Indoor Gardening: Growing Vegetables, Indoor Plants, Hydroponic, Tower Garden

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Gardening | November 9, 2023

Woman looking at plants after reading an indoor gardening guide that explained how to grow plants, flowers and vegetables indoors using hydroponic systems, tower gardens, aeroponic, aquaponic and more.

Indoor gardening is an excellent way to reduce stress and help reduce your food costs.

In fact, growing your own plants, whether they are ornamental or vegetables, can reduce your carbon footprint. And, you don’t have to have special skills or a lot of space.

Indoor gardening is on the rise, and the best part is that there are plenty of systems that you can buy online and make use of so many planting techniques.

This complete guide explains how you can start an indoor garden easily and quickly, and offers tips and tricks to ensure that the plants you cultivate will grow healthy and thrive in your space.

What Is Indoor Gardening?

A lot of people would love to have a home garden, but one thing holds them back: the concern that they don’t really have that much space outdoors to set up. But there’s good news: that should not be a problem, all thanks to indoor gardening.

You are able to set up a garden even in an urban setting, even if you live in an apartment building and don’t have backyard space to get started. So, what exactly is indoor gardening?

To put it simply, indoor gardening is the technique of planting some plants that would conventionally grow outdoors inside an enclosed space. The same way that you would set up a kitchen garden in your yard is the same way you would plant your produce.

Literally, everything in regard to planting and care stays the same, but the difference is that you bring the garden inside. There are so many reasons why this method would make more sense to you and actually work better.

First, the most common reason is when you don’t have a lot of outdoor space. This is pretty common in apartment buildings or small homes where there is no massive yard for gardening.

An elegant indoor garden room with checkered flooring, large windows, and a variety of potted plants and flowers, complemented by vintage furniture and light fixtures.

(Image: jpenrose30)

Another logical reason for this would be if the current climatic and weather conditions in your region are not that favorable; this is common in northern parts of the country that experience punishing winters.

There are also gardeners who opt for indoor plants to keep a closer eye on their plants, keeping them safe from pests and diseases. For others, it is the ability to control the plant’s condition that matters because, for outside planting, you will have to abide by growing seasons and stick to specific times of the year.

For indoor gardening, the rules do not really apply, and you can have a steady supply of your favorite fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers all through the year, which is the reasoning behind greenhouse gardening for farmers.13

When it comes to this planting method, there are two main ways to go about it: you can either buy all the things that you need and set them all up on your own or, alternatively, just go ahead and buy smart kits that are sold in stores and will make work easier for you.11 No matter what system you choose or what your reason for planting indoors is, you will be thrilled by how rewarding indoor planting actually is.

Indoor Gardening Kit: Plant Supplies To Start an Indoor Garden

If you have any plans of planting your favorite vegetables and fruits or any other plant, there is one thing to bear in mind: you will need some gardening tools. Planting is a pretty lucrative investment and, obviously, there are a couple of things that you will need to buy to get started.

If you are a beginner and have no idea how to go about it, here are the most important gardening supplies that will come in pretty handy for you.

1. Garden Planters

It goes without saying that since you will not be planting outside, you are definitely going to need a container of a planter that your plants will end up calling home. Here is where you will go for the best-looking, functional pots for the soil and seeds or seedlings.

Remember that the garden planners should have proper drainage in the form of drainage holes that will get rid of the excess water. There are so many materials out there that you can choose from, either plastic, clay, ceramic, or anything that works for you.

2. Hand Trowel

This is the perfect alternative to the large shovels that are used for outdoor planting. You will definitely need this in your tool kit because you will use it for many tasks when planting and maintaining your indoor plant.

It comes in handy for digging small holes, removing weeds, amending the soil with fertilizer, and so much more. This is why you will look for a trowel with a small and sleek design that is also comfortable to handle.

3. Hand Fork

Do you know the massive rakes that are used in farming? Now, these are the miniature versions and do pretty much the same thing.

A garden fork with a bright yellow handle lies next to a freshly cut white rose on a paved pathway.

(Image: Buntysmum31)

They will be of use when you are loosening the soil or basically preparing it for planting. You will have a lot of fun gardening with this tool as part of your kit; just make sure that it has a comfortable handle and is rust-resistant.

4. Spray Bottle

As a new owner of indoor plants, there is one thing that you are going to have to remember: your plants need some extra humidity, and that is where mist for plants will come in handy. A spray bottle or mister will do the trick as long as you go for the plant grade one that is a little more gentle, especially on the plants that are delicate; you want the water to release tiny particles.

This tool will also work when watering young and tiny seedlings and will be effective in cleaning dust from the leaves.

5. Watering Can

Just like the mist, this is a necessity for your indoor gardening; the only difference is that it is relatively larger, ideal for when you are dealing with larger plants that need heavier watering.14 You will go for the one with a long spout that will direct water better to ground level.

Using this, you will never have to worry about the water spilling over around the plant, and there is no worry of backsplashes or water going to the leaves and causing complications like pest and disease attacks.

