How to Plant an Indoor Container Garden: Tips and Ideas

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how to plant an indoor container garden

Indoor container gardens are a great way to beautify and bring freshness to your home. Besides their esthetic appeal, container gardens are a fantastic way to keep a fresh supply of your favorite veggies and herbs past their growing season.

Gardening indoors is an entirely different ball game than growing an outdoor garden. However, making and maintaining an indoor container garden can be rewarding and delightful.

When developing and maintaining a container garden in your home, you must get several factors right.

There are several benefits of container gardens, and this article explores those benefits and some indoor container garden inspiration.

What is an Indoor Container Garden?

As the name implies, indoor container gardening involves planting vegetables and other edible plants in a pot/container (as opposed to planting in the ground). There are different types of indoor gardening, including living walls and corner raised beds.

However, container gardening is the most convenient of these in terms of mobility. Planting indoor container gardens can also be a time-saver as it can be easier to manage and tend them compared to outdoor gardens.

You can also include several types of plants in your container garden, including succulents, vegetables, herbs, and fruits!

Best Plants for an Indoor Container Garden

When choosing plants for your indoor container garden, the choices are endless. Several plants are suited for and thrive in indoor containers. Plants like bamboo and mother-in-law’s tongues are great at keeping the air in your home free from toxins.

Some vegetables thrive when planted indoors. Some of these include carrots, garlic greens, lettuce, and tomatoes. Herbs like thyme and mint also flourish indoors when placed in sunny locations in your home.

Low-light plants like snake plants are also perfect for indoor container gardens, as they do not require much attention. Succulents are also great indoor plants, as they grow satisfyingly quickly and do not require much attention, and they add a certain vibe and appeal to your home. Begonias and ferns are fantastic humidity-loving plants to place in rooms like your bathroom.

Creating an Indoor Container Garden

You’ll need to know and do a few things to plant in indoor containers. Firstly, you need to decide on the plants you will grow. You’ll also need to get plants suited to your home’s conditions that fit your lifestyle.

For example, it is best to get easy-care plants if you are only sometimes available to tend to them. Factors like humidity and sunlight are crucial to create an indoor container garden.

1. Choose plants.

how to plant an indoor container garden - choose plants

There are no set rules when choosing the plants for your container garden. You can mix and match if your plants can thrive indoors.

You can mix perennials, herbs, shrubs, and other plants in your indoor containers. Your indoor garden should also have aesthetic appeal, so you can play with colors to achieve the desired effect.

For example, if you want a dramatic piece, consider going for contrasting-colored plants, while for a softer and more inviting appeal, you can stick to plants of the same color with different shades.

Bougainvillea and hibiscus are two fantastic options for tall container plants. You can also go for vegetables and herbs. Consider adding foliage/filler plants like Fuschia, southern maidenhair fern, Swiss chard, and basil, or trailing plants like Bidens or ivy geraniums, to create a more cohesive look.

Note that different plants might have different light and soil requirements. Therefore, checking the plant tags or asking your local garden center to mix and match your plants is crucial.

2. Choose the right spot.

how to plant an indoor container garden - choose the right spot

Plants need sufficient sunlight, and you should place them in an ideal environment. Depending on the plants in your garden, you might need a lot of sunlight or just a little.

Salad greens and herbs can do well without much sunlight. Some plants can also thrive with just some indirect sunlight. You may move your plants around for a while before finding their perfect spot.

If your home does not receive sufficient sunlight for the plants in your garden, consider getting grow lights. These lights mimic the sunlight and help your garden thrive in less-than-ideal conditions.

3. Choose the right containers.

how to plant an indoor container garden - choose the right containers

Choosing the correct container can make or break your indoor garden. Container choice goes beyond just aesthetic appeal to functionality and compatibility.

Ensure you get the right size of container you need for your garden, as a too-small or too-big plant could be worse. There are different material varieties of pots, including clay and plastic pots.

As a rule, your container should be about one size bigger than your plant. The plants will also determine the size of the container you need. For example, a tomato plant will need up to 5 gallons of soil, while radishes will flourish in a container with at least six inches of depth.

