Green Thumb 101: How to Start a Garden in an Apartment 

How to Start a Garden in an Apartment 

Apartments can be tricky for decorating, as they’re typically smaller spaces and leases limit our creative visions quite significantly. This is especially true for gardening, as apartment outdoor spaces are usually limited, or even nonexistent. Sadly, this can be frustrating for many apartment dwellers, since gardens offer many great benefits for the mind and body.

However, it’s easier than one may think to start a garden. In fact, you don’t even need an outside space at all! While this may come as a surprise, this guide will walk you through starting a garden for any apartment size or type.

What Type of Garden Works Best?

The type of garden you’ll want depends on several factors: how much sunlight the plant will get, how much water you will give it, the climate it is exposed to, and how big the space is. For indoor spaces with a sizeable window, you’ll likely have partial sunlight at best. For outdoor space directly outside, plants that require full sun can be grown.

Plants such as fruit trees will need plenty of space from roots to fruit, and therefore a smaller space won’t be able to accommodate. Succulents are great for those who are forgetful plant owners, but they require ample heat and sunlight. Herb gardens are great for those who want fresh kitchen ingredients, but flowering plants are perfect for those who just want to appreciate nature’s colors.

Balcony Space Garden

On a balcony, your space is likely limited. You’ll want to keep your plant or garden choices to smaller plants or trees, or a simple window box or planter. Roof or balcony overhang can limit sunlight, so be certain the environment can meet the plant’s needs.

You can also create a small, portable greenhouse quite easily as long as you remember to keep the area warm and humid; these also offer great plant protection for areas that get too cold in the winter.

Small Patio Garden

If your apartment has a small patio or yard, you have more flexible options. You can include the options for the balcony, but you can also create a wider selection, even a portable flower bed. You can create multiple flower beds for different types of plants, or even add a trellis for climbing plants.

Certain flowers can attract butterflies and bumblebees, which add more color to the space as well as help your plants reach their full potential. Medium-sized trees can be planted if the space permits.

Indoor Garden

If your apartment has no indoor space at all, don’t fret! There are plenty of indoor plants to choose from that thrive with limited sunlight and room temperature. Succulents, ferns, palms, and other non-flowering plants are great options for indoor spaces, and they also come in a wide variety of sizes.

Small succulents or herbs can be placed in window boxes inside or directly on the windowsills (kitchen windowsills are great for miniature herb gardens). Larger ferns or palms can sit right on the floor in their respective pots (be certain the pots are large enough for roots to grow and thrive).

How Do You Select Plants?

Choosing the right plants can be tricky. Take personal preferences into account as well as safety. Certain flowering plants can be toxic to animal family members (such as lilies for cats, or daffodils for dogs). Plants similar to Elephant’s Ear can be toxic to humans and therefore could be harmful to homes with children.

Be certain to do your research to determine what types of plants are safe for your home. On the other hand, many plants are enticing to animals, such as cat grass—if you don’t mind your furry friends taking a nibble, this can be great enrichment for them. 

What Supplies Do You Need?

The supplies for your apartment garden depend on the type of setup. Windowboxes or flowerbeds can thrive with some natural cover such as mulch, pine needles, or natural rocks. Watering cans, potting soil, and plant food are also helpful to have on hand.

Sprinklers or other automated watering tools are great for bigger, more advanced outdoor spaces, though likely not needed in an apartment area. Portable greenhouses, flowerbeds, window boxes, and pots are needed to host your plants as well. You can find all these supplies by doing a quick “mulch for sale near me” search on any of the popular search engines. Don’t be afraid to bargain hunt!

Gardens and plants can help improve air quality, provide mental enrichment, and make great decorations. Certain plants can even provide nutritional value or fun for your animals. It doesn’t cost a lot to add a potted plant or two to your home if you’re nervous about getting started. It can also make a space feel more like home. No matter the type of space you have, you can always find your green thumb.


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