Why You Should Try Apartment Gardening
It’s official, houseplants are now more popular in the U.S than designer clothes, at least according to Google Trends 2020.
This tells us that at the moment, there’s a ton of interest in growing plants indoors, which brings us to our latest topic: apartment gardening.
Now, if you don’t already have an idea of what that is, it’s just gardening in an apartment or condo or whatever urban setting you call home.
Usually, apartments have little to no outdoor space to accommodate a traditional garden. But urban dwellers are increasingly taking up gardening regardless of space constraints with creative indoor planting.
Do you already have a green thumb? Or are you just looking for a splash of green in your small home? Perhaps the new urban gardening movement is the next step for you.
Stick around for apartment gardening tips and hacks to kickoff your DIY indoor garden.
Before we answer that, think about it for a moment, why is this city-born, small space movement thriving anyway?
Well, the idea that you need a plot of land and full sun to set up a garden is outdated. Today, a huge percentage of people worldwide live, work, and raise families in metropolitan areas where a traditional garden space can be a luxury.
Inevitably, new gardening practices especially suited for limited spaces evolved.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons you may want to have an apartment garden:
Readily Available Fresh Produce
You can definitely cut down on the frequent trips to the grocery store by growing your own vegetables, fruits, herbs, and spices. It only takes a few well-managed planters to ensure a consistent supply of fresh produce. It is even possible to grow fruit trees indoors.
A Year-Round Garden
Unlike the outdoors, where the elements and seasons limit your gardening efforts, an indoor garden is capable of year-round yield. You will need to plan well and figure out which plants perform well in which months.
Indoor Garden Decor
Lots of people are integrating apartment gardening into their home decor designs for a burst of color and life. From step gardens and well-placed terrariums to potted plants and hanging baskets, you can easily merge outdoor freshness with indoor charm.
According to an environmental pollution study, plants act as filters against air pollutants and can be effective in reducing indoor air contamination.
Other studies have also linked gardening to stress reduction and improved quality of life.
Setting up an indoor garden is thrilling, but the fun can quickly drain out of it if you don’t plan everything carefully and know what to expect.
Here are a few things to keep in mind during the planning stage:
Consider Your Available Area
Space is a big issue when it comes to apartment gardening. The lack of it means that you can’t take the whole shindig outdoors, but it also means you have to be cautious about the amount of space you allocate indoors.
Allocate too much space and it may feel like the garden is getting in the way, especially when it begins to flourish.
The best indoor gardens look like they were always meant to be there, compact and intentional.
Scouting your space lets you know how much you can afford to part with and where.
Consider Your Budget
Gardening can be cheap or not so cheap depending on what you go for. If you want luxury, then, by all means, indulge.
However, if your goal is, say, to eliminate grocery shopping, try and trim your budget for the best money-saving impact. For instance, vegetables, herbs, fruits, and spices are a lot cheaper to grow compared to large flowering plants.
Consider the Type of Garden
The type of garden you want will have an impact on your space and budget.
When figuring out what to put in your garden, think about what you need the garden for. If you like to cook, perhaps ingredient plants like basil, lavender, and rosemary may come in handy. If you want lots of color, you might enjoy begonias, pansies, or petunias.
If you are all about aesthetics, perhaps you’d prefer ornamental plants that blend well with the decor and make your space pop.
Where To Place the Garden
You’ll need to consider your apartment layout and the amount of direct sun available as these will impact what you grow and where you grow it.
Some of the places people like to use for their gardens include balconies, mantelpieces, handrails, walls, patios, and windowsills.
If you really don’t have a lot of space near the light, you could plan in a shadier place with shade-loving plants like pothos.
Apartment gardening is far from complicated. Although, there are some pretty spectacular exceptions out there that are part of complex indoor landscaping schemes.
But for the most part, indoor gardens are easy DIY projects anyone can handle regardless of their expertise.
Below we’ve shared some of the most popular no-sweat indoor gardening ideas.
Vertical gardening is the new kid on the block. It’s the kind of technique most urban dwellers needed due to a total lack of space. Search the web for DIY ways to grow your plants upwards on suspended planters.
You can also set up the garden on mounted wall panels. Trellises are also excellent for vertical growing and you can make them yourself.
Use your kitchen windowsill or vertical gardening to plant fresh herbs, veggies, and even fruits like strawberries right where you’ll use them. You can also plant root vegetables like potatoes and carrots as a container garden on your stoop or balcony.
Rolling shelves are amazing for apartment gardening. Why?
Well, say you’re still undecided about the plants you want to grow (this is common, especially for newbies). If you’re not sure about what you want to grow, chances are you’re not well equipped with the temperature and humidity info of the said plants.
Rolling shelves afford you the luxury of moving around your indoor garden, depending on its needs.
If you’re looking for one of the most beautiful settings in indoor gardening, this is it. Hanging gardens never disappoint. They are highly picturesque and create moods and atmospheres in a way that no other decorative element can.
Also, by hanging baskets or containers from the ceiling, you save a lot of surface space.
