The winter can be bleak, uncomfortable, and make you miss sunny days spent in your outdoor garden, cultivating the soil. You may be wondering if there is any way to make our own winter garden and which plants to grow indoors in the winter!
Vegetable plants like carrots and lettuce, as well as flowers like kaffir lilies and ixora flowers, can be grown with relative ease indoors during the winter. The most efficient way to make an indoor garden is to select these types of plants, prepare the correct space for their needs, and provide a level of care based on indoor habits.
In this article, we’ll take you through a step-by-step guide on how to get started with your indoor garden, as well as give you a list of our top choices for indoor-garden plants. At the conclusion, you should have everything you need to make your own winter garden: plants to grow indoors in the winter!
How to Make an Indoor Winter Garden
Making your own garden outdoors can sometimes be self-explanatory; after all, most plants are meant to survive outside with access to sunlight, water, and nutrients! Creating an indoor garden, on the other hand, comes with a whole set of complications.
If you’re feeling like you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry! We’ve got a step-by-step guide to help you build your very own winter fairyland listed below!
- Choose the Perfect Place
- Select the Right Plants
- Gather Lighting Supplies
- Adjust Your Plant Care Habits
Let’s take a closer look at each of these steps and walk you through how to prep, set up, and care for your indoor winter garden!
1. Choose the Perfect Place
It might sound charming to have your entire house sprawling with greenery, especially in the bleak winter months, but it is not always the most practical option. Not only is it impractical, but going into the building of your own winter garden without a planned, designated space can also affect the health of your plants negatively.
The perfect place for your garden depends on what space you have available in your house or apartment, as well as what plants you decide to build that garden out of. Some plants, like succulents, might do just as well without sunlight in a corner of the kitchen as they would on a bright windowsill.
Others may be more high-maintenance and require plenty of space not only to soak in any available light from the outdoors, but to branch out and grow. The first step to creating your perfect indoor garden is determining what part of your home works the best for a garden space by combining plant needs with available space.
If you plan on having a large assortment of plants, consider checking out DIY websites or even Pinterest.com to find unique, creative ideas on how to arrange the plants in a way that is pleasing to the eye. A system of bookshelves and some hanging plant baskets might not only save space, but give your room an aesthetic focal point into the bargain!
2. Select the Right Plants
The selection of the proper plants can mean the difference between a thriving indoor garden and a disappointing, difficult-to-tend indoor garden. For example, some beautiful flowers like gardenias, zebra plants, and orchids can be hard to care for even in the hands of the most experienced gardeners.
The same goes for vegetable plants or herbs. If you’re beginning to worry that you won’t be able to select the best plants to liven up your home during the winter, never fear! We’ve got a list of our top picks for an indoor garden later in this article.
3. Gather Lighting Supplies
According to Onithome.com the average home gets around seven hours of sunlight per day. Obviously not every apartment and every home will have windows that give you full access to all seven hours of this sunlight, and even then, it would be a hassle to move plants that need the full seven hours around to different windows as the sun moves throughout the day.
Basically, the most convenient thing for an indoor gardener and their plants would be to purchase artificial lights that simulate the effects of sunlight.
This is especially true if you’re hoping your indoor garden will remain lively throughout the winter season. Grow lights can help your plant to get the proper amount of UV rays it needs to photosynthesize no matter what location you place your garden in!
Research what type of light is best for each plant you choose. Fruits should be grown using a GE Red bulb, while greenery and veggies benefit from a 9-Watt Balanced Spectrum Grow Bulb.
If growing plants with the use of an artificial light isn’t your style, or if you are blessed with a home that has plenty of access to sunlight even in the winter, you’ll want to keep your plants near a window that faces the East. This will ensure that your plants can take advantage of the most ultraviolet-rich rays in the morning hours, even during the winter time.
4. Adjust Your Plant Care Habits
Lighting isn’t the only type of adjustment you may have to make if you’re switching your garden from outdoor to indoor during the winter. Other adjustments, however small, will need to be made to accommodate your plants, including the way you water them and what types of soil you use when planting and transplanting.
Plants that are brought indoors have soil which typically does not dry out as quickly as it might when outside, exposed to the elements. Therefore, over-watering is a danger that many houseplants fall prey to. Test your plants’ soil by reaching an inch down into the soil bed to see if it’s dry before adding water.
When you do water your plants, consider taking them all at once to a sink or a bathtub in your home. This will not only save you some time cleaning up in case of accidental spills or other messy occurrences, but it will help you to water each plant thoroughly.
