By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer
An outdoor garden patch isn’t a must for older folks who enjoy growing plants. Indoor senior gardening is an answer for elderly gardeners who live in an apartment or senior living facility, or those who aren’t as active or mobile as they once were.
Indoor gardening for seniors can help with depression, stress, and loneliness, especially while social distancing – and one study indicates indoor senior gardening may even reduce the risk of dementia.
Indoor Gardening for Seniors
Here are a few ideas for elderly gardeners:
- Succulent or cactus gardens are interesting and extremely easy to care for. Succulents and cacti require very little water, but most need plenty of sunshine. Plant one in a small pot or fill a large, shallow container with three or four plants. These hardy plants do best with a special potting mix for cacti and succulents. You can also cover the surface with grit or sand.
- Creating terrariums allow elderly gardeners to exercise their creative muscle. All they need to get started is a glass container, sand or decorative rocks, a little charcoal, and a few small plants.
- Painting terracotta pots is a fun project for gardeners of any age. Just paint the pot with white paint (you may need to apply two or three coats). Set it aside to dry, then decorate it with acrylic paints. If the pot will be outdoors, protect it with a coat of spray-on, instant drying lacquer.
Seniors and Houseplants
Need some easy-care houseplant ideas? Here are some indoor plants for older gardeners that are easy to manage:
- Snake plants require little maintenance. These elegant plants prefer indirect or bright light, but if your senior has a low-light area, a snake plant will do fine.
- Spider plants are graceful, forgiving plants with long, sword-shaped leaves. Hang the spider plant or put it on a shelf where it will be more accessible.
- Aloe vera plants are fun indoor plants for older gardeners. This familiar plant doesn’t need much water, but prefers a bright, sunny window.
- Mint plants are super easy and well-suited for indoor senior gardening. Once the plant is established, elderly gardeners can snip a few leaves and toss them in ice water or hot tea.
- African violets have a reputation for fussiness, but they’re surprisingly low maintenance and fun to grow. Just put them near a sunny window and water only when the soil is dry. In time, the plants will bloom almost constantly.
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