The Urban Gardener: Growing Plants In Your Apartment
Did you know having house plants is good for your health? Research by NASA has shown that houseplants can remove up to 87% of air toxins. House plants also improve concentration and can boost your productivity and mood. If you’re interested in growing some plants in your apartment, but don’t know where to start, check out our guide to adding some greenery to your life.
Before you begin creating a garden in your living room, determine your growing conditions. Check out how much light your home gets each day. Do you live in NYC where it’s cloudy for half of the year, or are you getting 10 hours of sunshine in your LA studio? You may need to add artificial LED lights to help your plants grow. Once you find the best spot for your plants, you can choose species based on how much light they need.
Think about how much water your plant will need. If you’re unable to water a plant regularly, try species from arid climates like cacti or set up a watering system like plant spikes. For anyone native to the northeast or other dry areas of the US, watering your plant will include monitoring the humidity levels during dry winter months. Dry air will wick water away from plants, which will need to be replaced with frequent watering or misting. You can also move your humidity loving plants to the bathroom when you take a shower - the plant will get a boost of the warm, humid conditions it loves!
Once you have determined your growing conditions, it’s time to choose some plants! Getting a mix of climbing vines and shrub style plants will give you options for decorating. Here are some popular plants for beginners:
The trailing vines of the golden pothos or devil’s ivy grow quickly and look great in a hanging planter. Be careful with your pothos as they can be invasive if grown outdoors and are toxic to cats and dogs.
Snake plants bring a bright pop of color to your home. They do well in low-light conditions and the leaves are easy to propagate. Snake plants are some of the most tolerant species, as they can withstand drought for weeks.
A spider plant is also good for low maintenance gardeners! These only need watering about once a week and they grow quickly. The thin leaves sprout from the base like little spider legs and they do well in cooler climates.
A favorite of beginner gardeners everywhere, this plant is a must for your apartment garden. The ZZ plant is tolerant to neglect and it grows to about three feet tall. Plus, it’s great at cleaning toxins from the air! Keep the ZZ plant away from kids and pets as the leaves are toxic.
Vegetables and Herbs
Believe it or not, you can even grow some vegetables indoors! Most vegetables do however require at least 6-8 hours of sunlight a day and many require more, so there is a good chance you will need to add artificial light to your garden. Start with veggies that grow quickly and do well in cooler temperatures. Leafy greens like kale and arugula do well in pots with 12 hours of light each day. If you have a little more space, try a trellis for peas! They grow well in indirect light with cooler climates.
For those without a good space for crops in their home, herbs can be a great way to get some homegrown gardening in. New innovations like AeroGardens can make countertop gardening easy. Herbs like 12-16 hours of sunlight each day, so the best way to grow them will include artificial light. Start with plants like oregano, mint, rosemary, and sage and expand your herb garden from there!
Winter weather and small spaces don’t have to be barriers to growing your own plants at home. Whether you’re looking to brighten up a small space or to add fresh herbs to your meals, you can help plants thrive in your house or apartment.