Think of terrariums as miniature gardens inside glass containers. They are like aquariums (see the name similarity?) but for plants.
Terrariums are classy, neat, and super compact. If you don’t want to go overboard with the whole gardening thing or get your hands dirty, this can be perfect for you. Plus, terrariums make amazing centerpieces for any room.
Looking for a hands-off approach to apartment gardening?
Technology has got your back on that. For years researchers have been looking into ways of automating gardening. And now, we have smart gardens, which are essentially electronic containers that do all the work.
These devices once set up, will automatically water the plants based on plant specifications, balance soil pH and nutrient levels, and balance lighting requirements using grow-lights.
Now that we’re done with all the planning, choosing the type of garden, and deciding on what to grow, it’s time to get to the actual planting.
Keep in mind that not all indoor plants share the same requirements. Since you’re gardening and not simply decorating your apartment, you’re likely going to experiment with a variety of plants that serve your gardening needs.
Still, the following basic indoor gardening tips should come in handy as necessary general knowhow:
Understand Your Plant’s Light Requirements
It’s simple; you should go for plants that don’t need direct sunlight since your garden is indoors. Also, you may not be able to cater to every single plant’s light needs as they are lumped together. The rule of thumb is ‘all plants need sunlight’ — just ensure that your garden is exposed. Not directly, but not in shade either.
Learn How and When to Water Each Plant
Typically, most indoor plants are just fine with weekly watering. You can water them two times a week too. The real threat is not dehydration but overwatering.
Just remember, indoor gardens don’t lose as much moisture as outdoor ones. Some succulents don’t require much at all.
Occasionally Mist Your Garden
Humidity is essential to plants and since your garden is not in its natural setting, you’re going to have to provide humidity. You can use a spray bottle to occasionally mist your garden.
Potting Material is a Big Deal
You probably shouldn’t use regular garden soil for your apartment garden as it doesn’t drain well and can easily turn into a stone.
What you need is a potting mix specifically designed for indoor gardening in containers. The ideal potting soil should contain organic components like peat moss or compost.
Yes, Indoor Plants Need to be Fertilized
A traditional outdoor garden has access to natural soil nutrients. Your garden won’t have that. Fertilize your garden no more than once a month for healthy plants.
Well, you could say a garden is a garden but there is a huge difference when it comes to maintaining an outdoor garden compared to an indoor one.
For starters, an outdoor garden will limit the species of plants you can grow due to climatic conditions. With indoor gardening, you have a sense of free reign to grow whatever you want as it’s a controlled environment.
Sure, the outdoors offers excellent lighting, temperature, and humidity conditions most of the time. But these elements, especially rainfall, can change patterns without notice.
Still, at the end of the day, they are both great gardening options, and choosing either mostly depends on your needs.
By the way, did you know you can have the best of both worlds?
Yes, you can do that by setting up your garden on the balcony or verandah. This way, your garden still gets enough light and temperature, just not directly. On the other hand, your garden also enjoys a sense of indoor protection.
Looking for more ways to create atmosphere? Read 5 Simple Ways to Bring Summer Into Your Home
There are still a few potential snags that may arise regarding starting an apartment garden. Keep them in mind, however, and you should do fine.
Space May Always Be an Issue
Indoor plants don’t generally grow to their natural sizes as apartment gardening means restricted and confined spaces. You’ll have to make do with what you have and improvise where possible.
You can always repot your plant to a bigger container if it’s growing too wild, but you’re always limited to the size of container you can use indoors.
If you have a patio or a landing, you might also consider container gardening, a trellis, or window boxes for a miniature outdoor garden.
Gardening Can Be Tedious
Growing a successful garden will definitely eat into your time. If you don’t have much time to spare, smart gardening may be your best bet.
As small as it is, an apartment garden requires routine. You’ll need some sort of commitment as indoor plants are 100 percent dependent on your care.
Light and Temperature Regulation
Temperature and light can pose a serious challenge to your gardening efforts. It’s easy to end up with a dead or an unhealthy garden if you don’t consider your apartment layout and climate beforehand.
Some plant species may be impossible to grow if your house is too hot or too cold for their wellbeing. All of this calls for initial planning so you can figure out whether you should consider digital alternatives like grow lights, hydroponic kits, fans, etc.
Pets and Kids
Yeah, pets and kids are a challenge too. Your garden may not really be at peace as these two lovely housemates are notorious for wreaking havoc on indoor plants. Pets can even go as far as turning planters into litter boxes.
You may also want to be extra cautious with what you plant as kids and pets tend to ingest plants, and can lead to poisoning.
Are you having second thoughts about apartment gardening? If you are, relax! Everything you do is bound to have challenges at some point.
Besides, when it comes to indoor gardening the good far outweighs the less than pretty. It’s worth knowing what may happen so you can take the necessary steps to prevent it from happening.
Remember, every apartment gardener out there has one or more plant murder on their record. It’s an inevitable part of the process as you figure out what works in your unique conditions.
More importantly, the activity is beneficial to your health and mental wellbeing while augmenting the beautiful aspects of your home.