Plants that will Make your Bathroom feel like a Oasis

 

Incorporating house plants into the bathroom is a great way to make your bathroom feel lush with greenery and provide that spa factor without the spa factor price. They improve the air quality of your home and help eliminate all those toxins found in harsh cleaning chemicals. Bathrooms are one of the trickiest of places for plants to flourish due to the rapid changes in temperature, humidity levels and usually limited space.

Not only is the ever-changing temperature and humidity levels a factor but many bathrooms have limited light with either small windows or none at all which can limit the range of plants that would be suitable to thrive in such a space.

Due to these every changing and limiting requirements some of the best plants that can be used are those that can sit on a high shelf, windowsill or hanging from the ceiling.

With these points in mind, let’s look at 10 of the best bathroom plant choices:

1. Boston Fern, Nephrolepis exaltata

A popular variety of fern with frilly leaves and long, hanging fronds, the Boston fern is native to sub-tropical and tropical rain forests.

It grows best when placed on a windowsill or in a position which receives lots of indirect light. – Popular for hanging baskets with lush and arching foliage giving it a graceful look. They prefer slightly humid conditions and moist soil.

2. Dracaena, Dracaena marginata

This undemanding plant prefers indirect light; and a level of humidity not generally found in most rooms. Therefore, by placing your Dracaena plant in the bathroom, the lighting and humidity will prevent brown leaf tip and keep its greenery bright and flawless. It’s also great as you can select the height of this lovely plant is adaptable to the space available.

3. Spider Plant, Chlorophytum comosum

This plant can grow in a wide range of conditions and can live for years, it requires little in the way of care and they work well in bathrooms. Able to withstand both full sun or shade this is one adaptable plant that is brilliant at cleaning the air of toxins. Allow the top layer of the soil to dry out between watering.

4. Moth Orchid, Phalaenopsis spp.

Give your bathroom a luxury spa feels with the addition of a subtle yet elegant orchid plant that will thrive in indirect sunlight. This plant will provide beautiful annual blooms when in adequate light; while the high humidity conditions of the bathroom mirrors the flower’s natural environment, making its perfect fit. It’s also a relatively compact plant great for smaller rooms, where it can be perched on the corner of the bathtub or next to the sink.

5. ZZ Plant, Zamioculcas zamiifolia

With beautiful oval-shaped glossy leaves, the ZZ plant will bring a fresh and vibrant feeling to any bathroom. This pre-historic flora can also handle a wide range of humidity and light. Looking almost unreal this is one plant that will sure be difficult to kill in most indoor conditions.

6. Foxtail Fern, Asparagus aethiopicus

The “asparagus fern”, though not a true fern, has earned the name due to its fern like appearance. They like direct, natural light so a window is desirable, but a full spectrum grow light will also work.

They enjoy humidity and can handle changes in temperature, they also need regular watering and misting.

7. Snake Plant, Sanseviera trifasciata

Also known as Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, the leaves of the snake plant grow upright, and feature yellow or white edging.

One of the hardiest houseplants, the snake plant can survive low light levels and is flexible in terms of heat and water.

The snake plant also filters some nasty household toxins from the bathroom air – including formaldehyde which can be found in cleaning products, tile grout, adhesives, and even some cosmetics!

8. Staghorn Ferns, Platycerium superbum

Staghorn ferns are epiphytic plants which are good low-care candidates for a humid bathroom setting with low-to-moderate lighting. These types of plants do not need soil to thrive. In nature, they attach themselves to trees via very shallow roots and glean all their moisture and nourishment from the surrounding air. For this reason, they do need ample humidity and/or daily misting. Staghorn ferns are also brilliant for limited space bathrooms as they can be hung against the wall just like a living piece of art.

9. Dragon Wing Begonia, Begonia x hybrida

With lovely bright blooms and vibrant green glossy leaves, the dragon wing begonia is ideal for bathroom conditions. Begonias do well in fluorescent lighting if your bathroom happens to have limited lighting, though they do produce better blooms when placed in window locations. They also require daily bathroom humidity or regular misting.

10. Golden Pathos, Epipremnum aureum

With marbled green and yellow heart-shaped leaves hanging elegantly, they are able to adapt and enhance almost any environment. Whether it’s trailing off a bookshelf or acting as a privacy screen in a window this is one plant perfect for an indoor hanging planter. Takes low or bright light and doesn’t mind the occasional waterlogging or neglect. The variegated foliage can provide a colourful accent to your bathroom.

