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Natural elements: adding greenery in small spaces

There are infinite ways to style your home. Why not bring it to life with attractive foliage and pops of color from flowers? If you find yourself overwhelmed but awed at the indoor jungles present on social media today, you’re not alone. I’ve been watching the youtube channel Planterina and I absolutely long for a big beautiful house filled with plants like Amanda’s. Alas, I have a rabbit, a particular budget, and an apartment with exactly four windows (counting the sliding glass door). Not too bad but these do complicate my plant aspirations!

In this article I’ll show you some of my solutions to keeping plants in small spaces and away from pets.

The first picture on the top left is a small collection of some of the plants I’ve been keeping on my balcony. I had assembled them here together to get a look at what I had and to plan where they would end up. There are ferns, basil, a croton, an aloe, a schefflera plant, and a couple of small flowering plants. The table is a perfect height to keep plants well out of my rabbit’s reach.

The two plants in the center are enjoying my latest creation- a DIY light station. I got this tube light at Goodwill a few weeks ago for $5. I mounted it to the glass panel of a bookshelf with one of those picture hanging velcro sets.

On the right is my very first attempt at a terrarium. It’s not yet finished because I am expecting a shipment of moss next week. All it has right now is the bottom layer of pebbles and a layer of activated charcoal. I put my fern straight into it to start acclimating and with a few light misting sprays it’s looking great.

Terrariums are an excellent solution for fitting in greenery in small spaces. You can find pre-assembled ones that are teeny tiny (jars, cups, bowls, and even necklaces) or you can build one in a former aquarium. Humidity-loving plants can really thrive in an old aquarium and they create a lovely conversation piece.

Here’s what my patio table looked like at one point. I’m constantly moving plants around. I set an old shower curtain on it to keep it clean of dirt and debris. My aloe is loving the morning sun here and it’s protected from the rain getting in at the other end of the balcony.

Top left: Two lavender plants soaking up the sun. I found that cute little white container at a thrift shop. It jazzes up the plants without blocking their light and helps protect against predators (like rabbits) when closed. I’ve read from several places that lavender is safe for rabbit consumption but my boy is a piggie and he would leave none left for me to showcase.

Top middle: A funky little flower I picked up at Trader Joe’s for $1.99. I’m surprised it has survived a week because I had no idea what it was until I stumbled upon some larger ones at Meijer with tags. This plant is the Cyclamen flower common to Europe and the Mediterranean. It is actually a perennial (could have fooled me) and prefers cooler air in the 50’s to 60’s and high humidity. How it is still alive on my balcony is a miracle.

Top right: A yarrow plant. I picked this plant because of its luscious yellow color and safety for rabbits. I’ve used one of my patio chairs as a plant stand for it and I covered its nursery pot with a white wicker basket.

Extra suggestions for adding plants to small spaces:

  • Use every surface available (within reason). When you are thinking about introducing a plant in your home think about its needs. Foremost, where would it get appropriate light? You may need to rearrange your space a bit. I have plants on a tray on my printer, on my dresser, on an end table, a bookcase, and on chairs.
  • If you can’t build out, build up. You can get cheap shelves at the hardware store and make your own built-in plant paradise near a good window. This saves tons of space.
  • Remember to rotate your plants when necessary. Once you place a plant it doesn’t have to stay there forever. Sometimes the light isn’t right or you find a draft, etc. Swap plants around every once and a while to change things up. Even if you only have a few plants it makes a difference visually.

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