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The Ultimate Guide to Creating an Indoor Garden

Hands and various indoor plants including a pothos plant and a pilea plant

There are many reasons to create an indoor garden. Whether you have little yard space or find the idea of an easy-to-access green area appealing, an indoor garden is fun to make and a rewarding experience.

Gardens contain so many useful plants such as herbs and small vegetables that you can use daily. This guide to creating an indoor garden will help you make the most of your space and nurture plants in your own home.

How to Create an Indoor Garden

  1. Set up a garden space
  2. Choose the right plants
  3. Know the tips for success
  4. Get mature potted plants

Set up a Garden Space

Depending on your goals, your indoor garden might be in a greenhouse on an apartment balcony or in a vacant room in your home. Before you start the garden process, these spaces must be repurposed so that you can have enough light and room to meet your goals. Overall, this room should not be too cold or too hot and there should be ample sunlight. So, pick a room with large windows or be prepared to supplement with LED growing lights. Here are some expert tips on finding a good indoor gardening spot:

  • Capitalize on the morning sun. Plants are the healthiest when they start the day with plenty of sunshine. For the best results, put your garden in a room with an east-facing window.
  • Use high-quality grow lights. Indoor lighting conditions aren’t the same as outdoor light, so you need to supplement during times of the day when the sun isn’t around much. The experts recommend GE Grow Light 9-watt Balanced Spectrum LED bulbs and GE Red bulbs for different stages of growth.
  • Make enough room for all the plants. Set up pots and planters on raised beds so that each plant has enough room to grow roots and reach its full height. Consult each plant’s seed packet instructions to find out how much room they need.

Choose the Right Plants

Not all plants will thrive indoors, so you need to be careful to choose the right types for your garden. Typically, you want plants that don’t need to take up a lot of space and don’t require full outdoor sunlight. These are the top plants that work based on an indoor garden’s typical lighting and temperature:

  • Lettuce is an easy way to start. It’s a typical winter crop but the moderate temperatures indoors make it suitable for growing this plant around the year. For the best results, lettuce should be placed under a grow light that is around 3-4” above the plant.
  • Arugula germinates quickly and is a fast source of nutritious greens. One plant can give you multiple harvests if you collect larger leaves but let the smaller ones to mature. Put these tasty leaves on salads for a slightly bitter kick to your veggie game.
  • Kale is a hardy indoor plant that can be harvested like arugula. It also lasts a long time in the fridge and is considered a superfood for its richness in copper manganese, calcium, potassium, and vitamins A, K, B6, and C. Kale is larger than arugula, so you only need to plant a few seeds in a medium-sized pot.
  • Herbs of all kinds can thrive in an indoor garden since they don’t take up a lot of space. Rosemary and mint are considered to be the easiest to grow after transferring them from a starter plant, while basil and cilantro can be easily grown straight from the seed. For each herb type, research their water and sunlight requirements to group each plant strategically.

It can be tough to remember all the sunlight, and watering frequency requirements for each plant so, keep a log and record when you water and fertilize each plant. Also, make a log of your progress and see how the plants grow under different circumstances. You may find that a new type of light works better than your old grower light. The more you practice cultivating your garden, the better you will be at your methods.

Tips for Success

Starting a garden can lead to a lot of trial-and-error moments, but if you follow these key steps you will be able to tweak your methods as you become a better gardener. These are some tips from the pros:

  • Don’t water daily: While most new gardeners think that daily watering is best, it’s actually better to do less frequent but more thorough watering sessions. This helps you avoid over-watering: the #1 mistake of new gardeners. How do you know if the soil needs watering? Do a quick soil test. Stick your finger into the soil and if it feels dry when you go an inch deep, it needs to be watered.
  • The soil matters: Indoor gardens require different soil. Since you are lacking some sun, you need high-quality potting soil, not the type made for in-ground gardens. This ensures your plants are getting enough nutrition.
  • Fertilize: Your plants should also get more nutrition supplemented by easy-to-absorb liquid fertilizer. For the best results, you should use a liquid fertilizer at least once a month.

Get Mature Potted Plants to Boost Your Indoor Garden Mood

Many expert gardeners start plants off in small planters and then transplant them into a bigger pot of soil. However, there will be times when you just need a boost and you want to insert a mature plant into your indoor garden. When you buy a potted plant, you can instantly enhance your growing space.

For instance, when you plant a mature rosemary plant in your garden, if you carefully prune the leaves, the plant will keep on growing so you can harvest this fresh herb for a long time. This gives you more cooking ingredients to work with versus starting the rosemary plant from scratch on your own.

Also, your indoor garden isn't just about harvesting things to eat, but you need something pretty to look at such as placing a few potted indoor plants around the house. This “Jungalow” aesthetic is quite popular in modern design. As you fill your home with beautiful potted plants, your whole house can feel like a garden — a true stress-relieving abode.

Discover Fresh Indoor Garden Plants

UrbanStems delivers a curated selection of bouquets, plants, and gifts for delivery on the same day or through advance orders. When you need a unique plant to add to your indoor garden without all the work, we can send you something gorgeous your way.

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