If you live in an apartment or don't have any garden space in your yard, don't worry: You're not doomed to live without greenery. You can still enjoy a veritable garden of flowers, plants and herbs inside your dwelling. An indoor garden will cheer you up, refresh the air in your home and perhaps -- with the help of homegrown herbs -- add a fresh, natural flavor to your cooking.
Pick the right flowers and plants for your home's lighting and create multiple mini-gardens throughout your living space.
*Choose Your Vessel
You're not limited to flowerpots. Visit your local garden center or floral shop to find elongated planting boxes, tiered planters, magnetic mini flowerpots to stick to your refrigerator, window boxes and other pots and planting containers. Mix and match flower pot styles and colors to coordinate your indoor garden vessels with your home decor.
*Look at the Light
Observe the lighting conditions in each area of your home throughout the day. Areas that stay sunny for eight hours or more are ideal for plants that need full sun exposure; shade plants work well in rooms with small windows or windows that don't bring in much sunlight. Surprisingly, plants and flowers may work well in your bathroom, as a sunny window combined with the heat and humidity from your shower will create a thriving environment for growth.
*Choose the Right Plants for Your Space
Mary-Kate Mackey, co-author of "Sunset Secret Gardens," says that sansevieria, also known as "mother-in-law's tongue," works well in low light and cleans the air. When you live in an apartment, you may not be able to clean the building's air ducts, so a plant that cleans the air for you can help stave off allergies. "Display this pot in a saucer, so that any water runoff from your watering process stays in the saucer, helping to keep the humidity this plant loves," says Mackey.
Tillandsia is another favorite of Mackey's, who says she likes the look of displaying this beautiful airy plant with low-maintenance succulents. Mixing and matching different plants is a great creative exercise; planting them in separate pots also lets you easily rearrange them. A ground-planted garden is versatile.
Additional plants and flowers recommended for apartment living include:
--Braided ficus tree: They're low-maintenance and look great in a tall space with high ceilings, preferring bright and indirect sunlight.
--African violets: These pretty and inexpensive flowers enjoy moderate, indirect sunlight. Move them away from windows during a cold day or hot weather snap, because they don't like extreme temperature changes. Only water them when soil is dry to the touch.
--Cacti: They're low-maintenance and don't require a lot of water, so they can survive if you leave them to go on a trip for a few days. Place them in front of windows for sunlight.
Mackey says that a great danger to indoor plants is overwatering. Keep the instructions for your plants and flowers on hand so that you can remind yourself of proper watering schedules. And be sure to keep potted plants situated away from where pets or kids can get into them, potentially spilling the potting material and soil or ingesting plants to their great harm.
Herb gardens create wonderful opportunities for your kitchen, with your herbs growing together in one pot or placed in individual pots along your windowsill. A trend in home gardens is placing small herb plants in a vertical rack, where they can grow together and you can pick them as needed. Herb gardens save on your grocery budget and provide you with fresh, tasty flavor for your food and beverage creations.