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Green thumb aspirations? All the tools you’ll need to become a successful indoor gardener

Boost your mental health by caring for house plants, with some practical how-to tips and equipment from Heritage Home Hardware

Most of us feel better after spending time outdoors.

Taking a walk in the park or going on a nature hike often has a positive effect on our mood. Being around trees, plants and flowers seems to be a reliable way to elevate our spirits.

Why not bring some of that magic indoors? House plants are attractive to look at, can help improve indoor air quality, brighten up our living spaces, and improve our mental health. They help to create a feeling of calm and relieve stress, something each of us could benefit from.

We spoke to Lorraine from Heritage Home Hardware in Sault Ste. Marie to find out how—and why—we should be bringing more greenery into our living spaces, as well as what tools we’ll need to start our indoor gardening practice. First, a discussion of the benefits.

Reduced stress and anxiety

Many make a point of trying to escape their immediate environment and plunging into the natural world because it makes them feel better and less anxious. It helps to calm the racing mind—and to put your worries into perspective.

Being in the presence of plants also helps you to breathe better. Several studies have shown how spending more time in nature can help us all. Even a bouquet of flowers can brighten someone’s day.

Therapeutic benefits

Even if you don’t have much of a green thumb, there are lots of low maintenance indoor plants you can try. They are easy to grow and maintain, won’t require much time or effort and will bring a great amount of joy.

Indoor gardening can be a surprisingly relaxing pursuit; even spending the smallest amount of time caring for your plants can provide great satisfaction.

Increased productivity

When we experience anxiety, it can lower our productivity. Many of us have stressful jobs that are hard to handle, days filled with impossibly long to-do lists and important family responsibilities too.

For this reason, it can be extremely helpful to try to create a sense of calm at home. If you can unwind a bit and enjoy a few opportunities to relax, you may find that you’re able to be more productive at other times.

Improved air quality

The presence of indoor plants in your home can improve the air quality; that’s because the leaves of plants capture the carbon dioxide we breathe out and then emit oxygen that we breathe in. While trees have the most foliage, there are some small varieties that may be suitable for your indoor gardening project.

It couldn’t be easier, just choose a large decorative planter and place your tree in a corner near a window. See how quickly it enhances both your décor and your mood! Great options include Norfolk Island Pine, Bamboo Tree, Yucca, Weeping Fig, Giant Bird of Paradise and Dwarf Umbrella Tree.

A new hobby

One of the best things about indoor gardening is that it is a satisfying hobby you can do year-round. Lorraine suggests starting with a few easy-to-grow plants and learning as you go. You can find all of the tools and supplies you’ll need to get started in store.

Grow herbs for your kitchen

One of the most rewarding things to grow is an indoor herb garden, because you can cook with what you grow! There are lots of benefits too. For example, basil contains essential oils that are known to lower cholesterol and magnesium, which can improve blood flow. You can use spearmint, which is high in antioxidants, to make a calming tea. Lemon balm relieves indigestion, reduces stress and promotes sleep.


There’s no shortage to choose from at your local nursery, with hundreds of plant varieties you can pot and grow indoors. Each has its own unique health benefits: some can help bring your stress levels down simply with their presence; others may have a scent that promotes relaxation and reduces nervous activity. You can make warm drinks from some plant leaves and berries, such as rosehips; they can calm you down and help you sleep.

While out shopping for plants at your local plant store, consider these options for your indoor garden:

  • Chamomile: This plant has beautiful flowers and a lovely scent. It is known to help relieve insomnia, stress and depression, and is commonly consumed in tea form.
  • Aloe vera: This is a smart buy as it has many uses. It is very good at purifying your indoor air and can lower stress. The gel inside the aloe leaves is often used in beauty products for the skin and hair as it has softening and soothing effects.
  • Lavender: The gorgeous colour and unmistakable fragrance of fresh lavender is known to lower stress and anxiety, as well as promote sleep.
  • Peppermint: Peppermint has a calming effect on the nervous system and is said to improve brain activity.
  • Jade: Jade can help reduce chemicals in the air that can cause stress to the mind and body. It’s a beautiful tree-like plant and is quite satisfying to grow.

Plants to stay away from if you have pets or kids

Not all plants are suitable for indoor growing if you have children and/or pets in your home, because they either are, or could potentially be, toxic.

Make sure to read the accompanying plant label closely and doublecheck if it’s the right purchase for your home. To be safe, you might want to stay away from: chrysanthemums, English ivy, jade, lilies and poinsettias.

Indoor gardening tools and supplies

Having a few basic garden tools will make your indoor gardening adventure a little easier. To start, look for a:

  • Trowel: A small tool that helps you place soil into your pots and make holes for plants
  • Hand cultivator: A pronged tool that helps to break up lumpy soil
  • Hand shears: These are small cutters you use to keep your plants trimmed and to cut away any dead material
  • Watering can: A small can with a narrow pour spout is ideal.

Indoor gardening materials

Don’t shy away from using a kit if you’re a beginner, as it can help give you a feeling of confidence. You can buy seed tray starter kits to help you start growing plants from scratch. There are also indoor herb garden kits, tomato growing kits and micro greens kits.

Once your seeds have sprouted, you’ll need a good potting soil and some decorative pots. Remember that indoor plant soil needs to be replenished with nutrients at regular intervals, so you’ll also want to add some plant food to your supply list.

If your home doesn’t get enough light—even for low-light indoor plants—you might want to add a greenhouse kit and grow lights to your shopping list.

During the winter months, the mere presence of house plants can make you feel better, reminding you of warmer, sunnier days. Tending to and caring for them can improve your mood and sense of well-being. Who knows, by spring you may even be ready to take your new skills outside and start a garden of your very own.

To help add some greenery to your living space and find all the tools you’ll need, visit Heritage Home Hardware or call 705-759-5101.