6. Gardening Gloves

Buying this tool has a lot to do with your comfort and also your safety. Some plants grow sharp thorns or leaves, and you will only handle them while wearing some hand gloves.

They also go a long way to give you an extra grip when you are using other tools in the kit. Like the shovel and fork.

7. Pruner

You will notice that plants also need some love and care, and pruning is a major part of that because you will be able to chop off the dead leaves and those that are diseased or ravaged by pests. Pruners will keep the plants in control and, in the process, make them look better.

Gardeners tend to go for pruners that are made of steel because not only are they very durable, but they are also sharp and pretty accurate.

8. Pruning Scissors

You may wonder why this tool is here alongside the pruners; don’t they have the same job? Well, not really, because pruners sometimes don’t always reach some spaces, but scissors are more flexible and will be more practical when harvesting your indoor herbs and flowers.

A pair of turquoise gardening shears rests on a surface surrounded by bright yellow sunflower petals and a partially visible sunflower head.

(Image: Bru-nO32)

So, if you need one, make sure that you check how sharp it is because you want only the cleanest cuts.

9. Grow Lights

One issue when it comes to planting indoors is the fact that there is limited access to the sun’s rays, and that is why you will have to find a way to provide an artificial alternative called a grow light. If your space is not well-lit and you want to keep your plants healthy and happy, placing a source of light above them will mimic the conditions outdoors and make them thrive as they naturally would.

10. Soil Tester

Maybe this is your first time coming across this, but it will soon be your best friend when you are looking after your indoor plants. With a high-quality soil tester, you will finally be able to check what the level of moisture is in the soil, and if you go for a high-end product you could actually do more, like measure the acidity level, the amount of sunlight that the plant is receiving and so much more.9

Best Indoor Plants

Choosing what to plant in your indoor garden is also a crucial decision to make because if you make the wrong choice, both you and your plant will suffer. You will struggle to look after it, and it will be harder for it to grow healthy, especially those plants that need the full sun or those that thrive better outdoors.

There are certain things that will guide you when picking the perfect plant. You will ask, what are its growing needs?

Will you be able to provide for them in an indoor space? Does it grow tiny or massive, or will it do better growing in the open?

Luckily, there are so many plants out there that do not mind and will actually thrive indoors and these are some of the top options for gardeners.

  • Vegetables:15 It is definitely a top choice because the produce is directly consumed. Some excellent options include vegetables like carrots, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes (especially cherry), kale plant, peppers, onions, radishes, beans, chard, and so many more.
  • Herbs: With a sunny spot near a well-lit window, you will be successful in growing herbs right in your home. These ones are also top options because you can actually put whatever you grow into good use, and your house will smell really great while at it.
    The basil plant, mint, thyme, oregano. cilantro, catmint, rosemary, parsley, chives, and others will do really well.
  • Flowers: Did you know that you can also grow certain types of flowers indoors? Yes, most of them love the full sun, but there are others that can survive in particle shade and will not give you a hard time when growing indoors.
    A bonus is that they will look and smell great. So, why don’t you give roses, petunias, pansies, marigolds, zinnia, and begonias a chance?
  • Fruits: It is also exciting to find out that you can also grow fruits indoors. They don’t have to be massive trees growing outside in your garden but there are some plants that produce tasty fruits and grow dwarf, giving you an easier time planting and caring for them.
    These include varieties like citruses, apples (the dwarf ones), and berries.
  • Low-maintenance and low-light plants: Also, another top choice, particularly for beginners and gardeners who don’t really have a green thumb but want to try planting indoors, is the low-maintenance plants. They don’t need a lot of care, and you cannot possibly kill them.
    You can try plants like cactus, snake plants, money plants, jade, pothos, spider plants, peace lily, and others.

Setting Up an Indoor Vegetable Garden (Growing Vegetables Indoors)

Truth be told, vegetables can be picky when it comes to seasons and will not grow unless they are very comfortable and the conditions are perfect. But that will not be a problem if you opt for indoor gardening.

Are you a lover of all things organic gardening and want to have a steady supply of vegetables even without a yard space or even when it is freezing cold outside? Then you will need some tips on indoor gardening of vegetables.

Hands holding fresh red tomatoes in front of green plants.

(Image: Per Lööv33)

With an indoor garden, you are able to grow tasty leafy vegetables in a more conducive space and not really have to worry about them suffering the punishing cold or sometimes heat outdoors. All you need is a few tips to get you started.

Step 1: Find the Perfect Location

This is probably the most crucial consideration that you could ever make when planting your vegetables indoors. Leafy greens prefer growing in environments where the temperatures range between 55-70 degrees;4 going way lower or higher than this will be detrimental to their health and that is why you will have to pick a room that you are sure meets the temperature requirements.

You also want to pick a spot that is far from any heat source because you will be risking complications like bolting.

