Here at niche urban garden supply we know that the South End is a fabulous neighborhood to bring up children. Everywhere you turn there’s a hidden garden to be discovered, or budding flowers to see in a nearby park. We also know that outdoor garden space is hard to come by, making it difficult to teach kiddos about the wonderful world of plants.
That’s where we come in. We specialize in both fine outdoor gardening and interior plant design. We love teaching folks how to bring the outdoors into their homes, especially when there is no outside alternative. Indoor plants are a great way to get children of any age into gardening, especially since they can be maintained year-round with basic care. Houseplants are an easy, unique way to expand your child’s current learning program. Whether it be a fatty succulent leaf or the spines on a cactus, indoor plants provide quite the sensory adventure.
A lot of parents don’t quite know where to start, so we’ve compiled our top five houseplants for children! With common light requirements and an easy watering schedule, you’ll be on your way to jungalow status in no time, with your kiddo in tow.
Plants in the Sansevieria family, known commonly as Snake Plants or Mother-In-Law’s tongue, are some of the easiest to take care of! They come in a variety of funky colors and patterned leaves. A lot of folks think of Snake Plants and picture the bright green plant with a yellow border, but there are varieties that have blue tones, white details and some even have beautiful deep, dark green leaves.
Care: What’s even better than all the varieties is how easy it is to take care of these plants. They’re low light tolerant as well as drought tolerant. Water them once every 3-4 weeks and leave ‘em alone.
Nepenthes, also known as Pitcher Plants or Monkey Cups, are a fascinating type of carnivorous plant. Unlike the Venus Fly Trap, these guys don’t sport any spines or teeth. The pitchers develop off of the main plant and hang down in tube-like traps. The inside of the “pitchers” contain a watery syrup that the plant produces to attract and drown it’s prey. All sorts of gnats and flies find the lure irresistible. Nepenthes are native to tropical lowland areas, but can thrive in your home with the appropriate amount of humidity and care.
These guys also provide and excellent educational opportunity for children of all ages!
Care: Bright light. Keep soil relatively moist and mist the plant often, every day if your home has dry air.
Bromeliads are funky plants that come in a variety of different shapes and bright colors. These plants grow naturally in tropical environments, and contain many plants, including pineapples. They’re also epiphytes, which means they have shallow root systems and can grow on trees and branches as well as in soil. The coolest thing about this plant is that they have a self-watering system. The leaves grow and overlap in a way that form a holding tank at the base of the plant where the water collects.
Care: Medium to bright light, water by filling the natural cup at the base of the leaves once a week. Upon each watering, dump out any old water that may be remaining from the previous week. These plants also enjoy a good misting, a great daily task for kids!
Boston Ferns are an old, hardy favorite, and for good reason. They’re a great air purifier (also on NASA’s list) and have an awesome texture. Boston ferns generate long, arching branches with soft fronds and make a great display in any front hall or living area. Their texture is a great sensory experience for toddlers, and older children will love watching the new fronds unfurl over time.
Care: Medium to bright light, water when the soil starts to dry out, appx. once every 5-7 days. Mist often and keep away from any dry air coming out of those air vents.
These babies are the trendiest of houseplants right now, but are also great for kids to try out their green thumbs on. Succulents are easy to care for, as long as they get enough natural light. They can be planted in most any container, including terrarium bowls, old tin cans, hubs caps and plastic cups. Succulents can provide the opportunity for kids to create their own plant-scapes: a terrarium garden or desert oasis.
Care: Bright light, water every 7-10 days, or when the soil has completely dried out.
Bonus: Aloe Vera
This succulent is multi-faceted!
Stale air? It’ll clean it. Aloe Vera was included in NASA’s Clean Air Study for it’s ability to purify the air.
Burn yourself? Cut off a leaf and lather the area with the gel, problem solved. It’s also cool and squishy to the touch, making it a favorite with kids.
Care: Bright light, water every 7-1o days. As long as you give this plant plenty of sunlight, the only problem you’ll run into is over-watering it. Keep your watering schedule sparse with this plant; soak the top of the soil once every couple of week and leave it alone.
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