There’s something rejuvenating about being surrounded by plants. They bring a splash of color to your home, backyard, or deck, adding a lively touch wherever they are. Plants don’t just look nice, though. They can actually improve the air quality in your home by reducing carbon dioxide levels and removing pollutants. And, if you’re growing fruits or vegetables, it’s a convenient way to keep healthy food on hand.
If you live in a house with a lot of windows and outdoor space, it’s pretty easy to start a nice garden and get enough sunlight to keep some plants inside. But what about those of us who live in an apartment? Space can be very limited, you may not have access to an outdoor area to put a garden (I know I sure don’t), and your apartment may provide limited natural light.
Thankfully, even if you’re renting a smaller space in the city, you still have garden options. You may just need to get a bit more creative.
The basics of apartment gardening
First thing you need to do is decide how you want to set up your apartment garden. If you have access to a rooftop or a small balcony, great! Otherwise, figure out which window in your home lets in the most light. That’s where you’ll want to put your indoor garden. Keep in mind you may need to choose plants that don’t require quite a much sunlight. Really don’t have enough light anywhere? You may need a grow light.
When working with limited space, consider putting your plants in container gardens, vertical gardens, or a cluster of pots that will give the appearance of a more typical garden. Whatever way you decide to go, start small. You can always add more plants or containers later, but if you’re too overwhelmed (or accidentally kill your plants), it’s easy to give up on apartment gardening and assume you’re just not meant to have beautiful greens in your home.
Next, you’ll need to decide what you want to grow. Houseplants, veggies, something that will beautifully flower?
Depending on your available light, some plants are known for being easier to grow in apartments: greens you can cut and they keep growing (basil, parsley, oregano), scallions, some types of tomatoes, African violets, and Christmas cactus.
In addition to giving your plants enough sunlight, you’ll also want to make sure you’re using the proper soil. Don’t skimp here. It’s harder to get plants their nutrients in small containers, so you want to start with good soil—and fertilize. I’d recommend checking out a gardening store and asking for their soil suggestions based on what you’re growing and how you’re growing it. Also, water your plants pretty often (just don’t overwater them!).
That should be all you need to get started with your urban garden. The more you grow, the more of a pro you’ll become. You may have better luck with some plants than others, so keep track of that to have even more success next time!