Gardening is a fun and rewarding past time enjoyed by many all over the world. There’s something empowering about growing your own plant or food, and reaping the benefit of your hard work! While some people love to have grow their gardens outdoors not everyone has the luxury of that. If you don’t have the room to grow a magnificent garden out side your home you can bring that garden inside and have it be no less wonderful!
However, it can be a bit daunting to know where to begin. There’s so much information out there, and so many different plants one could potentially grow. It can difficulty to parse all this information, and figure out what is going to work best for you. To help mitigate potential information overload we’ve put together a simple guide to help get the beginner started. While it definitely is only skimming the surface of some topics, it’s more than enough to give someone the information they need to begin growing their very own garden in their home!
Choosing your plants and Container
The first step to getting your garden up and running is picking the right plants and a good location for them to thrive. Most plants will do perfectly fine indoors, although some are better suited for it than others. If you’re a beginner it’s generally a good idea to pick a plant that is well suited to indoor growth to make things a bit easier.
Pick Your Plants
There’s a wide variety of plants you can pick from to satisfy the desires of ever gardener. Whether you’re looking to grow something you can look at, or something you can eat, you’re sure to find a plant that fits your needs. First, figure out why you want to grow the plant, do you want it to look nice, serve a purpose for cooking or maybe be an edible on it’s own? This will help you narrow down your choices.
Peace Lilies bloom a beautiful white flower and are perfect for growing indoors!
Hibiscus come in a variety of colors and make a beautiful addition to any home.
FOR VEGGIES LOVERS
Carrots are a fantastic vegetable to grow indoors and are perfect for a variety of dishes.
Another easy to grow vegetable is eggplants, which are delicious on their own or great for adding to various dishes.
FOR THE COOKS
A great addition to many recipes is chives, which are also a very easy to grow indoor plant.
Mint is a great herb for not only cooking, but is an excellent addition to many types of drinks.
This is only a small sample of what you could potentially grow. If nothing on the list interests you don’t worry, there is a ton of other plants you can grow! The important thing is to find something that you enjoy growing and can commit to working on. Gardening does take a fair amount of work and consistency to see the best results; it makes it much easier to stick to it if you’re excited about what you’re growing.
For those still not sure what to grow a lot of people who are just getting into gardening are looking for something easy that requires little care and won’t die on them. For those in this boat a couple options to consider are:
Hopefully that should be enough to get even the most indecisive person started.
Where to Garden
After you’ve decided what you garden you’ll need to pick a spot where to garden. Probably the most important thing to consider is light. Each type of plant require different amounts and intensities of light, so make sure that you do a bit of research to know what your particular plant needs. You don’t want to put a full light plant in a shady bedroom as it surely will die.
Depending on which plant you’ve decided to grow you’ll need varying amounts of light to achieve optimal growth. Most plants need a good deal of light for several hours a day, but there are many varieties which will do just as well in lower light conditions. It’s important to do a bit of research on what your particular plant needs, and plan the growing space accordingly.
For most plants you’ll want to pick a nice space near a window that gets a decent amount of sun a day. Do also take note of how direct the sun should be on the plants, some plants like indirect light or they may start to wilt.
For those that don’t have the luxury of bright windows, or perhaps want to grow more than their window space allows, there is always the option of setting up artificial lights.
There is a bunch of varieties designed to simulate different amounts and intensities of light. Once again you’re going to want to do a little bit of reading here and match your type of light to the plant you’re looking to grow.
A simple example for a single light available on Amazon is listed below.
This is just one example of a small grow light for indoor gardens. There are a lot more of various sizes and shapes, so you’re certain to find something that fits your needs and space.
For those heavily utilizing growing lights it may be wise to also invest in a light timer. This is a simple device that handles turning the lights on and off and helps to simulate a more natural environment. It’s also very convieient for the forgetful gardener.
One thing a lot of beginning gardens fail to take into account is the growing temperature. Some plants might not do as well in varying temperature levels or humidity. It’s important to know what the ideal environment for your plant is going to be.
While most plants will do perfectly fine in the average home temperature, one thing most don’t do well with is large temperature swings. The biggest culprit of this is drafty windows as most indoor gardens are setup near windows for lighting purposes. If the window your plant is near lets in a lot of cold air during the winter months then it may be negatively impacting your plants growth. It’s advised to keep plants out of these conditions.
Another temperature control issue might also arise from being too close to a heating or cooling vent. If your air condition is constantly blasting cold air onto the plant, or your heating hot, then that can also negatively effect the plant’s growth. It’s important to take this into consideration as you choose the spot for the plant as it’s much easier to move a plant than change your temperature control systems structure!
Lastly, consider the size you want your plant to grow. Most plants can be grown from a wide range of sizes from small cups to large pots. It’s important to know how large of an area you have for the plants before you make your choice to ensure that the sizing will work with your space. Most plants have an average range that they live between.
