Once a season I thought I’d change up the pace a bit and give you all a virtual tour of my indoor garden. Though I think many people would consider the breadth of their indoor gardening to be houseplants and maybe a few sunny windowsills worth of pots, my house actually has no south-facing windows so we had to get a little bit more creative in our approach.
My fiancé and I grow a variety carnivorous (and a few non-carnivorous) plants in our living room and I can confidently say that once we got started in this hobby, we quickly got hooked. There’s a special kind of appeal that comes from growing difficult plants in an unlikely place, and getting them to survive if not flourish. Even better is if you feel yourself taking on the guise of a Victorian gentleman-scientist, growing exotic and often endangered plants in your glass houses purely for study and entertainment.
Whenever I say that I grow plants in my living room, I’m sure people envision aesthetically appealing pots scattered around the space, and congregating near brightly lit windows. In reality, our living room has become home to three large metal racks full of plants and gardening supplies. We have enough peat to last us for years and more pearlite than we know what to do with. Our drip irrigation system runs on the same timer as our grow-lights to simulate day-night cycles, but the room is generally brightly lit up through 9pm. Not quite the dreamy vibe most people were imagining.
All that being said, in this matter I find traditional living room aesthetics to be overrated. In our living room garden, there’s something new happening every day. There is always a surprise waiting for us in the morning whether that’s the tiny blooms of the pygmy sundews, or a brand new pitcher sprouting up from one of the sarracenia (American pitcher plants). Refilling the trays every morning has been a meditative routine and even though most of our plants look like they belong on an alien planet, I love them all the same.
Our very first rack is probably the one most prized by my fiancé as it houses his collection of tropical pitcher plants (nepenthes) complete with the home-made drip irrigation system that keeps them at the perfect moisture and humidity levels throughout the day.
Just below the nepenthes shelf we have a mixed bag with some of my favorites – the doughy-looking Mexican Pinguicula (butterworts). There’s something endearing about their sticky flytrap leaves and delicate colors that drew me to them when we first started collecting carnivorous plants. Two of my pings share a tray with another sundew, a sarracenia, and the ever-famous venus flytrap. I rather like the mixed group as we have a nice collection of high and low plants to add some complexity to the set up. Take that aesthetes!
Moving over to the second rack, our top shelf houses some of our taller sundews. When they’re all happy campers, the entire rack seems to shine with the light reflecting off all the little “dew” globules. It’s definitely a sight to see (though perhaps a more daunting one if you’re a fly).
On the shelf underneath all these sundews is a rather boring germination station. Although it doesn’t look like there’s too much going on, we currently have around 60 little sundews starting to sprout up in there!
On the final rack we have a high light shelf dedicated to our shorter plants. The community largely consists of sundews with a couple of sarracenia we had growing outside trying to make a comeback, and a lone ant plant chilling in the center.
The last shelf is dedicated to our tallest plants. We have a few orchids that need a little love, and a few more usual houseplants like an African violet. The real star of the show is my new sarracenia (a Judith Hindle) which required us to get creative with our setup and add a second light to shine on it. It’s been shooting out pitchers left and right and dazzling us with its cool display of colors.
So far I’ve been very proud of our little indoor garden and it’s been fun to experiment with different growing conditions, plant food, and arrangements to find what works best for every plant. It’s even more comforting to think that some of these plants live in ecosystems that are becoming threatened by urban development, but here in our city home they’re able to flourish. Every person who visits our home gets a tour of the garden and I’d like to think that more than a few of them have walked away thinking about plants, ecosystems, and conservation efforts that they might have once ignored. We can all do with a lesson in the fragility of our planet once in a while, and I’m happy that we can provide that through casual conversation over some of our most treasured plants.
I hope you enjoyed this little tour, and look forward to our second installment coming this fall (hopefully with even more plants)!
All the best,
Do you grow any plants in your home? Which ones are your favorites? Share with us in the comments below!