10 solutions for planting in small spaces

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From compact trellises to hydroponics, here’s a guide to cultivating green spaces in apartments and smaller settings. Photos from MICRO_ACRES/INSTAGRAM and TAKINGPOTHOS/INSTAGRAM

Horticulturists tout the correlation between the exposure to nature to mind healing and continuous development, as gardens are fundamentally works in progress. And while a large green expanse is a soothing reassurance for some, it’s a scarce reality for most condo dwellers. Now, the challenge at hand is to jolt experimentation, using delicate stems of emerald, sage, olive, or chartreuse as a refreshing balm for the eyes — and the mind.

RELATED: Plant parenting as a response to our lack of green urban spaces

Here are 10 small-space plant solutions for condo dwellers craving for more greens to occupy their familiar spaces.

1. A small apartment that receives minimal light led Bonn of @takingpothos to propagate small trailing Pothos plants as they can survive in low light settings. He chose the test tube rack as he enjoys seeing the roots grow.

2. There is fun in discovering how to acclimate plants to condo living, as it is the exact opposite of their natural habitat, says Denise of, who recommends starting with a young plant so as to teach them to adapt in this kind of environment. In this case, empty Yakult bottles.

3. Denise also engages in hydroponics, another horticulture practice where instead of soil, water is the preferred medium for growth. A great alternative for those who opt to cultivate plants sans dirt.

4. Others have also taken self-watering solutions into consideration, like Myee of @halamyee who designed a system for hydroponics wherein an outer pot, acting as a water and nutrient reservoir, wicks the access to the pot carrying the LECA medium (clay pebbles that expand in water) and the plant itself. You can buy some from Shopee.

5. For decorative purposes, Myee has also invested in trellises, crafted out of interwoven pieces of wire, wood, or bamboo materials for your plant to intertwine its stem through. Though usually in a larger scale for single detached homes, the changing times have permitted it to come in smaller sizes and result in unlikely, interesting structures. There’s a handy DIY tutorial for compact trellises here.

6. Jerold Justo, the brain behind @micro_acres affirms that urban farming is not a myth, and frankly, very achievable in small-space residences. The brand’s microgreen kits, like this one, are as simple as it can get, with everything you need in an affordable box that can fit on a well-lighted kitchen counter. Just add water and you can start harvesting for your salads after a week!

7. Believe it or not, terrariums require the least amount of maintenance. Their acceptance of artificial light and the fact that they don’t need to be watered regularly make them the ideal small-scale ecosystem of choice for the apartment inhabitant. You can make your own through this tutorial, or order ready-mades here.

8. Anton of @plantonsdd used live sphagnum moss as his main potting medium for this open terrarium, which according to him, is usually harvested where it naturally occurs. Moss is a preferred medium for terrarium set ups as they are epiphytic, meaning they attach themselves to another organism for survival. You can buy some from Shopee.

9. Recycling and cultivating in one go, your stash of used plastic bottles are durable and handy for the small-space lodger. LECA medium, the favored medium for this set-up, is actually known to decrease the risk of pests.

10. Cacti cultivation has become a recognized horticulture trend in itself. They only need watering once a week and a periodic sunlight recharge; they are gentle reminders for our own occasional pick-me-ups. You can buy some, already potted, from suppliers on Facebook marketplace starting from Php 50.