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Home visit: an expert’s tips for indoor gardening

Don’t let a lack of outdoor space stop you from getting closer to nature. An urban botanist gives us her best tips for refreshing your apartment with plants.

A bedroom with a plant display in a fish tank and pink neon sign on the wall above.
A bedroom with a plant display in a fish tank and pink neon sign on the wall above.

Find your plant passion

Alessia shares her 750-square-foot apartment with her partner Micah and 175 plants! In 2017, she began experimenting with growing new species of plants as a way to feel calm and refocus while working from home. “My advice is to challenge yourself by going out there and purchasing a plant that makes you happy. From there you can start to do research on how to keep it thriving.”

Select your favourite species

Alessia has become a plant expert and blogs about her passion at Apartment Botanist. But if you’re new to urban gardening, trial and error is key. “You’ll soon discover the type of plant parent you are, at which point you will work out the species of plants you can care for in your space,” says Alessia. Most of her plants are philodendrons which are great at adapting to life indoors.

Look for the right light

“When placing your plants, decide what spot in your home works in terms of light, humidity, and frequency of watering. From there, you can group plants based on their similar needs.” In her west-facing apartment, plants get natural, indirect light by the window throughout the day. Plants that can take residual light are kept in a grow tank with purple light that Alessia made from an old fish tank.

I think most people would be surprised how quickly a plant makes a space feel like a home.


Make a propagation station

Learning to propagate is a great way to add new plants to your home or to share your passion with friends by gifting them. You can take cuttings from your favourite large plants to create new specimens. Placing them in glass vessels with lots of water and enough light will allow them to take root.

My office also happens to house a lot of my rare tropical plants, so it’s a calm, refreshing space to work.


Style your jungle

Once your plant collection has grown you can arrange them at different heights to create the look of an urban jungle. “Place your plants where they’ll get the right light – in nooks and even high up to allow for a jungle effect. Next, move on to playing with colour, allowing bright leaves or pots to peek through.”

Invest in the right kit

Some plants may need more than just regular watering. To ensure the right amount of moisture for tropical plants, Alessia uses a humidifier and a spray bottle like TOMAT to keep leaves moist. Bell jars cover some of her smaller plants and act like mini greenhouses to assist their growth.

Experiment with table top decorations

If you want to create a centre piece for a table or sideboard, Alessia recommends making a display inspired by nature. To create this forest inspired potted plant, lay moss over the soil in your pot and place on a tray decorated with stones or crystals.

We love to see our customers get creative with our products. Go for it! But please note that altering or modifying IKEA products so they can no longer be re-sold or used for their original purpose, means the IKEA commercial guarantees and your right to return the products will be lost.

Made by
Interior designer: Martin Bourne
Photographer: Benjamin Edwards
Follow Alessia @apartmentbotanist