Whether the cold weather is pushing you inside or your outdoor space is limited, growing a garden indoors is a great way to add some green to your home and enjoy fresh herbs, fruit and vegetables all year round. But without mother nature, enjoying the ‘fruits’ of your labor can be difficult. Gardening pun! When it comes to an indoor garden, there are certain tools you’ll need to put the ‘green’ in your greenhouse.
Plants inside the home help to freshen the air, improve moods, and decrease the number of trips to the grocery store. But before you start enjoying your own personal salad bar, something needs to grow. Indoor gardens don’t require much space, but it is a good idea to house them near a window for natural sunlight and on a tile floor in case of accidental spills. Most plants grow best with 14-16 hours of light, which is rare in winter months. Thankfully, you can bring the rays with indoor LED lights, which allows gardeners to place their greenspace in dark, cool rooms and basements.
Indoor air is drier and less humid than natural air, so choosing a planter with a built-in watering function and buying a watering can designed for indoor use will help plants thrive. Humidity also affects soil and while indoor plants still need soil to grow, don’t grab a bag from your backyard. Outdoor soil is heavy and may include pests, which is why we recommend buying soil and fertilizer that is designed for indoor use.
Of course, you also need something to plant, which is why we’ve also put together a list of seeds that are suited to growing indoors.
Below we’ll outline:
- The best seeds to start with
- The best light sources
- The best soils
- The best planters
- The best watering tools
- The best all-in-one hydroponic gardening setups
Whether you’re opting for a hydroponic garden or one with soil, our list of must-haves for an indoor garden will help you literally grow your green space.
Start With Seeds
Whether you’re growing herbs, vegetables, fruit, or flowers, each garden starts with the same basic ingredient — seeds. Indoor gardens can be used to house outdoor plants during colder months or you can start from scratch with seeds and watch your garden grow.
Black Duck Brand Flower Seeds
We talk a lot on this list about plants you can eat, but what about plants that are beautiful to look at? For flowers, there are several varieties suited for the indoors. The Black Duck Brand has a huge variety of seeds to choose from, including Marigolds, which attract pollinators, and Zinna, which don’t like the cold.
Culinary Herb Seed Vault from the Home Grown Store
Herb gardens are a popular indoor garden because the plants don’t require as much room as fruits, vegetables and plants and they are relatively low maintenance. Add fresh basil, cilantro, parsley, dill, rosemary and thyme to your meals by growing your own herbs with the pack of 15 varieties from the Home Grown Store.
Assorted Vegetable & Herb Seeds from Black Duck Brand
Make your own non-GMO salad bar with 40 varieties of herbs and vegetables from Black Duck Brand. Carrots, tomatoes, salad greens and scallions are all conducive to indoor growth because they are hardy and low maintenance.
Let There Be Light
We may not remember much from science class in elementary school, but we do remember that photosynthesis requires light in order for plants to grow. If your indoor garden isn’t directly next to a window that gets ample light every day, don’t worry. With grow lights you can fake it until you make it or in this case fake it until the plant grows.
Dayspot Grow Light Bulb from Hydrofarm
Whether you are moving your favorite outdoor plants inside when the weather grows cold or you want to start your own indoor garden from scratch, the Dayspot Grow Light Bulb from Hydrofarm will help your plants flourish. The Daysport can light up four square feet and comes with a 6-foot power cord for added convenience. Ideal for bonsai plants, herb gardens and terrariums, the Daysport provides full daylight with its 32 W bulb, which is strong enough to make your growing plants feel like they are in the great outdoors.
Brite Labs LED Plant Lights
If you can’t bring the sun to your plants, bring them the next best thing with the Brite Labs LED Plant Lights. The full spectrum bulbs include 26 red and 14 blue LED chips that cover two lighting strips. Each strip is on the end of an adjustable gooseneck clamp that makes it easy for growers to angle their light and provide the most ‘sunlight’ possible. A two-way memory system allows users to set the timer for the lights, eliminating the chance of forgetting to turn the lights on for your plants and ensuring they are still getting coverage even when you’re not at home.
Growing a garden indoors means that plants are exposed to a different climate than they would be outside, so it only makes sense that gardeners should be using soil that is specifically designed for indoor plants. Gardens inside a home or building are typically less humid than the outdoors. Plants don’t receive as many nutrients as they naturally would outside and there is no wind to move the soil around, which helps promote growth. For these reasons and more, when it’s time to flex your green thumb indoors, use soil and fertilizer that will make your plants think they’re outside.
Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Soil Mix
For a potting soil mix that is designed specifically to work with indoor plants, we recommend Miracle-Gro. The soil is designed to be used with a wide variety of plants and is less prone to housing gnats, which are not things you want in your home. Made with coconut coir, the Miracle-Gro mix holds and releases the water to help soil re-wet itself. This means customers can water less frequently, helping to protect their plants from overwatering, which is a common cause of death for indoor plants. Designed to be used for plants housed in containers, one bag of Miracle-Gro can feed a plan for up to six months.
Vigoro Potting Soil Mix
Whether you are planting fruit, vegetables, or herbs in your indoor garden, the Potting Soil Mix from Vigoro can create a healthy base for your plants to grow and flourish. Designed to be used for plants housed in containers, the Vigoro helps to retain moisture and can feed plants for up to nine months.
