If you’re a bit hesitant to grow plants outdoors or don’t have the space to do so, don’t write off gardening completely. Indoor gardening is great for beginners who are hoping to develop a green thumb. Just like with outdoor gardening, there are tons of different ways you can grow plants indoors. And there are almost endless possibilities for what types of plants you can grow!
We’re going to cover some of the basics you’ll need to know for gardening indoors as well as a few types of plants you can grow.
What Do Indoor Plants Need?
Just because a plant is grown inside, it doesn’t mean its needs are different than if it was growing outside. All plants need the following to flourish.
- Space to grow
- The proper environment
While both outdoor and indoor plants require all of the above, there are some differences regarding how you provide plants with what they need.
Outdoor plants typically have access to the sun, but a roof and walls can limit the amount of sunlight that hits indoor plants. If you have a spot near a sunny window, your plant might receive enough natural light. If you don’t have a bright spot in your house, you might need to use a grow light to provide supplemental lighting.
Another big difference between indoor and outdoor plants is space and environment. When you grow plants outdoors, you often plant them directly into the soil. This probably goes without saying, but this isn’t possible indoors! Instead, you will need to fill containers or pots with potting soil. There are all types of potting soil available, and many of them are great products. When you’re searching for a potting mix, look for one that provides a good mix of aeration, drainage, and water-holding.
Indoor Vegetable Garden
If you wish to grow a vegetable garden indoors, you can do so! The easiest way to grow veggies indoors is in pots. The size of the container will depend on the type of vegetable you want to grow.
Once you’ve found an appropriately sized container, it’s time to fill it with potting soil.
After you’ve filled your container, it’s time to fill it with plants! Most vegetables can be grown from seeds or transplants. Unless you’re growing root veggies such as carrots, beets, and radishes, we recommend starting with transplants since they are easier.
If you’re unsure of what to grow, consider starting with some of these easy-to-grow vegetables that don’t take up a ton of space.
- Head lettuce
- Bok choi
Indoor Flowers for Beginners
Another option for indoor gardening is growing flowers. The easiest way to grow flowers indoors is by growing flowering houseplants. While you can grow traditional cutting flowers such as sunflowers and zinnias indoors, these plants can grow quite tall and take up a lot of space. Plus, these require a lot of sunlight and only bloom once.
Flowering houseplants such as African violets, anthurium, and peace lilies can provide you with long-lasting beauty since they live and bloom for more than one year. Plus, many flowering houseplants only required indirect sun, so they’re perfect if your house has low light.
Indoor Herbal Gardening for Beginners
Growing an indoor herb garden is one of the easiest and most rewarding ways to get started with indoor gardening. Many herb plants take up a small amount of space, so they’re easy to fit in your home. Plus, a few leaves of a fresh herb can add a lot of flavor!
Most herb plants are easy to grow in small containers on a sunny windowsill. If you’re unsure what plants to start with, check out these great herbs for beginners.
Keeping Plants Healthy
No matter what type of plant you’re growing, you’ll need to provide it with basic care to keep it healthy.
While all plants need water to survive, most plants don’t like sitting in water. So you’ll need to find the proper balance between watering too much and not watering enough.
If you water too much, your plants may develop root rot and other problems. If you don’t water enough, your plants will wilt and eventually die.
The frequency you’ll need to water depends on the temperature, light, humidity, size of the plant, potting soil, and other factors. With that said, most indoor plants will need watered 1-3 times per week during the growing season.
Many potting soils contain a small number of nutrients that will sustain plants for their first few weeks of growth. After this point, you’ll need to provide additional nutrients to keep your plants healthy.
Plants require various types of nutrients, including primary nutrients, secondary nutrients, and micronutrients.
Primary nutrients include nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
Secondary nutrients include calcium, magnesium, and sulfur.
Micronutrients include manganese, boron, and molybdenum.
While you can do a deep dive into plant nutrients, soil tests, and providing just what a plant needs, we’re going to keep this beginner-friendly. To give your plants the nutrients they need, look for a product that is designed for the type of plant you’re growing. For example, look for a vegetative fertilizer for crops such as lettuce and kale, and look for a blooming fertilizer for when your tomato or flower plants are beginning to form buds.
Another important thing to note about fertilizers is that you can apply too much! Make sure to read product instructions and apply the fertilizer accordingly.
Even if you put love and care into your plants, they still might be attacked by insects and/or diseases. The first step to getting your plants back on the right track is correctly diagnosing your plant’s problems. Once you figure out what is wrong with your plant, you can select the proper treatment.
Get Started with Indoor Gardening
Now that you know a bit more about indoor gardening for beginners, it’s time to get started! Pick out a plant or two, give them the care they deserve, and learn a bit as you go. Before long, you’ll be an indoor gardening master!