Also be aware of any associated maintenance costs of pruning or trimming a fast growing plants. While many plants are capable of being contained to a smaller size than they’d naturally grow to, some require a good deal of maintenance work in order to maintain that size. If you’re looking for more low maintenance approach it may not be the best fit to get one of these fast growing plants.
So you’ve got your plants all picked out and planted and it’s time to make sure your plant is as healthy as possible. This generally involves a schedule of watering, possibly fertilizing, and generally keeping an eye out for any visible issues. One of the great things about growing plants is they often have visual cues that something is wrong. The problem is that different plants have different meanings behind a visual problem. Wilting leaves might mean too much water or too little. It might also mean that it’s getting too direct light, or not enough light to begin with! If you notice something wrong with your plant doing a quick search on the symptoms to see what the possible causes could mean before proceeding.
Seed Vs Plant
One thing to keep in mind is the different needs for a seed vs a full grown plant; if you’ve chosen to start out your growing endeavors from a seed that is. Generally seeds or seedlings will require differing amounts of water or light than a full grown plant. Keep this in mind, and be ready to change your habits once the seedling matures. It’s also good to note that the margin for error is a bit lower when starting with a seed. While most plants are quite hardy and can deal with some neglect, you may not be as lucky with a seedling. So keep your eyes on them.
Water is essential to every type of plant. The big difference though is that how much to water a plant varies greatly between the different varieties. Generally, watering when the soil is dry to the touch is a good rule of thumb, but always do a bit of research on what your particular plants needs. If you’re a bit forgetful (or over/under) from time to time you should be fine, most plants are quite sturdy. Just don’t make a habit out of it.
If you’re very forgetful, or perhaps need to travel away from home often, then here’s a couple of good plants to grow indoors that require low amounts or infrequent watering.
Now just because they’re low water doesn’t mean to neglect them! But, they can survive a bit of a drought brought on by a forgetful gardener.
One of the biggest problems a gardener can have is pests, and indoors is no exception. There is a large amount of different insects and other pests that can seriously harm your plants. To make matters worse, a lot of these pests can spread extremely quickly, so it’s important to be on the look for the warning signs of a potential infestation.
The first sign of a potential pest problem is the visible site of the bugs They could be anywhere from the soil, to the stem, to leaves, really anywhere on or near the plants. Just because you don’t see any bugs, doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Also keep an eye out for general sickly looking plants or areas of the plants. This could include mis-colored leaves, holes in the leaves, or damage to any parts of the plant.
The exact symptoms will differ from bug to bug, so do a bit of research if you suspect there is a problem. Certain types of plants are know to attract specific pests, so reading up on the common ailments to the plant you selected can help you determine the culprit. This is especially true in the case where the damage is apparent, but there are no pests visible.
Fertilizing your plants is another very important step. This is especially for plants growing indoors in containers as generally the soil becomes less and less nutrient filled as your plants absorb it. It’s generally easier to add a bit of fertilizer every once in a while than to completely replace the soil.
There are tons of different fertilizers on the market most of which will be perfectly fine. For indoor use it’s generally advised to choose an organic one as these are generally safer for the plants and keep chemicals out of the home. You can also go the route of making your own compost to use as a nutrient rich fertilizer. Be advised though that is decaying material, and can often times bring a smell along with it. This makes it tad bit unpleasant for indoor uses.
For a fertilizing schedule it once again depends on the type of plant you’re growing. A general rule of thumb is once a week for indoor plants, but this is by no means an absolute. Learn about the specifics of your plant and when/how to fertilize and be careful not to overdo it. This is especially important if you’re using a non-organic fertilizer as it can fry the plant.
Depending on your plant the time has finally come to harvest your plant. For non-edible plants a similar process of pruning is likely to be part of your plant care routine. Regardless of the type, some of trimming process is vitally important to optimal growth of the plant. By cutting back the plant itself you’re actually helping the plant to thrive. It can help to strengthen the plant by promoting a good foundation from which to grow from. It’s also good to cut back any dead parts the plant.
Pruning is also vitally important for controlling some of the pest issues above. Many times, the infestation starts localized to a single part of the plant. A vigilant owner can then catch it before it spreads, and remove part of the plant. This allows the unaffected parts of the plant to continue to grow on healthy and happy.
For those that have chosen to grow edible plants this is the point where you’ll get to reap the rewards! Each time of plant has different specifics on when it ripens or when the best time to harvest your herbs are. Do a bit of research but remember all the points above for pruning and trimming apply here as well.
Now, armed with the knowledge to get started go out there and get to gardening! There’s no better way to learn than to do, don’t be afraid to make mistakes and never be afraid to ask questions. Get out there and create the garden of your dreams!