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7 Best Tips for City Gardening in Apartments

By Sophia W. Martin
1.8K views 2 mins read

Suddenly, I remembered that my neighbor Joe had invited me back to his apartment that morning. I don’t know what he wanted me to show in the first place.

But the moment I stepped into his apartment, I regretted why I hadn’t done that before. He probably got the greenest apartment I’ve seen in life.

Wow!

Those beautiful plants and how amazingly he maintained them. Even his windows were filled with beautiful, shallow-rooted plants.

I never thought I’d ever do this, but I asked him to share some tips for city gardening in apartments.

After that, I had this thing for gardening, and it’s still going strong. So, I thought, if I can have a garden in an apartment, why can’t you?

I bet you want something like this, too. So, here are some tips (or you can call it a guide for you) to start apartment gardening, even if you live in a tiny apartment.

Key Takeaways:
For indoor apartment gardening, you can consider aspects like space, sunlight, soil, humidity, and wind first.
Pick plants based on your purpose and where you want to make the garden.
After selecting the plants, get the required apartment gardening kit and supplies to start gardening, and pick the right spot and potting mix.

Things to Consider Before Gardening in City Apartments

Nobody said you could bring in random types of plants, and putting them in your apartment will make it look great. So, before you transform your apartment into a garden, make sure you’re looking into these things first:

Space (Indoor/Outdoor)

Picking the right space is a must in this game. So, if you’re planning on trying indoor plants, make your shelves, corners, and windowsills useful.

Indoor
Indoor Gardening

In case you don’t have much of an option on that part, go for compact plants. I’d say vertical gardening techniques will also do great.

And if you’ve got some room outside, such as a rooftop, patio, or balcony, choose plants accordingly. But don’t forget to check the weight capacity of the balcony while picking your plants and pots.

Sunlight

Sunlight is super important for the healthy growth of most of the plants out there. So, when you’re putting your houseplant on or around south-facing windows, they’ve got a better chance of getting more light.

But I can’t say the same about the north-facing ones. So, when you’re purchasing, make sure to check out what kind of light conditions the plants need.

Soil

You’re probably thinking about using regular garden soil. I say you better skip that, as it can mess with the drainage and interrupt oxygen flow from going to the roots.

The best thing you can do is pick one of the well-draining potting mixtures that serve container plants better.

Water

Unlike the plants on the ground, the ones in containers dry out pretty fast. So, they’re going to need water more frequently.

And yes, the frequency should be higher in hot weather. To be sure about the moisture condition and need for water, you might have to stick your finger in the soil and check.

Humidity

Are you into plants of tropical varieties? If yes, they’re going to need more of a humid environment.

So, if you live in an apartment with dry air, you might have to mist your plant on a regular basis. Grouping them together can also increase humidity.

Wind

Strong winds can uproot weak-rooted plants and sometimes even tip over the containers.

Therefore, if your rooftop or balcony is exposed to that, the smart call is to opt for sturdier plants.

Also, let’s not forget that wind can make plants dry faster. So, you better fix your watering schedule accordingly.

Size & Weight

While choosing plants for your indoor apartment, make sure you’re picking the ones with mature size. Plus, get containers that can handle their full growth.

When it comes to balconies, you need to be careful about the weight limit (such as, lightweight containers). Plus, make sure you’re distributing heavier pots evenly, if there are any.

Good looks

Aesthetics – isn’t it what you were looking for in the first place? So, grab plants that can improve the look of your apartment and create an aesthetic appeal.

How to Create a Garden in a City Apartment?

Here comes the ‘work’ part. If you really want to have one of the nicest indoor apartment gardens out there, you better start with –

How to Create a Garden in a City Apartment?
Create a Garden in a City Apartment

Selecting the Plant

Pick plants that will thrive in your apartment’s sunlight conditions. And don’t forget to check the size of the plants as well, so that they can fit into the space you’re planning to put them in.

If you’re a busy gardener, get plants that need less maintenance, such as succulents or herbs.

Required Tools & Supplies

Keep your weapons ready, along with bringing in the following things on this list:

  • Pots and containers
  • Good potting mix
  • Watering can
  • Hand trowel
  • Pruning shears
  •  Plant markers (optional)
  • Gloves (optional)
  • Mister (optional)

Choosing the Spot

Pick a spot that can provide your plants with the amount of sunlight they need. A sunny windowsill or window boxes should also work for some plants, especially when you don’t have a balcony.

But don’t choose a spot like a drafty window or a close-by area of heat vents. Keep enough space to let the plant grow without making the place crowded.

Choosing the Right Potting Mix

Use a potting mix that will drain well and prevent the root from rotting. It’s better to get something that has perlite or vermiculite, which are good for aeration. And make sure the mix is formulated specifically for the type of plant you’ll be growing.

Water, Humidity, and Wind

Once you’re done with the planting, take care of the watering. But before doing that, check the moisture needs of your plant. After all, overwatering will make the root rot.

And if your plants are humidity-loving, group them together and use a mister over them.

By the way, for a windy balcony, you’ve got no other choice but to use sturdier containers and plants. As high winds dry up plants much faster, ensure you adjust the watering frequency accordingly.

Best Plants for Apartment Gardens in the City

As a planter, somehow I consider this part the toughest one. That’s because the kind of plant you’re picking determines how it keeps up with the growing conditions of your apartment.

So, the following tips will help you get the plants you should have in the first place:

Outdoor

If your place gets too much sun, I’d say go for something like tomato or pepper. Both of these are great for beginners. You can also try something like eggplant.

