As we’ve grown we’ve begun to see a lot of questions from our readers and followers. To help better answer these questions, we’ve put together this FAQ page that covers a wide range of indoor gardening topics. Hopefully, it can give you some insight and answer some of your questions around indoor gardening.
On that note, if you have a question that isn’t on this list let us know! We’ll try to answer it, and if it fits we’ll add it to this list.
What are The Best Plants To Grow Indoors?
There are a wide range of plants you can grow indoors, but some easy ones include:
- Peace Lily
- Snake Plant
- Many Succulents or Cacti
In many cases, the best plant to grow is one you’re excited about as you’ll be more likely to take care of it. In all cases, you should consider how much space you have as it will always be better to grow a plant that has enough room.
How Much Effort Do Indoor Plants Take?
There’s a wide range of difficulty for indoor plants, and you should select one that matches up with the time you have available. On the low maintenance side, you might only need to spend a few minutes per week checking on them and watering them. Plants like succulents need very little care, and can often go a week or more without needing any attention.
On the flip side, many fruits or vegetables can take a lot more effort. Certain ones might need to be checked and cared for everyday for proper growth.
The plant age also plays a role in effort required. Younger plants or seedlings often need more care, and are less hardy than fully grown plants.
Can You Grow Any Plant Indoors?
Technically yes, almost any plant is growable indoors. Practically, it becomes very difficult to grow many high maintenance plants indoors without very specialized setups. These can often be labor and cost intensive, and require lots of prior knowledge to set up correctly.
What Are The Benefits of An Indoor Garden?
Having an indoor garden has numerous benefits that one can enjoy, including:
- Visual appeal
- Edible Food
- Pleasant aromas
- Cleaner Air
- Reduced stress
And so much more. We always encourage everyone to start their own indoor garden, even if it’s just a single plant.
How Much Space Does an Indoor Garden Need?
This can vary quite a lot depending on the plant, anywhere from a small windowsill to an entire room. Small plants, like chives, can grow in small pots and take up almost no room. If space is a concern, start with a smaller plant over forcing a larger plant to grow in too small of a space.
What Soil Do I Use For An Indoor Garden?
You should always use potting soil that is designed to be used in containers. In most cases, general purpose potting soil is good enough and will be perfectly acceptable.
However, in certain cases, like succulents or cacti, you may need to purchase specific soil. This often has better drainage, and is designed for these types of plants that like their soil to dry out faster than traditional plants.
You can also look out for specific soil mixes that target specific plants, like this citrus fruit mix for example. These often come with a different mix of nutrients that specifically target the plants they’re advertised for. They’re usually not strictly necessary, but can help provide a better base to start with.
What’s The Difference Between Outdoor and Indoor Potting Soil?
Indoor potting soil is looser and less compact. This means it drains better, which is essential for healthy, container-grown plants. Using outdoor soil in a container is a good way to kill your plants, and won’t provide a healthy medium to grow in.
Next time you’re at a garden store try this; pick up a bag of potting soil and a general purpose topsoil. Notice that the potting soil feels much lighter and looser. That’s intentional to help it drain better when enclosed in a container.
What Container Can I Use For an Indoor Garden?
You can use almost anything from traditional pots, to mason jars, to anything in between. The most important thing to look for is having drainage holes. While you can get around not having these, it’s more difficult and is a project for those with a little experience.
Our pick for the best containers to start with are simple clay pots. These are cheap and easy to find, and due to their porous material combat overwatering. This makes them perfect for beginners or those looking to reduce the maintenance needs of their garden.
Do I Need to Change My Soil?
Yes, indoor soil will eventually lose nutrients and compact over time which reduces drainage. Therefore, it’s best to replace your soil roughly once every 1-2 years to promote healthy growth.
What Is The Biggest Cause For Failed Indoor Gardens?
Indoors, overwatering is a big concern and something lots of beginner gardeners face. Since the water has no place to go, too much water will eventually cause root rot, and that can quickly kill your plants.
Outside of that, lack of sunlight becomes an issue, especially for light hungry plants like fruits and vegetables. This becomes a big issue in the winter when natural sunlight is often less intense.
What Is Root Rot?
Root rot is a mold that grows in the soil that is caused by improper drainage. Left untreated, it is fatal for your plants. The best way to stop root rot is to not overwater, and to make sure that your soil and container drain properly. While it can affect outdoor plants, it is much more common indoors due to the contained nature of container gardening.
How Can I Tell If I’m Overwatering or Underwatering my Plants?
It can be difficult to tell, but sure signs are often leaves that are yellowing, browning, or falling off. These are often one of the signs of a watering problem. You should also feel the soil, how moist it feels can give you insight into whether there is too much water or too little.
Do You Need To Fertilize Indoor Plants?
In most cases yes. The soil in containers has no way to get new nutrients like outdoor soil does, so it’s up to you to provide it. Generally, look to dilute a water based fertilizer down to about half strength, or use a slow release fertilizer to prevent shocking the plants. A large dose of fertilizer at once can harm the plants as it has no way to dilute itself in the soil. For frequency, check with your plant to find out how often it needs to be fed.
Is There a Difference Between Artificial and Natural Light?
Yes, artificial light is often less effective in terms of hours than natural light. This means that you’ll tend to need to give a plant more artificial light than you would sunlight. For example, if a plant needs 6 hours of sunlight you might want to strive for 8 hours of purely artificial light.
How Do I Avoid Pests In My Indoor Garden?
The best defence is to be diligent in checking your plants for signs of pests. If you can catch the problem early it’s usually significantly easier to deal with. If you do find pests, a good natural remedy is soapy water. This is usually enough to deal with small infestations.
Do Plants Clean The Air?
Yes, a 1989 NASA study showed certain plants’ ability to clean indoor air. While recent research has called into question the plant’s effectiveness in this regard, they still do show some improvements to air quality.
How Do I Start an Indoor Garden In The Winter?
The two big issues you’ll face when growing indoors during the winter are sunlight and temperature. For temperature, it’s pretty easy as your home is usually within the range for healthy plants. The main issue arises from plants being too close to sources of temperature changes like a heating vent or near a drafty window.
Sunlight is the other major concern as it’s often less intense during the winter. This means you’ll have to keep your plants exposed to sunlight for longer, or supplement with grow lights. Otherwise, they might not be getting enough light to grow.
What Humidity Do Indoor Plants Like?
Most plants will be happy with the normal levels of humidity in your home. Some plants however do need a bit more humidity than others, and this can be tricky to do during the winter when the air is usually drier. To help, we put together a guide on getting the right humidity levels in your home.
What Temperature Do Indoor Plants Like?
Most indoor plants will do perfectly fine with the average temperature of a home. Many plants also enjoy periods of cooler temperatures at night, so this is fine as well.
The big concern when growing indoors is keeping your plants away from areas that experience large temperature swings. This includes areas that are drafty or poorly insulated, as well as areas near heating or cooling fixtures.
Can I Move Indoor Plants Outdoors In The Summer?
Yes you can. In fact, many plants will greatly benefit from some outdoor sun during the summer. Do take care to move them back indoors before the first frost as this is fatal to a large majority of plants. Also, pests become more of a concern when outdoors so be on the lookout for them.
Why Are My Plant’s Leaves Yellowing?
This is usually the sign of a lack of care in one or more areas. The two most common causes are overwatering or too much sunlight. With sunlight, it will often progress to browning leaves that will eventually fall off and die.
Can You Grow From Seeds Indoors?
Yes, in most cases it’s often easier to start seeds as you have better control over the environment. You can always directly plant them into your soil, or use seed starter trays and transplant them as they sprout.