Have you been wondering about indoor winter gardening? Though we usually think of gardening as an outdoor activity, the truth is you can garden anytime, anywhere — even indoors during the winter!
Although it may look different from gardening outdoors, there are many things you can grow successfully indoors during the winter.
If you’re unsure where to start, this article is for you. I’ll give you all the tips and tricks you need to start an indoor winter garden. From what plants to grow to what tools you need and everything in between, you’ll soon be ready to start growing.
Why You Should Try Indoor Gardening This Winter
When it comes to gardening, most people think of the great outdoors. Warm sunny days, your hands in the earth, and luscious green crops.
This is a beautiful picture and a great way to garden. Unfortunately for most of us, it’s not possible to garden like this year-round. The harsh cold and frozen ground prevent many plants from growing outside in the winter season. But the good news is, that’s not the only way to grow a productive garden!
With indoor winter gardening, it’s possible to grow healthy food and beautiful plants indoors at any time of the year. It takes a different approach but with the right method, gardening indoors is simple and incredibly rewarding.
Here are some benefits of gardening indoors during winter.
Improve Your Mood
Indoor winter gardening is a good way to beat the winter blues. Gardening indoors reduces stress, improves your mood, and gives you beautiful plants to enjoy.
Bringing the outdoors in is a good way to feel grounded and connected to nature. If it’s too cold to go outside, indoor plants help you feel the calming effects of nature without actually going outside.
Clean the Air
Not only do they add beauty, but indoor plants have also been shown to improve air quality. Add a natural air filter to breathe easier and feel better this winter.
Grow Healthy Food
There’s nothing like the taste of fresh, homegrown food straight from the garden. Fresh vegetables not only taste better but they have superior nutrition content as well.
You don’t have to wait until summer to have the fresh taste of homegrown vegetables! Enjoy the flavor and nutrition of homegrown food year-round with an indoor winter garden.
Challenges of Indoor Winter Gardening
Although it has a lot of benefits, gardening indoors during winter does come with some challenges. With some creative thinking and the right tools, it’s possible to find a solution to many of these challenges.
Plants need light to grow, some more than others. Getting enough direct light for your plants can be a challenge indoors.
A large sunny window may work well, but if that’s not an option for you, grow lights are a practical alternative.
Unless you’re lucky enough to have a dedicated indoor greenhouse, you may have to get creative with the space you use for indoor winter gardening. The good news is, there are plenty of options!
Think about the space you have to work with. Depending on how much and what type of plants you want to grow there are many ways to create an indoor garden setup.
For example, you can keep all of your plants together or spread them out in different rooms in your house. Use an elaborate shelf system or just a windowsill. A plant stand, a set of shelves, a few long tables, or even just a kitchen counter are all good options.
What You Need for Indoor Winter Gardening
Whether indoors or outdoors, light is one of the most important things plants need to grow. If direct sunlight is a challenge for your indoor garden, grow lights are essential.
Grow lights come in all different sizes, shapes, styles, and price ranges so you can find something that works for your needs and your budget.
This set of grow lights from Amazon is an affordable option while this larger set from Hoss is more of a splurge.
Heat is important but thankfully it’s usually not hard to provide. If you’re heating your house, chances are it’s warm enough for plants to grow. If you’re growing in a basement or other cool space, heat could be more of a challenge.
The time when plants need the most heat is when seeds are germinating. Heating pads are helpful for keeping seeds warm and improving germination rates.
Plants and Seeds
The most important thing you’ll need for indoor winter gardening is the plants! Decorative indoor plants are usually available to buy at garden centers and nurseries year-round. They’re also widely available online from places like Nature Hills Nursery.
Edible plants are harder to find during the winter season, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still grow them. You may just need to start them from seed.
Starting plants from seed is a simple and affordable way to garden indoors. Seeds are inexpensive and easy to find online year-round.
Hoss Tools is one of our favorite retailers for seeds. They have an excellent selection of seeds all at reasonable prices.
The Best Edible Plants to Grow Indoors During Winter
With the right approach, growing your own food is possible indoors year-round. Here are just a few things you can grow indoors during winter.
Microgreens are incredibly nutritious. They grow quickly indoors and don’t need much space to grow.
There are many ways to grow microgreens. You can use a large grow kit with trays, a small window sill system, or grow them hydroponically.
Leafy greens are easy and quick to grow from seed. You can begin harvesting baby greens when the plants are just a few inches tall. Pick off a few leaves at a time and the plants will keep growing and producing all winter long.
If you have the space, you can even let indoor greens like lettuce and kale grow into full-grown plants. Here are some varieties of fresh greens to grow indoors this winter.
With a mushroom growing kit, growing mushrooms indoors is simple and surprisingly fast. With this kit, all you have to do is water daily and the mushrooms will be ready to harvest in just 10 days.
Small Tomato Varieties
Dwarf varieties of tomatoes are ideal for indoor winter gardens. These plants are small and compact, needing only a medium-sized container to grow.
The Red Robin tomato variety grows just 8-12 inches tall but produces plenty of bright red cherry tomatoes. Follow the directions on the seed packet to plant your seeds and they’ll be ready to harvest in about 55 days.
Herbs are some of the easiest edible plants to grow indoors during winter. They grow well from seed and don’t need a lot of space to grow.
Growing herbs is a convenient way to incorporate more leafy greens into your diet. Just snip off a few pieces as you need them and the plants will continue to grow. Here are some herbs to grow indoors this winter.
The Best Decorative Plants for Indoor Winter Gardening
You don’t have to grow food to garden indoors during the winter. Decorative plants add beauty, improve your sense of well-being, and clean the air. Many decorative plants are easy to care for so even beginners can grow them successfully.
Amaryllis are beautiful plants with large, showy flowers. They bloom in winter and the flowers last for weeks.
Once the blooms fade, trim them away and enjoy the beautiful green foliage. In the spring, you can plant amaryllis outdoors or keep them in your indoor garden.
Fiddle-leaf fig plants have large, fig-shaped leaves. The leaves are thick and leathery with a beautiful texture.
Fiddle-leaf figs don’t require much light so they grow well in a variety of indoor locations. They’re a beautiful way to add texture and interest to any room.
Aloe vera is an attractive and useful indoor winter gardening plant. The cool gel inside the leaves is full of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, and other beneficial compounds. Use the gel to soothe skin irritations or boost hair growth.
Like other succulents, aloe plants are hardy and easy to care for. They don’t need much water but they do need plenty of sunlight. Place them in front of a sunny window or under a grow light to keep them happy and healthy.
Snake plants have long, thin leaves with an attractive striped design. They’re excellent for purifying the air and adding a touch of green to any space.
Snake plants don’t need much water in the winter which makes them easy to care for.
Tips for Growing Healthy Plants Indoors
Make sure the plants you choose have enough room to grow. If the containers are too small, plants become rootbound and don’t grow as well.
Potting up is required for many indoor gardening plants as they grow.
Don’t be afraid to try something new. You may be surprised at what you can grow successfully indoors!
Use high-quality potting mix to grow your plants. This makes a huge difference in how your plants grow.
Get Ready for Indoor Winter Gardening
With the right resources, you can overcome the challenges of gardening indoors and have a thriving indoor winter garden. For more indoor winter gardening ideas check out the Best Indoor Gardening Plants to Grow.
And if you want more planting and growing tips, be sure to visit the Seed Starting page on our website. We’ve put together helpful resources on all things growing to help you have a thriving garden any time of the year.