Green indoor plant in thumb

Welcome to Indoor Plants 101

Your green thumb starts here.

Baby, it’s hot outside. And somewhere between the weather and work-from-home routines, we’re spending a lot more time indoors – and desperate to develop a green thumb. With that in mind, we observed a moment of silence for all the plants we’ve killed over the years and headed to Dubai Garden Centre for a chat with horticulturist Abdul Aziz, whose knowledge of all things botanical is nothing short of astounding. Here’s what we learned.

How to Select Them:

You can choose from evergreen, flowering (seasonal and perennial), and fruit-bearing (lemon and kumquat, for example) plants in addition to cacti and succulents.

Acclimatised plants will not only survive, but also thrive indoors at temperatures ranging from 16ºC to 30ºC, which means the climate in this region shouldn’t be an issue.

If you’re a first-time plant parent, opt for the statement-making areca palm as all it requires is regular watering and a nitrogen-based fertiliser once a month. And if you start to see signs of damage, simply cut off the problematic stem to protect the rest of the plant.

Apartment dwellers can overcome space constraints by buying hanging plants such as English ivy or the money plant. Not only are these trailing varieties easy to maintain, but they’re also versatile – they can be grown in hanging baskets or trained to climb up a trellis.

Succulents are also great space-savers and only need to be watered once a month. They’re not dependent on extremely bright light, either.

Some varieties (the peace lily, snake plant, rubber plant, and prayer plant included) are especially known for their air-purifying properties, and therefore very popular.

The dieffenbachia plant is toxic owing to its sap and should therefore be avoided by families with pets and young children.

How to Display Them:

The best spot to place any indoor plant is at least one metre away from the window, where it gets bright yet indirect light for optimal photosynthesis.

While the jury’s still out on the suitability of plants in the bedroom, air-purifying varieties remain popular. The peace lily, in particular, will help you sleep better.

Planters with drainage holes aren’t necessary for indoor plants. In fact, clay balls added to the soil will absorb excess water without creating a mess and reduce the risk of root rot, making them perfect for indoor use.

The key to styling plants is creativity – anything from wooden ladders and tyres to dresser drawers, milk jugs, and even wellington boots can be repurposed as unexpected planters.

Create a visually appealing display by grouping together plants of varying heights, and aim for an odd number for a more effortless-looking finish. 

How to Tend Them:

Artificial lighting, while sometimes used, isn’t ideal as it simply can’t compare with the wavelengths of sunlight.

Yellow leaves are a sign of deteriorating health. If your plant is underwatered, its leaves will droop. And if your plant is overwatered, its leaves will soften. A moisture metre measures the humidity of the soil, and therefore helps keep a plant’s health in check.

Liquid fertiliser and powder fertiliser that is water-soluble come highly recommended for all types of indoor plants. Avoid the slow-release granular type entirely as it’s intended for outdoor plants.

Evergreen plants and succulents require a nitrogen-based fertiliser because it will help prevent discoloured foliage and sub-par growth. In contrast, flowering and fruit-bearing plants benefit more from a potassium-based fertiliser, especially when they stop producing flowers and fruits respectively.

If your plant is healthy and well-maintained, opt for a blended fertiliser that contains particles of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus alongside small amounts of micronutrients.

The soil of this region isn’t natural – it’s a potting mix made with coco peat, leading to iron deficiency, which can be identified by slightly yellow leaves and prominent veins. In this case, an iron-based fertiliser is a must.

Mealybugs – tiny, cottony insects that feed on plant sap – are a very common problem, but an infestation can be avoided by not over-watering your plants. A few spritzes of lemon juice once or twice a week, however, will remedy the problem.


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Designing Your Own Zen Home

Peaceful and harmonious living.

So you’re thinking about transforming your home into a Zen paradise. That’s great! Do you often find yourself stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed by your current living situation? Do you crave serenity, tranquility, and greater inner peace? Do you spend more time feeling anxious about your clutter than enjoying your living space? Do you dream of a space that feels welcoming, calming, and rejuvenating – all at the same time?

If you answered ‘Yes’ to any of these questions, then a Zen home may be for you.

What Is Zen Home in Interior Design?

The word “zen” is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word “chán”, which in turn is a Chinese transliteration of the Sanskrit word “dhyāna”, meaning “meditation”. Zen is a Buddhist concept that places emphasis on the practice of meditation with the goal of achieving a state of inner peace and tranquility.

Zen interior design is all about creating a living space that promotes peace, harmony, and a sense of balance. The goal is to create a relaxed and calm haven from all the hustle and bustle of daily life where you can unwind and recharge. A Zen home is characterized by its emphasis on natural textures, simple lines, neutral colours, and an overall minimalism effect. Furniture is minimal, surfaces are kept clear to achieve order and calm, and natural light is important so windows are often uncovered to allow as much natural sunlight as possible. Decluttering your space and removing distractions, as well as, adding relaxing elements such as candles, diffusers, and other natural materials, you can create an environment that amplifies the Zen factor and also conducive to nurturing concentration and productivity.

Benefits of a Zen Living Space

In addition to creating a peaceful and harmonious living space, there are many benefits to practicing Zen design in our homes. Research has shown that incorporating natural elements into our living spaces can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. It can also improve our overall sense of well-being and help us feel more connected to the natural world.

