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Apartment Gardening for Beginners - Tips and Tricks

September 20, 2019

A new generation of urban gardeners has emerged. From low-maintenance succulents to full-on vegetable harvests, apartment gardening has never been more popular. And for a good reason.

Renters and beginner gardeners alike, Apartment List is here to help. Below is a list of tips and tricks for starting your apartment gardening journey.

1. Start Small with Succulents

Start small and choose your first plants carefully based on ease of care. Succulents make terrific first plants for beginners as they are virtually maintenance-free and come in a myriad of varieties such as jade, aloe vera, zebra plant, panda plant, and echeveria. 

2. Consider Your Schedule

Pick plants to grow based on the amount of time you have to devote to your fledgling garden. Low maintenance types for those with a busy work schedule and fast-paced social life are best. For those homebodies and work at home freelancers, growing high maintenance species will be challenging but highly rewarding. 

3. Think About Your Apartment Layout

Choose your first plants based on the positioning of windows and amount of light available in your space. Apartment garden varieties that thrive in the interior recesses require minimal light while some demand direct sunlight for hours a day.

4. No Windows, No Problem

For apartments with minimal windows, choose plants that are happiest in low light areas such as weeping figs, peace lilies, ivy, money plants, and fittonias. 

5. Make Use of Your Light

Lucky apartment owners who have multiple windows with ample hours of full direct sunlight will be able to grow a wide variety of house plants such as cacti, succulents, and tropical flowers. 

6. Step Up Your Cooking Game

Home chefs and health-centric apartment dwellers will love tending to and harvesting from an indoor kitchen garden. From artisanal lettuce to mini tomatoes, there are practically endless tasty plants to grow.

Don't forget to spruce up those meals with some herbs! A kitchen window provides ample space for creating a small herbs garden with favorite flavors to jazz up your dishes.

7. Brighten Things Up with Flowers

For those who love flowers, annuals such as pansies, geraniums, petunias, and begonias will provide beautiful blooms.

8. Think Vertical

For small apartments and studios, vertical planters that attach to the walls will allow you space to grow. Choosing slim and tall potted plant varieties will free up space as well. 

9. Utilize Your Window Ledges

Window ledges can be used to hold long rectangular planters and tiny pots for a window garden effect. Be sure to choose plants that will thrive in full sunlight and make sure to turn plants, so they don’t grow against the glass in the direction of the sunlight. 

10. Freshen the Air

Plants can purify the air, so placing them in the most oft-used rooms of the apartment can provide the most health benefits. 

11. Play with Macramé

Hanging plants in fun macramé planters allow you to garden in even the tiniest spaces. Ivy and other vines will provide an eye-catching aesthetic when cascading down the sides of the planter. 

12. Add Splashes of Color

Add pops of playful color with vibrant-hued planters in a variety of shapes and textures. Mix and match for an energetic display you and your plants will love.

13. Be Creative With Planters

There is no end to the creative and unique planters available, a throw-back favorite has always been the Chia Pet and there are loads of other playful planters available instore and online.

14. Stick to a Watering Regimen

No matter the plants you choose to get started gardening indoors, it’s imperative you follow a watering schedule based on each plant’s needs. Many people water their plants on the same schedule, which can lead to overwatering. Each plant has unique needs and water requirements. 

15. Use your Resources

Consult with the care instructions provided if you buy full-grown or starter plants. Additionally, the internet provides a plethora of valuable information for the care of plants based on species. 

16. Don’t Disregard the Soil

Soil type is important for plant health and growth. Many plants prefer a higher acidic to neutral soil with 7.0 pH level or above. Fertilizer can be used in potted plants but should be mixed with regular potting soil to avoid over-fertilization. Make sure all planters have enough drainage provided by holes in the bottom. A single layer of rocks can be added to the bottom of the planter to avoid blockage of drainage due to compacted soil. 

17. Invest in Modern Tools

Today’s expansive and exciting range of modern gardening tools, accessories, and accouterments has never made gardening for beginners easier. You can discover everything available to get started with your apartment garden just by searching google or amazon.

18. Consider the Humidity

Mini greenhouses and portable greenhouse covers are helpful for an apartment with a low humidity environment. Some varieties of plants grow better in high to medium humidity conditions such as dracaena, begonias, and ferns. 

Bonus Tips!

  • Rolling shelves with multiple tiers are terrific for moving your kitchen garden about from harvesting by the kitchen sink to repotting and watering on the patio. As well, rolling units with adjustable shelves can be reconfigured as your plants grow.
  • Seed sheets offer beginner gardeners the chance to grow their garden from seed to full-grown plant. They often come in kits for specific purposes such as salad, herbs, container garden, and organic plants. The seed sheets, or pouches, safely dissolve in the water letting the underlying plants grow easily. This can be highly rewarding and exciting to watch the seedlings sprout then eat the bounty.
  • Smart gardens, such as the popular Click & Grow line, have made apartment gardening easier than ever before. By pairing nature with technology, these intelligent plug-and-grow devices allow plants to grow and flourish from seed pod to adult plant with near-zero effort. You simply order the seed pods you would like from herbs to tomatoes add water and plugin and the smart technology does the rest. These gardens come in a wide selection of sizes and shapes to fit your space. 
  • Subscription box lovers... great news. There are so many plant subscriptions to look into. From super greens that grow and can be harvested for salads within 5 to 10 days to succulent subscriptions, there is a plan for the perpetually hooked plant person.

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Joanna is a freelance writer at Apartment List. She has over 16 years of experience creating interior design, furnishings, home decor, and home improvement content. Read More
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