Step 2: Setting Up Artificial Lighting

The grow light should be part of your kit because it is going to provide some extra lighting for your plants and mimic the conditions that are outdoors. Find a place that is near a power outlet and hook up your grow light hanging them above the vegetables,16 and you can also set an automated timer, ensuring that the lights are on for at least 16 hours every single day and off for the rest of the day.

Step 3: Setting Up the Vegetables

Here is where you place the plants under the grow light, and that is going to be their permanent home. So, obviously, general arrangement and proper spacing is very important.

What you will watch out for is unobstructed access to light and proper air circulation in between the plants.

Step 4: Keep the Conditions in Check

You will see how rewarding indoor vegetable gardening is as long as all the needs are met. Your plants are going to need light, which the artificial one can provide, moisture, proper air circulation, and some food for nutrition.

Step 5: Harvesting Properly

When you take great care of your vegetables, they don’t hesitate to reward you, and this is the best part; the harvesting time. The leafy greens are usually harvested from the outside as you go in, chopping off the leaves that you need as you give the plant more time to grow new ones.

Starting an Indoor Herb Garden

Are you a huge fan of using herbs in your meals and drinks? They definitely add a special flavor, and the good news is that you can have these herbs growing in your garden, in an indoor space, for that matter.

What makes them work is the fact that they are relatively easy to care for, and, of course, serve their purpose, all thanks to their great taste and smell.

A person pouring water from a rustic jug onto a tray of herbs by a sunlit window.

(Image: Cassidy Phillips34)

Here are a few pointers if you are looking to start an indoor herb garden:

  1. Always use well-draining containers when planting. The last thing that your herbs will want is to have the roots stay too long in the water.
  2. The soil that you use for planting should be well-draining and rich in nutrients.
  3. Herbs may grow relatively small but they also need enough space in between them to grow comfortable and healthy.
  4. Since many herbs don’t really grow deep roots, your container should be at least 6 inches deep, but all in all, just make sure that the planter that you choose is able to accommodate the herb’s root ball.
  5. Food grade and untreated materials are the best to serve as containers for your plants, and the ones that most gardeners go for are clay, steel, and cedar, generally, only the natural materials.2
  6. Drainage holes in your container for planting are non-negotiable, and if you happen to buy one without them, you may have to drill them yourself.
  7. If you have a large container, you could grow more than one herb in the same space, just as long as it doesn’t get out of control as the mint does. But even so, you will still have to harvest more frequently to leave more room for better air circulation.
  8. It is important to know how to pair up your herbs if you are going to plant more than one in the same massive container. You can pick one that grows tall and one that tends to cascade outside the planter, making sure that the latter is the one planted along the edges of the container.
  9. The best herbs that do very well while growing in containers include the woody ones that are a hit in cooking recipes like thyme, sage, and oregano.
  10. Members of the mint family are also pretty impressive herbs to grow indoors;17 these include basil, rosemary, marjoram, lemon balm, and winter savory.
  11. If you are on the lookout for greens that you can use for your kitchen, you can go for options like the chives, which are a type of onions.

Maintaining a Winter Indoor Garden

If you think that living in the northern part of the planet means the end of gardening, then you will be glad to know that it is far from it.

Planting doesn’t have to stop just because the conditions outside are not favorable, there is a way out, thanks to indoor gardening.

Three potted plants of varying sizes and types, placed on a white surface near a sunlit window.

(Image: Sixteen Miles Out35)

You will be able to plant all through the year, regardless of experiencing some of the most punishing cold weather, and that is one of the upsides of indoor planting.

How To Care for Plants Indoors in Winter

Caring for indoor plants during the winter requires special attention. Here are some essential tips to ensure they thrive:


You will have to heat up your house in the winter, and that basically means that the humidity levels will drop, which is not good for the plants that are growing indoors. It is especially important for houseplants that live in tropical regions because they absolutely love it when the air is rather humid because, otherwise, the soil will start drying up, and they will get dehydrated.

But, interestingly, on the other hand, plants actually need less watering in winter, and it is so easy to make the mistake of overwatering them because that could kill them. So, how exactly do you know the right time to water?

You can do a soil test. If an inch of the soil is still wet, avoid watering.

You should also consider investing in a humidifier to sort of increase the levels of humidity in the room.


There is one more problem when it comes to winter gardening, providing enough lighting for the plants. If anything goes wrong, you will definitely know because the plants will grow too leggy.

This explains why you have to place the containers in a well-lit spot and keep rotating to make sure that all the parts get the same amount of light. You can also supplement with artificial light or a grow light to make sure that they are fine through the shorter and colder wintry days.


Growing plants indoors gives you the advantage of providing ideal temperatures. They will certainly be safe from the harsh winters as they stay cozy in a closed and heated space.

You may also have to add an extra space heater just in case and place it some feet away because too much heat is also dangerous, especially for vegetables and flowers. While doing that, ensure that they are nowhere near a drafty window or a heat source (fireplace or vent).


The onset of winter basically means that the plants start going dormant. They naturally adjust, and their rate of growth starts declining.

