Indoor plants, when in good health, can look fantastic – but if the only space you have for gardening is indoors, there’s no taking them out for a little holiday in the sun if they get tired. The choices you make will determine how successful you will be. There’s no safety net. But the good news is that you can grow a surprising range of plants indoors and you can do it with relative ease. It just takes a little forethought and some background knowledge.
Succeeding with indoor gardening means knowing how plants grow and what conditions they want. Sounds complicated? It isn’t! Let’s jog through the things you need to consider.
Plants Need Light
While you might not spend much time thinking about light when gardening outdoors, taking it into consideration is make-or-break when gardening indoors. A few plants can tolerate quite low light, but most of them, especially the oh-so-trendy food crops, need lots of bright light.
If you have a South-Facing Window where the sun streams in, you’ve hit a home run. If you haven’t, you need to harness technology in the form of grow lights for your plants. Use specialized lights since you need to include the right spectrum for plants to grow.back to menu ↑
Plants Need the Right Amount of Water
In the past, there were two big indoor gardening fails that it’s easy to avoid nowadays. Some folks would let plants die (or suffer) from drought, and others would literally love them to death with way too much water applied too frequently. While growing plants have many stress-relieving benefits, killing them could just have the opposite effect!
There are lots of ways around it these days. You can get sensors that tell you how wet the soil is at the root zone, or you can go the whole hog and get high-tech containers that supply water and light to the plants.
If you’re feeling green-thumbed, you can try the old-fashioned way. After a couple of mishaps, even beginner gardeners start to develop a feel for how often to water their plants to keep them healthy.back to menu ↑
Plants Get Hungry Too
Potting soils will usually contain some slow-release fertilizer, but it gets used up over time. You can buy coated fertilizers that slowly release balanced nutrients over three or even six months, or you can decide to use a liquid feed whenever you water to keep them well-nourished. If you choose this route, do check that the feed doesn’t come with an odor – you run the risk of a home that reeks of “interesting” organics like fish emulsion for weeks.
For the easiest solution, we turn to tech once again. Circulating water with plant nutrients is part of the job self-sustaining planters do these days. It’s effortless, so unless you’re into the effort, they’re a good investment.back to menu ↑
Choose the Right Plants for Space
Unless you’re willing to devote half your lounge to them, there’s no way you’re going to enjoy having plants that take up too much space. For example, if you want to try growing tomatoes indoors, you need to avoid the exuberant vining varieties and go for plants that have been bred for compact growth.
There’s plenty of information on plant varieties out there. Want to grow compact, edible chilies? Looking for the right butter lettuce for your windowsill garden? A little online research will take you to the varieties you need for your limited space. There are still a couple of no-nos – a pity if you want to plant pumpkins – but not too limiting when all’s said.
Experience the benefits of raising plants from seed to harvest – even if all you have is a little space in your apartment.