If life were perfect, you'd own one of those multi-million dollar mansion
homes in Hudson Valley towns with quaint names like Georgina and Keswick (even if they are only dentists).
Your yard would be huge, it would be expertly landscaped with flowering trees
and plants, and your handiwork would end up on the cover of Better Homes and
Gardens. Alas, life is not perfect and you do not own a mansion in the Hudson
Valley. Otherwise why would you be looking up how to grow an indoor garden?
But life does throw you a bone sometimes. In this case there is one: that there
do exist plants that can grow inside your balconyless apartment, and two: that
this article is here to help you get started making an indoor garden.
The benefits of having an indoor garden are many, not the least of which is
that having placid, thriving plants at home can be extremely relaxing after
a hard day of peddling at a busy downtown realtor's
office. Plants filter the excess carbon dioxide from the air and produce extra
oxygen, quite literally making it easier for you to breathe, especially if your
apartment building doesn't have an air exchange or filter system.
Obviously it takes some finesse to get plants to grow inside, since they evolved
to thrive outdoors in the light and rain. However, even a real estate
agent who's never nurtured so much as a bean plant in her entire life
can make a lovely spread with the right plants. Cacti, aloe plants, and ficus
trees are nearly impossible to kill, which makes them ideal starting plants
for beginners who are just learning how to water, re-pot, and prune. More advanced
indoor gardeners will be able to preserve more delicate bonsai trees and flowering
plants like orchids and African violets with ease.
Sunlight is a major concern with an indoor garden. Some plants, like cacti,
need a lot, and should be placed in a sunny window, while others may actually
need shielding from the harshness of direct sunlight. Peace lilies and lipstick
vines are examples of this kind of plant. Plants' water intake should
also be carefully monitored (lacking rain, your plants will be entirely dependant
upon you). For most plants, take care to keep the soil damp. Not saturated,
not dry, just damp. To help you remember to water, set an alarm or designate
a time of day, like as soon as you come home from work, as checking and watering
If your apartment windows are blocked nearly all the time by the shadows of
other buildings but you really love cacti, you may want to consider investing
in a special artificial light. Artificial lights that help plants grow replicate
the colors and wavelengths of sunlight, and are the same lights prescribed by
doctors to treat
Seasonal Affective Disorder. Hamilton and most other towns of similar size
will have a home and garden supply or department store where you can buy these
types of light, which are sold under brand names like Gro-Lite.