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​​How to Choose the Right Plants for an Inner-City Garden

If you’re someone who loves going outside and getting in touch with nature, you’ll undoubtedly be aware of just how healing the experience can be

If you’re someone who loves going outside and getting in touch with nature, you’ll undoubtedly be aware of just how healing the experience can be. Whether it’s simply getting closer to greenery, or lengthy time spent admiring the myriad flora on offer, even the simplest of actions can have long-lasting benefits.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that Australia’s urbanisation rate had reached an all time high of 86.36 percent. What this means, is that the overwhelming majority of Australia’s inhabitants – that is, a country known for its luscious scenery and native wildlife – now live in areas defined as urban as opposed to rural.

As a result, more and more Australians are wanting to get closer to nature despite their urban lifestyle, leading to increased focus on inner-city gardens. That’s why folks such as CANNA have been stepping up to the plate, ensuring that growers of all abilities are provided with all the info they need to ensure the proper care for their plants at all times, all while fostering a passion for nature.

Inner-city gardens? 

But let’s back up for a sec – what exactly is an inner-city garden? We’re not necessarily talking about simply having a few pot plants strewn around your living room (though that’s also fine!), we’re looking at folks who utilise available space to add some native life to their own life. 

This could range from small herb patches on the windowsill, wall gardens, and filling your balcony with as much greenery as it can handle, to taking over your small outdoor area with planters, troughs, and patches filled with life that sprouts skyward when given the perfect care.

So then, how do you choose the right plants for an inner-city garden? Well, that’s why we’re on hand to give you the info you need to make the right choice.

Firstly, what sort of garden are you looking for?

Alright, the first step you really need to take in ensuring you know what you’re after. Are you looking to transform your inner-city dwelling into an urban greenhouse that’d make Peter Cundall blush? Or are you looking for something smaller and more manageable?

If you’re after something on the easier side of things, then you’ll undoubtedly need to look toward the likes of indoor plants, whether it be the humble pothos, a succulent, or a ZZ plant. All of these are more suited towards beginners and first-time plant-lovers, requiring little water and attention.

However, if you’re wanting to go a bit more advanced, or simply look at something that involves a little bit more in-depth care and attention, you could look towards the likes of a croton, an elephant’s ear, or a fiddle-leaf fig. 

Or, are you wanting to start cultivating your own herb garden or veggie patch? If you need a bit of guidance in working out whether or not herbs and veggies are what you’re after, CANNA have also provided a series of guides providing tips on how best to grow your own crops.

However, if you’re living in the inner-city, the chances are that the most appropriate addition to your garden would be the likes of a wall garden, which requires minimal attention, and can utilise hydroponics for its care and curation.

So, what’s a wall garden?

As the name suggests, a wall garden is the perfect addition for anyone wanting to employ their green thumb despite being somewhat short on space. Rather than branching outward, wall gardens grow upward, with vertical systems turning fences and balconies into living walls. 

What’s better is the fact that these wall gardens can be just as productive as any regular garden, while also requiring less weeding and maintenance, while also providing some natural privacy and decoration to the area in which you live.

Additionally, wall gardens can be completely up to your own design as well. Want lots of greenery? Go ahead. Want something a little more humble and sparse? That’s fine too! The beauty of it is that these vertical gardens can range from simple seedlings in containers or training a vine to a trellis, or going more in-depth and installing complex light and irrigation systems.

But that leads us to the important factors to remember. Whatever you choose, you need to ensure that your wall garden will receive as much light and water as it needs. Breaking ground on your vertical gardening habits in a shady, covered area? Maybe lighting systems will be the go, unless you’re cultivating low-light plants. Kicking things off in the summer months? It might be time to consider hydroponic irrigation systems.

Hydroponic irrigation systems?

As the name suggests, hydroponic irrigation systems are methods of keeping your plants fed and watered by the use of hydroponics. While the history of hydroponics is long and storied, the most suitable system for anyone launching their own wall garden is by utilising the NFT. No, we’re not talking about digital images, we’re focusing on the nutrient film technique.

Arguably the best way to feed and water a low-maintenance wall garden, the nutrient film technique is rather simple in its design. It works by using a system that pumps a small amount of nutrient-rich water to the plants, before oxygenating and recirculating the dissolved nutrients through the same system. 

Low-maintenance, and designed to obtain a larger yield of high-quality produce, while cultivating and promoting growth for the plants, it’s a system whose beauty lies in its simplicity. Easy to set up, and relatively low-cost, the only real attention that you need to pay on a constant basis is to ensure enough of the correct nutrients have been utilised, and that the plants themselves are kept fighting fit.

Of course, hydroponics and the nutrient film technique are rich with information and topics to discuss, so if you’re eager to learn more about the process (along with which nutrients will best suit your new wall garden), then it’s probably best to head along to CANNA for an in-depth primer on the topic.

So what’s next?

Now that you’re across the ins and outs of wall gardens and the appropriate hydroponic systems needed to keep them in top-class condition, the next step is to actively implement it all into the space you have set aside for the garden.

While it can be a daunting task for a beginner, there’s an endless bounty of information out in the world designed to make the process as simple as possible for anyone. Ultimately, the name of the name is ensuring the best possible curation, cultivation, and care of your garden, so if you’re searching for more information on nutrients, fertilisers, hydroponic systems, or how best to care for your plants, be sure to check out the CANNA website.

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