Speaking of soil, it is still just as important to give your plants the nutrients they need through soil and fertilizer that is correct for their species, even if they aren’t outdoors anymore. Don’t neglect this aspect of plant care just because you are less likely to have to worry about pests inside.
Which Plants Should Be Grown in an Indoor Winter Garden?
Not all plants thrive in an indoor climate, even if it seems like bringing your garden plants inside to protect them from icy elements should be a good thing. However, there are some that will do better than others, and some that will grow in leaps and bounds when kept inside during the cold season! A list of the best plants for an indoor winter garden can be found below:
- Kaffir Lily
Below we’ll go into more depth about what makes these flowers particularly great for growth indoors, as well as a few tips on how to care for each type specifically.
Lettuces are one of the easiest plants to cultivate, even indoors. The best way to start a crop of lettuce is to use an appropriate potting soil in combination with compost. If you want seeds to sprout quickly, place a heating pad underneath the soil bed until the sprouts are visible; then they can be moved off of the heating mat!
Lettuce is best grown under a grow light or even a fluorescent bulb that is at least 3 inches, or 4 inches at most, away from the plant itself. Once the lettuce has sprouted, you can settle for watering your lettuces around twice each week, making sure that the soil remains damp but not soggy.
Another veggie plant you can enjoy making a part of your indoor winter garden is the quick-germinating arugula! Just remember that arugula is best kept in a cool environment, so if you’re prone to keeping your home more than 69 degrees Fahrenheit in the chilly winter months, this plant should be kept in a cooler area of your house.
When harvesting arugula (which will provide plenty of food even in the winter!) make sure to cut away large leaves but keep the small ones growing for more arugula harvesting throughout the whole season!
Another of the easiest-growing vegetable plants to grace indoor gardens, carrots are also attractive. Their dark green, fern-like foliage can make a pleasing decoration to any room, all while tasty carrots grow beneath the soil! Carrot seeds should be kept moist until they germinate, which happens between two weeks and 21 days.
Although carrots are easy to grow indoors, they are also a plant that needs as much sunlight as possible during the day. It is likely that your carrot crop won’t get quite enough sunlight during the winter months at a single window in your home, so be sure to outfit them with a strong grow light.
One of the greatest things about choosing a citrus tree for your house or apartment is that not only will it bring a little springtime into the dark winter months, but almost all citrus enjoy the same level of care.
For example, human beings prefer a temperature around 65 degrees in the chilly months of winter, and citrus plants thrive on the same temperature!
As long as their soil is filled with organic matter, the leaves are washed periodically, and the flowers are gently flicked in simulation of the pollination that isn’t happening indoors, citrus trees can produce all kinds of fruit in your home! Three of the most common include oranges, lemons, and even kumquats!
These adorable little trees thrive in the winter when they’re brought inside, away from frost and snow. Not only is pruning and shaping a bonsai tree fun, but it is relatively easy as long as you understand their needs, and a bonsai tree makes an interesting focal point for the aesthetics of any room’s décor!
Usually a bonsai tree will quit growing and may even drop a leaf or two when they’re kept too cold, so bringing them indoors or keeping them there is a great idea. Just make sure not to keep your bonsai tree under or near an air conditioning vent when you have the heat on; bonsais are susceptible to drying out!
6. Kaffir Lily
Maybe you’re not interested in miniature trees, fruits, or vegetables for your house. Whether you’re looking to liven your garden up or simply prefer flowers, the Kaffir Lily is an excellent choice! The big advantage to Kaffir Lilies is that they barely need any water in the winter time and actually bloom better when they are not watered more than once or twice a month.
In addition, kaffir lilies don’t even need a lot of direct sunlight! Instead, they thrive in indirect light or even dim corners. Kaffir lily plants bloom and grow a beautiful orange-colored set of petals that isn’t often enjoyed in nature during the winter time.
The jungle geranium, or ixora plant, is another flower that provides beautiful warm colors like orange, pink, and red in the frosty time of year. They can withstand cold temperatures of around fifty degrees but will be perfectly happy indoors where it is warm, with you, during the winter!
The jungle geranium does require moist soil throughout the winter time, though that soil should be well-drained, and needs to be kept under a warm grow light for the best results.
In conclusion, making your own winter garden is not only a great way to liven up the bleaker months of the year, but it is relatively easy! Simply pick out the best space in your home or apartment for the plants you believe will grow best in the space, such as lettuce, citrus, or flowers like the Kaffir Lily.
As long as you make sure you have a grow light or two and ensure that the moister conditions of an indoor environment aren’t causing you to overwater your plants, you should have a beautiful indoor garden to last you through the winter!