How to Create a Zen Home

A Zen home is a living space that prioritizes simplicity, natural elements, and tranquility, creating a peaceful and harmonious environment that promotes relaxation, mindfulness, and overall wellness. Today, Zen design has evolved to include a wide range of interior design styles that often incorporate elements of natural materials, organic shapes, and minimalistic design. The idea of a Zen home has become a popular trend in interior design, as it can help promote a sense of calm and relaxation in our daily lives.

Less Is More

A well-edited room is more visually appealing than one that is crammed full of furniture and knick-knacks. One of the key benefits of the Zen design approach is that it can help to make small spaces feel larger and more open. When there are fewer objects on display, each one can be given more attention, and the eye is not drawn to any one particular area. In addition, a minimalist approach can also help to create a sense of order and calm, making it ideal for a Zen home.

Neutral Colour Palette

In a Zen home, one of the most important things to be mindful of is choosing a natural colour palette. Colours are typically muted and neutral, like white, cream, beige and gray, creating a sense of simplicity and tranquility. Avoid bright colours like red and yellow which can be reminiscent of Asian themes but are disruptive to the overall Zen flow. Instead, stick to muted tones that will ensure a serene and relaxing space, and if you do need some colour greens and blues can serve as excellent accent colours. Also, consider incorporating natural textures and materials to keep your space from feeling too sterile.

Natural Elements

The modern Zen design also emphasizes the use of natural elements like wood, stone, greenery, and water, that give your space an organic feel to support relaxation and balance. Incorporating such elements does not have to be expensive or difficult and often a few simple accents can make all the difference. For example, placing small potted plants is an inexpensive way to add some nature into your space. You may try adding a bonsai to keep with the Zen look but other plants would also do the trick. Similarly, a clear bowl filled with different coloured stones and water or a water fountain or similar feature, also creates a natural touch to your decor.

Natural Light

Lighting plays a major role in a Zen home, with natural light preferred, as it helps to create an open and airy feeling. With visually stimulating views, we feel relaxed and optimistic, which can greatly improve our overall well-being. Sunlight has a calming effect on the mind and body, and it can also help to improve mood and focus. In addition, natural light is an essential part of the cycle of nature, and it helps to regulate our bodies’ circadian rhythms. For these reasons, it’s important to make sure that your Zen-inspired interior receives plenty of light.

Streamlined Furniture

In a Zen home, furniture, decor, and household items are chosen for their simplicity and functionality. Furniture that is simple and clean in design are perfect choices. Selecting streamlined furniture made with natural materials such as wood, stone, or bamboo with straight lines and smooth surfaces will add to the Zen factor of your space. This type of furniture creates a feeling of calm and serenity – all qualities perfect for achieving a zen state of mind. By choosing streamlined furniture that is low to the ground, you will help keep the visual flow of your room uninterrupted, enabling you to feel more grounded and very much in tune with the Japanese style of Zen. Handcrafted furnishings made with reclaimed wood or rattan can add warmth. We recommend avoiding heavy, closed-off furniture designs to maintain an open and airy look and feel throughout your home.

When it comes to furniture styles for a Zen home in Dubai, you’ll want to focus on simplicity, functionality, and natural materials. Here are a few furniture styles and design elements to consider:

Accents to Add Zen to Any Home

Diffusers, candles, incense sticks, and sage are all great tools to incorporate into your house to create a more Zen-ful ambiance. Here are some tips on how to use each of these items to create a Zen living environment:


Essential oil diffusers are a great way to create a calming atmosphere in your home. Choose oils such as lavender, chamomile, or bergamot to promote relaxation and calmness. Place the diffuser in a central location in your home, or in a designated relaxation space to promote serenity.


Candles can help create a soft, warm glow that promotes relaxation. Choose candles with natural scents made from natural bases like beeswax or soy, to avoid overpowering synthetic fragrances from invading your space. Place candles in areas where you would like to create a sense of ambiance, such as a meditation space or near your bathtub.


Burning incense sticks can help to create a calming and peaceful atmosphere. Choose natural scents, such as sandalwood, or cedarwood, and place incense in an area where airflow is good.


Burning sage, also known as smudging, is an ancient practice that can be used to clear negative energy from your home. Light a sage bundle and walk the smoke around all the corners of your home, reaching the places where energy tends to get trapped. Remember to open your windows in order to let out the smoke.

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The Zen Home Essentials


Lavender Pure Essential Oil

AED 55.00


Aroma Diffuser – Sand

AED 70.00


Tea Tree Pure Essential Oil

AED 55.00


Jasmine and Ylang Ylang “and” Unisex Candle

AED 200.00


Lotus Serenity Incense

AED 30.00


Lavender & Eucalyptus Candle

AED 100.00


7 Chakra Sage

AED 55.00


White Sage Smudge Stick

AED 50.00


Dragon Blood Sage

AED 75.00

The question to really ask yourself is, are you in need of a peaceful and calming living space? Do you often feel stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed in your current home? That’s when you know for sure that a Zen home is just what you need to strive for.

You may even follow your higher sense of self and spot signs such as feeling distracted by technology, constantly playing catch-up with household chores, wishing deep inside for a welcoming and calming home, or feeling overwhelmed or anxious by clutter. These are clear signs pointing you toward the need to create a Zen home for yourself. The results are well worth the effort and the process can be healing too.

The Gaggler team is passionate about finding and sharing great products with our readers. We take pride in researching and testing products to find the best of the best, and we only recommend things that we love and think you will, too.


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