Many people enjoy the satisfaction of growing their own plants, but indoor gardeners can sometimes find it difficult to get the sunlight they need. A windowsill garden is a great solution for indoor gardeners who want to add a splash of green to their home. Windowsill gardens are easy to care for and don’t require a lot of space. Plus, they can provide indoor gardeners with the perfect amount of sunlight for their plants.
This type of indoor garden does not require much in the way of materials, tools, money, or time. So, it’s an ideal way to get started (and inspired) in gardening. It’s also an excellent way for those who have limited space to enjoy the wonders of gardening. Below are the materials and steps needed to make your windowsill garden a success!
Materials Needed to Grow a Windowsill Garden
In terms of materials, here’s what you’ll need:
- Containers and waterproof saucers to go underneath them
- Seeds and/or plants
- Potting soil or soilless seed-starting mix
Additionally, you’ll want to find a bright, sunny window in which to place your garden. When you’re ready to assemble your garden, gather all your supplies and locate a clean and comfortable workspace in which you can assemble and water your garden.
A Word About Containers
Containers for your windowsill garden should have drainage holes. However, planter pebbles can provide the same effect if you’re using containers without holes. Larger containers can be effective for giving your plants and herbs enough space to grow. The types of containers or pots that generally produce the healthiest plants are plastic or ceramic. Clay pots can work too but be aware that they can dry out the soil and plants more quickly.
Seeds or Plants?
Herbs and other plants can be grown from seeds or purchased as live plants. Generally, herb seeds germinate and sprout within approximately two weeks and prefer an indoor temperature around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If your home is cooler, consider placing a seedling heat mat under the seeds to provide them more warmth. Doing so will give them a better chance at germinating.
What to Plant
Examples of herbs that can flourish in a windowsill garden include:
- Bay laurel
Plants from an outdoor garden may also be transplanted. However, it’s important to avoid bringing in pests that may be on them, such as aphids. To ensure outdoor plants are pest-free, lightly wash them with diluted soapy water, then rinse them with clean water. This should eliminate most pests that could have traveled indoors on your plants. Still, it’s a good idea to quarantine outside plants from your inside plants for several days. This will ensure you aren’t inviting an infestation.
Planting Your Windowsill Garden
Once you have your materials and seeds or plants ready, begin by placing the potting soil or soilless seed-starting mix into your containers. In most cases, you can also use a 50/50 combination of potting soil and soilless seed-starting mix. Check the planting instructions so you know the best planting depth, as it can be different for each plant type. If planting multiple types of plants in one container, confirm the container is large enough for the plants to grow. Also, be sure the plants have the same environmental needs. Learning your plants’ ideal growing conditions will produce lovely, healthy plants and prevent them from wilting, or drying out.
How to Grow a Windowsill Garden: Water Considerations
Once the plants are secure in their soil, provide water per each plant’s specific needs. Generally, you’ll want to water plants when the soil is dry, but avoid oversaturating them. If water is sitting in the saucer under your container after an hour or so, gently drain it. An affordable device, called a soil moisture meter, can help you determine if your plants need more or less water. This is a fun way for kids to feel more involved in the gardening process too!
How to Grow a Windowsill Garden: Lighting Conditions
For most herbs, you’ll want to find a south-facing window that can provide between 4-6 hours of direct light. However, some plants, such as mint, parsley, and cilantro, prefer more shady spots. You can place these types of plants in a west-facing window. More information about ideal lighting should be provided on your seed packet or label that comes with the plants. During winter, if sunlight isn’t as accessible, you may supplement with full-spectrum indoor grow lights to keep your plants thriving. Lastly, be sure your plants don’t touch the cold windows during the winter, as this will inhibit their growth.
Maintaining Your Windowsill Garden
By following the steps above, your indoor windowsill garden should be complete and ready to admire and enjoy! Now, you’ll just need to check on your plants every day to ensure they’re growing strong and healthy. Here are a few tips to keep your plants happy and blooming:
- Fertilize every two weeks with a half-strength fertilizing solution.
- Occasionally water the plants by mimicking a gentle rainfall with the kitchen sink sprayer.
- Spritz your plants with a misting bottle every few days.
- Loosen the soil every 2 weeks to encourage drainage and growth.
- Rotate plants once a week to ensure every part of the plant has access to adequate light.
- If you see pests, such as aphids, spray your plants gently with diluted soapy water. Also, keep infected plants away from healthy ones.
- When you’re ready to harvest the herbs, be sure they are at least 4-6 inches tall. Remove no more than one-third of the plant so they can recover from the harvesting.
- Use sharp plant shears to make a clean, precise cut right where the stems and leaves meet. This will allow for quicker healing of the plants.
How to Grow a Windowsill Garden – The Wrap-up
An indoor windowsill garden can bring life and joy to any space and any gardener! With the appropriate attention and care, your herbs and other plants will soon be flavoring your favorite dishes and creating smiles every single day.