 

Get The Gardening Glow

 

With almost 67 per cent of Australians living in our capital cities, we’re one of the most highly urbanised countries in the world. Considering the day-to-day stresses or urban living, traffic, overcrowding and simply not enough time – this means up to 16 million of us could benefit from the physical and mental advantages provided by gardening.

Whether it’s a sprawling veggie patch in the backyard, a flowerbed in a small courtyard, a window box or even a community garden space, almost anyone can achieve a gardening glow. 

Gardening is a great workout, It not only works all those major muscle groups, it burns calories as well. Also, gardening improves the mood almost instantly, so it’s fantastic for the soul.

The Fitness Factor

Forget about working hard in the gym or building up a sweat on the treadmill, gardening is just as good as a workout, if not better. Prolonged light exercise such as gardening can burn more calories than a gym session, despite being much easier to do.

Stress Relief

Gardening can increase life satisfaction, reduce and promote recovery from stress, enhance self-esteem and reduce feelings of depression and fatigue. Ask any gardener and almost all will insist that they feel better after getting their hands dirty in the soil. An activity like gardening gives you something to celebrate and care about. When you’ve tended and grown something it gives you a sense of purpose and pride, which in turn make you feel good about yourself.

Mood Enchasing

Having flowers in and around your home not only looks beautiful, they also have amazing health benefits, such as reducing stress and depression. Flowers increase positive energies and soothe and relax the soul. Plants in the home also increase energy levels and vitality. 

Immunity Boost

We often avoid getting our hands dirty but there are health benefits to be gained from exposure to soil. We need to be 100 per cent hygienic but we don’t need to be 100 per cent dirt or germ-free because our immune system needs something to spar with.

Air Quality

Plants have been shown to absorb and degrade all types of urban air pollutants, thereby reducing air pollutants, thereby reducing air pollution levels. We have a vital need for constant connections with plants for cleaner air, so gardening time is vital. Spending just 15 to 20 minutes each day in the garden can also improve sleep quality because breathing fresh air stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system in the brain, which is responsible for relaxation.

 

Do You Feel Grounded?

 

Connecting you bare skin to the ground is known as Earthing and Grounding, and any connection you have to the ground with your bare skin counts.

Regularly connecting to the earth’s natural, powerful energy is now known to be healing and vital. With busy lifestyles, jobs, families, errands and chores to do, we find ourselves spending very little time outside and even less time focusing on ourselves.

There are many ways to create a groundling link between yourself and the earth, but my favourite being the healing combination of plants and dirt.

If you’re already gardening, good for you! If you’re not then maybe you will be inspired. There are plenty of sensible ways you can improve your health by connecting to a more natural way of life.

Gardening Benefits:

  • You’ll find that in gardening, you’ll feel calmer, more relaxed and put together.

  • Able to release the electrical charge and free radicals we carry around with us all day just by digging around in the dirt.

  • Looking and being with nature reduces stress and promotes calmness.

  • Interaction with nature, familiar sights, sounds, different textures and smells provide a multi-sesnory experience that heals the mind.

  • Grow your own food and herbs and your likely to make better food choices and eat more fresh produce.

  • Gardening may just be one way to achieve your daily exercise and help keep those hand muscles vigorous and agile.

  • Achieve a healthy dose of vitamin D, there’s no place like the garden in the early morning.

  • Houseplants and indoor gardens help clean the air we breath indoors by removing household toxins found in furniture and building materials.

  • You’ll be able to admire and enjoy the fruits of your labour and beautiful gardens so they can be enjoyed with family and friends.

Everyone can benefit from taking a moment to focus on themselves and their connection with the Earth – and you don’t even have to be outside to do it.

 

Grow Your Winter Herb Garden Indoors

 

I’ts officially winter out there and the coming of winter is a not always the most exciting or activity packed time in most gardens. During this season of short, dark days, indoor herb gardens offer welcome greenery and fragrance. You can easily bring herbs indoors for the nippy months even if you have little experience with plants or very little space to work with.

Some herbs naturally lend themselves better to indoor growing conditions. Parsley, basil, sage and thyme are known to hold up stronger inside. Extra perk is they are all perfect herb solutions for winter stews, casseroles and roasts. Isn’t it great when those things work out?

