How To Make Room For Indoor Plants

Houseplants tucked indoors for the winter

Houseplants tucked indoors for the winter, on a sunny table.

Hey, plantaholics, it’s the winter-time crunch again. Hard frosts are on the horizon and you have to haul your (possibly vast) collection of houseplants indoors for the winter. In my case, being a bit of a plantaholic, my plant pile always seems to multiply over the summer. Between taking cuttings, buying new specimens, and potting-up into larger containers, there’s always more at the end of the season than at the beginning. Sadly the indoor space doesn’t magically get bigger at the end to make room for all these new recruits. What to do?

  1. Build a greenhouse. The ideal solution, sadly not available for all of us, space-wise or money-wise. For the handy sort, here’s a DIY fantastic convertible greenhouse that I absolutely love.
  2. Give stuff away. Sort of like how people get rid of all their extra zucchini. Your friends can’t leave unless they take a pot of setcreasea  or oxalis away in a grocery bag!
  3. Baker’s racks. These are a godsend, and I just put one up that’s four feet in length, with multiple shelves. Technically it could be dismantled over the summer when not needed. Mine won’t be though. It’s just too useful. Any kind of rack works, as it maximizes your horizontal surfaces in a given square footage.
  4. Add extra wood planks, with brackets to make your windowsills deeper. Most home windowsills are simply not deep enough. Get on that, will you, builders? You can hardly fit one pot on them let alone elventy-twelve. Even an extra six to eight inches could make a substandard windowsill one that’s actually useful.
  5. Build UP. Even if you don’t have a baker’s rack, you can mount brackets up the length of a window to add shelving for plants.  For a really elegant solution, use glass shelves.
  6. Get creative about indoor plant display. I have one trailing neon pothos that lives on two hatboxes on my computer desk in the winter. The height of the hatboxes gives it enough length to trail down without getting in my way.
  7. Invest in big, deep, sturdy plant saucers. A old teacup saucer is simply not good enough to make for easy watering. There’s way too much danger of overflow. Plants are a messy enough hobby without sloshing extra water everywhere and ruining your carpet or your latest monthly report. Ideally a plant saucer is deep enough to holds excess water that drains through, which then allows the soil to wick up the overflow. That first sluice of water is never enough to fully saturate a soil ball. By the way, those cheap, thin, plastic saucers are next to useless and split at the drop of a hat.
  8. Bring back hanging planters. In the 1970s this was a standard decor item, and hanging spider plants in macramé hangers, (next to matchstick  bamboo blinds) were de rigueur. Here are some DIY hanging planter ideas from Apartment Therapy.



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