How To Start Create an Indoor Garden For Your NYC Apartment in Spring

Originally posted on February 01, 2023 3:00 pm
Updated on January 30, 2023 7:33 pm

Many people in NYC think gardening is out of their reach. Most people don’t have balconies or backyards, and it’s illegal to have a garden on a fire escape. However, there are plenty of ways to create a small indoor garden. Starting one now means that some plants will be looking beautiful by spring. It all depends on which plants are selected, how much light an apartment has, and how serious a resident is about taking care of an indoor garden, but getting started isn’t nearly as difficult as one might think.

Choosing the Perfect Plants For a Home

Starting an indoor garden can be as easy or difficult as one wants it to be, so the following factors should be considered when choosing plants:

  • Size of the Home: Some homes are smaller than others, so choosing plants that will fit comfortably in the space is good. For example, most studio apartments would probably do well with plants like succulents and small cacti rather than trees.
  • Natural Light: Some homes get more natural light than others, which means some plants will be able to grow bigger. For those who live in homes with less natural light, plants like snake plants, peace lilies, or dragon trees are perfect and stylish.
  • Lifestyle: Some people work from home and some people travel all the time, but both can grow plants in their homes. There’s a huge difference between plants that need to be watered every day, like a Cyperus, and plants that only need to be watered every week or two, like a spider plant.
  • Pets: Some plants are extremely poisonous to animals. Such plants include aloe, English ivy, lilies, sago palm, and jade, amongst others. For those unsure if a desired plant will hurt their pet, consult the ASPCA.

Once these questions have been factored into the garden equation, choosing which plants to grow indoors will be much easier. However, choosing a plant isn’t the end of the process.

Prepping for a Plant

Once a plant has been chosen, some folks will want to run out, buy it, and throw it in some dirt. However, there are some considerations that need to be taken here too. For example:

  • Choosing good soil: Different plants require different soils with different levels of nutrients. Depending on where the plant is purchased, the seller can make a good soil recommendation and even pot the plant as a service. However, for those who are potting their own plants, or growing them from seeds, choosing the right nutrient-rich soil is imperative. For plants that live on a window sill, a fast-draining lightweight soil is recommended. Otherwise, soil with mulch, peat moss, and some compost will do the trick. Some people even choose to make soil themselves. It’s best to Google care instructions ahead of time so you are aware of the best type of soil to use for your plant.
  • Choosing a Good Planter: It’s recommended that plants and soil live in a stoneware or ceramic planter, though there are many other options that would work great as well. Many people say plastic pots aren’t good for plants, but that claim is up for debate. No matter which pot a person chooses, there needs to be a place for excess water to drain so the plant doesn’t die. Most pots come with a saucer, but any basin that can fit at the bottom of a planter will do.

These steps are a pivotal part of gardening, and will ensure plants have a better chance of survival.

Maintaining Plants

As mentioned earlier, all plants will need some maintenance. Depending on the plant, this can involve daily, weekly, or monthly work. However, some maintenance is unavoidable, and includes activities like:

  • Watering: Some plants need to be watered every day, and some can go as long as a month. It depends on the plant and the placement of said plant. There are easy ways to tell if a plant needs water. Seeing if the leaves are discolored and dry is the most common sign, but the soil can also be an indicator. Poking a finger into the soil is an easy way to see if it’s dry or not. If the soil is dry, give the plant a little drink.
  • Moving the Plant: If someone is aiming for bloomage in the spring, then plants will need to be strategically placed so they can absorb the maximum amount of natural sunlight and stay warm in the winter. How much sunlight a plant will need is based on the species, but it’s likely that all plants will have to be rearranged when the seasons change to maximize or limit sun exposure.
  • Replacing Soil/Repotting Plants: Eventually, a plant will consume all the nutrients soil can provide. No matter the plant, it’s good to replace soil on an annual basis, though some soils can last up to 18 months. Essentially, it’s time to switch soil, or completely repot a plant if roots are coming out of the top of the pot or the draining hole at the bottom. If a plant is too top heavy, or has limp leaves, it is another sign that a plant might need a bigger home.
  • Pruning: Some plants, flowers, and herbs especially, can grow a little wild. For this reason, it’s good to prune regularly. Pruning a plant will also help it grow back stronger, and encourage proper nutrient consumption. Pruning too much, however, can kill a plant, so it pays to be cautious.

Once all of these steps have been taken, and proper maintenance is in full swing, many of these plants will be big and beautiful. This means that, even in the dead of winter, a home can be made brighter with the right foliage. Having a plant isn’t always easy. It’s good to remember that plants are, in fact, living things. While they might not require the maintenance or attention of a pet, they will still need some focus in order to be kept alive and thriving. People who are able to keep plants alive can expect cleaner air, great décor, and an additional hobby that might one day be moved to the great outdoors. 

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