To bring your herb garden indoors for winter you need to find a table or shelf with sufficient fluorescent light (you must remember that to a plant, light is food) this will guarantee that your herb plants obtain all the necessary light and will also prevent them from die-back that occurs from being against a cold window. In warmer months, you can move your herbs to a sunny window or a shady balcony that receives at least six hours of sunlight per day so that they thrive.

The easiest way to start your indoor winter herb garden is to buy established plants especially if you’re only a novice gardener. There are several types of containers you can use for the plants, but terracotta planters are very popular and can me the modest option if you’re only starting out. Make sure the pots and container you select have drainage holes in the bottom Whatever container you select it should be deep enough to promote proper root development. You can plant multiple herbs in one container or select individual pots for each herb plant. You should also make sure that your herbs are not to overcrowded as this, too can lead to fungal problems that may kill your plants.

When repotting It’s a good idea to go with a store-bought potting mix. Be sure the mix is lightweight and will drain well. Pour a 5cm layer of potting soil into the bottom of your container and place your plant gently in its location. Finish filling it with potting mix, pressing it firmly around the plants. Leave about an 3cm of space at the top to make room for watering.

Remember that too much love can kill your herbs by watering too often: Excess water is harmful to the roots and causes rotting. Fertilize your herbs once a month with an organic fertilizer. Once you start to see new growth, you can begin to use your herbs for cooking.

Here are a few herbs that are particularly well suited for indoor growth:

  1. Parsley: Parsley needs at least eight hours of direct sunlight each day. If you can’t provide enough natural sunlight, grow the plants under fluorescent lights.

  2. Basil: Requires bright light and warm temperatures.

  3. Sage: Appreciates a manicure (prune back spindly branches) and drier conditions.

  4. Chives: Member of the onion family is best used fresh. Chives like bright light and cool temperatures.

  5. Dill: Choose a dwarf variety. You’ll need to make successive plantings to ensure a continuous crop since dill doesn’t grow back after harvesting.

  6. Lemon balm: This is easy to grow from seed and its fresh fragrance can be enjoyed in salads and drinks.

  7. Oregano: The soil must need to be loose and well-drained to prevent over-watering. The plant requires partial to full sun light either in a well-lit window seal or under a florescent light for at least 6 – 8+ hours per day

  8. Rosemary: Soil needs to be well drained, but don’t let it dry out completely.

  9. Thyme: Many varieties of thyme are available. Very well-drained, or gravelly soil is especially important for woolly or creeping thymes. Keep the plants moist by misting until you see new growth.

 

Gardening As A Workout

Spring is almost here and with it comes gardening and seeing new foliage grow and flourish, it’s the season for rejuvenation.

But did you know that while you’re getting your garden ready for the sunny season your also working up a sweat! Wow. Maybe we can have our cake and eat it too.

As a gardening enthusiast, you’ve probably spent hours reading and exploring how to produce a healthier, more beautiful garden or simply how to keep your plants alive and thriving. But have you ever considered how gardening can produce a healthier you without ever having to consume a single home grown meal.

There are so many simple gardening activities like raking, fertilizing, weeding and mowing that can all give you an enjoyable and rewarding workout. Gardening is, in fact, a legit physical activity. Sweet! It’s also a great alternative to traditional exercise because it incorporates elements of exercise while enabling you to engage in an enjoyable activity in the privacy of your own surroundings and amongst your own family.

Elements of gardening such as digging, weeding, trimming shrubs and mowing the lawn can require the same energy requirements as other physical activities such as walking, cycling, swimming and aerobics. It gives you zest for life and can even make you feel younger, after all it reminds us of those days as kids looking for the latest insect.

Gardening helps tone your physique while also tending to the plants. Work such as raking and carrying leaves can tone the upper arms and increase flexibility and strength. Gardening tasks qualify as moderate to high-intensity physical activity, you can expend as much effort raking the lawn as you would during a leisurely bicycle ride…it’s also great at perfecting your squat technique when pulling out those rude weeds.

Not only does gardening help you physically, but it provides us with the satisfaction of a beautiful lawn to look at or fresh fruits and vegetables to enjoy. So as the gardening season approaches, consider your gardening time as an opportunity to get a healthier lawn and a healthier you! Go green to get lean, seriously it can put a spring back in your step.

So tell me have you been gardening lately? Would you give up a day of working out to work in the yard? I highly recommend it. You can also incorporate this time and include the kids. Teaching the little ones about plants and seeing them discover the process and transformation plants undergo with both time and seasons is beautiful.

