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How to garden and grow plants indoors

Lori Wilson is a SheKnows.com Home & Living columnist, as well as a freelance writer in Los Angeles, who after a lifetime of enduring harsh Michigan winters, relishes the warmth year round.

Gardening indoors

Whether it's because of space or weather, growing your plants inside is an option for any gardener. With the proper tools and care, you can transform your home into a lush gardening spot. PlantCare.org offers several suggestions for city dwellers and those living in cold weather states to create their very own indoor garden.

Benefits of indoor gardening

Aside from space and weather issues, gardening indoors allows you to control your plants' environment. You determine how much light, water, shade and food they receive. Thus plants grow in special environments that will last longer than one season.

Where to plant

When figuring out where to place your plants, you should look for an open space that receives indirect sunlight, as many plants will burn from direct light. Position your plants where you will be able to install growing lights overhead if there is no space in your house that is naturally lit. In addition, put your garden in a low traffic area, as too much commotion can disturb the plants' environment. The best places in your home for indoor gardens are unused closets and basements, as you can easily control their temperatures and humidly.

Creating a prosperous environment

If you have a naturally lit area, you won't have to do much garden prepping; however, if you need to boost the light quotient, then you should: 

  • Cover walls with reflective Mylar or white paint in order to allow light to reflect onto your plants so they can absorb more energy.
  • Turn on an oscillating fan to create air and humidly flow around your plants because if an air supply fixes directly on your plants for too long, it can dry them out.
  • Protect your household surfaces by putting drop cloths or plastic trays underneath your plants in order to prevent water damage.
  • If using artificial light, it's suggested you utilize HID (high intensity discharge) lights, which hang down from the ceiling and converts electricity into useable energy for plants.  

    Watering your plants

    As all plants are different, you should research your selections to figure out their particular needs. However, basic water rules state that you should:
  • Ensure your plant has an adequate drainage system.
  • Fully hydrate the soil, but be careful to not over-water it.
  • Use room temperature water so as not to shock the plant with scalding or freezing water.

     

    Climate control

    Look into your plant's specific temperature needs, but in general, keep these things in mind:

     

    Tools of the trade

    To start your indoor garden, you will need a few simple supplies. Head out to your local gardening or home improvement store and pick up some good quality, loose potting soil containing the nutrients your plants need such as containers big enough for the particular plants you have chosen and ones that will drain well, and distilled water, as tap water may contain mineral deposits or harmful pH levels that can damage your plants' natural pesticides. Keep your family safe while preventing pests from destroying your garden. Once you have these supplies, you are ready to start your year-round indoor garden.  
  • Keep your plants in temperatures consisting of 65 – 75 degrees.
  • Rapid temperature changes can damage your plants.
  • Hotter temps can cause plants to be smaller and weaker. Colder temps will make leaves turn yellow and fall off.
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