I am fascinated by the amount of research that exists about the health benefits of nature. The University of Minnesota Bakken Center for Spirituality and Healing's website cites a lot of peer-reviewed research from a variety of reputable institutions. They note that even a plant in an office can help reduce stress and anxiety.

Container gardening is an easy way to incorporate plants into your life, even in small spaces. If you provide your plants with the right amounts of water, air and food, they'll thrive.

Here's what you need to create a container garden:

Container: Anything can be a container, as long as there's a hole for drainage and its big enough to house your plants.

Location: Before you pick your flowers, herbs, veggies or whatever you want in your container, think about location -- where you're going to put your pot. Some plants do well in shade, others need full sun.

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live
Newsletter signup for email alerts

Soil: Avoid using soil from your yard or garden as it may contain pests or diseases. Instead, use a potting mix designed for container gardening.

Selecting plants: Choose what you like in the colors you like. Anything goes! And if you follow the "thriller, filler and spiller" method of planting, your container will be fabulous. The idea is to pick one type of plant for each of those words.

  • Thriller: Pick a taller plant with a "wow" factor. Your focal point. Some choices include spikes, coleus, dahlia, astilbe and salvia.
  • Filler: These plants will fill out the space around your focal thriller plant and add color. Some choices include begonia, lantana, impatiens, calibrachoa and browallia.
  • Spiller: Spiller plants drape over the sides of your container. Choose options such as, ivy, wave petunias, vinca, potato vine, creeping Jenny, fuchsia and bacopa.

Create: Construct your masterpiece by starting with the thriller, then the fillers, followed by the spillers.

Water: Water right after you plant. How often and how much water you'll need depends on they types of plants you used, the material of the container (some may be porous, which allows for evaporation) and weather. A good way to judge is to poke your finger in the potting medium and if it's dry down to your first knuckle, give your plants a drink. In summer, I water my outside containers almost every day, especially when it's hot and dry.

Container gardens can by super small, huge or anything in between. One pot of plants can brighten your room, boost your mood, lower stress and provide an opportunity for you to become a nurturer of nature.

Follow the Health Fusion podcast on Apple, Spotify, and Google Podcasts.

For comments or other podcast episode ideas, email Viv Williams at vwilliams@newsmd.com. Or on Twitter/Instagram/FB @vivwilliamstv.