Gardening without a garden

If you were born with green fingers, but you live in an apartment or a townhouse with only a tiny yard, you may feel you’ve missed out on the chance to have a garden. But gardening without a garden isn’t impossible – you just need to find the right plants and the right way to grow them.

An obvious first start for many people is window boxes. Use a box as deep and wide as you can fit; that will help keep water in the soil and stop it drying out too fast. Window boxes are heavy, so make sure they are firmly attached to the window sill, or fixed on brackets, particularly if you are on an upper floor.

Some people use window boxes just for summer flowers, but you could have greenery all year round if you plant ferns, or evergreen plants such as alpines. You could also use window boxes to grow herbs, and even strawberries in summer – not having a garden doesn’t stop you growing your own food.

You can use your indoor windowsill too, of course. Because it’s a warm and sheltered place it’s a good home for succulents and cacti, which you’ll want to grow in a dry medium (mix compost with grit). Mix different styles of pot for a good display – you can even use teacups for the smallest plants!

If you have a balcony or a tiny yard which has been concreted, you can grow plants in containers. Use your imagination and there are some fantastic possibilities. You could try training climbing plants up the wall, hanging small containers on the wall or having them in tiers on a stand, or even hung from the rungs of a ladder to make a tiny herb garden. If you have a reasonably large watertight container you can even grow waterlilies. A strawberry pot lets you grow strawberry plants in several pockets on the side of the pot, making it easier to pick the fruit.

Bigger containers will let you grow small trees, or tall herbs like rosemary. Or you might decide to get slates or shallow pots for bonsai landscapes – though those take a lot of care to grow well. Use mosses, ferns and other evergreen plants to keep your ‘un-garden’ looking bright even in winter.

A terrarium is a fascinating indoor garden – start one in a bottle, a fish tank, a special terrarium vase, or even in the glass coffee jug from a filter coffee machine that’s died. Because a terrarium is pretty self-contained, it won’t need watering too often, and just needs a little liquid fertilizer from time to time.

Some plants don’t even need soil. ‘Lucky bamboo’, moss balls, coleus, spiderwort, and sweet potato vine will grow in just water – so will hyacinth bulbs; some plants will grow in air alone, though they’ll need a good soak in water for half an hour or so every week. (In nature, they live in conditions of high humidity and get what they need straight out of the mist.)

So the thing you really need is to get the right pots. Galvanized containers look beautiful against greenery, while glass vases can hold a cactus at the bottom in very little soil, while the sides protect the cactus from drafts (and you from the cactus!). ‘Pocket’ style pots are made to hang on a wall; some people prefer classic terracotta, others, blue or celadon glazed pots.

Take a look on Vipon to see what kind of containers are available at a discount right now, and get your garden-without-a-garden started!

What is your favorite plant? Comment down below to let us know! You might have a chance to win our garden kit!

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