But that is not a sign to add heavy fertilizer. As a matter of fact, you should completely avoid amending the soil during winter when you have just brought your plants indoors.

The best time to fertilize is early on in the fall, not when they are in their dormant stage.


There is absolutely no need to repot your plants when caring for them in winter.18 This is the worst time to do that because the growth rate is supposed to decline until the air gets a little warmer.

However, repotting tends to trigger a kind of growth spurt, and that is the last thing you want because oftentimes, that means that your plant will grow weary and will definitely suffer from stress all through the winter.1

Wait til spring to change their containers.

What About Indoor Low Maintenance Plants?

You will find it easier if you opt for low-maintenance plants and plants that don’t need sun to grow indoors. These are the perfect candidates, unlike vegetables and fruit trees and other plants that are a bit needy.

They won’t take much of your time, and growing and caring for them indoors will be a breeze. They are actually some of the top choices for beginners and those who have trouble keeping their plants alive.

You may find types of succulents the best options for you because they don’t need a lot of watering, as long as they get some sun or artificial light, they will be good. They are not as demanding as other plants are, and literally, anyone can plant them in their home.

These include plants like jade, agave, cactus, aloe vera, crown of thorns, echeveria, and string-of-pearls. All these plants have a unique look and will spruce up your indoor space, whether you want to plant them in your room or office.

A vibrant yellow flower blooms on top of a cactus, surrounded by various cacti and succulents in terracotta pots.

(Image: AKuptsova36)

If you are not very fond of succulents, don’t worry because there are so many other stunning plants that look incredible and are pretty easy to care for indoors. Take the pothos, peace lily, and the money plant, for instance.

They each have unique features that make them stand out as decor plants in your space and will look great even without too much attention on your part. It is a win-win when it comes to these plants; you get to enjoy their beauty without really having to struggle to look after them.

But still, being living things means that they will need some care to at least keep them healthy and alive. Luckily, the indoor space provides most of the things that they need, the temperature levels are conducive, and the sunlight is not too much for the plants with delicate leaves.

Watering once in a while will also come in handy but not as frequently as with other plants. In fact, be very careful because these are rather prone to overwatering and that could literally kill them.

As long as you regularly mist them to maintain the humidity levels, your plants should be just fine. Although low-maintenance indoor plants are very resilient, there are instances where they are pushed beyond their limits, and you will have to recognize these signs before they harm your plant.

Discolored and misshapen leaves and stalled growth should be clear signs that your plant is under stress. These could indicate that the plant is getting too little or too much of something, and in most cases, it has a lot to do with the water and sunlight,7 so be very careful when providing these things.

How To Grow a Garden Indoors in Urban Settings

Do you live in the city and are wondering if gardening is an option for you? It may be a problem considering that there are problems with finding yard spaces for planting, but before you give up hope, you will be glad to know that there is something called urban gardening or,19 in some cases, apartment gardening.

What Is Urban Gardening?

The more cities develop and the more the need for people to embrace urban settlements increases, the higher the likelihood for people to garden in smaller available spaces. Here is where urban gardening comes in.

It is not like conventional farming where you have a personal space to set up a kitchen or flower garden in your front or back yard. You will have to make use of the tiny available space on your balcony or rooftop, and it is incredible how this works for so many people in urban settings.

Forms of Urban Gardening

The whole point of urban gardening is to make full use of limited space without really compromising on the methods and techniques of conventional gardening.

Graphic of forms of urban gardening showing Container gardening, Tower Garden/Vertical Garden Indoor, Kitchen gardening, and Community Gardening images in rectangular frames.

You can actually plant and be successful with the options below.

  1. Container Gardening: Definitely, the most popular option for apartment buildings and indoor planting is container gardening. Since there is no outdoor space in apartments for planting in the ground, the container and the soil and potting mix inside are the perfect substitutes.
    All you will need is a durable and sturdy container and the ideal plant, and you are in luck if you have an outdoor space like a balcony for more sunlight access.
  2. Tower Garden/Vertical Garden Indoor: Vertical gardening is more or less the same as container planting, but the catch is that the need to have more plants makes you grow them in a vertical pattern. This makes up for the small space available, a method that works and is actually becoming pretty popular in urban settings.
    The floor space is left intact while the plants are placed in a vertical pattern, going up against a wall.
  3. Kitchen Gardening: This is literally what it sounds like. It is where you plant vegetables and herbs on your kitchen countertop.People like this because it involves planting things that you can actually use on a typical day in your kitchen.
    To get this done, you will need sizable containers for planting that you will place next to a window for sunlight access, providing food and water as required.
  4. Community Gardening: You can bring in your friends and neighbors and start a shared community garden.27 If you identify a space near your building that is empty, you can ask other people to join in, and you all start a community garden, where everybody chips in to plant and invest, and you all get the harvests.

