Apartment Gardening for the Not-So-Green Thumb

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Apartment gardening can be a tricky proposition for a novice gardener. Here’s some tips to help green your not-so-green thumb!

Survey the Apartment

Take a look around the apartment before plant shopping. Take notes about the environment the plants will be growing in. How much light does it get? Is it morning light or afternoon light? How large should the plant be for the space? Make a list of this information and take it with you to the plant nursery. Choose plants well from the beginning, and your gardening experience will head in the right direction!

Focus on Easy-to-grow Plants

When shopping for plants, keep in mind that the master gardeners at the nursery coax flowers from the most persnickety of plants. Anthurium, for example, is a tropical looking green plant with dramatic heart shaped red flowers. It is usually in bloom at the store, but it rarely blooms again once transported home! Few plants reliably flower indoors, but there are many lush and beautiful green plants that will fill an apartment with garden appeal.

Choose Decorative Plant Pots

Buy new pots for the plants, and choose ones that drain into an overflow tray. It may be appealing to think about plant pots that have a solid bottom, but plants need drainage. In pots that don’t have drain holes, plant roots will rot in the water that collects in the bottom. There are many beautiful pots available in plastic and hard foams, but that are made to look like heavier and more expensive clay pots. Heavy pots can be awkward to move around and easy to break. Choose a pot a size bigger than the pot the plant comes in. Almost all new plants need to be transplanted immediately after purchase, and make sure to give the roots a couple of good squeezes before putting them in the new pot. This will help the roots adapt to the new conditions. Buy a high quality potting soil. It may seem tempting to save money on a lower-grade soil, but the results of using a rich, black potting soil (developed for indoor gardening) are significantly improved over the lesser soils.

Choose a Healthy Plant

Carefully inspect the leaves of any plant before you purchase it. In the nursery, all plants have a tendency to look beautiful and green, but this is a natural deception from the sheer volume of plants surrounding you at that time. A plant should not have brown or crispy leaf edges and no yellow leaves. The leaf color should be deep green and not splotchy. Choose plants without broken leaves, as plants grow slowly and those broken leaves will be sitting in your apartment for a very long time.

Repot the Plants, and Enjoy!

Once you have chosen the plants and repotted them in your lovely new planter pots, make sure and water them. All plants should be watered immediately after transplanting, as well as fertilized once a month. Before long, your not-so-green thumb will be behind you, and your apartment filled with lush, attractive green plants!

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