Apartment Gardening: A Beginners Guide to a Lush Indoor Garden

Apartment Gardening: A Beginners Guide to a Lush Indoor Garden

Establishing an apartment garden or a garden within your home will help you create a bit more zen at home. If you’ve not done so already, now’s a great time to start an indoor garden, it’s a calming and rewarding hobby that will help you to reduce plastic packaging whilst growing organic food for a healthy immune system economically. You can grow herbs and vegetables all year round and won’t need to step out in the cold during the winter months to pick your produce.

Having greenery in your apartment or home can calm the soul, help build a sustainable lifestyle, clean the air and lift your mood. It’s also a great project to get the kids involved in (if you have them) giving you an opportunity for valuable family time while teaching the little ones about the value of food and where it comes from.

There are many options on how to grow plants indoors or on a balcony with a range of edible and decorative plants that can turn your apartment or home into a green sanctuary. 

To get you started with gardening in your aparment or home, we have put a quick start guide together with a list of basic tools, books and ideas to start your indoor garden.

Indoor Apartment Garden Pin

Finding the Right Spot for your Indoor Plants

Other than mushrooms most edible plants need a good amount of light so it’s best to place pots on a windowsill or larger window if you can. Alternatively, you can use hydroponic systems and/or artificial grow lights like these if you don’t have enough natural light.

Some of the decorative plant options such as the Chinese Money plant or Bamboo Palm grow in darker areas so there are options if you aren’t blessed with lots of natural light in your apartment or home. 

Which Compost do you Need for an Aparment Gardening Project?

Most indoor plants including vegetables grow well in multipurpose compost, houseplant compost or loam-based compost. As you might not have adequate storage space for any leftover compost in your apartment it’s best to buy smaller quantities at a time. 

Generally avoiding manure for indoor gardening is sensible as it’s quite smelly and can be too strong for growing vegetables for e.g. 

Low Maintenance Indoor Decorative Plants

If you are planning on growing a vegetable or herb garden in your apartment or home, there is no reason why you can’t add a few decorative options in-between. Gardens don’t have to be all businesses 100% of the time, you can add a few aesthetic plants that are good for the soul.  Here are a few low maintenance options that are pretty hard to kill:

Asparagus Fern
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Spider Plant
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Chinese Money Plant
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African Violets
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Peace Lily
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Aloe
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Orchids
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Dieffenbachia
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Edible Plants that Will Grow Well Inide your Apartment or Home

Not all plants can be grown in an apartment garden, but there are a few that can flourish on a windowsill, a larger pot or on a decorative display stand. Some of the great edible plants you can grow indoors are:

  • Herbs as mentioned above including basil, mint, chervil, chives, rosemary, oregano, parsley, sage, thyme, coriander and dill
  • Microgreens such as pea shoots, wheatgrass, mustards, broccoli, kale, chard, amaranth, beets, fennel, and sugar snap peas
  • Fruits such as lemons, tomatoes especially cherry varieties, Negro Largo figs and apricots. When it comes to fruit, self-pollinating varieties as listed are a bit easier if you’re new to growing fruit
  • Mushrooms
  • If you’re a bit more adventurous you can grow certain vegetables such as carrot. rocket/arugula, swiss chard, kale. peas, radishes, peppers, scallions, broccoli and cauliflower

Related: How to grow microgreens

Quick and Easy Indoor Hydroponic Herbs

One of the easiest ways to start in an herb garden in your apartment or home is with a complete hydroponic kit. It is basically a no-fuss option that provides you with everything you need including seeds, grow lights and handy reminders of what to do when. Aerogarden is one of the most popular complete systems and makes several beautifully designed, modern options that will fit into any apartment or home. You should have strong growth in just a few weeks as the yields for hydroponic gardens tend to be higher than traditional soil gardens.

AeroGarden
Harvest Classic 
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AeroGarden 
Harvest Elite
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AeroGarden 
6 pod seed kit
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Indoor Herb Garden Grow Kits

If you prefer a more traditional way of growing herbs, there are many grow kits to set you up for success. These grow kits are better than the supermarket ready-grown herbs that you can often buy. Note that the supermarket variety is not made to last more than a few weeks in our experience.

