5 ways to be more sustainable in your indoor gardening

Today, my new plants that I mentioned in my post on the how to help plants recover after shipping arrived. As promised, I’ve put the photos of the Philodendron birkin and the Monstera deliciosa at the end of the post.

As usual, I am not being paid to provide links to their websites in my photo captions, but I thought I’d do include them anyway, because their deliveries came very quickly despite the situation with COVID-19 at the moment which is putting a huge amount of strain on postal and courier services in Australia. Both plants arrived in very good condition, though you can probably see from the picture that there’s a stump on the Monstera where a leaf and stem snapped off, though I suspect this happened in the nursery and not during shipping, because there wasn’t a stray stem in the box. That being said, I don’t mind too much because Monsteras are very hardy plants, and it the newest leaf is still intact so it’ll bounce back quickly, knowing how robust Monstera deliciosa are. Both of these companies really did a great job.

What stood out to me, though, is that The Plant Society shipped with a company called Sendle. Sendle offsets it carbon footprint by supporting projects that reduce emissions, making it carbon neutral. This inspired me to write this post about ways you can keep your indoor gardening sustainable.

1. Be smart with your water

Think about how water is being used. Keeping your humidifier running all the time can use up a fair amount of water. Consider investing in a large terrarium, a compact indoor greenhouse or a wardian case instead to keep your plants in if they need humidity. Moisture from their transpiration gets trapped inside that way, and if they still need a humidifier, at least you won’t have to keep it running all the time.

When it comes to watering, only water until water comes out of the drainage holes. There’s no point watering any more thoroughly than that if you don’t plan on completely flushing the pot to get rid of excess salts. A great way to save water is to grow plants with greater watering demands in moisture retentive mixes which use coconut coir, or grow in glazed ceramic or glass. This will keep moisture in for longer.

2. Try to buy plants which will thrive in your light conditions

Plants which thrive in your natural light conditions will be less of a hassle for you because they’ll grow more vigorously with minimal work. Of course, we’re all tempted to get some beautiful plants even when they’re not suited to our conditions sometimes, but it’s important to keep in mind what ends up happening if we can’t find a way to make it work for our conditions. The plant either fails to adapt to our homes (in which case it dies), or we adjust our environment to accomodate for the plant (in which case we need to run grow lights). Running grow lights adds to our greenhouse gas emissions, and also costs us more money in the long run.

That being said, sometimes supplementary lighting is needed, especially in cities far away from the equator where days get extremely short in the winter. If you need supplementary lighting, I would urge you to consider eco-friendly grow lights. They’re so common that a lot, if not most, grow lights will be energy saving LED lights, so just heck before you buy to see if they’re efficient.

3. Switch out sphagnum moss for coco coir or clay beads

I get it, sphagnum moss is great for your plants. I myself used it for 2 years for my orchids. The problem with it is that the peat moss that it comes from is only grown in a few select placed in the world, and it takes decades if not centuries to replenish itself. While some companies do take measures to ensure sustainability (I reached out to Brunnings to ask about their measures to ensure sustainability and got affirmation on the matter earlier on in the year), on the whole I would switch to coco coir or clay beads.

Clay beads are especially dear to me as a replacement for sphagnum moss, because they’re reusable. Even if you have cause to worry about sanitation, just remember that you can literally boil or bake clay beads to remove any fungi or bacteria which could cause your plants to ail.

4. Upcycle and reuse materials and pots

I don’t cover a lot of outdoor gardening here on my blog, but I will say that for my outdoor herb propagations, I like to use old tin cans with holes that I poke in the bottom as pots. I’m not fussy about how they look since they’re in the garden, and they don’t cost me anything, so it’s kind of a win. For indoor plants, I sometimes use glass candle jars and food jars for pots, because they’re convenient and it’s more sustainable for the environment. Just make sure you have a good drainage substrate when growing in glass.

5. Share the joy of plants

Store-bought plants will unfortunately always be less sustainable than propagations shared between friends, because the plants we buy in stores are sourced from greenhouses where fans, lights and watering systems are constantly running. The plants will then have to be delivered to the stores, where we buy them. Over all, this process is a lot more taxing on the environment than just exchanging propagations with a friend when you visit, and I’ve no doubt that you’ll save more money by propagating and exchanging rather than buying too.

I hope you guys learned something from this post, or at least got inspired to implement some suggestions to make your indoor gardening more sustainable. Thanks for reading!

Philodendron birkin
Here’s the Philodendron birkin I got from Jungle Box

Monstera deliciosa
This is the Monstera deliciosa I got from The Plant Society

Published by plantboye

Tech illiterate and pretending to be proud of it.

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