Upsides of Urban Gardening

Urban gardening offers a lot of benefits. Here are some of the top advantages to consider:

  1. Obviously, and probably the main reason why people start gardening indoors in their urban homes is for the food supply. Vegetables, fruits, and herbs are able to grow right in your space, and how rewarding it is to harvest what you have grown from scratch.
  2. Have you seen stunning flowers and lush green plants hanging on window sills and balconies, admiring how stunning they look? Yes, you can use indoor gardening solely to help spruce up your space.
  3. City life is busy, and with that comes problems like pollution and increased carbon footprint in various forms. Luckily, if more and more people start gardening, producing food right at home will reduce the level of individual emissions and will also help create greener spaces.6

When and How To Start an Indoor Garden

Are you looking for ways to have a regular organic supply of fresh food? Did you know that it is all possible with just a few steps?

Gardening at home is becoming more and more popular,20 even for city residents, and is the perfect way to bring the outdoors inside.

A collection of potted herbs displayed on a light surface, showcasing a variety of greenery with different leaf shapes and growth patterns.

(Image: donterase37)

It doesn’t matter whether you are going for types of bonsai trees or want to plant herbs and vegetables to help spare you the grocery runs, indoor gardening has never been this fun and simple.

When Should You Start Indoor Gardening?

Timing is an important consideration to make when gardening, but the rules are a bit different when it is indoors. Planting indoors can be done at literally any time that you want.

This is actually one of the pros of the system in comparison to conventional outdoor gardening, and there are so many reasons for this. First, the plants are not subject to climatic and weather conditions when they are indoors.

The temperatures are more conducive, and there is no need to worry about frost dates. All that you have to do is to find a way to provide your plant with its basic needs, like lighting, natural or artificial, water, food, and other crucial requirements.

It is more effortless to plant indoors than outdoors, and you will see how healthy and happy your plants are going to be.

How To Get Started With Indoor Gardening

If you are worried that you don’t exactly have a green thumb, you will appreciate the fact that indoor gardening is not as overwhelming as it seems. With a few steps, you should be well on your way to becoming a pro.

Step 1: Pick a Plant To Grow

There are some factors that you will have to take into consideration before deciding what vegetable, herb, or fruit to plant. Think about the amount of space that is available and whether what you plant will directly be of benefit to you.

You also want to consider whether you will be able to provide all the needs of the plant such that it is comfortable and healthy the entire time.

Step 2: Choose the Planting Method

There are so many different ways to go about planting indoors than the conventional planting in containers. You can experiment with containers growing vertically over your balcony rails, hanging planters, and so many other options based on the type of plant that you go for.

Step 3: Find the Perfect Location

Of course, another decision that you are going to make has a lot to do with where exactly you are going to place your plants while they are indoors. Most would opt to plant near windows, but it is not always a great idea, depending on where the windows are facing.

If facing north, then you are in luck because the light will not be too much, but on the other hand, west-facing ones may let in too much light, and you will have to move your plants away for a couple of feet.

Indoor Growing Systems

Did you know that there are so many ways to go about indoor planting apart from the conventional method of growing in soil in containers?

It may be the first thing that comes to mind, but thanks to technology, the techniques have changed, and you can actually be a successful indoor gardener even without planting the traditional way.

Graphic of indoor growing systems showing Soil-based garden, Hydroponic garden, Aquaponic system, and Aeroponic system images in rectangular frames.

For most, if not all, these methods will largely depend on what exactly you are planning to grow, what your budget is, how much space you have, and whether aesthetics mean a lot to you.5

Soil-Based Garden

Soil-based gardening is probably the oldest and most commonly used method where you either plant in the ground or use potting soil in containers.21 It is likely the very first thing that comes to your mind when you are thinking about planting because you expect your vegetables, fruits, and herbs to grow directly in the soil, and in the case of indoor gardening, that means planting in containers that are filled with soil.

That becomes the rooting medium and the soil is the source of nutrients and moisture for the plant.

Benefits of soil-based gardens? They are more straightforward in comparison to other systems, and being simple also means that they are more economical when it comes to setting them up and managing them.

There are no limits to what you can plant using this method, be it herbs and vegetables for your garden or tropical plants for your indoor spaces.

Hydroponic Garden

As the need for more sustainable farming arises, there is a need for farmers to come up with alternative ways to produce food such that there is no harm to the environment. This is what you get with hydroponics,28 a system that is gradually gaining traction among indoor gardeners.

It is the exact opposite of soil-based gardening because here, there is absolutely no use of soil or potting mixes in containers. The soil is no longer used as a medium for food and water uptake.

So, how exactly does it work? In a hydroponics system, soil is substituted by an aqueous solution that goes directly into the roots of the plants, providing all the nutrients that it needs in terms of food and water.

There are quite a lot of benefits when it comes to planting indoors in this method, like having a more extended season and getting way more yields than you would expect from conventional planting.

You will also realize that this method doesn’t use that much water, and it also maximizes small spaces, which makes it even better for the environment. You will also not have to worry about pests and diseases that often lurk inside the soil, and lastly, harvesting is so much fun and easier when using this method.

Young plant seedlings growing in a hydroponic system, with vibrant green leaves emerging from nutrient-rich water channels.

