Many people think an indoor garden is a luxury that most of us cannot experience. However, using the available space inside your home to host your garden is not as complicated as it may first appear. Growing an indoor garden has quite a few amazing benefits.

Although the task of starting an indoor garden can seem daunting, having the right information makes it easy. However, there are some important factors you need to consider when you ​set up your indoor garden.

Benefits of an Indoor Garden

Benefits of an Indoor Garden

Most of us do not live in a climate in which we can grow fruits and vegetables outside in our garden year round. This fact makes life difficult for those who get satisfaction from growing their food, getting much-needed exercise and experiencing the enjoyment of watching life grow. The benefits of an indoor garden extend to those living in colder climates, as well as those individuals living in urban areas.

Plants serve many valuable functions, such as cleaning the household air, improving the atmosphere in any room of the house, and providing delicious and fresh food. The amount of available space limits the size of an indoor garden. But the pleasures of growing flowers and plants are open to everyone, no matter the size of the garden.

How to Start an Indoor Garden

How to Start an Indoor Garden

There are many factors to consider when we look at setting up an indoor garden. These factors include determining the location, what plants we wish to grow, the lighting system we will use, and the list seems endless. Setting up an indoor garden is easier than you might think. Follow these logical steps to experience the wonders of your indoor garden.

Space

Light

Should I purchase a grow light?

Tip

Many different kinds of grow lights are on the market. This can be confusing for a novice gardener.

Fluorescent lights are best for growing herbs and other plants that do not require a lot of light. So they are not ideal for plants that bud or flower as they do not emit enough light. They are quite inexpensive and found in most stores.

Incandescent lamps are cheap and easy to find in stores. They would be sufficient for houseplants, but may not provide adequate light for flowering plants or plants that require lots of light.

Compact fluorescents are more efficient bulbs than older style fluorescent lights, and you can use them for all plants. Also, they produce less heat than incandescent lamps so you can place them closer to plants to maximize the available light for your plants.

Finally, high-intensity discharge bulbs are the brightest and most efficient lights available. But they also tend to be the most expensive.

Temperature

Temperature

Generally, temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit are best for plants. A variation of 10 degrees will normally not adversely affect plants. But plants that are too hot will be weak and small. This leaves them susceptible to physical challenges such as wind gusts or insects.

Plants that grow in temperatures that are too cold have leaves that are yellow and that fall off the plant. The green color of healthy leaves is the result of the presence of chlorophyll, which is critical to the plant's photosynthesis abilities. Leaves that are not green are unable to contribute to the growth and health of the plant.

Humidity

Humidity

A lack of moisture is a common problem for many gardeners trying to set up an indoor garden. Lacking enough moisture is particularly common during the winter season, which is typically drier than the summer. Often, the use of indoor heating further removes important moisture from the air, which adds to the problem of air in the wintertime containing not enough moisture for plants to flourish.

Tip

There are many ways to counteract the humidity problem you may experience for your indoor garden. First, mist your plants every day, or even more often if necessary. Second, place a tray of water filled with lava rocks to encourage evaporation (evaporation means that liquid water changes into the gaseous state). A water tray may help plants get the moisture they need from the air. And you could also use a humidifier, which provides benefits for plants and your human family as well.

Growing medium

Growing medium

It is important for indoor gardens to utilize a good planting medium. And soil found outside your house is not the ideal solution. This is because soil found outside often contains materials that plants don't need, as well as seeds from other plants and insects.

Look for a soil mix that is specific to the needs of indoor plants. Indoor gardens work best with a soil that remains loose and drains well. Also, the best soils contain the right about of organic material to retain nutrients and moisture.

Tip

As an alternative to using soil, you may wish to use hydroponics. Growing plants hydroponically involves you providing the nutrients directly. Advantages of growing plants using hydroponics include faster plant growth, smaller containers used for plants, and plants are less likely to become infected by diseases.

Choosing plants

Choosing plants

Pretty much any plant will grow indoors if it has enough space to do so. But it is important to consider growing plants with similar light, humidity, and water requirements together. Otherwise, it will be difficult to find the right balance to keep all your plants healthy. You can grow plants by starting from seed or transplanting them from your outdoor garden. The choice is entirely yours.

Transferring plants

Transferring plants

To ease the transition of indoor plants to life outdoors, employ these simple steps.

First, 7 to 10 days before transplanting your indoor plants, place them outside for three to four hours in the shade. Next, increase the amount of time spent each day outdoors by one or two hours (be sure to bring your plants inside every night).

After the first two or three days, put the plants in the morning sun, and place them in a shady area in the afternoon. Lastly, after 7 to 10 days, transplant your plants. Ideally, you can transplant your plants on a cloudy day. And be sure to water them thoroughly.

Moving plants from outdoors to indoors requires similar care. After potting your plants (if necessary), they will also need a transition period of slowly increasing the time spent indoors.

Maintenance and watering

Maintenance and watering

Once your indoor garden is up and running, it is important to maintain the health of the plants and the environment. This includes proper watering, staking when necessary, pruning, and keeping the area free of excess waste and external threats.

It is important to note that plants grown in containers require more frequent watering than plants grown in open soil. This is because they dry out quicker than plants grown in open soil. So add enough room-temperature water that it runs through the holes in the bottom of your container.

Tip

Plants give you clues when they are receiving too little or too much water. Signs that you are overwatering include wilting that starts from the stem toward the leaves, lower leaves drooping, and discoloration of the plant.


It is likely that you are underwatering your plants if you notice that wilting occurs along the outer tips of the leaves, the soil seems dry, and there are brown edges along the leaves.

Fertilizer and nutrients

Fertilizer and nutrients

Indoor plants require additional nutrients and fertilizer. This is because plants quickly use up the nutrients in the soil. Plants also lose nutrients during watering. Be sure to regularly replenish nutrients in the soil to improve the performance of your indoor garden.

Tip

You can provide your own source of nutrients for your indoor garden. By composting, you can transform this into a compost tea for use in watering your plants. A simple way to do this is as follows:

First, place enough compost to fill approximately one-third of the bucket. Next, add water until the bucket is full. Let the mixture settle for at least a few hours (a few days is also okay). Strain the mixture into another container using a fine screen. Then dilute the remaining liquid by adding enough water so that it resembles the color of weak tea. Simply add the compost tea to your soil and watch your plants grow.

Start Your Indoor Garden Now

There are incredible benefits to starting your indoor garden. The satisfaction of watching life grow, the exercise associated with the delicate care required, and the bounty of fresh food are but a small sample of the benefits you will experience by adding a touch of the outdoors to the inside of your housing.

Starting an indoor garden can seem like an impossible task. But if you follow the suggestions above, you won't be asking, “Should I start my indoor garden?” but rather, “Why didn’t I start my indoor garden sooner?”

Do you have any tips on starting an indoor garden? Please share in the comments below.

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