I remember back when I was young, my mom would have a couple of potted plants by a window. She managed to grow a couple of simple plants, but any attempts at strawberry would usually turn up dead in a couple of weeks.
Her entire outlook on gardening changed when I got her a mini setup from Homedepot. We had tons of fun setting it up together. Not to mention how easy it was. The change in the plants was night and day! It was as if we moved closer to the equator. Our plants began thriving like never before.
As you know, plants can be quite delicate. They need a lot to survive. A greenhouse helps to hold in moisture without blocking out sunlight. This keeps the plants hydrated. Greenhouses also make it simple to set up lights as they sometimes come with a frame or structure to hang them from.
Setting up an indoor greenhouse in your apartment is a unique way to add some life to your apartment. And, hey, eating something you grew yourself is something to be proud of.
There are greenhouses for everyone. Some people might want to start out with leafy greens or you can start a seedling here and move it to a more appropriate place when the time is ready.
All in all, a well-placed greenhouse needs little maintenance and is a great addition to any home.
So, what’s the most important thing when deciding on an indoor greenhouse setup?
Choosing What to Grow
Almost everything you go with in your setup will be determined by the plant you choose to grow.
Different plant types have different needs. For a mini indoor greenhouse setup, I’d recommend three main types.
Herbs – I absolutely love growing these! They make your apartment smell and look nice. They thrive well in pretty much all situations. If you’re just starting out, I recommend basil, chives, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary or thyme. Also, impress your guests by cutting off a sprig and adding it as a garnish to a plate. Fancy.
Salad Greens – Now we’re getting serious! These are quite a sight to grow. Some, like lettuce, can grow big and beautiful, decorating your home with dashes of vibrant green. However, such growth requires abundant nutrients. Having grow lights is a must for healthy leafy greens.
Fruit – Ah, fruit. Nature’s sweet treat. These are probably the most exciting to grow. Just seeing that first hint of fruit, watching it mature and turn its proper color. Growing fruit indoors, while not an easy task, is the most rewarding.
I recommend beginning with strawberries. Their fruiting season ranges from early summer to late autumn. They’re perfect for small indoor setups as they don’t require much space and begin fruiting relatively quickly.
Fun fact, strawberries are the most delicious and healthy snack there is. Add chocolate to raise levels of deliciousness.
There are many different plants you can grow indoors. And each plant has its distinct needs. However, there are still some basics that all plants need to be able to thrive in an indoor greenhouse setup.
Soil and Fertilizer – Your plants, like any other living organism, need a constant supply of nutrients to survive. Most of the store-bought soil doesn’t come with all the necessary nutrients for the plant to grow to full size, so adding some fertilizer is recommended.
Trays – While not the most important decision, choosing the wrong tray could kill your plant before it even has a chance to grow fully. Make sure it has holes for extra water to drain out and that it’s deep enough for deep-root plants to flourish.
Lights – If you have a well-lit window in your house, then definitely try out the natural sunlight first. There’s nothing like the sun’s rays for plant growth. Furthermore, this will make the initial installation easier. If you don’t have the right space in your apartment, or you tried and aren’t seeing enough growth in your plants, then definitely go with artificial lighting. Also, with natural light, you won’t have to waste money on increased energy expenditure or buying bulbs. The sun is free, for now.
While it may be a bit more difficult to set up, once you have it good-to-go you can be confident that you will have fresh veggies year-round. With artificial lighting, you can adjust the intensity to give the plant the exact amount it needs for optimal survival or set a timer. Just remember to put your grow lights a good 6 inches away from your plants. Any less and the grow lights may burn the leaves. A little more and the pants begin to reach for the lights, leading to heavy-ended stems.
Thermometer – A greenhouse setup can be its own worst enemy. You see, the enclosed structure helps keep in heat and humidity. While this is great for the plants, too much of anything can be terrible, too. Be on the lookout for signs of overexposure to heat or moisture as these can easily kill a plant.
The good thing is, the solution is quite simple. Leave the entrance to the greenhouse open and let some of it escape.
Taking care of an indoor greenhouse is quite simple. Just be sure to water the plants according to the care instructions labeled for each. You can find a guide online on plant health and be sure to put it to use every time you check on the plants. Here a couple of signs to keep an eye out for.
