gabysapha
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My first apartment- indoor gardening in the city?

Hi fellow gardeners,

I did a lot of native plant gardening and propagation during my undergrad in upstate NY and my roommate was in Horticulture; needless to say our college apartment was full to the brim with plants from the college greenhouses and natives I grew from seed. I think our plant to window ratio was something like 10:1!

I just moved to Boston and live in a tiny apartment with 2 roommates I barely know, but I chose an apartment with lots of windows to help me get started with indoor gardening.

I am relying on my apartment to give me the greenspace I need, since my new neighborhood lacks parks and tall trees.

The kitchen has 4 east-facing windows. The attached living room has 1 south-facing window.
My bedroom as 2 north-facing windows and 1 east-facing window.
The house has a shaded front porch and a lawn on the north side of the building. But with the weather cooling off I will save my outdoor gardening plans for the spring.


With so much light in the house I am itching to get started with plants! I have 8 windows!!!

I am flat out broke after leasing the room, so it's my time to plan what plants to purchase and where to get them. When I get my next paycheck I will look for local nurseries and craft stores for plants and pots.

Do you have recommendations for what I should grow? I'm looking for easy to care for plants that look great. I love flowering plants. But, I do not like growing orchids; my former roommate had a collection of 13 orchids and I didn't like the way they looked when they were not blooming.

The following plants I have grown before with good success:
- east-facing windows: aloe vera, anthurium, jade plant, various dracenas, petunias year-round, angelwing begonia, wax begonias, geranium, dumb cane (I'm very sensitive to its sap though)
- south-facing windows: hibiscus, aloe vera, hoya
- north-facing: philodendron, pothos, christmas cactus, peace lilly, african violets, snake plant

I love growing succulents such as hens-and-chicks but they always look leggy when I grow them, so I'll stay away from them.

Are there more I should add to my list?


Thank you for reading!

SuburbanHomestead
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Re: My first apartment- indoor gardening in the city?

Maybe having a pot of thyme would be nice, since you can eat it also.

gabysapha
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Re: My first apartment- indoor gardening in the city?

Oh I completely forgot about herbs! I have never grown herbs indoors aside from basil. I stuck basil in my open top aquariums; it grew really well.

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applestar
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Re: My first apartment- indoor gardening in the city?

Consider culinary hot peppers. I bring my jalapeño and hot lemon inside in the winter. I provide supplemental light since even my SE facing best sun windows are shaded by tree branches behind which the sun rises during the winter, but they don't need to be the closest to the lights like the tomatoes so if you have good unobstructed south facing window, I suspect you won't need to supplement. They bloom and fruit through the winter, especially if you electric toothbrush the floral stems. (look for "Winter Pepper Torture" thread in Veg gardening forum)

If you can provide supplemental lights, check out the Winter Indoor Tomatoes thread in the Tomato Growing forum. :wink:

Parsley is easy, so are onion and garlic bottoms (cut/reserve generous pyramid from the base of the onion and garlic and plant in potting mix) I grow them inside for the greens all winter -- great for garnish in soups, salads, omelettes, baked potato, etc.

Gotta grow aloe for burn and acne first aid. Zebra plant and jade are good looking (these kinds of succulents are easy)

African violet and Christmas cactus are happier in east and west windows respectively.

Fuchsia is pretty easy too and does well in east or west window.

You may want to get started if you think you'll want to grow coffee or tea plant. My newest interest is banana (super dwarf cavendish) but it does get to be a 5 foot plant including the container. Citrus, avocado, and mango are easy to grow from seeds ...pineapple from pineapple tops as plants are a little more challenge. But none are as easy to bloom and fruit. You'll want to get grafted/container growing cultivars if you want them to fruit any time soon and may need to provide supplemental lights. While you wait for the fruits, citrus leaves are great for flavoring Thai and Vietnamese soups and Indian curries.

Ginger root and lemongrass are also easy to grow once you get them established from the Asian grocery store purchases.

...oh were you asking about ornamental plants? :()
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rainbowgardener
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Re: My first apartment- indoor gardening in the city?

herbs that are easy to grow indoors include parsley, mint, lemongrass, and chives.

