Living in a city doesn’t mean you can't have a flourishing and delicious mini-garden. There are plenty of herbs, fruits and decorative indoor plants that don’t need a lot of space and can grow right on your windowsill or balcony.
Both spearmint and peppermint love to grow anywhere they can (so make sure they don’t take over your other plants). These indoor plants like a bit of sun, so positioning them by a window will help them grow. Plant them in a shallow and wide container and it’ll give you wonderful mint leaves all year round. These leaves make growing a mint plant a great option for anyone who loves to cook or even relax with a calming mint tea.
There’s so many different types of mint plants (over 600!), even chocolate mint. Head down to your local gardening centre, give a few mint plants a sniff and find the one that’s right for you and your home.
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If you have a balcony, you may be looking for a way to add some privacy to your life without totally eclipsing any natural sunlight. The lady palm could be your solution. A dwarf palm tree, the lady palm still has it’s large fan-like foliage. They can be planted like hedges or alone. Give them enough water to keep their soil moist, though well drained and fertilise them once a year to enhance their annual flowering. These plants can bring a burst of the tropics into your urban home.
Indoor plants like lady palm can be a great way to style your home. For more help on styling your home read our 7 decoration ideas for your home.
Another herb great in tea, smoothies, juices or food, ginger can be a great addition to your indoor plants. The easiest way to start this herb growing is by buying a chunk of the root from your supermarket. Cover it with soil in a shallow, wide container with good drainage. Make sure the fresher looking buds are face-up, ready to sprout. Then you can leave it in an area that gets a lot of indirect sunlight and wait. Make sure to keep the soil nice and moist and it should grow on its own.
Once new sprouts are visible, pull the entire ginger out from the plant container. Cut off as much of it as you need or want, and put back into the soil what’s left over. For more ginger, simply repeat the process. It’s infinite ginger.
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We’ve mentioned that mint can be wonderful in tea, and of course so can ginger. But you know what’s really good in tea? Tea!
Growing tea is for those ready to make a commitment, as a standard plant can take up to three years of growth before they become harvestable. (But if your local nursery has more mature plants these could be a quicker alternative.)
These plants love to be warm so they could happily sit on a balcony, right by a window. Just remember to keep them well watered and moist.
You can harvest your tea leaves in the spring, after the plant has been dormant for the winter. The warmer you keep your plant, the more you can harvest. Each different type of tea will have different methods for preparing the leaves but all tea leaves will need to be dried out before being consumed.
This cute little succulent just loves to be outside. During the summertime it can sprout daisy-like flowers, but it’s blue colouring lasts year round. This plant is so keen to grow, it is likely to take any ground it is offered and will grow to cover it. The blue chalk sticks can act as supporting plants for a larger feature plant, or hang from planters if you prefer. These succulents are hard to displease and hard to kill, making them perfect for city life.
Growing carrots might give you images of a large field with rows upon rows of carrots. While that’s how we produce most carrots, it’s not the only way.
The first thing you need for these guys is a deep and wide pot with a good drainage system. When you plant the carrots, do so in damp soil filled up to a few centimeters from the top of the pot. Then cover them with a thin coating of soil and keep them moist until it’s harvest time.
About two months after planting the carrots, which can be done year round, they should be ready for harvest. You’ll know when to harvest by gently brushing aside the topsoil and looking at the size of the carrot. The best size is about 2cm. Don’t let them grow too big though, as they’ll lose their flavour.
If vegetables are your jam read our tips on 3 tips for growing vegetables at home.
Petunias sure are pretty but they are damn hard to look after. The million bells plant is an excellent alternative. These plants will bloom all year round. They can sit in an indoor flower bed but they are also happy to hang from hanging planters and will trail down the sides. if you wanted to add some fauna to your flora, their nectar has been known to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. The best way to add these indoor flowers to your mini-garden is to buy fully grown plants from a nursery and re-pot them. They prefer to be kept moist but not damp. Feeling the soil will let you know if they need more water. Give them plenty of sunlight and they’ll be a burst of colour on your balcony.
That’s right. Everyone’s favourite little red fruit can grow right in your home, even in the winter. Getting a long, thin planter to sit on your windowsill is great for growing strawberries inside. They'll need a lot of sun but they won’t need deep containers, just enough water, soil and light.
You can buy seeds for planting strawberries from a nursery, or use the seeds located all along the outside of the fruit. Plant them in an appropriate plant pot or container and you’ve got a great and easy indoor plant.
It can take strawberries up to six weeks to fruit, but once they do they add a dash of colour and a delicious snack to your home. They will bloom all year if you keep them warm enough.
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Though not a plant, this fungi is easy to grow indoors. Mushrooms love to grow in cool, dark places making them ideal for indoor growing. The easiest way to begin mushroom growing is to buy a kit from your local nursery. You’ll likely find button mushrooms (the ones commonly found at the supermarket) and these are a great option, especially if you want to eat your produce.
Keep the soil of these little fungi moist, even covering it with a damp cloth. Then within a few weeks you should start seeing little mushroom caps. They’ll be ready to harvest when the caps open. Separate them from their roots with a sharp knife. If you harvest them every day you could get about six months of mushrooms.
No we’re not talking about Disney movies. The snow maiden is a dwarf evergreen shrub that produces green and red leaves. One of the easiest plants to grow, snow maidens will survive in any soil, so long as it is kept moist. They are optimal for balcony life as they will bloom flowers when given enough sunlight. Keep this plant pruned to maintain its shape and it can be a simple addition to your balcony garden.
This herb may be the source of many puns, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be the hero of your indoor micro-garden. This sturdy little herb has a versatile flavour. It can be very useful in your kitchen and very pretty in your garden. Plantable from croppings or seeds, thyme thrives in a lot of sunlight. Give it a light, well draining soil and frequent watering. To harvest this herb, cut the tops off the longer stems and leave these to dry out. Once dry, they’re ready to be eaten.
Soon enough you should be have a bountiful indoor garden in no ‘thyme’ at all.
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