(Image: iamareri38)

But as expected, there are some drawbacks that you should expect with such a state-of-the-art system.

For one, it is not cheap to start, particularly when you are dealing with a massive system that accommodates more plants. It also uses electricity, so you may have to brace yourself for the additional costs and watch out for power outages that could negatively affect the plants.

Also, while there is no danger of soil-borne diseases, plants in a hydroponic garden are more susceptible to waterborne infections. That explains why there is a need for regular monitoring and maintenance to make sure that your plants are safe.

Aquaponic System

Hydroponics and aquaponics have quite a lot in common, but the difference is that the latter is not that popular among indoor gardeners. It is also kind to the environment and is very different from conventional soil-based planting.

In this sustainable gardening system, aquaculture and hydroponics come together to create a biological process for both fish and plants to survive off each other.

How does it work? You may ask.

Aquaponics involves planting your crops in the same place as fish,22 and the two turn out to have a symbiotic relationship that helps them thrive. You see, the water from the tank is rich in nutrients, all thanks to the fish waste, and plants feed and grow on that.

On the other hand, the roots from the plants help filter out the water, making it clean and oxygenated for the fish to use, and it is an entire cycle.

Aeroponic System

Another high-tech method that is the absolute opposite of soil-based gardening is the aeroponics system,29 and as you can tell from the name, it has something to do with the air. In this case, water and soil are not the growing media, but air is.

The roots of the plant are left hanging in the air and then watered or irrigated with mist that is rich in nutrients.

Lush green plant seedlings thriving in an aeroponic system, with roots exposed, housed in white modular containers.

(Image: Nadine Primeau39)

Therefore, there is no submerging in water or soil, and that should tell you that it is a more advanced system; it helps that the plants growing indoors have better access to oxygen, and that technically means faster growth rates and higher yields.

The plants are also obviously safe from water and soil-borne diseases, and you are able to enjoy harvests all year round. The catch?

Of course, with such a complex system, aeroponic gardens are pretty costly to start and maintain.

All About Indoor Garden System

Knowing just how important it is for people to find an alternative to outdoor gardening, there are products that are available in the market that make perfect units that you can use when gardening indoors.

Thanks to improved technology, you are able to purchase a garden that will make planting all the more easier and even more rewarding. These equipment are available in retail stores and online shops, and you have got to give them a try, especially if you are a first-timer.

What Are Indoor Garden Systems That You Can Buy?

While there is the conventional method of planting in containers indoors, there are garden systems that are available for sale that you can actually make use of to make work so much easier. These are special creations that are specifically designed to help you grow your favorite plants indoors, and they come with extra features like lighting to keep your plants more comfortable.10

There are so many options to choose from, whether you want a tiny one to place on your countertops or a larger one that can hold more plants at a time. With so many versions available, you may find it overwhelming to choose just one for your needs.

Best Features To Look for in a Garden System

These gardening units come in various designs, shapes, and sizes, and that is why you need to know what are the best qualities that will make them worth the price because trust that some can be pretty costly.

  1. Most beginners go for units that are a little more compact, with simpler designs, because that always means that they will be effortless to handle and maintain.
  2. Some options even come with seed kits of your choice that will sort of get you started on your gardening journey.
  3. Functionality is also a key feature to look out for because you may be inclined more to a system that can work for both indoor and outdoor spaces if you want a change.
  4. If style and aesthetics also matter to you, you can also find types that have incredibly homey colors and look elegant for your indoor decor needs.23
  5. Gardeners who are often busy will also opt for systems that are easier to care for, and it is great that some require cleaning just once in a growing season.
  6. There are some high-end systems with advanced technology able to connect to apps to make gardening a breeze.
  7. Innovation is an important feature to look out for, and that is why you should look out for systems with lighting and any other advanced automated tech, like self-watering features.

Factors To Consider When Buying an Indoor Garden System

With so many types available in the market, it is easy to get confused, not knowing which one to go for, but here is a guide to get you started.

Lush green lettuce growing in a tiered hydroponic garden with white rectangular planters in a greenhouse.

  1. Size: One of the very first things that buyers take into consideration is the size. You have to pick a unit that you are certain will be able to hold all the plants that you need.
    Luckily, these pieces of equipment vary based on the manufacturer, and you can find compact and massive ones, even vertical designs that will perfectly serve your needs.
  2. Power needs: All of the indoor systems that you can use are electric, so that is one thing to bear in mind because you will need a spot with an outlet. If you are also concerned about electricity consumption, you will be careful when it comes to versions that have more power functions like lighting.
  3. Necessity: Considering that these systems do not exactly come cheap, it only makes sense to invest in one if you are sure that you are going to use it and maximize it. If you are more interested in growing one of two plants, then you would rather just plant in a simple container instead of an expensive and elaborate indoor gardening piece of equipment.

Care and Maintenance of Indoor Plants

Like any other plant, yours will also need some love and care so as to grow healthy and strong. Luckily, most of the plants that do well indoors tend to be more resilient and don’t really need too much TLC apart from the basic needs.

