The idea of indoor gardening is essentially just growing plants indoors. There are, however, many different purposes for indoor gardening and multiple styles and techniques that can be used. The reasons for indoor gardening can be strictly practical, purely for enjoyment, or maybe for a little of both. Whatever your reasons for indoor gardening, there is a lot to know about what your specific garden will need and the possibilities are endless when planning out your garden.
Reasons for Indoor Gardening
Indoor gardens can be grown in any indoor space such as homes, offices, restaurants, schools, and anywhere else people would like to see a little bit of life flourish. Plants and flowers can create such a peaceful atmosphere that it makes sense we would try to bring a little bit of their beauty into our homes and workplaces.
Many of us don’t have the yard space for an outdoor garden or live in a climate that would destroy the plants they’re attempting to grow. Even in a mild climate, some plants are too delicate to be left in the fickle hands of Mother Nature. An indoor garden allows us to be in complete control of their environment.
Decor and Enjoyment
A popular reason for indoor gardening is the lovely ambiance fresh flowers and crisp green leaves can provide. Filling your home with living plants gives your decor a vibrancy that lifeless knick knacks and throw blankets just can’t achieve. Many people just love gardening as a hobby but can’t do it outside due to weather or yard space. Even in a small apartment, there are plenty of ways to squeeze some potted plants or hanging baskets in here and there.
Indoor Gardening for Food
A more practical reason for indoor gardening is to reap the fruits of your labor. Many herbs and grasses will thrive in an indoor garden. Fruits and vegetables can be grown indoors as well, though some, like tomatoes and lettuces, will be a little easier than others. With the right supplies and care, nearly any environment can be simulated to create the perfect conditions for whatever you’re trying to grow.
Plants are fantastic air purifiers. While you may want to fill your home with lush green leaves for the lovely decor, a room full of plants will definitely improve the air quality as well. Not only do plants produce oxygen, but they can absorb contaminants from the air like benzene and formaldehyde. The microorganisms in the soil play a part in cleaning indoor air as well.
Supplement Outdoor Gardening
Indoor gardening might not even be your main goal. In areas with a harsher climate, bringing your delicate plants inside can prolong your growing season. You can also grow starter plants indoors in the cooler temperatures and move them to your outdoor garden in the spring. Some plants may need a bit of acclimatization before being moved from their usual conditions of all-day direct sunlight to a drastically different indoor lighting situation.
Types Indoor Gardening
The most common technique for indoor gardening is container gardening using pots, terrariums, and any other upcycled vessels you’d like to try, such as coffee cans, vases, or old paint cans. If you plan to use anything other than a typical plant pot, be sure your container has either drainage holes to allow excess water to escape or at least a few pebbles in it’s base to create some level of drainage. When using pots or any other container for your plants, be sure to repot your plants as they grow to give their roots the room they need.
You can also grow plants indoors with hydroponics, which is growing your plants in sand, gravel, or water without soil but by using added nutrients. Hydroponics can allow plants to grow much faster as their nutrients are readily available to them and they do not need to expend their energy searching for them within the soil. Hydroponic gardens can be as simple as some glass jars with a little water and nutrients or as complex as a fully irrigated table set up to grow a vast garden of herbs and veggies.
Living Walls and Edible Walls
Living walls are a unique technique you can use to create your indoor garden in a small space. They use irrigation tanks to provide the plants with a steady supply of water and nutrients. These walls can be constructed simply as a beautiful piece of decor or can be used to grow a small farm filled with lettuces, herbs, peas, or strawberries. Some herbs, fruits, and vegetables will grow better than others on a living wall so do some research before trying to set up a potato farm along your hallways.
Necessities for Indoor Gardening
A lack of outdoor garden space may be the reason you have turned to indoor gardening, but at least some indoor space is still required. You may have a full living room you can dedicate to growing an indoor farm or perhaps a single windowsill with a long, narrow pot full of dirt to grow some herbs. The needs of your specific plants and their root systems will need to be considered when planning your garden so they will have the space they’ll need to properly grow and thrive.
Some plants require very little natural light to thrive while others absolutely cannot go without it. Sunlight is an obvious choice to help your plants grow but for an indoor garden, you may not have much direct sunlight available or it likely won’t be available for as many hours as your plants need.
If you plan on growing some basic houseplants, standard incandescent light bulbs may do the trick. For herbs and seedlings, fluorescent lights might suffice. Any plants that produce fruit or flowers will need LED or HID grow lights in order to flourish. Different types of plants will have different lighting needs so investigate your specific plants and what they’ll require while planning out your indoor garden.
Soil and Nutrients
Choosing the right soil for your plants is essential if they are to grow to their full potential. Indoor potted plants require soil that is light and fluffy so the soil can drain properly when watered. A medium weight soil is good for plants that will be in direct sunlight as it will retain water better than lighter soil. A light soil is better for hanging plants or plants that will not be in direct sunlight. Fertilizer can be added to your indoor garden as well to replenish the nutrients in the soil. Repot your plants and give them fresh soil as often as they need it to keep them happy and healthy.
Water is the simplest but one the most important things you indoor garden will require. It sounds easy, but watering your garden is more involved than pouring a bit of water over them every few days. Every plant is different and some will require more or less water than others. Some like to be watered from above while others prefer bottom watering so the leaves don’t get wet and the lowest roots can soak up the moisture. Under-watering can dry plants out and give them crunchy leaves while over watering can turn their leaves yellow and eventually kill them.
Temperature and humidity will also affect how much water they require at any given time of the year. You can gauge how much water your indoor garden needs by checking that the top few inches of the soil isn’t dry and that the soil near the drainage holes isn’t soaking wet. It’s important to research how much water your specific plants need to keep them in the healthiest condition.
There’s an Indoor Gardening Option for You!
Whatever your living situation, size of your office, or accessibility to sunlight, there is an indoor gardening plan that will work for you. Even if you just want a touch of greenery to brighten a windowless room, there are many houseplants that will thrive in low light. Creative potting techniques can allow you to turn a small corner of your kitchen into a flourishing garden or a blank wall in your living room into a beautiful tapestry of life. Indoor gardening is the perfect way to nurture your green thumb all year round.