Growing plants on a small scale can be a rewarding and a fun way to keep up your green thumb right at home. Whether you're looking to fill up some patio space, or wanting to spruce up your home with some greenery, here are some tips for starting your own apartment garden.
To have a successful garden, you need to make sure you're purchasing plants that have a chance to thrive. Here are some things to consider:
Whether it's indoor or outdoors, the location of where you plan to grow your plants determines what types of plants you can have. Some plants require more light and warmer temperatures, while others can thrive in shaded areas and cooler temperatures.
Each plant has their own maintenance level based on the frequency they need to be watered, fertilized, and repotted. Consider how much time and care you're willing to spend taking care of your plants.
Choosing Your Plants
Here are some options for both edible and decorative plants based on their light requirements.
Low Light Edible Plants
- Herbs - Most herbs, such as chives, cilantro, garlic, mint, oregano, lemon balm, and parsley will do very well in partial shade.
- Lettuce and leafy greens - Lettuce, chard, kale, mustard greens, arugula, and spinach are a few options of leafy vegetables that will thrive in 2-3 hours of light a day.
- Root vegetables - Vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, and onions are great with low sun. However, the less sun they get, the longer it takes to mature for harvest.
- Peas and beans - Bushier varieties require less sun, but all pea and beans do well in both high light and low light environments.
- Winter squashes - A variety of winter squashes will do well in low light, although the harvested squash will be smaller (but still delicious!).
High Light Edible Plants
- Vine vegetables and fruit - Food such as tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, and eggplants are all great options that require lots of light.
- Citrus - Lemons, limes, and oranges are all great citrus fruits that are available in smaller sized trees. They need lots of sun and warmth to produce fruit and grow.
- Avocados - In a warm and sunny environment, these can easily thrive in pots. You can either try to germinate one from a seed or buy a grafted starter plant.
- Berries - Berry plants, such as raspberry, blueberry, and strawberry plants, grow the best in full sun environments. You'll get the sweetest fruit if they mature in the sun. Some berries grow a bit wild and bushy, such as blackberries, and may not be suitable for a balcony.
- Dwarf trees - There are lots of fruit trees that have been intentionally selected to be grown at home. These are perfect apartment plants if you have the sun to support it! Some types available are apple, pear, fig, olive, and bananas, but there are so many more that you can find.
Low Light Decorative Plants
- Snake plants
- Peace lily
- Spider plant
- Zamioculas (ZZ plant)
- Aglaonema (Chinese evergreen)
- African violet
High Light Decorative Plants
- Fiddle leaf fig
- Jade plant
- Night blooming jasmine
Make sure to follow the instructions on the plant's care tag or the seed packet. Overwatering is a common cause of plant death and can be mitigated by using pots with drainage holes and using a saucer, or drip trays for larger planter boxes.
When settling your plants into new pots or planters, you can line the floor with newspaper and toss into the compost for easy clean up. Avoid putting any soil down the drain as it can cause build-up.
As your plants grow and new leaves die off, you can prune them off to support your plant's new growth. Compost any dead plants at the end of the growing season to keep your house looking clean and tidy.