For ornamental, I like coleus. My coleus which goes outside for the growing season, does tend to fade and lose some of its brilliant foliage colors through the winter. But it is easy care and does well, and colors back up when it goes back out. If you have the room, I like indoor trees. I have ficus and corn plant that I got as teeny babies in 3" pots. The ficus is now as tall as I am and the corn plant I have cut back from brushing the ceiling a couple times. I also have an angel trumpet I started from seed maybe five years ago. It was getting tall and lanky, so I chopped it in half this season, which revived it beautifully. Nothing makes a room feel "green" like having a tree in it!
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gabysapha
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Re: My first apartment- indoor gardening in the city?

Thank you so much for all the ideas!

I have never tried growing edible plants simply because I've never tried it! I might as well give it a shot now that I have so many unobstructed windows.

I'm almost afraid to try tomatoes....for no reason! Why are edibles so intimidating for me?

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rainbowgardener
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Re: My first apartment- indoor gardening in the city?

Well, tomatoes can be grown indoors as applestar has well demonstrated. Until she did that, I used to tell people it can't be done without expensive high intensity lighting. But I still think it is not entirely easy, to get them to bloom and fruit indoors. You would need to be prepared to pay a lot of attention to them, supplemental lighting and frequent turning to be sure all parts of the plant get adequate light, etc. Applestar is a very experienced gardener, who knows how to look at her plants and know what they need. It would not be an easy thing for a beginner to do.

Any of the other things we mentioned would be easier to start with.
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gabysapha
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Re: My first apartment- indoor gardening in the city?

Thank you for the great ideas and wisdom.

Now what I'm concerned about is where to get all these plants. I don't think there are big nurseries in Boston and I don't have a car. This will be tricky...

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rainbowgardener
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Re: My first apartment- indoor gardening in the city?

You might be surprised - I'm sure there are other apt dwellers who want to have plants and Boston is a wonderful city to get around in by subway (my son lived there for a few years before he moved from the right coast to the left coast).

But I have similar problem in that I live almost in the inner city and all the nurseries moved out to the suburbs. I order lots of plants on line. They come delivered to your door, nicely packaged and in good shape.
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imafan26
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Re: My first apartment- indoor gardening in the city?

You could even grow salad. Lettuce, radishes, arugula, and maybe even water cress. Pansies, viola, and nasturtiums flowers are also edible and pretty too.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

gabysapha
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Re: My first apartment- indoor gardening in the city?

I always wanted to try nasturtiums indoors. They are one of my favorites and they taste yummy. And I did not even consider pansies. They look so... well, cute! They'd be great to have.

I want my indoor gardening to look as successful as possible. My parents are skeptical that I can accomplish my dreams of lush indoor plants. I want to impress them haha. As well as my roommates and landlord.

I contacted some relatives that are gardeners and they will provide me some begonia and philodendron cuttings to get me started. I will look on craigslist for other gardeners willing to provide cuttings of prolific plants. Wandering Jew comes to mind.

Thank you so much for the help and advice, all of you.

imafan26
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Re: My first apartment- indoor gardening in the city?

You can get seeds and plants from catalogs as well as some garden supplies. Or at least some ideas that you can use.

These are some of the ones I know about.

https://parkseed.com/
https://www.kitazawaseed.com/
https://www.seedsofchange.com/?utm_sourc ... QgodeCkAIA
https://www.stokeseeds.com/
https://www.gardeners.com/Houseplants/Ho ... lt,sc.html
https://bonnieplants.com/library/how-to- ... s-indoors/

You could also make contact with other gardeners in your area and trade or ask for cuttings and seeds.
You can get a lot of seeds from the grocery store. There's a whole thread about that.

Check out if there are community garden plots and get on the list. They will probably be shutting down soon, but will start up again in the Spring. Hint: all community and commercial gardens here are hit regularly by agricultural thieves, the best defense is not to plant too many of any one thing, and plant something that you like that is uncommon so the thieves won't know what to do with it.
https://www.bostonnatural.org/communitygardens.htm

For indoors, start with plants that need relatively low light and can stay in the pots awhile. You are lucky you have a lot of windows. Take the time to choose your plants carefully and match the plants to the location. It is easy to get more plants than you have space for.

Good luck
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

gabysapha
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Re: My first apartment- indoor gardening in the city?

Thank you for the links! I have ordered heirloom corn varieties (for a class in college) before, I'm overwhelmed by how many varieties there are of all sorts of plants!

After looking at the windows again ( I will attach photographs over the weekend), I think a taller plant or climbing plant would add some dimension to the windows.
Are there climbing plants you recommend? I know there are plenty of tall low light plants that can stand next to the window. My former roommate kept several passion vines... but the flowers smelled strongly of moth balls. We dreaded when they bloomed!

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