Indoor gardening is an excellent way to grow your own vegetables, herbs and flowers without leaving the comfort of your own home. Not only that but it can reduce stress levels and provide nutritious food for your family members as well.
Before you begin gardening indoors, it’s essential to understand the fundamentals. These tips will get you on your way to becoming an expert indoor gardener!
1. Choose the Right Plants
No matter if you’re just beginning or have been gardening for years, the first step in indoor gardening is selecting the correct plants. There are many types of indoor plants, each with their own special requirements and care guidelines.
Some plants require minimal care and don’t mind being neglected or being in dimly-lit spaces (e.g., office cubicles). On the other hand, others need more TLC but will still thrive given adequate light, soil conditions and moisture levels.
Once you’ve selected the plants that best suit your lifestyle, take into account how much light they require. Most tropical plants don’t require much direct sunlight but will appreciate a visit from time to time to a windowed room for some fresh air.
For larger, sun-loving plants, grow lights may be necessary to create the ideal environment. Some species such as ferns and bamboo thrive in low light levels and can even tolerate some shade.
You can also select plants that are naturally adapted to the climate in your home, such as Pothos and bird’s nest ferns – both of which thrive in humid bathrooms.
If you’re new to indoor gardening, begin with a small plant or two and gain confidence as you learn how to care for them. From there, you can gradually expand into larger and more varied plants as your confidence grows.
Be sure to regularly monitor your plants for pests and disease with a houseplant spray. If you spot fungus gnats or other insects, try to eliminate them as soon as possible. If the problem persists, consider repotting the plant; this will help keep these pests away from other houseplants in your yard.
2. Consider Your Light Needs
When starting new indoor plants, it’s essential to take into account their light requirements. Doing this will enable you to select the suitable plants for your space and guarantee they thrive.
Plants require different levels of lighting to thrive and develop properly. Depending on your objectives, you may prefer low-light indoor gardening or bright, consistent light for your flowering houseplant.
Your windows are your main source of natural lighting in the home, but not all windows offer equal illumination. For instance, a northern window might offer more direct sunlight while a southern one might only let in indirect light.
You can also supplement the natural light your plants receive from the sun with a grow light. These lights accurately duplicate natural sunlight without creating too much heat, helping promote photosynthesis in your garden.
When selecting grow lights for indoor gardens, be sure to look at the related Color Temperature (CCT) and Color Rendering Index (CRI) ratings on product labels. These ratings demonstrate how closely a light can replicate natural sunlight’s spectrum.
For indoor gardeners, a quality full-spectrum light with a CCT rating near 6500K and CRI of over 85 is ideal. It should have the ideal combination of red and blue wavelengths to promote optimal plant growth.
When starting a garden, it is ideal to do so during spring or summer when plants are readily available and easily planted. Not only will this save you money on your electric bill, but it gives your plants the best chance for survival.
3. Set Up the Right Space
No matter if you’re growing a few herbs or an entire garden indoors, having the right space is essential for successful indoor gardening. Your area should have plenty of windows and natural light so plants can soak up sunlight to photosynthesize and thrive.
If your garden area lacks adequate light, consider getting grow lights for the area. These will allow you to regulate how much illumination your plants receive and create a program that ensures they thrive year-round.
Plants can also be grown in containers; they just need the correct drainage and room for their roots to develop. Herbs prefer 8- to 10-inch pots, while small greens like lettuce or mustard do well in 10- to 12-inch containers.
Once you’ve selected a container, it’s time to choose the ideal plants. Herbs are easy to grow indoors and will provide fresh herbs all year long. Popular indoor garden herbs include basil, chives, dill, mint oregano and parsley – all great choices for any indoor garden!
Vegetables such as cucumbers and tomatoes tend to grow on vines, so a sturdy trellis is necessary for their support. You could also train them against a wall if you have enough room.
Maintaining a stable temperature for indoor gardeners presents another obstacle. Cool-season plants such as lettuce and kale require daytime temperatures around 65 degrees Fahrenheit to thrive; on the other hand, warm-season items like tomatoes and peppers prefer temperatures closer to 80 degrees F.
Indoor gardening is an excellent way to bring the outdoors in and provide yourself with fresh produce year-round. Not only that, but it has many other benefits as well – like reducing your environmental footprint and livening up your space!
4. Create a Watering Schedule
Maintaining your plants’ watering schedule is an essential component for their health and happiness. But it’s not the only factor in maintaining their vitality and growth – other elements also play a role.
Before creating a watering schedule for your plants, remember that each has individual requirements and necessitates tailored care. This holds true whether growing vegetables in a garden or houseplants indoors; thus, research how each plant prefers to be watered before creating one.
One easy way to determine if your plants require water is by sticking your finger into the soil and feeling for dryness. If it feels dry, then it’s time for some extra water.
You can also inspect the soil around your plant’s drainage holes for moisture levels. If it appears soaked, that indicates your plant doesn’t need watering right now.
In general, it’s better to let soil dry out between waterings so air can reach roots and encourage root development. This is especially important for clay-like soil types which need time to dry out before watering; doing so helps them retain moisture longer and prevents overwatering.
Another useful tip is to water when the air temperature is cooler. Hot temperatures cause plants to evaporate too quickly and become dehydrated, so early morning or late evening are ideal times for watering.
Most plants benefit from a once-a-week watering schedule, but it can be challenging to remember when each needs watering. To help with this, create a chart with each plant’s name on it that puts an X on the day of the month they require watering; this will make juggling their individual requirements much simpler while staying consistent.
5. Keep Your Plants Healthy
Indoor gardening can be a rewarding hobby that helps to combat negative energy and provide some much-needed fresh air. But it’s essential to know what plants need in order to flourish, as well as how best to care for yours.
First and foremost, get your plants established correctly and hydrated properly to ensure they’re happy, healthy, and growing well. Overwatering can cause root failure so be sure to check the soil for dryness before watering again.
When watering a plant, an effective rule of thumb is to only water when your finger can penetrate the soil up to the knuckle (middle of finger). If your plants’ leaves appear dull and wilting, extra moisture may be necessary.
Additionally, ensure your indoor garden receives enough sunlight. Some plants require direct sun while others thrive with indirect light.
Once you’ve achieved the ideal balance for your plant, be sure to periodically check on it for any adjustments that need to be made. If there’s not enough light coming into its container, you may need to move it elsewhere.
Another consideration you should make when gardening outdoors is pests, particularly fungus gnats. They can be a serious issue when gardening in enclosed spaces. An inexpensive solution to eliminate them is using neem oil – an organic insecticide. This non-toxic solution won’t harm humans or pets while still protecting your plants effectively.