By Lungile Nkosi, Images iStock

The view from your penthouse or the cosmopolitan feel of your contemporary apartment can be right on trend. But don’t forget to add some green to your stylish city living – you’ll be amazed at how nature can transform your home and your mood.

Here’s some information from GardenShop on how to jump-start your indoor garden with as little fuss as possible.

Pretty versus practical

When it comes to our homes, we often make low-maintenance choices that are also aesthetically pleasing. For example a boldly coloured bouquet of flowers refreshes and enhances a space. We arrange them in a vase, place them on a surface, and when they wither we throw them out. This may seem simple and easy.

However there are a lot more benefits to having living plants indoors. According to Megan Slabbert, GardenShop gardening expert: “Adding live plants to indoor environments can completely transform an ordinary space into a rich living oasis.”

So how do you transform your space into a “living oasis”? Start by choosing plants that do well inside. In their article “The 25 Indoor Plants You Can’t Kill”, Caroline Picard and Karen Springen suggest aloe, mother-in-law’s tongue and spider plants, to name a few. Slabbert also recommends the peace lily and spathiphyllum, just to get you started.

Pass the sunblock

How much is too much sun? Exposure to natural sunlight is needed for the health and successful growth of plants, but how do you know your house plant isn’t getting too much? Slabbert explains that indoor plants are specifically classed according to their sun requirements.

“Some require a high light position, like ficus benjamina – the weeping fig. Others tolerate a medium light environment, like the nephrolepsis fern. The ZZ plant, zamioculcas zamiifolia, tolerates a very low light position,” she says.

Having a plant in every room is a great idea as it purifies the air. So pick a spot and watch it flourish.

Tips from an expert

Slabbert says, “Most indoor plants die from overwatering. Depending on how controlled your indoor environment is, the seasons, or an aircon for that matter, can affect your indoor plants.”

How do I know if I need to put my plant outside for fresh air?

“Essentially it is not necessary to take your indoor plants outside for fresh air. You may want to fertilise them outdoors on a monthly basis, with an organic liquid fertiliser like Nitrosol or Seagro. These tend to be quite smelly.

Apart from positioning, watering and feeding, air circulation contributes to the overall health of your plant too. An indoor plant placed in a stuffy corner can become the perfect breeding ground for pests and diseases. Removing dead foliage and wiping the dust off leaves also helps with air circulation. Having said that, a blasting aircon can damage your indoor plants.”

Tips on how to keep my plants alive, especially while travelling?

“Ensure your plants are well watered before going on holiday. You can also soak your plants by placing them in a basin or bathtub filled with a bit of water. Leave them to soak overnight or for the duration of your trip if you don’t have a house sitter.”