I love the idea that just gardening as a workout can exercise nearly every part of your body. It’s also soothing for the soul to be in touch with the earth, a concept known as “grounding”. It can also be a very meditative activity as you’re absorbed with the task at hand, so it’s great for clearing the mind of white noise. Finally sit back and enjoy the literal fruits of your labour. Simply being in the presence of trees and plants reduces stress, so once your garden is looking neat and tidy it will be time to start the barbeque.

Herbs And Medical Plants

 

In the middle ages, early gardens where typically filled with medical plants and were generally attached to temples or sacred grounds. Attended by monks and nuns which roles developed to physicians and nurses. This association between medicine, religion and gardens continued throughout history, with herbal and medical gardens planted in large numbers and within confined spaces, such garden where later referred to as physic gardens.

Medical treatments were heavily based on herbal remedies accompanied with superstitions, prayer and meditations, the treatments where heavily based and influenced by theories that man’s health depended on the balance maintained within the body and in correspondence with the four elements, air, water, fire and earth, with strong correlation with the two essences of yin and yang.

Once the modern system of medicine developed, the active principles in plants were isolated, tested, synthesised and incorporated into pharmaceuticals, with over 40 per cent of modern medicines having origins from nature. In eastern world both modern and herbal medicine still coexists and have also remained in use, unlike Britain, North American and Australia where traditions of herbal plants or physic garden barely survive. Luckily things are changing and until recently where interest has grown to take a much more holistic approach to our health with the help of our gardens and mother nature.

The best way to get started is to go shopping for some healthy, established culinary herbs which can also be easily grown from seed.  Don’t take the a chance on being confused over which herb or plant is which as its best to start with what you know and slowly growing your garden and collection of herbal and medical plants.

So lets start with some easy and commonly grown herbs and plants and there uses.

Rosemary, are great with foot-baths, a quick and easy way to relax the muscles and ease tension, by crushing and running a few fragrant leaves in hot water and letting it rest until a comfortable temperature for the skin. I cannot get enough of this herb and I just about incorporate it into most of my meals.

Chamomile, Basil & Geranium, are known to aid with sleep and insomnia and can be used by either adding a few drops of essential oils on your pillow or diffuser. You can also incorporate the dried flowers and leaves from the above herbs and plants in your very own blend of tea which will aid in its affect. The added bonus is that they all smell wonderful and will make your home feel soothing and comfy.

Lemon Verbena leaves are also great for digestive issues and as a sedative herb, with soothing, sleep-inducing properties. It’s also a lovely and fresh tasting herb which can also be added to your daily drinking water or most commonly used as a tea.

Lavender, best known of the headache herbs, with the diluted oil being used on temples and forehead or with the dried leaves socked in water and used as a lovely face rinse. These plant not only adds so much to your life, but also helps invite those much needed bees into our gardens.

Ginseng, grown for the root and can be grown in the home garden, used as a invigorating and energy boosting tea, Ginseng had a reputation in the East as the ultimate tonic medicine, strengthening all part of the body and prolonging life. The root can be purchased from health shops as a powder or already prepared in teabags.

Garlic, used and known to have amazing antiseptic properties, can be used to discourage infection from spreading. If your already incorporating Garlic into your life, then great and if the taste offends you then you could great a garlic vinegar which makes a stinging but cleansing wash.

The above ideas are a great way to start using accessible herbs in your daily routine. Remember, everything in moderation! Always consult a medical professional before adding it to your regular diet or supplement regimen. Incorporating your garden and plants into creating a much more holistic approach to dealing with the stresses of life and sicknesses we encounter is simple and a fascinating process, the more you get to know about medical plant and herbs the more absorbing they become.

 

How To Get the Kids Eating Veggies

With the promise of summer just around the corner, all we’re craving is lighter meals packed with spring’s greens. Salads, fresh pasta sauces and dishes loaded with vegetables are the best way to banish memories of winter and it’s heavy food. But, as we all know, our own taste buds and those of our kids are rarely aligned.

Not only does gardening have the all-important fun factor, it also involves your kids in what’s put on their plate each night, so they’re far more likely to eat it. And every family can do it, no matter what size your backyard (or balcony) may be. These tips will get you on your way.

