Don’t let renting your home stop you from becoming a gardener!
Many rental properties aren’t okay with you digging into the ground to build the raised garden beds of your dreams. And if you’re living in an apartment, then there is simply no place to dig into the soil.
Thankfully, many plants, herbs, and flowers grow beautifully in pots if you are smart about what you plant and where you place them.
Gather your pots, choose your soil, and head for the plant nursery with these tips below. We recommend gardening gloves to avoid getting extra dirty – and especially if you have sensitive skin on your hands. Locate a place in your home or back porch where you can make a bit of a (landlord-approved!) mess, and let’s get started with your container gardening!
1) What Sort of Gardener Are You?
Is growing fresh herbs the key to jazzing up your cooking? Are you someone who travels a lot, and therefore doesn’t want to spend much time tending to your pots? Are you forgetful, and won’t remember to water? Ask yourself what you want to achieve when it comes to gardening.
2) Purchase A Good Watering Can
For your container gardening, you won’t need to rely on a soaker hose to get your plants watered. Plus, if you live in an apartment complex, then it’s likely you have no access to a hose. Purchase a nice size watering can you can fill in your kitchen sink or bath tub to keep your new plants watered. Remember: any plant that has just been planted will need adequate water to get settled into its new home/soil.
3) Purchase Saucers or Water Catchers
Don’t be that guy whose balcony is always dripping dirty water onto the neighbor that lives below you. Inexpensive plastic water saucers stop the water from running all over the place. If you don’t have an outdoor space and will be growing only indoors, then keeping the water hemmed in is even more important. Wood floors don’t like any moisture at all. Avoid the terracotta clay saucers and choose plastic.
4) Drought-Happy Plants
If you don’t foresee yourself wanting to water very much (or forgetting to do so), then select hardy plants like cactus or succulents. Cactus need more direct sunlight than succulents, which can grow in bright light alone. The common jade plant, a popular succulent, grows very well indoors and doesn’t require much water.
A collection of succulents is fun to put in a wide yet shallow pot. Consider mixing small stones in with your soil when planting succulents, as they don’t like soggy soil.
5) Ornamental Houseplants
Houseplants cleanse and purify the air while adding natural beauty to a space. Consider these easy plants that will thrive indoors.
Rubber Plant – They don’t require a ton of sunlight, an area that is brightly lit will suffice. They produce large dark waxy leaves and can grow quite large. If you want a large plant, then choose a pot that will accommodate that growth.
Golden Pothos Ivy – One of the most common houseplants, this ivy will grow in the darkest of places. It is easy to propagate by cutting off a 6-inch piece and placing into water. Within one month, the stem will produce roots, allowing you to plant another pot. Allow the ivy to dry out between waterings.
Snake Plant – These grow vertically and can add a nice sculptural element to a room. They are very forgiving when it comes to lack of light and water.
Money Tree – They are often sold with their trunks beautifully braided. Like any container plant, the larger the pot you grow it in, the larger they will grow. Money trees like bright light and adequate water. They can grow up to 7 feet tall!
6) Build an Herb Garden
Growing herbs for cooking is a popular pursuit for container gardening. Most herbs want at least 5 hours of direct sunlight each day to grow and thrive, so find a window sill in your home and place your herb pots there. Many herbs are annuals, which means they grow only during their season, and then they die. So if you choose to grow herbs, don’t be discouraged when their little stems turn brown. Parsley, dill, and basil are examples of annuals. Keep herbs watered when freshly planted, and allow their soil to dry out between waterings.
7) Flower Power
Planting flowers in bloom gives your rental the feel of home sweet home. Nurseries will often have annuals in stock that will bloom for that season only. Consider a collection of petunias, marigolds, cyclamen, and alyssum to turn a simple pot into a miniature garden of vibrancy and color.
Check the tags for light requirements, as some require full sun, while others require partial sun only. When planting a grouping, be sure you coordinate your flowers based upon their light needs.
8) Fertilize When Needed
Succulents and houseplants don’t typically require fertilizer. But if you are growing flowers outside on your patio in pots, they will enjoy a boost from fertilizer. Remember that all the nutrition and moisture your plant is growing in is housed within that pot. Adding nitrogen and other minerals will create a healthy environment for optimal growth and bloom time.
9) Remember to Water
Living in containers, the roots of your plants don’t have the ability to grow south and find water in other places. This means their water supply is whatever you are giving them. As you become a more savvy gardener, you will begin to understand which plants needs more water (and when!) and where you can back off. A good rule of thumb is to let your soil dry out in between waterings. Push your finger two inches down into the soil. If you feel no moisture, it’s time to water.
Best of luck with your container gardening!