. An underwatered succulent, however, may have wrinkled and discoloured leaves- almost as if it’s ‘skin’ has lifted. An overwatered cactus actually looks like it is surviving well- it’ll appear plump and full. However, the roots underneath will likely be rotting and eventually, the cacti will follow the path of an overwatered succulent, which go soft and slimy.

This family of plants like a bright spot ideally, but can suffer if in direct sunlight for too long. The perfect place would be on a north-facing windowsill, or somewhere where it avoids an entire day of full sun (for example, south-facing windows would not be ideal in the summertime).

Sansevieria

Also known as the snake plant, or mother-in-law’s tongue, Sansevierias are possibly the easiest and most hardiest houseplant to care for. Native to Mexico, Africa and Asia, these plants are built to resist all types of conditions.

Similar to the cacti, your Sansevieria likes to dry out completely before it is watered again. This can usually take about 2-6 weeks, so this plant is perfect for people who travel often, and/or are forgetful planters. They are also resistant to direct sunlight and so are perfect for porches and conservatories. Sansevierias are so easy to look after and can last for a very, very long time.

 

Hanging Plants

It’s a well known fact that most dorm rooms are often quite compact, with your bed, desk and wardrobe crammed into the small area. One way to utilise a small space like this is to free space on your shelves and desk (for necessities such as books and folders), and hang your plants. Of course, hanging plants are a brilliant feature for any space and look inspiring at a feature piece on a shelf or bookcase.

Hanging plants come in a variety of shapes and sizes; some bushy and full, with others sparse and trailing. Here are a few of our best sellers:

 

·        Scindapsus

Also known as the Devil’s Ivy or Pothos, Scindapsus is a flowering plant that features large, green leaves with yellow detailing. They thrive well in low-light rooms, perfect for dark, small, or high-up spots. Another selling point of this plant is that it is brilliant for cleaning your air; brilliant for bottom-floor rooms and flats without opening windows. Watering is simple- a small amount once a week, keeping it on the dry side.

This plant is also very versatile as it can also be grown up a moss pole if you have that little extra room. A moss pole is a hollow, plastic pole covered in fibres which mimic the trees that climbing plants would naturally grow up in the wild. Simply clip or stake the stems of the plant to the pole and wind them around. Regularly mist the pole to keep it moist and your plant will start to naturally grow up it. They can grow up to 10ft tall.

 

·        Hoya Plant

The Hoya plant, also known as the Wax plant, is also a popular flowering plant. It produces clusters of star-shaped flowers that produce a sweet aroma. Hoyas are brilliant for the less experienced or more forgetful gardener as it requires the bare minimum of care to survive. The houseplant likes a bright spot in indirect sunlight- similar to the cacti and succulents. Water only once the plant has dried out (this may be more in summer than in winter).

At Bents, our Hoyas feature a fantastic colour palette- an interesting combination of yellow, green and pink leaves/stems.

 

·        String of Hearts

Dissimilarly to the other hanging plants, String of Hearts is a very long, trailing, sparse plant. It features unique heart-shaped leaves of a silver-green colour, with a purple underside. They grow incredibly quickly, but are no hassle to prune back if necessary. To take care of this plant, keep out of direct sunlight and allow the plant to dry out in between watering. If overwatered, the leaves can start to fall off and mould can grow underneath the base of the stems, on top of the soil.

 

Mostera Deliciosa

The Cheese plant (officially, the Mostera Deliciosa), is a foliage plant of unique characteristics. Its large, separated leaves are very recognisable as a key feature in a lot of modern, Scandinavian style homes, but are a great addition to every room no matter what the style or size. These plants start small, but can grow up to 10 feet tall on a moss pole. They can survive without one until they get to a large size, but eventually this plant will need to be trained onto a moss pole so its aerial roots have something to cling onto; in the wild, these plants use other plants to climb, and so the moss pole mimics this. The immature leaves at the bottom of the plant will form as a solid leaf, but as the plant matures, the new and taller leaves will unfold with unique splits and holes, which is where it gets it’s nickname as the ‘swiss cheese plant’. Partial shade is ideal for this tropical plant.

Although a little bit of effort is required in order to sustain the plant, you could always bring your plant to a professional, like our Houseplant team here at Bents, and we will happily assist you to add a moss pole to your plant.

 

For a slightly more confident houseplanter… Ferns

 

Ferns require a little bit more maintenance than the rest of the plants on this list, and so we recommend it for the more mature (or daring) houseplanter.

Ferns enjoy reasonably dark spots due to their natural habitat usually being in the undergrowth of woodlands, forests and rainforests globally. Their soil likes to be damp at all times- but not waterlogged. It can be tricky to find this medium but it is best to leave the plant until it is on the drier side before watering again, just to be safe. Ferns do like a humid atmosphere (ideal spot: a bathroom), however can easily survive in a bedroom or living room just by misting the leaves. Ferns are also remarkable for purifying air.

Some variations include: the Phlebodium fern (also known as Blue Star). This fern has a unique, finger-shaped leaf with a silver-blue colouring; the Asparagus fern- a fuzzy appearing variation of fern that can be potted into a hanging basket as well as a regular pot; and the Boston fern has a bushy and almost cartoonish appearance that creates a wonderful pop of bright green to any room.

 

Here at Bents we have an extensive range of quality houseplants as well as expert advice on how to care for them.  Just ask any of our house plant colleagues and we will be happy to recommend the best choices to enhance your indoor environment.