The perfect garden isn’t about having a lot of outdoor space – you can enjoy gardening almost anywhere. You can cultivate fruit, herbs, and vegetables in your Charleston apartment! You can create a successful apartment garden with just a little basic know-how.
Take a good look at your apartment to determine the best spot for your plants. Make your plan based on sunlight, water access, and consider the weight of the containers you’ll need. Start with some creative containers for herbs as you learn the basics of caring for your indoor garden.
Learn about the plants you want to grow and what they need to thrive. Plants may need as little as 4-6 hours of direct sun, but fruits and flowers prefer 6-8 hours of full sunshine. Think carefully about where you will place plants – heavier plants like plant tomatoes should rest balconies, rooftops, or hanging pots, while herbs can be planted in small pots or in an apartment kitchen window. You can also purchase a sun lamp to provide more sunlight when necessary.
Use high quality potting mix in your containers and be sure that it that drains well. Light weight potting soil will prevent your containers from becoming too heavy to maneuver. Good potting soil is also sterile, which is important in your apartment. Potting mix has been created to maintain pockets of air that allow roots to absorb water and grow.
Container plants dry out faster than plants in the ground, so water frequently. Some may need to be watered twice daily. Placing your garden near a water source will keep you from lugging heavy watering cans around. You might want to purchase a hose that can be attached to a sink to make watering simpler.
Outdoor potted and hanging plants generally do not get enough water from rain – you’ll need to water them, in some cases more than once daily. If you are using fertilized potting soil, you won’t need to feed your plants frequently, if at all. If you choose unfertilized soil, you will want to add a water soluble fertilizer periodically to feed your plants.
Spritz your plants a few times a day with a sprayer to increase humidity for apartment plants. Note the amount of wind that plants on balconies or hanging outdoors endure. You can use a wind shield to keep leaves from being damaged and prevent dehydration.
Containers full of soil can be very heavy, and even heavier after watering. When using a window box or a window sill planter, fully secure the container to the window sill so it does not damage the sill. If your plants rest on a balcony or rooftop, check with the apartment management to make sure the structure can handle the weight.
Seeds are fun and easy to start, but you can buy small plants if you want to get started in a hurry. Below are a few of our favorite plants for apartment gardens:
Herbs – Herbs thrive in containers. Some favorites for the kitchen include basil, parsley, chives, thyme, lavender, and mint.
Salad Greens – Lettuces grow rapidly with shallow roots, and do well in lower light as long as they get plenty of water. Try Arugula, Bibb lettuce or Spinach.
Chile Peppers – Peppers grow well in containers and in lower light conditions, and produce fruit year round.
Strawberries – Strawberries require plenty of sun, but a bright sunny window sill will yield a pretty (and delicious) reward. Make sure you use 12” deep pots.
Tomatoes – Tomatoes grow well in containers, although they can be heavy and prefer a lot of direct sunlight. They do best in containers that are 30” or larger in diameter and do best on balconies, although hanging pots also work with a sturdy hook.
Enjoy your harvest frequently – apartment gardeners are often shy about harvesting in the hopes of a large harvest or out of fear that they might harm the plants. Harvesting encourages the plant to set more flowers and create more fruit, so enjoy the products of your Charleston apartment garden often!