Apartment Gardening Tips

Learn tips to succeed with indoor gardening.

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Raise houseplants in your apartment with confidence by following a few simple care tips. The beauty that plants add to indoor settings is tough to beat, and many houseplants purify air by removing toxins produced by the chemistry of modern life. Taking care of indoor plants isn’t difficult once you master the basics. Start with these easy-to-follow tips for apartment gardening.

‘Autumn Ember’ Begonia Hybrid

‘Autumn Ember’ Begonia Hybrid

Begonias adapt well to indoor growing conditions, including low light and low humidity. Many begonias are colorful, like ‘Autumn Ember’ rhizomatous begonia hybrid, which unfurls orange leaves.

Photo by: Logee’s Plants for Home & Garden at Logees.com

Logee’s Plants for Home & Garden at Logees.com

Begonias adapt well to indoor growing conditions, including low light and low humidity. Many begonias are colorful, like ‘Autumn Ember’ rhizomatous begonia hybrid, which unfurls orange leaves.

Light Levels

The most important thing in apartment gardening is knowing what your light exposure is, says Laurelynn Martin, co-owner of Logee’s Plants for Home & Garden. “If you know the exposure of your windows, you can figure out what type of plants to grow,” she says. “Southern exposure and full sun allows you to grow just about anything. If you have a north window, you want a full shade plant.” Laurelynn recommends foliage plants, such as ‘Pink Princess’ philodendron, or a succulent, like Haworthia tessellata, for northern windows. If you want colorful flowers, grow Sinningias, such as ‘Prudence Risley’ Sinningia hybrid.

For an east or west window, she suggests growing a partial to full sun plant, depending on the time of year. “Begonias are an excellent choice because they adapt well to a home environment,” she says. Her favorite is Begonia ‘Autumn Ember,’ which sizzles with orange leaves. Flowering maples, such as ‘Sunrise Sunset’ abutilon, bloom with a bright east or west window. For something unusual try Albuca ‘Frizzle Sizzle’ with its quirky, twisted stems and vanilla-scented flowers.

Can you grow plants if you don’t have any windows? Laurelynn says yes—use grow lights.

Temperature

Ambient apartment temperatures are fine for most houseplants. Place plants where they won’t experience drafts—away from heating or cooling vents and exterior doors. In northern regions in winter, air near windows can be significantly colder, especially at night. Protect the most tropical plants by moving them away from windows after sundown.

Humidity

Aim for a relative humidity of 50 percent or higher. In most apartments, humidity usually falls into the 30 to 40 percent range. The exception occurs in winter, when dry air drives humidity to 10 to 20 percent. A cool vapor humidifier is the best way to raise humidity around plants. A humidity tray works, too. As water evaporates from the tray, it raises the humidity around the plants on it. Just be sure plants aren’t sitting directly in water—that can lead to root rot.

Plants

As you select plants for your apartment garden, consider ones that put on a show with little care. “Citrus are great plants because they can be kept relatively small, have fragrant flowers and bear fruit at a young age,” Laurelynn says. “Meyer lemon makes a great first citrus.”

Meyer Lemon

Meyer Lemon

Meet an easy-growing indoor citrus tree: ‘Meyer’ lemon.

Photo by: Logee’s Plants for Home & Garden at Logees.com

Logee’s Plants for Home & Garden at Logees.com

She recommends dinner plate hibiscus if your style runs to big, bold colors. “Hibiscus are easy to grow and flower reliably. Begonias are also great apartment plants with colorful leaves and an ability to adapt to partial shade and low humidity,” she says.

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