If you want the most vibrant and beautiful plants, maybe consider the following care and maintenance tips.


This is one of the major concerns for plants growing in closed spaces because, unlike their counterparts outdoors, they don’t get that much sunlight. This goes a really long way to explain why you need to place your planter in a convenient spot where there is enough access to sunlight and also add an extra artificial system or grow light just in case.


One impressive aspect of indoor gardening is the fact that the watering needs of indoor plants are different. You won’t have to water them that much, unlike what you do with those growing outside in the sweltering heat.

Once or twice a week is enough, but be very careful to avoid overwatering. You should make sure that there are drainage holes in the containers because otherwise, letting your plants sit for a long time in water could lead to root rot or even death.12


Although indoor conditions are not as punishing as those outdoors, there are cases where you will need some extra heat for your plants, like in winter. You can invest in a heating mat for your seedlings, and when they get bigger, you can maintain the temperature levels at around 70 degrees.


Food is important for growth, and that is why you should always check that yours gets enough nutrients in the form of compost and fertilizer.24 A slow-release fertilizer will be your best bet because it will be able to feed your plants for a very long time, even months, keeping them well nourished and looking amazing.


One thing that you will realize when container planting indoors is that there are times when you will have to transfer your plants to other containers that are bigger or sturdier. In most cases, this should be done annually the more the plant grows and whenever it becomes root-bound.

This will give your plants a new start, and you will notice an increase in their growth spurts.

Choosing Indoor Garden Lights or Grow Lights

Plants cannot possibly grow without lighting, whether they are indoors or outside. They need it for the most important physiological process, which is photosynthesis.

Assortment of indoor plants in various pots with hanging growing lights in a bright room.

(Image: vadim kaipov40)

If not, they will get weak, and flower and fruit production will obviously be affected. Therefore, it makes a lot of sense to invest in artificial lighting to make up for limited access to sunlight when you are planting indoors.

What To Know Before Buying Artificial Lighting for Your Plants

Before investing in artificial lighting for your plants, it’s essential to consider several key factors. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Are you wondering why a typical light bulb that you use in your house cannot work as a grow light? It is because plants identify particular wavelengths, and the bulb must be able to provide the same light wavelength that comes from the sun, which only a special bulb will be able to provide.
  2. This artificial lighting must be on for around 16 hours every single day; otherwise, it may it be enough. There are ways to tell when the plant is deprived of light when it starts discoloring and showing abnormalities.
  3. The grow light goes right above the plants, inches away, but not too close, that the leaves start burning or bolting (for vegetables).

Types of Grow Lights

Of course, you are going to run into so many types and designs of grow lights, and you may have a pretty hard time settling for just one. For some insight, here are the commonly used types of grow lights that you may end up using.

  • Fluorescent lamps: Do you want to grow vegetables or herbs that don’t really need too much light? Then the fluorescent grow lights are your perfect bet.
    A plus is the fact that they are rather cheaper and more readily available than other versions.
    The only issue is that they are not perfect for flowering plants or those that need a lot of light so as to grow faster.
  • High-Intensity Discharge bulbs: Unlike the fluorescent lighting options, the HID bulbs are way more powerful, meaning that they are ideal even for plants that need more lighting. However, with such a high performance, it is obvious that you will have to pay more to own such a bulb.

What Is the Best Size of Grow Light To Go For?

Why does the light’s size matter? You may ask.

This is a very important question because the last thing that you want is to invest in a piece of equipment that doesn’t really serve your needs. You are going to consider aspects like the distance between the light and your plants and how big your indoor garden really is.25

For instance, if you are going for a 400 Watt light, you will have to place it closer to the plants, at about 1-4 feet, but if dealing with a more powerful system, say a 1000 W one, you would be able to set up the light at anything between 2-6 feet.

Indoor Gardening for Beginners: Tips You Need for Interior Gardening

Is this your very first time trying to plant anything? Do you find it a little overwhelming?

Hanging green plants and terrariums decorate a window space, with two lightbulb-shaped glass containers containing plants suspended by ropes, and glass shelves above showcasing potted greenery.

(Image: Eduardo Casajús Gorostiaga41)

Not to worry because these tips for gardening for beginners will help you make indoor gardening the most fun and effortless task ever.