And if you’re considering herbs, you can try herbs like thyme, basil, oregano, mint, and rosemary. They can easily withstand hours of direct sunlight.

But if your place is partially shaded or doesn’t get too much light, lettuce, Swiss chard, and spinach can be great additions to your garden. To make the place extra colorful, feel free to add some begonia.

Indoor

When it comes to making indoors greener, it’s the indoor plants that do it the best. So, when you’ve got an apartment with bright light, snake plants, ZZ plants, and Split Leaf Philodendron are the right plants for you.

Each of these is an excellent choice, as they can easily live on low maintenance.

Low Light

Easy-care plants like pothos are also perfect as indoor plants. But if you prefer keeping the lights low, you can add Chinese Evergreen and Cast Iron Plant to your collection.

So, no matter whether the balcony is shady or sunny, they can still grow perfectly.

Bright Light

Here, like in the outdoors, snake plants (low water requirement), ZZ plants (low maintenance), and split leaves are great choices. Pothos are my favorite, as they’re good in lower light and grow faster in brighter light.

Air-Purifying Plants

Some plants can work like natural air purifiers, and who doesn’t want clean air in their house? If you want the same, feel free to try the spider plant, peace lily, snake plant, and, of course, the ZZ plant.

Edible and Medicinal Plants

I bet you, too, wanted to grow your own food. Well, that’s nothing impossible with the right plants. If you’re thinking about indoor plants, microgreens and herbs like mint and leafy greens like lettuce are perfect options.

Mint can even be used for home remedies. The size of your space is not a major issue for them to grow well in pots. I’d also suggest you try beet, broccoli, and radish as part of container gardening. You don’t need any particular apartment set-up for that, as minimal preparations are enough.

And yes, you get food from the garden of your apartment year-round without putting in too much effort. For that, you need to pick plants like cucumber, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, swiss chard, etc.

Top Tips for City Gardening in Apartments

Have I told you about my California trip?

Probably not!

So, when I last went there, I had the chance to see some amazing apartment balcony gardens.

While talking to some of the owners, they’ve not only shared great gardening ideas but also a pile of useful apartment gardening tips. So, here are a few that you might find handy:

1. Growing Fresh Herbs and Vegetables in Your Apartment

  • Always prioritize getting the right plants.
  • To help those plants grow, use appropriate containers.
  • Without high-quality potting mix, they can’t grow very well.
  • To keep their growth on the right track, don’t compromise sunlight.

2. Watering Solutions for Apartment Gardens

  • Basic watering cans are enough for regular watering. With this, you can also avoid damaging delicate seedlings.
  • Self-watering cans are a good option for those who can’t attend to their plants often.
  • Try using a moisture meter, as that can detect your soil moisture level and detect the need for water.

3. Planting Food and Fertilizers

  • Regular feeding is enough during the growing season. However, using a balanced fertilizer helps the plants grow faster.
  • Organic fertilizer, such as compost tea, is one of the best natural approaches. Trying worm casting will also do the trick.

4. Utilizing Window Sills and Small Spaces Effectively

  • Hanging baskets are better when you’re growing herbs. Using the rows of your windowsill will also work perfectly there.
  • To establish a vertical garden system, pockets, shelves, or mounted planters on wall space are more useful.

5. Keep Your Indoor Garden Thriving Year-Round

Keep Your Indoor Garden Thriving Year-Round
Keep Your Indoor Garden Thriving Year-Round
  • Increasing humidity with a pebble tray around the plants gives the plants extra benefit in dry winter months. A humidifier can be an ideal alternative to pebble trays.
  • To keep pests like aphids or mealybugs at bay, insecticidal soap is a more effective and organic method. You can also try neem oils as an alternative. 
  • Keep the air circulation up to the mark to prevent fungal diseases.

6. Selecting Plants That Grow Well in Containers

  • Understand what amount of light the plants are asking for.
  • Pick plants that can reach mature size without eating up more than the designated space.
  • You can go for low-maintenance herbs such as thyme or rosemary.

7. Start Balcony Gardening in Your Apartment

  • Know the amount of weight your balcony can handle.
  • The amount of sunlight plays a vital role here. So, check how much your balcony is receiving.
  • A strong wind can mess it all up. So, pick sturdier plants and containers that can withstand it.
  • Prioritize vertical gardening options more, such as wall planters, hanging baskets, and wall planters.

Final Thoughts

I know you came here just for some tips for city gardening in apartments. But I guess you’ve got something more than that. I’ve mentioned here the kinds of plants you can pick, along with the things you need to get started with your garden.

I guess those tips from my California trip also gave you some useful ideas about your garden project. So, when are you getting started, then?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it possible to grow vegetables in an apartment?

Yes, it’s totally possible. With proper setup and careful maintenance, it’s possible to grow vegetables on balconies and window sills.

What is the easiest food to grow in an apartment?

The easiest foods you can grow in your apartment are mostly herbs, such as chives, mint, and basil. They need less space and low maintenance to grow.

Can you grow enough food to feed yourself in an apartment?

It’s unlikely, as apartment gardens are good enough to grow selected herbs and veggies only. Plus, the yields won’t be enough to keep feeding you regularly.

Can I grow tomatoes on an apartment balcony?

Of course, you can. In fact, they’re perfect for balconies. All they need is enough sunlight, regular watering, and well-draining pots.

Can I grow strawberries in my apartment?

Yes, you can. Like the tomatoes, with proper care, maintenance, and watering, you can grow them on your balcony.

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