I’ve always been fascinated by gardening. Ever since I can remember, my dad would wake us up very early in the morning to ask us to help him berkebun. I don’t have my own place yet at the moment, but I’m planning to get an apartment soon and I would most definitely want to have a garden there somewhere.
If you’re like me, a dreamer who’s thinking of ways that you can spruce up your (not yet existing) apartment or just someone with an apartment and a love for plants, don’t think that you can’t have that luxury because you’re not in somewhere landed. It’s actually very much doable to garden in your apartment.
Well, let me help you with that.
Don’t Start Off Too Strong
When you’re just starting to garden, you don’t need to go all out. I’m going to be frank with you here — that’s kind of a sure thing for disaster.
I’ve seen firsthand how excited my dad was to start building his own Taman Botani in our backyard. But he was disappointed when it didn’t grow according to plan, forgot where each plant was originally planted and was generally in over his head. It’s a lot to commit to.
So what you’re going to want to do is do your research, because if you go in headfirst like my dad (sorry pops!), you’re going to bite off more than you can chew. Start small and work your way up. Find out which plants are suitable to grow in your apartment depending on the plants’ requirements.
Once you’ve decided on the type of plants, you can buy their seeds at your local grocery stores or flower shops. But also, please remember — don’t go overboard. I know you’re excited but let’s all take a deep breath first before we make a decision.
If you’d like some input, herbs are the easiest plants to grow and take care of in apartment settings. Some that you can try your hand at growing are:
- Curry Leaves
- Aloe Vera
- Thai Basil
- Chinese Celery
If you’d like to grow normal indoor plants, here are some that are easy to take care of for first-time plant parents:
- Epipremnum Aureum
- Aglaonema Pink
- Spider Plant
You can even grow fruits like papaya, banana and lime in your apartment too! But like all plants, all you need is some patience.
Where Do I Put My Garden, Though?
There are multiple places you can put your garden. There’s the obvious, which is the balcony. But what if you don’t have one? Well, the easiest answer to that question is… get creative with it.
If you’re unsure of which plant to choose or where to put it and are still maybe a little iffy on whether or not you’d want a plant at all, having a terrarium is probably the easiest and cutest way to start off your plant parent journey. It’s small, requires little maintenance and it’s nice to look at!
Shoe Holder Planter
We’ve mentioned this before in one of our articles but if you have a small space and would still like to garden or do some planting, implementing a shoe rack garden is actually one of the best ways for you to start. It saves space and it’s also a sort of quirky conversation starter.
It’s kind of a trend nowadays to have your plants hang vertically from your wall. It’s sort of like a 3D painting that you need to take care of every day. You can nail your plant pots to your wall and have it sort of hanging there, or you can install a wooden plank between your wall and your plants so that it’ll be easier for you to move it whenever you want.
Besides having them on your wall, another way to save space in your apartment while still keeping your aesthetic is to hang your plants from your ceiling. You can hang up to two or three plants on the same wire and make it a lot easier to water them and take care of them. This also makes it easier for you to move your plants around whenever you need to.
Tips On Keeping Your Garden Alive
Yeah, some of us have problems with keeping things alive, especially plants. Heck, I even managed to kill a succulent. And they’re supposed to be super duper easy to take care of. So if you’re scratching your heads and stressing about how to actually make sure your plants don’t die on you, here are some tips you can follow:
1. Don’t over-water your plants.
I know plants need water. I know you know plants need water. But sometimes we overestimate the need for water for our plants. Smaller plants need less water because of their size and vice versa for bigger plants.
But according to Happy Sprout, a good rule of thumb is to water when the top inch or two of soil is dry. Although this also depends, since some plants like their soil to be moist. How much water a plant needs will depend largely on their size and soil type.
2. Sunlight is essential
Sunlight is a key energy source for all plants. If you’re planning on making your garden bloom, it’s best to do it at a place where sunlight is abundant. Plants need at least six hours of sunlight. Why? I don’t know. I’m not a plant but from what I’ve learned in high school, it’s for them to produce food and oxygen and that’s a good thing for us.
Also, depending on what kind of plant you plan on growing, they need varying amounts of sunlight. Some need full light and some of them only need partial sunlight. While there are also plants who require shade, as well. So do your research before deciding on a plant to grow!
Taking care of your plants is the same as taking care of your pets. Because lest you forget, plants are living beings too. Healthy soil is of the utmost importance in keeping your plants alive.
You should know that there’s a difference between indoor and outdoor soil. To ensure that your indoor plants survive in your apartment, you have to pick the right soil for them.
If possible, your potting soil should be tailored to the particular type of plant you are growing. A good indoor potting mix is usually composed of peat moss, vermiculite and perlite. But as I’ve mentioned before, different types of plants require different types of soil. So, again. Do your research!
4. Size (of container) matters
In this case, the bigger the container, the better. You have to let your plants have room to breathe. So make sure your container’s big enough. Containers can also mean ‘room’ if you’re ambitious enough.
You can have a whole room for plants, not just a balcony or a wall. The trick is to not plant so many seeds all at once. Especially in one pot. You might think it will grow more, but it either grows really weirdly or won’t grow at all. It would also help you a lot if you labelled your plants so that it would be easier for you to remember their schedules for upkeeping.
5. Play the waiting game and look out for bugs!
If you decide to plant something, please be responsible. It’s not a hobby that you do once in a while every weekend. Also, please be mindful of your neighbours when you decide to garden. You don’t want people to complain about dirt getting into their side of the house or insects invading their home when you’re the one that’s the cause of all of it.
But there are ways to keep them at bay without sacrificing your plants. You could place cinnamon all around your garden. Ants hate that, the smell of it repels them because it causes them to suffocate. Cinnamon oil or the bark itself are both acceptable.
Indoor plants need baja too, you know. And don’t worry, it’s not the very smelly kind of baja. It looks like one of those poh chai pills, just a little bigger. You can find them in your local flower shops and supermarkets under the gardening section. These little balls of fertilisers provide nutrients for them to be healthy since their roots are confined in a pot.
Fertilising them once a month will keep your plant healthy. If you’re not so keen on those, there are also liquid fertilisers you can use as a substitute. I heard that they’re more absorbent. But please use the fertiliser accordingly. Too much of them can kill your plants!
Get In Loser, We’re Going Gardening
Now that we’ve more or less gone through the basics of gardening, it’s time for you to go forth and start your journey!
Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. Getting dirt everywhere is just part of the job. And don’t be afraid to experiment with your plants. Not in that way. Please. By experiment, I mean with different kinds of soils and different areas of sunlight and keep your plants well-trimmed so that they don’t overgrow and cause a mess in your apartment.
Also, in case you need some kind of motivation, there’s no such thing as a green thumb. It’s just a myth. You’re either attentive in gardening or maybe just not patient or coordinated enough — harsh, but that’s the truth. That’s alright, though, gardening isn’t for everyone. But there’s no harm in trying!
But if gardening doesn’t work out for you, maybe you can try out some interior decorating? We could give you a few pointers to start off: