Friday, June 5, 2020

How To Create An Indoor Garden

Bring some of the color, texture and fragrance of the outdoors into your home or workspace with an indoor garden. Here are some of the whats, whys and hows you’ll need to know to get started with houseplants.

An indoor garden is a collection of plants that you grow in suitable containers in an enclosed space, usually in your home. But you can also have one in your workspace. It may be small, consisting of an African violet or two on your desk, or an array of plants of many species in various sizes and shapes.

Why should you have an indoor garden?

There are many good reasons. Indoor flowering plants add a touch of cheer to any room. Indoor foliage plants lend warmth and style. A few herbs in the kitchen window provide a few flavorful snips for your culinary creations. All green plants help to clean the air, even if only a little.

What types of plants can you grow in an indoor garden?

In most cases, you should choose plants that thrive in low-light conditions, or that will grow under artificial lighting. They should be relatively small, appropriate to the space available, keeping in mind the possible size at maturity. You don’t want a plant that will outgrow its welcome.

From there on, the possibilities are many. Kitchen herbs, cacti and succulents, perennials, annuals, ferns, bulbs, flowering shrubs, dwarf trees, vines and tropical plants are all good choices.

How should you begin?

Start by deciding what types of plants suit your fancy, then gather the appropriate materials. Peruse books or magazines to see what appeals to you. Browse your local garden center. Pay a visit to your friends and neighbors.

What supplies will you need?

Generally, you’ll need the following:

Suitable growing containers

Containers come in various sizes, shapes and designs for just about any type plant you choose. African violets, for example, do well in small ceramic pots-in-pots with irrigation ports, or wicking functions. Orchid pots or baskets will have openings that allow ventilation around the roots. Cacti and succulent containers will allow quick drainage. And, of course, you’ll need saucers to prevent water from dripping on your floor.

Potting soil

In most cases, a premium grade of organic, sphagnum-based potting soil will be fine. Some come with vermiculite, perlite and fertilizer additives. Avoid cheap “topsoil” mixes. Orchid mixes will contain bark or osmunda fibers to allow for air circulation. Soils for cacti and succulents will contain sand for drainage.

Appropriate hand tools

A basic set will include a small trowel, garden fork, watering can or mister, plant clippers and garden gloves. Various plants with special needs will have tools designed especially for them. Be sure to purchase good quality tools, not cheap toys. I’ve heard it said before – and I totally agree – that you can cry once when you buy them, or you can cry twice when you buy them and when they break.


The choice is entirely yours considering your space, interests and available time. Don’t be surprised, though, if you begin to collect particular types as your interest is piqued.


You might need a light source – possibly a “grow-light” fixture – if window lighting is insufficient. These should provide “full spectrum” lighting to replicate sunlight. They may be florescent tubes, bulbs, or LED types. These are usually set just a few inches above your chosen plants. You should be able to find a wide selection online or in “brick-and-mortar” garden shops.

What next?

As you begin growing, you should learn a few basics about your chosen plants. Our Gardening Resources page at provides summaries of a large number of organizations, plant societies and clubs where you can find all the information you’ll ever need. In addition, you’ll probably meet and correspond with folks having similar interests who are willing to share their tips with you.

So, go on. Get started. Have fun!

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