A Beginner’s Guide to Indoor Gardening (6 Tips You Should Know)

A Beginner’s Guide to Indoor Gardening (6 Tips You Should Know)

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So you’re starting an indoor garden? Awesome!

Indoor plants have a myriad of benefits, from stress reduction, to air purification, to aesthetics. Are you wondering where to start? There are literally dozens of indoor plants you can choose from. Here’s a list of 20 common and easy-to-grow indoor plants to get you started. The list includes plants you may find without much trouble at your local supermarket or gardening center, like aloe, spider plant, and peace lily. Feeling more adventurous? Here’s a list of more unusual indoor plants, like desert rose or a coffee plant, that are still easy to care for.

Speaking of plant care: keeping a plant alive may seem daunting. But it’s very possible to get plants to grow and thrive indoors!

Here are a few tips to get you started on your indoor gardening adventure:

 

Tip #1: Select the right plants for your space.

Since you’ll be growing indoors, it’s important to consider the conditions of your gardening space. You will want to think about how much light the plants will get, the temperature of the room, how big the plants will grow and how long it will take for them to reach maturity. Listed below are a few plant varieties we recommend for your first indoor garden because they thrive in in cooler spaces with indirect light and are quick to harvest.

Lettuce

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Spinach

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Herbs

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Microgreens

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Bok Choy

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Tip #2: Get to know what your plants like.

The diversity of plants worldwide is incredibly vast. Just think of the many plants you are familiar with: flowers that grow in temperate summers, lush tropical trees and vines, and desert cacti. All plants have evolved to deal with certain sets of conditions that have to do with temperature, light, water, and nutrient availability (to name just a few). Every plant needs sunlight, water, and nutrients, but they may need them in different quantities. Get to know the specific requirements of the plant(s) you have. It’s super important to read the instructions on the tag that your plant comes with. It’s also a good idea to do some searching on your own, for tips and tricks on how to best care for your plant.

Tip #3: Be sure you know how often to water your plants.

Watering frequency of indoor plants depends on the type of plants you have! Generally speaking, most gardening experts suggest you water houseplants once a week. Even desert plants like cacti should get water weekly, but they can obviously go a bit longer without water than broadleaf plants. Some more delicate plants may like to be “watered from the bottom.” This means you can place water in a dish, and place their pot (with holes on the bottom) in the dish for water to be absorbed upwards. Most houseplants thrive in a temperature range of 65º – 75º F, but they can still grow inside if it’s hotter or cooler. When it’s warmer, you might need to water them more, and not as much when it’s cooler. Learn how to check soil moisture and adjust watering when necessary.

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Some plants need care that’s a little different than what you might think at first. For example, orchids like a lot of humidity, but you should avoid dousing them in water. It’s generally advised that you place 3 ice cubes in your orchid’s pot per week. Also—depending on where you live, you may want to mist them with water every day to maintain their humidity.

Tip #4: Fertilize your plants regularly, but not too much.

Plants do photosynthesis to make their own food, by converting carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air to sugars. However, they need a number of other nutrients to grow and thrive. Most plants absorb  nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, through their roots in soil. Epiphytes, like orchids, are plants that grow on other plants. They typically get nutrients from nearby decaying leaves and twigs. However in an indoor environment, the nutrients available to plants can get depleted over time. Therefore, it’s good to fertilize plants regularly. The rough suggested frequency of fertilizing varies quite a bit: I’ve heard people say to do it weekly, monthly, or every 1-3 months. Generally speaking, it’s better to under-fertilize rather than over-fertilize your plants, so don’t too it too often. These days, fertilizers come in different types: liquid, pellet, and slow-release. It’s best to do a little research and figure out what will work best for your plants and your lifestyle.

Tip #5: Know how much sun your plants need.

Different houseplants have different sunlight requirements, depending on where they evolved to grow. Some plants need a lot of sunlight, and others need less. If a plant requires direct sunlight, they need about 6 hours of sun per day, right in the window. If it requires moderate sunlight, there should be 4 hours of direct sun per day. Indirect sunlight means the plant should be kept a few feet away from a window all the time. Check to see how much sunlight your indoor plants need, and place them accordingly in your home or office.

Tip #6: Plan to re-pot your plant at some point.

Re-potting plants usually involves moving them from one pot to another with new soil. Usually, the new pot is larger, giving the plant room to grow. New soil will have more nutrients than the old soil. There are a lot of good reasons to re-pot your plants occasionally, but this shouldn’t have to be done more than once every 1-2 years. Check and see that your indoor plant is in a pot that’s big enough for it to thrive. Choosing the right pot for your plants is crucial, and be sure to check that it has proper drainage. 

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All plants require sunlight, water, and nutrients to grow and thrive. However, different species have different requirements. Learn about the plant(s) you acquire, and what their specific needs are. You may find that caring for your indoor plants is not as difficult as you might expect, and the results are really rewarding.

 

– STEPHANIE C. @ BACK TO THE ROOTS

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