Pick A Planter
Selecting a planter for your indoor garden is almost as overwhelming as selecting which plants you want to grow. With a huge variety of sizes, shapes, designs and levels of functionality for indoor planters, customers have ample planters to choose from to fit their exact gardening and décor needs.
Self Watering Planter by Room Essentials
If your indoor garden consists of one large plant that you are either growing from a seed or bringing in from the outside, we recommend the Self Watering Planter by Room Essentials. The minimalist and modernly designed planter is available in white and dark gray and features an easy access watering tray at the bottom. This tray has a small port to make it easy for users to add water to their plants when necessary. The tray also catches any excess runoff water, keeping your indoor garden contained inside the planter and not turning into a big mess on your floor.
Elongated Self Watering Planter Pots Window Box by Garden Basix
If you want your indoor garden to include more than one large plant, we like the Elongated Self Watering Planter Pots Window Box by Garden Basix. The planter has a water tray at the bottom with drain holes that make it easy for users to store enough water to keep their plants hydrated for up to a week at a time. We also like that the planter includes a clear glass indicator that lets users know when the water tray is low and needs to be refilled. The planter comes with four coconut coir soil pods that when mixed with fertilizer produce an excellent base for indoor plants.
Stackable Indoor Garden by Mr. Stacky Store
Short on space but still want to flex your green thumb? Then we recommend the Stackable Indoor Garden by Mr. Stacky Store. When stacked together, the three tiers with four sections have enough space to house up to 12 different plants. Users can easily water all 12 sections at once simply by pouring water into the top pot. A bottom drip tray on the unit catches any excess water runoff or soil drainage.
Keter Easy Grow 31.7 Gallon Raised Garden Bed
If you’re serious about growing an indoor garden that rivals one typically found in an outdoor space, the Keter Easy Grow 31.7 Gallon Raised Garden Bed can help you amass the harvest of your dreams. Designed for both indoor and outdoor use, the Keter features a simple drainage system that can be opened or closed when necessary. A full built-in watering system includes a reservoir to defend against root decay and a water gauge lets users know when it’s time to add more water to the planter.
Make It Rain (Indoors) With A Watering Can
Outdoor watering cans typically fall into two categories — a durable and inexpensive plastic watering can and a hose. You likely don’t want to store a bulky eyesore in your living room next to your new plants and bringing a hose inside is never a good idea. That’s why when it comes to indoor gardens, you need an indoor watering can that is attractive, designed for smaller planters, and can provide backup for days when you forget to water your plant and can’t rely on an afternoon storm to keep the soil wet.
Pricetail Self-Watering Spike
Not sure how often you should be watering your plants? Take the guesswork out of the equation with a pack of the Pricetail Self-Watering Spikes. Featuring a fun and colorful bird design on the end, users simply fill-up the spike with water and step back while the terracotta bottom slowly releases the water into the soil and fertilizer. The translucent bird bodies make it easy for customers to see when the spikes need to be refilled. We also like that the design of the birds and their upward-facing beaks make it easy for users to add water with a cup or watering can.
Stainless-Steel Quench Watering Can by Umbra
Not only does your watering can have to be functional, but since it’s being stored indoors where guests can see it, you also want it to look nice. That’s why we like the Stainless-Steel Quench Watering Can by Umbra, which has a contemporary design that makes it double as a decor piece. The rustproof watering can has a narrow spout that is perfectly designed for fitting into even the smallest of indoor planters. With an impressive 1L capacity, users can water several indoor plants at once in a single pass.
Cut Down On Maintenance and Grow Time With A Hydroponic Garden
If you want to skip the soil and invest in a planter that comes with a watering system and LED light to help your plants grow, we recommend going with an at-home hydroponic planter. Appropriate for herbs and vegetables, personal-use hydroponic growers are a relatively hands-free approach to indoor gardening. They produce plants that grow quickly and typically have a high level of quality and yield.
Harvest 360 Hydroponic Unit by AeroGarden
Can’t decide which plants you want to grow? With the Harvest 360 Hydroponic Unit by AeroGarden, users can plant up to six different varieties at once. Designed with a circular 360-degree layout for optimal growing space, the Harvest is topped with a roof that contains 20 watts of white, red and blue LED lights, helping plants grow five times faster than they would in an outdoor garden. The roof can be adjusted for up to 12″ of growth space before being moved into a larger container. An automatic timer ensures that the plants are receiving water and light at the appropriate times for optimal growth.
AeroGarden Farm Hydroponic Garden Kit for Indoor Growing
For an even more impressive indoor hydroponic garden, there’s the AeroGarden Farm Hydroponic Garden Kit for Indoor Growing. The ‘smart’ garden allows users to connect directly to their hydroponic set up by using their smartphone, sending reminders when it’s time to add water and check on their plants. Users can create their own salad bar by planting up to 24 different varieties of plants at once in the oversized planter. Two separate water bowls are included for watering different types of plants and several 60-Watt LED lights to ensure each plant gets enough ‘sunlight.’ Like the Harvest 360, the Farm also includes 12″ of growing space between the planter and the roof of the unit and helps plants grow five times faster compared to an outdoor garden.