Happy Spring! With the weather starting to slowly warm up, you may be feeling the need for a little extra green (or red, pink, or blue) around your home. And while indoor gardening is a very enjoyable spring activity, one of the most challenging parts is making sure you plant veggies, flowers, and other plants that work well with limited or partial sunlight. As we mentioned last month, it’s important to start getting your seeds ready as spring continues to warm up temperatures, and you may just find you want to keep some plants indoors. But, of course, keeping them indoors means they’ll receive significantly less sunlight.
Thankfully, there are lots of beautiful, useful, and delicious flowers, plants, and veggies that thrive in low-sunlight areas. Here’s a quick guide to which plants work best in little amounts of sunlight.
Low-Sunlight Container Veggies
As one of the most glamorous leafy greens, Swiss Chard features glossy red stems and large, edible leaves. The bitter, fresh taste is great in salads and over sandwiches, which makes it both a wonderful visual and functional addition to your container garden. Swiss Chard loves water, so make sure to keep its soil nice and hydrated with an inch or so of water per week. Like the rest of the plants listed, Swiss Chard doesn’t need more than a few hours of sunlight per day: if you start to notice the leaves getting yellow, give it some more sun, but if the leaves are a brighter green, you’ll know it’s getting the sunlight it needs.
While it’s not exactly a visual stunner, broccoli is a wonderfully fragrant, super versatile veggie that doesn’t require too much sun and can withstand a wide temperature range of 60-80 F. Broccoli is perfect for small-space gardening without too much sunlight available, and needs between an inch and an inch and a half of water per week to thrive.
A zesty addition to salads or a healthy snack, radishes are a great addition to an indoor container garden. They grow very quickly, so expect to see production much quicker than other vegetables. They don’t require much sunlight, and prefer drier soil, so make sure your container is well-ventilated to prevent the radish bulbs from being over-soaked. Radishes can endure a large window of temperature, and anywhere from 60-80 F can produce good radishes.
Not only are these veggies beautiful, but are delicious pickled, raw, or in a smoothie. They’re very easy to work with in a container garden and only require a few hours of sunlight per day. They tolerate temperatures from 60-80 F, which makes them perfect if you’re gardening indoors. Beets prefer drier soil, so make sure the container is well-ventilated--consider adding a thin layer of pebbles underneath your soil to help aerate and keep the beets from becoming too wet.
Radicchio is a leaf chicory, with pretty red leaves and a bitter and spicy taste that mellows out when cooked. It’s very low-maintenance, and works well in a drier soil with little sun (between four to five hours a day is best). Radicchio can only tolerate a smallish range of temperature, but as long as your apartment doesn’t drop below 40 or shoot above 70 F, radicchio should grow nicely. Radicchio plants do need a lot of space, so keep it to one plant per every eight inches of container in order to give them enough room.
Low-Sunlight Container Plants
Boston Ferns are great air-filtering plants that keep indoor air clean and help absorb any nasty odors or chemicals floating around in your apartment. They love water and humidity, and typically need a half inch or so of water every day. Misting them with warm water keeps them happy and bug-free, and a warm temperature of around 70 degrees F is perfect.
Because Boston Ferns are typically tropical plants, they love wet, rich soil, so start out with Green Planet Naturals Premium Potting Soil and water regularly. For tips on starting seeds, check out our seed starting post from earlier this month.
Native to East Africa, ZZ Plants are hardy, tough, and very low-maintenance when it comes to sunlight. In fact, make sure to keep these away from more than an hour or so of sun per day. Like Boston Ferns, ZZ Plants help clean indoor air, absorbing toxins and providing the air with fresh oxygen. These plants prefer warmer temps as well, so anywhere from 65-75 degrees F will keep them happy.
ZZ Plants prefer very dry soil, like Green Planet Naturals Cactus Mix.
Low-Sunlight Container Flowers
Peace Lilies have beautiful glossy, dark green leaves, and bloom soft white flowers with prominent yellow stamens. They are low-maintenance when used in container gardening, and do not require more than a couple hours of sunlight per day and more than an inch of watering per week. Peace Lilies can live in versatile temperatures, between 60-75 degrees F, which makes them great for indoor container gardening.
For container potting, add some organic peat moss and sand to Green Planet Naturals Premium Potting Soil to keep your peace lilies hydrated and healthy.
If you’re craving vibrant color for your indoor container garden, African Violets are a great place to start. They feature dark glossy leaves and vibrant purple blossoms, and similar to the Peace Lily, only need water about once a week. Like the ZZ Plant, these native African plants are extremely hardy and great for beginner gardeners or gardeners who maybe lack a natural green thumb.
African Violets prefer more acidic soil, so try Green Planet Naturals Acidic Planting Mix with Organic Compost to give them the best environment.
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