A passion for houseplants was my gateway to outdoor gardening

Houseplants allow people of all ages to be responsible for a certain “life,” albeit botanical in nature.

Julia Atkinson Dunn

Houseplants allow people of all ages to be responsible for a certain “life,” albeit botanical in nature.

OPINION: The positive effects of introducing nature into living spaces cannot be disputed.

Of course, the ambitious interiors dripping with plants that parade on social media and in magazines may have launched many people into the land of houseplants.

But that does not diminish the good vibrations that the plants provide. The general public garden world could only dream of riding the crest of a global trend!

If we ignore for a moment the ridiculous prices of a few plants sold on Trade Me this year, houseplants owe their popularity mainly to their affordability.

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Your first can be bought at a hardware store for around $ 20, and then there is the advantage of choosing a nice jar to store it.

Bringing it home and styling it on a shelf guarantees the visual and instant gratification that many of my generation and below have come to expect. The only thing required from there is to keep that one plant alive.

Carried by the success of the maintenance of this living being, our novice planter will be thirsty for more, drinking the luxuriant effect that these purchases have on their living spaces.

They may start to increase their budget as their research leads them to more exotic discoveries, but the increased care and awareness of their plants’ needs will also increase.


Social networks have sown the seeds for a revival of houseplants.

Inadvertently, whether through following trends or not, they connect to the natural world and build a knowledge base that will not be forgotten.

Houseplants allow people of all ages to be responsible for a certain “life”, albeit botanically. This act of caring for something beyond themselves is of real value to their overall well-being.

The ephemeral comes both from youthfulness but also from rental, and in the horrid state of our real estate industry, for many people excluded from homeownership, houseplants provide a welcome and welcome foray. achievable in culture.

The expense of plowing time and money in the garden of a rented house is only appealing to those who really want to establish an outside garden, which is not as common for young today than for previous generations.

So when could this passion for indoor growing migrate outdoors?

Over three years ago (in my early 30s) I grew a pretty decent collection of houseplants that enjoyed living in my sunny Auckland apartment, despite my random watering schedule.

On the way back south they were all carefully loaded into the car to cross an island and a half to my new rented house in Christchurch. Even though there was a small garden in the backyard of this property, I struggled to keep my outdoor herbs alive, while inside my friends the widely traveled plants continued to thrive.

It was in early 2018 that we walked through the back doors of our newly purchased home, scanning the accompanying garden. Although I have lived in many rented garden houses over the past 16 years, I had never owned my own and, on second thought, this was a turning point in my gardening adventure.

My interest in personality-driven interiors, based on my basic growing skills learned as a mother of houseplants, has surprisingly helped me see this new outdoor space with new interest.

Here is an outdoor room that I could experiment in, choosing beautiful plants that were never suited to the interior.

Where I had barely mowed a lawn in my apartment years, it was home ownership, combined with space, that broke the lid of a new interest that I did not have. simply never had before. Not even a glimmer.

For those of you enjoying your swift fall into indoor plant heaven, know that the earth outside awaits you.

That when your time or opportunity arrives, you can expect to be surprised to find that here lies a tremendous source of satisfaction and beauty that your years of indoor planting will put you in a good position to explore.

Julia Atkinson-Dunn is the writer and creator of Studio Home. You can join her on @studiohomegardening or studiohome.co.nz.

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