Indoor Gardening for Small Spaces

by Maggie Kirkwood

Container gardens are the perfect way to add greenery and brighten up any small space. A little greenery goes a long way, and creating your indoor garden is a snap with these planting basics. Read on for some seriously awesome inspiration.

Measure Sun Exposure

Before you start creating your indoor garden, assess the natural lighting conditions of your condo or loft. Plants are finicky and have specific preferences for the amount of sun or shade they need to thrive.

An easy way to determine the amount of natural light available is to monitor it at different times of the day. You can do this over a period of days. Check your balcony, patio, windows and other places you want to arrange your plants. Keep a log that includes the time of day and the amount of sunlight received.

Select plants according to the amount of sunlight they need daily. Match their sun exposure needs to the results of your test. Use this handy overview of common sun exposure standards as a guide:

  • Full Sun: At least 6 hours of direct sunlight
  • Partial Sun / Partial Shade: Around 3-6 hours of some direct sunlight, usually in mornings or early afternoon when it is less hot
  • Full Shade: Less than 3 hours of direct sunlight, with at least some filtered light throughout the day

Choose Your Container Wisely

A great container can add a lot of character to your indoor plantscape. Traditional planters include terracotta, ceramic or plastic pots. For an off-beat look, you can upcycle and DIY other containers, like kitchen canisters, tea tins, tea cups, ladles, wine corks, jars, tomato cans, milk jugs and more.Virtually any type of container can be repurposed into a unique and funky planter.

Be sure to prep containers for proper watering and drainage. Vegetables require good size containers that allow for plenty of water to reach the roots and keep them from drying out. Too many small planters leads to more frequent watering, so consider combining a few into a larger pot. If pots have too few or no holes at all, drill some new ones. For holes that are too large and risk losing soil, add a mesh or screen barrier to the bottom of the pot before planting.

Pick the Right Plants

While most plants will grow well in containers, “dwarf” and “tiny” varieties are excellent options when you have limited space. Choose from an array of flowers, blooming shrubs, annuals and perennials. You can also create a mini edible garden and give your cooking a flavor boost with vegetables, herbs and small citrus trees.

Also consider the maintenance level of your plants. Do you have trouble remembering to water them frequently? Try a low maintenance option like succulents.

If you’re new to gardening, make a trip to your local garden center or nursery. Look around at what’s in stock for an idea of what grows best in your area. Staff members are experts in local growing and can help you sort out any questions you may have. Plus, plants are tagged with care information, like watering requirements, which increases your garden’s chances of thriving all year round.

Get Inspired

Need help planning your arrangement? Keep it simple or go all out with these indoor gardening ideas for small spaces.

Now It’s Your Turn             

What are you planning for your container garden this year? Share your ideas in the comments below.

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