How To Grow Gardens In Apartments: City Dweller Guide

Hello Plant Parents! Today, we’re going to take a tour through the verdant world of apartment gardening. Many of you might be thinking, “A garden, in an apartment?” It might sound like an unusual idea, but trust me, gardens in apartments are entirely possible and easier than you think! With just a little effort, your living space can blossom into a vibrant greenhouse. Now, let’s dig into the benefits and how-to of urban gardening.

How to Grow Gardens in Apartments

Know Your Light Source

Understand The Natural Light In Your Apartment

couple in their apartment with lots of mature plants and sunlight shining in behind them, gardens in apartments

Natural light is crucial for all plants, and understanding how it streams into your apartment is the first step to deciding which plants are the best choice for your indoor apartment garden. Some plants thrive in full sun, while others prefer partial shade.

For instance, aloe vera, known for its healing properties, loves basking in bright, direct sunlight. Conversely, peace lilies and English ivy can handle less sunlight and do well in partial shade.

Remember, “full sun” usually means at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. Monitor the light your apartment receives throughout the day, keeping in mind that it can change significantly with the seasons.

Enhance Plant Growth with Grow Lights

But what if you don’t get enough sunlight in your apartment? Enter the superhero of the indoor gardening world: the grow light. Grow lights can supplement or even replace natural sunlight, ensuring your plants get enough light no matter where they’re situated in your apartment.

Grow lights come in various types, with LED lights being a popular, energy-efficient choice. The key is to find one that can provide the full spectrum of light, mimicking the sun as closely as possible. This ensures that your plants can photosynthesize properly, leading to healthier and more robust growth.

Container Gardening

Container gardening is the way to go when gardening in an apartment. Fiberglass planters, self-watering containers, or window boxes are great options. Ensure your containers have proper drainage to prevent waterlogged soil and root rot.


When it comes to soil, skip the ordinary garden soil and go for a high-quality potting mix. Potting mix is designed to be light and well-draining, providing the ideal environment for roots to grow.

older person watering indoor plants


The right watering frequency depends on the type of plants and their environment. Most houseplants prefer their soil to dry out a bit between waterings. Overwatering is a common mistake that can lead to root rot.

Self-watering containers can be a lifesaver in managing the water supply, especially for beginner gardeners. These containers have a reservoir that stores water and a wick that draws water up to the plant’s roots when needed, ensuring a consistent supply of moisture.


Keep in mind that most plants do best in temperatures between 65-75°F and humidity levels around 40-60%. Some plants might need more specific conditions, so always check the care instructions for your chosen plants.

How to Care for Apartment Gardens

woman carrying in plants to her apartment

Ensuring Room to Grow

Your plants will also need enough room to grow. This is especially important when growing vegetables, as overcrowded plants can compete for light, water, and nutrients, leading to stunted growth.

Regular Maintenance

Just like any living thing, your plants will need regular care and attention. This might involve trimming dead or yellowing leaves, rotating your plants to ensure they get even light exposure, and keeping an eye out for any pests or diseases.

How To Grow Gardens In Apartments


The best way to tell if your plant is thriving? Look at it! A healthy plant should have vibrant, lush leaves, and show regular new growth. If your plant is looking a little sad, it might be time to reassess its light, water, and nutrient needs. Also, keep an eye out for pests and diseases.  

What plants can you grow inside your apartment?

Your choice of plants should take into account your apartment’s natural light, temperature, and humidity conditions. Do your windows face east, offering plentiful morning sunlight, or do they face north, resulting in lower light conditions? Do you have a small balcony that receives several hours of direct sun, or is your space entirely indoors?

Grow Plants You Can Eat

father and son cooking in the kitchen with home grown fresh herbs

Join the urban food movement by growing organic vegetables in your own apartment garden. Herbs like basil, mint, parsley, and cilantro are great starter plants that don’t require a lot of space or expert care. If you’re looking to grow your own vegetables, consider starting with salad greens, peppers, or tomatoes, which can thrive in pots given enough sunlight. A lot of my friends always started with lettuce in their kitchen windows!

Indoor Plants for Health and Décor

Indoor plants like peace lilies, snake plants, spider plants, and English ivy not only enhance your interior design but also improve air quality. Plus, having these plants around is a good idea for spaces that aren’t always sunlit.

father and toddler son planting indoor plants


Succulents and cacti are always popular for apartments because they’re pretty hard to kill (even though I have managed to somehow ruin those before). Luckily, my husband takes care of our plants or none of them would probably make it long-term.  Another reason why they are great for apartment gardens is because you can get really small ones. They’re very inexpensive too, so you can get as many as you want! I even have some in my bathroom!