Things to Watch out For
Humidity – Be sure to grow plants with similar humidity needs in a single greenhouse. Too much humidity and the plants can begin to grow mold spores. Too little and the plant will begin to die of thirst.
Sunlight – While most growers are worried about their plants getting enough sunlight. Too much light can also be harmful to the plant. Keep an eye out for pale or yellowish-green leaves. They may be asking for some shade.
Air – it’s important to take your plant out of the greenhouse and put them next to an open window every couple of days. The wind helps the plants grow strong and healthier.
Heat – Remember, the greenhouse is a closed system designed to let maximum sunlight in while keeping heat in and leaving wind out. That means it gets hot. Very hot. Keep a thermometer handy to make sure your plants are sitting at a comfortable growing temperature.
Always watch the highs and lows. Check the temperature late at night and during the middle of the day. These extremes are what usually cause the most harm to the plants.
Types of Setups
Building an indoor greenhouse is relatively simple. However, we’re here for gardening, not carpenting. Getting the right materials can be a hassle as it’s an extra step you have to research before getting started, and the setup can change drastically depending on the type of plant you’re growing.
That’s why I recommend buying an easy-to-setup greenhouse. Your dream garden awaits!
While not a greenhouse, these little guys are my absolute favorites! They bring that garden green touch to the room while being small and elegant enough to fit on any desk.
One more thing, a terrarium is an amazing gift. Just leaving that out there.
This setup is great for small apartments where you don’t have much space available to set up a full garden. It’s a neatly packed 2-tier greenhouse. Just the right amount for small plants and herbs. It’s also incredibly easy to put together, which is always a plus.
The pop-up greenhouse is another great purchase for small apartments. Its triangular shape gives it that extra headroom ideal for growing fruiting tomato plants. Just be sure it gets enough light!
This greenhouse is also great for growing many seedlings together. Its tall shape allows easy ventilation. Its wide base provides enough room to grow batches of seedlings together.
Now we’re talking business. This 4-tiered setup is perfect for expanding your indoor garden. If you already have a couple of potted plants lying around and are looking to get into more serious garden, this is a great addition to any home.
It doesn’t have to be mounted to any wall so it can rest perfectly in any corner.
The Pros of an Indoor Greenhouse Setup
No excuses! – They’re called mini indoor greenhouses for a reason. A simple terrarium can sit on your desk while a 4-tiered behemoth can fit in a lonesome corner of your home. If you’re worried about the plant not getting enough sunlight, with the addition of grow lights, even your basement or backroom can be a suitable growing area.
Ikea-level Setups – It only takes 1 whole day to have a setup ready for the rest of the year. In one morning you can gather up all the necessary supplies. Take an hour or two out of your afternoon to put everything together. There you have it. Check on your littles ones whenever you water them and you won’t need much more maintenance to keep your garden going strong.
Grow Your Salad – Have I mentioned how amazing it feels to eat something you grew yourself? Yeah? Well, I’ll say it again. There’s nothing like the first time you pick a strawberry out of your garden and eat it. I promise it’s going to be the juiciest strawberry you’ve ever tasted in your life!
Year-Round Growth – If you’ve decided to implement grow lights into your greenhouse then you’ve set yourself up a completely independent grow system. That is, your plants don’t depend on outside stimuli for growth.
The Cons of an Indoor Greenhouse Setup
Plant Restrictions – I know, it sucks. You can’t grow a whole mango tree in your apartment. There’s a wide selection of fruits and veggies you can grow, though.
Not A Work of Art – The clear plastic on some greenhouses can be unappealing to the eye.
Consistent Dedication – Some plants are delicate. If you have to travel for a couple of days, the plants might lose moisture and die of thirst. While not much particularly intensive, repeat care is necessary.
Setting up a mini indoor greenhouse is a great idea for any gardener, beginner or experienced alike. It doubles as a salad bar and wonderful decoration for your home. They’re easy to set up and maintain. You have a wide range of plants to choose from. Herbs, fruits, or veggies.
I would definitely recommend a mini garden for any beginner looking to get into the basics of gardening. Plus, having a plant in the room makes everything more peaceful.
What is your favorite plant for indoor growth? Let us know in the comments section!