There are a ton of plants that are perfect for indoor gardens, and many are very easy to grow. In this list we’re not going to look at those however. In fact, we’re looking at the exact opposite. This list is dedicated to some of the most difficult plants to grow in your indoor garden. While they’re not impossible, they do require a lot of extra effort on your part to grow properly.
Proceed with caution. Most plants on this list should be left to expert gardeners and those looking for a serious challenge. If you succeed, you’ll b rewarded with a beautiful plant and the knowledge that you conquered a plant that many have failed to grow.
First up we have orchids which are well known for being very particular plants. While some orchids can be quite easy to grow, many are known to be difficult.
The difficulty comes from specific lighting and water needs. Orchids need specific amounts of both, and even small deviations can be harmful to the plant. To make things more complex, many have different care needs, so what works for one variety might not work for another. This means that you’ll have to research every type of orchid you grow as any past knowledge for other varieties might not be applicable.
Our next pick is artichokes which will be difficult for anyone without a lot of space to grow. At minimum, artichokes require a container that is about 3’ x 3’, which is a lot compared to a variety of other plants. This excludes lots of growers without the space needed to house this plant.
Artichokes also need a lot of light, more than most homes are going to get naturally. This means that most growers will need some type of grow light setup in addition to a lot of space. This adds additional complexity to the setup, and only further pushes the difficulty needed to grow artichokes.
The biggest issue for cauliflower growing is the temperature. Too high of a temperature will cause the plant to “button” which is when it forms many small heads instead of one large one. This is undesirable, and leads to harvests that are lackluster. You can still eat it, but it will be significantly less than a properly grown plant.
Buttoning tends to happen at temperatures above 60°F, which is generally cooler than most homes. That means you’d either need to keep your home cooler, or set up a room specifically for your cauliflower.
Outside of that, cauliflower requires some extra care and lots of light. This makes an already difficult to grow plant even more so. Many people might consider growing in a basement for temperature, but then run into issues with lack of light. It’s sort of a catch-22 situation in that the sunnier areas are also usually warmer. You need to maximize light while minimizing heat which can be a challenge.
Eggplants are another tricky plant to get right indoors. To start, they have a very high light requirement, 10+ hours at least, and that makes them difficult to grow properly. It’s almost guaranteed that you’ll need to use a grow light if growing indoors.
They’re also very large plants that require a good deal of space. Growing containers need to be about 3 feet in diameter to properly grow a single plant. Growing more than 1 or 2 would quickly take up a lot of space. Most indoor growers without dedicated grow rooms are likely to lack the space needed to grow eggplants.
Our next plant, grapes, provides some interesting challenges that can be tricky to account for. To start, they need non-traditional containers to grow. Grapes are climbers, so you’ll need some type of trellis or material for the vines to grow on. This adds extra work for anyone looking to grow grapes.
It also adds some vertical space considerations. Grape vines can often reach up to 9 feet tall, which may be hard to provide indoors. Even if you keep them shorter then that, you’ll still have to account for several feet of vertical growth. Grapes are certainly not a plant with a small growing footprint.
They’re also a fruit, and therefore require a lot of light. Look for 10+ hours, and likely supplement with grow lights. This all means that anyone looking to grow grapes should plan on spending extra time and effort doing so.
Most melons and squashes are going to be difficult to grow indoors, but we’ve selected watermelons here as they’re one of the more popular plants. While it’s not impossible to grow watermelons indoors, you’ll likely need to set up an entire grow room dedicated to them or use a greenhouse.
Watermelons require a ton of space. Their vines can stretch for several feet and need this room to grow properly. You can’t just back the vines to reduce the space needed as this will stunt the growth of the plant. They also often require some type of support setup as the melons themselves become quite heavy as they grow. This is the case even for smaller and dwarf varieties.
They also require a lot of care, light, and water. Even after you set up the environment they’re not easy to grow. Expect to spend a lot of time caring for the fruit if you decide to grow it.
Lastly we have fruit trees. A full grown fruit tree takes up a ton of space, and even dwarf varieties are going to be quite large. You’ll want to make sure that you have enough room to support them as they mature.
They’re also very light and nutrient hungry. You’ll need a space with a lot of bright light, and also be diligent in their care. It’s not very difficult, but can be time consuming and requires someone who enjoys taking care of their plants frequently. Going with dwarf varieties will cut down on the space needed, but still expect to be providing a lot of care to keep them healthy.
Don’t Give Up Hope!
If you’re looking to grow one of the above plants (or any number of other “difficult” plants) don’t give up hope. All of these plants are possible to grow indoors, they just require a lot of extra effort. Make sure you know that heading in, and prepare accordingly. If you put in the effort you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful, healthy plant.