Trees and Shrubs

You can even include some types of small trees and shrubbery if you have the right conditions. I used to always have money trees which start out really small and look more like a plant.  But, they can get really big and tall after many years!

There are even certain types of palm trees and dwarf citrus tree varieties that can be grown indoors. Don’t make the same mistake as me and get the wrong kind. I tried to keep a palm tree alive after summer by bringing it inside during the freezing winter.  I thought maybe I could do it (after hearing a friend did it), but it didn’t make it all the way through.  I think it was just too cold by the windows I sat it next to.  

Garden Ideas For Small Spaces

Let’s address the biggest concern first—limited space. Apartments and condos, especially small apartments like that cozy studio of yours, aren’t exactly known for their sprawling lawns. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have your own apartment garden. Small spaces can still pack a green punch, thanks to innovative solutions.

Vertical Gardens

Vertical gardens are my favorite for bringing greenery into an apartment setting, where floor space tends to be precious. They utilize wall space or standalone structures, allowing you to grow a multitude of plants upward. This not only maximizes your growing area but also adds a visually stunning element to your home decor. From fresh herbs to flowering plants to small veggies, vertical gardens transform any indoor space into a lush, living tapestry. It’s gardening made possible, no matter how small your apartment may be!

Window Boxes

woman planting in a window box, how to grow a garden in an apartment

Window boxes are excellent examples of how to use your limited outdoor space smartly. They fit right under your window and make for fabulous curb appeal. I always wished everyone at my apartment complex to put pretty flowers out!  Wouldn’t that be so gorge?

Rooftop Gardens and Balcony Greens

woman in her 50's out on her balcony smelling her flowering plant, apartment gardening

Rooftop gardens are a rising trend in urban centers, offering a fresh take on food production and waste reduction. They also add a beautiful touch of greenery amongst tall buildings. Balcony and patio gardens are another great opportunity to explore, serving as wind blocks and providing a private green space in your apartment homes. You can even turn your fire escape into a mini green paradise. Just ensure to respect your apartment building rules about weight restrictions.

What vegetables are easy for apartment garden?

  1. Lettuce and Greens: These can be grown in shallow containers. Cut and come-again varieties can provide a continuous harvest.
  2. Herbs: Basil, parsley, cilantro, and thyme grow well indoors in pots with sufficient light.
  3. Tomatoes: Small varieties like cherry or grape tomatoes do well in containers. They do require a good amount of sunlight.
  4. Peppers: Both sweet and hot peppers can be grown in pots.
  5. Radishes: These grow quickly and don’t need a lot of room.
  6. Green Onions: You can even regrow these from kitchen scraps.
  7. Carrots: Short varieties can be grown in deep containers.

What are the best tools and gardening accessories for apartment gardening?

  1. Watering Can: A small watering can is more manageable in an apartment setting. Look for one with a long spout for easy reach to all your plants.
  2. Hand Trowel and Pruners: A trowel is essential for filling and refilling your pots with soil, and pruners are handy for harvesting and general plant care.
  3. Gardening Gloves: Protect your hands when handling soil or prickly plants.
  4. fertilizer: A balanced plant fertilizer can help supplement the nutrients your plants need to grow. Organic options are widely available.
  5. Grow Lights: If your apartment doesn’t get much sunlight, investing in grow lights can help keep your plants healthy and productive.
  6. Seed Trays or Peat Pots: If you’re starting plants from seeds, these can be helpful.
  7. Plant Markers: These can help you remember where and what you’ve planted, especially when seeds are just starting to sprout.
  8. Misting Spray Bottle: This is useful for providing humidity to plants, especially in dry apartments.

These tools can help get you started, but remember, the best tools for you will depend on what plants you’re growing and the conditions in your apartment.

young woman spritzing her indoor palm tree with water

Embrace the health benefits of apartment gardening, savor the fruits of your labor, and most importantly, enjoy the process. Whether you’re in a bustling city or a calm suburb, cultivating your own gardens in your apartment is entirely possible. From your cozy studio to garden-style apartments (see what I did there? Ha!), let’s add a green thumbprint to our urban centers, one apartment garden at a time.

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