Taller pots will provide a larger quantity of moist soil for plants with deep root systems. Drainage is also crucial. Thus, your container must have drainage holes at the bottom.

Go for clay pots if you are planting succulents, ferns, or large plants. If you want to use a fancy container without drainage holes, you can consider using it as a cache pot. Using a self-watering pot is also a great idea to simplify your gardening!

If you wish to go green, you could even recycle the cartons of your eggs and other grocery containers you would normally dispose of. Identify your needs before choosing a container, it would be the plant’s home after all.

4. Get the right soil.

how to plant an indoor container garden - get the right soil

It’s essential for you to know that there may be better ideas than the soil in your garden outside for your indoor container garden. A potting mix is best, as it is the ideal medium for indoor container plants to grow in.

Potting soils do not contain soil but contain a blend of ingredients like peat moss and perlite to grow your container plants.

Depending on your growing needs, you can buy a potting soil mix or make your own. There are several DIY potting soil recipes. Use the right potting mix suited to the type of plants you’re going to plant.

5. Give adequate water.

how to plant an indoor container garden - give adequate water

Plants must be watered adequately for your gardening to be successful. Thus, you must invest in a self-watering planter or a drip irrigation system if you do not plan to water your garden once or twice a day. There are plants, however, like variegated ivy, which do not need frequent watering.

If you use a big pot, consider covering your topsoil with a thin layer of mulch to help your soil retain water. Also, consider plant terrariums if you’re looking for low-maintenance gardens.

6. Add fertilizer.

how to plant an indoor container garden - add fertilizer

Your plants will most likely rely heavily on fertilizers for their nutrients. Add granular organic fertilizer to your container plant soil during the planting season.

You can also add water-soluble fertilizers to a self-watering planter to feed your plant as frequently as required.

7. Build trellises.

how to plant an indoor container garden - build trellis

Some flowering vines and plants, like tomatoes and cucumbers, require vertical support to grow and fruit. Securely attach your support with brackets if your garden requires trellises. These trellises can also form an eye-catching vertical accent to your indoor garden.

How to Plant an Indoor Container Garden (Step-by-Step Guide)

1.   Cover the container’s drainage holes.

Cover the container's drainage holes.

Use landscape fabric or other screening to close the drainage holes in your potting container. You can use organic liners like coffee filters, milk cartons, and dried leaves, or inorganic liners like packing peanuts.

This material helps keep your soil mix from draining with the water and keeps insects from getting into the soil.

2.   Add soil mix.

add soil mix

After getting your container set, it’s time to add the potting soil. Pour in the mix, leaving one to three inches at the top of the container. Ensure that you follow the exact recommendations and directions of the soil mix you use so as to avoid causing future problems with your garden.

Using organic, granular fertilizers is often a better choice than conventional fertilizers.

3.   Move plants from the nursery.

Move plants from the nursery.

You must be extremely careful when moving your plants from their nursery pots. Flipping the pot upside down so the plant can stand without an event is best.

If the process is complex and the roots are attached to the pot’s base, use a knife or any other sharp tool to scrape between the soil and the inside and gently unravel the root system.

4.   Place plants in container.

Place plants in container.

Place the plant in the new container at the same depth as the nursery pot. Use your hands to press the soil around the plant(s) down to eliminate air pockets. Make sure you leave the crown exposed and fill the remaining parts with the soil mix.

Read the plant label and follow the instructions to place plants properly in their container.

5.   Irrigate plants.

Irrigate plants.

Water the plants until it drains from the holes. The soil mix might settle after watering it, so add more soil.

Time to start your indoor container garden!

Creating an indoor container garden can be a very fulfilling endeavor. Plus, there are so many options for plants that can thrive indoors, given the right circumstances. So, indoor container gardens are a great option whether you want to garden indoors as a hobby, to beautify your home, or as a year-round food source.

With our guide above, you can see that creating an indoor container garden is not a walk in the park, but it’s not rocket science either. You don’t need to be an expert gardener to get it right.

If you want to grow plants and create an indoor garden, follow our guidelines, and you’ll have an aesthetically pleasing, satisfying indoor garden in no time!

Need more tips and ideas on container gardening? Check these out!

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Here's a simple guide to help you start your very own indoor container garden!

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