Back to the Roots
Indoor Herb Garden Non-GMO 
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Organic Herb Indoor Garden Planter Starter Kit DIY Kitchen Grow Kit
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Viridescent Indoor Herb Garden Kit
Windowsill Planter Box with Seeds
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Growing Vegetables Indoors

You can grow and harvest vegetables indoors all year round, but it does have its challenges, and your yield might be slightly smaller. Take a look at some of the easier vegetables you can grow indoors below:

  • Carrots can be grown in containers, the smaller varieties need less space. They like depth so a taller container will be ideal
  • Peppers and chilli don’t mind container growing and will be happy on a windowsill 
  • Tomatoes might not be the most decorative plant but they do enjoy the warmth and a dryer climate. Growing them in a sunny spot indoors can also help reduce the chances of blight
  • Scallions and garlic greens grow well indoors unlike garlic bulbs for example
  • Cucumbers are generous plants if treated well and can be grown where there is lots of sunlight, alternatively, you can use grow lights to keep them happy and healthy

Mix it up with a Decorative Indoor Garden Display

Plants can make a wonderful decorative feature, bringing peace and tranquillity into any room. You can easily mix herbs, microgreens and vegetables with decorative plants to create a quiet space for relaxation and reflection. Or use plants to add calm to a busy living room space. 

This six-tier decorative display is made of solid fir wood, which is eco-friendly, sustainable and will bring joy for many years to come. 

Remember to place the unit it in an area with natural light to give your plants the best chance to grow and prosper. For darker areas, perhaps consider adding grow lights under each tier to help your greenery with photosynthesis.

Various brands depending on country
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Watering and Plant Care for Indoor Plants

When it comes to watering and plant care it’s best to check and keep the labels that come with the plant. Most plants will need repotting after a year or two and feeding with a good liquid fertiliser, but this will vary between plant types.

As a general rule flowering plants will require a potassium fertiliser and foliage plants appreciate a more balanced feed. Plants such as Orchids and Citrus trees require a more specialised feed and remember to reduce feeding over winter months.

In our experience, it’s best to treat each plant as an individual as that leaves you the best chance for success. For e.g. most orchids only need watering once a week, they also don’t like standing in water. Other plants such as Cala lilies like a lot of water, love and attention regularly.

Try not to underwater or overwater plants as this will put the plant under stress and could be a sure-fire way to its imminent death. When in doubt check the label or do a quick search online to make sure you’re treating your green friends well. 

What About Pruning your Indoor Garden?

Most leafy, mature foliage plants don’t need pruning. Pinch back shoots of young plants to encourage branching.

You can cut old and damaged foliage back when it comes to most plants, with the exception of palms and orchids. Water well after cutting to help with recovery.

For tomato plants remember to remove side stems as this will improve crops. Learn more about pruning tomatoes here.

The Right Tools for your Apartment Gardening Jobs

To do the job well, you always need the right tools to get started. Add this beautiful watering can and plant mister to your indoor gardening kit. They are both stylish and functional so no need to stash them away in a cupboard after every use. 

Don’t forget to grab a small gardening tool kit for re-potting and loosening soil if you don’t have one already. A good set can last a lifetime if you look after it and can be used both in-and-outdoors. Make sure it’s a good quality stainless steel set that won’t rust or damage over time.

Brushed copper, stainless watering can
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Glass plant mister – colours vary
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Various brands depending on country
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Organic Fertiliser for Indoor Food Crops

Keep your vegetables, herbs and microgreens healthy with a good organic fertiliser. This Maxicrop version is a great general-purpose option for all kinds of plants. Should you wish to grow lemon trees and other citrus fruits you can technically use the seaweed fertiliser but we’d recommend a specialist citrus fertiliser for best results.

Maxicrop general purpose organic seaweed fertiliser
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Organic citrus fruit fertiliser – brands vary by country
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Controlling Pests and Diseases Indoors

Houseplants can suffer from things like aphids, red spider mite, mealybug and scale insect. We’ve had ongoing issues with scale insects attacking a lemon tree and bringing a hoard of ants with them. Wherever possible try to use natural organic pest control, it can be frustrating especially when issues are ongoing so be patient and know that you’ll overcome them eventually.

Fluctuating temperatures, under or over watering and draughty positions can cause leaf browning and drop in some plants. If you experience leaf drop or browning assess your watering regime, check the average room temperatures and look out for draughts. These are the most common issues with centrally heated homes. 

Indoor Gardening Books for Beginners

If you’d like to learn more about starting your own indoor vegetable, herb or fruit garden there are a few excellent books on the topic that can get you started. 

Indoor Edible Garden
Zia Allaway

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Indoor gardening
Tom Gordon

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Urban gardening
Kevin Espiritu

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Crops in Tight Spots
Alex Mitchell

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Happy apartment gardening!

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