Make The Most Of Your Garden

Whether it’s a balcony, courtyard or green lawns as far as the eye can see, we’ve all got some sort of outdoor space that can be turned into a garden. Let your imagination run wild. Growing food in containers shouldn’t be a drawback. Urban gardening in pots and window boxes can yield more food than you might think, plus you get the benefits of some beautiful greenery outside your windows.

Choose Your Veggies

If you’re gardening with your kids, choose vegetables that grow quickly and are interesting to touch or look at. A great place to start is carrots, which prefer mild temperatures and mature in about 30 days, so the kids won’t get bored. Other varieties that do well in containers are beetroot, tomatoes, salad leaves, spring onion and baby spinach. Most herbs are also a safe bet. Your salads will be popping with colour!

Get The Kids Involved

Involving your kids in your exciting new project of urban gardening is a surefire way to get them more interested in the prospect of vegetables. Give each child a plant to tend to, place them in charge of watering duties and then let them pick the produce themselves. They’ll be far more inclined to eat the salad they planted, grew and picked as opposed to seeing a bag of products thrown into a bowl.

Watch Them Learn

Kids are naturally inquisitive, so getting them involved in growing their own veggies is a great way for them to learn more about nature and where food comes from. They’ll also gain valuable skills they can take into adulthood. Beyond Sunflowers founder Gisele Zanier links her career today to her childhood spent surrounded by plants in her parents’ garden. Zanier is a strong believer in the power of green to keep us happy, well and de-stressed. Introduce your kids to plants now and there’ll be numerous benefits for them down the track.

Save Money

The great thing about growing your own veggies is that you only use as much as you need. How often have you rescued a soggy bag of half-used herbs or salad leaves from the bottom of the crisper? With your own garden, you can pick exactly what you need, when you need it, and save a tonne of money on pre-packed salad ingredients.

Taste The Difference 

Once your garden starts yielding its first crops, you’ll notice the incredible taste of freshly picked produce straight away. Bright juicy tomatoes, crisp lettuce leaves, and carrots bursting with flavour – your kids won’t be able to say no to your cooking! And once you’ve tried your own homegrown food, the stuff from the supermarket just won’t compare. Bon appétit!

How To Water Plants While Your On Holidays

 

I’m off on holiday in a couple of weeks. Believe me, I really can’t wait for the escape. But being the obsessive house plant collector that I am, going away without having someone look after the beloved plants can leave me feeling quite anxious.

Most house plants will tolerate a week without water, while you’re on holidays. But, if you’re going away for two weeks, it’s well worth making arrangements to keep them watered while your jet setting. Given I am currently watering my growing army of ferns, orchids and herbs virtually every other day in hot weather, a two week absence could be enough to finish off some of my more delicate specimens. But things don’t have to be this way!

If, like me, you are planning a summer break, there are a range of super-simple measures that you can take to ensure your houseplants survive the temporary abandonment. And the best thing is it’ll only take you five minutes to do before you dash out the door.

So What to do?

As the primary factor affecting how quickly your plants will dry out is temperature, simply moving them from sunny window sills to cooler, shadier spots in the home can reduce their rate of water loss. It doesn’t really matter if they are sun-loving plants either as, for a short break, water stress is likely to have a much larger impact than a spell with lower light levels.

This is particularly important for fast-growing, thin-leaved plants, such as ferns, herbs and indoor bedding plants, which are likely to succumb to the effects of water stress far more quickly than slow-growing or succulent plants like aloes, cacti, yuccas and tillandsias.

Other plants that require attention include ones in small pots, as their small volume of growing matter will dry out more quickly, as well as anything in a porous unglazed terracotta container.

Grouping your plants together in a close huddle will further reduce water loss by creating localised humidity, as the leaves of neighbouring plants both emit and trap the water of each other’s transpiration.

Go one better!

If you want to go one better, the standard advice is to put all your plants either in the laundry tub or bathroom tub and lay a towel down underneath. Plants can draw on the moisture through the holes in their pots via the wick effect when thirsty. Make sure you water the plants thoroughly first.

For those plants that can’t fit in the bathtub or laundry sink due to the size or weight of the pot, the solution here is a waterworks watering system. The waterworks system is great and super simple, I even use mine as an ongoing system even when I’m not away on holidays. The water will slowly seep out through the ceramic cone over a period of time and will help ‘water’ your plant while you are away. Perfect!

Five minutes work for complete holiday peace of mind. Vino, here I come…