  1. Place your garden near your kitchen: One mistake that many beginners make is neglecting their plants. It is normal, especially considering just how busy people get with other things, and that is why it is crucial to place your plants near your kitchen, or at least on a path that has got a lot of traffic.
    Why? Because seeing the plants a lot of times in a day makes it easier to monitor and look after them.
  2. Spend some time with your plants at least once every single day: Plants are also living things and need some TLC, even those that are low maintenance. Spending time caring for them helps them grow stronger, and you will be able to detect any abnormalities.
  3. Always go for the plant’s smallest breed: One thing to note is that dwarfs plants are better for growing indoors. Not only do they save a lot of space, but they are also more effortless to manage.
    For instance, cherry tomatoes are the best for indoor gardening, not the massive ones.3
  4. Make sure that your plant is comfortable: The last thing that you would want is to care for a stressed plant. Trust that it is not easy and could even take a toll on you.
    So, when choosing the best indoor plant, make sure that you are able to provide every single thing that it needs.
  5. Be consistent with feeding and watering: Plants need food and water to survive, and like any other living thing, they are able to adjust to a particular pattern. This should explain why you have to be consistent with watering and applying fertilizer; taking too long could stress them out.
  6. Give your plants breathing space: It may be tempting to grow indoor plants a little too close to each other, especially now that the space is too tiny, but that would do more harm than good. Therefore, make sure that you leave enough room between each planting to serve as breathing space, and that will help reduce cases of fungal infections.
  7. Be on the lookout for indoor pests: Safely growing inside doesn’t mean that your plant is immune to pests. They will find any way possible to get to your plant and feed from it, and that is why daily monitoring is crucial to check for signs of tiny bugs or missing parts.

Why Grow Indoor Plants

It must have crossed your mind at some point, wondering why plants are becoming a hit in both indoor and outdoor spaces.

Homeowners must have one or two, or an entire garden of them, leading you to ask, what are the benefits of plants growing inside your home or office?26

Graphic of benefits of growing indoor plants which include cleaner air, provides a healthier, more comfortable, and beautiful environment, gives a sense of accomplishment, therapeutic and stress reliever, and increases productivity.

  • Cleaner Air: You know that plants are the lungs of the planet and how seamlessly they are able to get rid of the toxic GHG emissions and sequester oxygen. They will do the exact same thing in your space: remove the toxins and leave the room smelling clean and fresh.
    Who wouldn’t want that?
  • Decoration and Comfort: There is no other way to make your room look cozier than by decorating it with plants. The lush green and vibrant flowers have an incredible way of lifting the face of any space by adding life and color, and it is not just about their looks.
    They are also known to improve the level of humidity, reduce the temperatures, and generally make rooms more homey.
  • Health: You should know that plants are good for your body, soul, and mind; given the way they make the space cozier, they give off a feeling of home, and that calms down your anxiety and makes it easier to recover from illnesses.
  • Stress Relief: Studies have shown that having plants growing in your space is an instant mood booster.8 It doesn’t matter what you are going through, taking care of your plants will be the break that you need.
    It gives you a sort of calming effect, and you would want to plant more and more.
  • Increased Productivity: Try it for yourself and see just how having plants around your workspace helps you get things done. They are calming, boost your mood, and improve your creativity, and that translates to your performance at work.
  • Effective Therapy: You will notice that wellness centers have gardens where patients are able to set goals and achieve them when it comes to planting their favorite plants. This actually goes a really long way to improve healing.
  • Sense of Accomplishment: In the same light, you will notice that planting is pretty rewarding, not just in terms of the produce that you could get but also for your well-being. Planting seeds and seedlings and caring for them until they are mature makes you feel productive and accomplished every single day.

Once you start planting vegetables, herbs, and flowers in your home, there is no going back. Homeowners can’t help but marvel at how stunning their plants look whether they are growing outside in the yard or kitchen garden or even right indoors.

Various hanging plants in pots suspended from a ceiling in a sunlit room, with storage shelves in the background.

(Image: Kelly Ziesenis Carter42)

Many have no idea that they can actually grow healthy plants inside their homes; therefore, give up on the process just because they don’t have a lot of space outside.

As long as you can provide natural or artificial light, heat, water, food, and the right soil for your plants, they will do just fine. Besides, there are also new and innovative planting techniques like hydroponics that are gaining more traction among homeowners, and you can also try them out.

Living in an apartment building doesn’t mean that you cannot enjoy the organic foods that you love. Try indoor gardening and see just how rewarding it will be; experts are quick to point out how the activity has a lot of positive impact on your general well-being. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Indoor Gardening

What Do You Need To Start an Indoor Garden?

To begin an indoor garden, essential equipment like a hand trowel and hand fork are necessary for digging and planting. As you care for your plants, items such as a grow light, spray bottle, watering can, gloves, pruners, and a soil tester become indispensable.

What Are the Best Plants for Indoor Gardening?

Numerous plants are ideal for indoor cultivation, depending on your space, needs, and planting method, including veggies like kale, tomatoes, and carrots, and herbs such as thyme and basil. Additionally, you can grow fruits like berries and citruses, as well as flowers like roses and begonias.

Can You Grow Flowers Indoors in Winter?

Growing delicate flowers indoors during winter protects them from extreme cold, as long as they receive essential needs like warmth, light, water, and fertilizer. Ensuring these conditions will help them thrive regardless of the season.

Are Hydroponic Indoor Gardening Systems High Maintenance?

Despite their advanced tech and higher cost, hydroponic systems are user-friendly due to innovations like automation and associated apps. Regular maintenance includes watering, occasionally changing bulbs, and checking the system annually or after changing plants.


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