How to Have a Garden in an Apartment

Just because you live in an apartment doesn’t mean you can’t exercise your green thumb.  Pretty much anything can be grown in containers.  Some of the factors that will determine whether or not they will thrive in your space are sunlight, soil, watering needs and container weight.  But with some simple planning, you can be on your way to a luscious and green urban garden.

Garden Basics

In order to successfully start an apartment garden, you need to analyze the space in which you intend to grow your plants and flowers.  Plants have basic needs that you do not want to dismiss because you have them growing in a unique space.  Therefore, it is important to consider the following while planning your urban garden.

Garden Outside an ApartmentSunlight

Depending on the location of your apartment, getting enough sunlight can be a bit tricky, especially if you are surrounded by tall buildings. Many flowering and fruit plants need around 6-8 hours of direct sunlight.  A balcony, porch or rooftop will give you the best chance to achieve this, but if those options are not available you could consider plants that require less sunlight, such as herbs.  Another option is to purchase a grow light, which will allow your plants to get what they need no matter the weather outside.


Soil provides water, air and nutrients to plants; therefore, it is essential that you use the right kind of soil.  Since you will most likely be growing your plants in containers, don’t make the mistake of using regular garden soil.  This soil meant for outdoor gardens will become compacted in the pot, preventing water and air to move freely.  Using a good, well-draining potting mix is your best bet, as it will provide a light, sterile and fluffy soil.   


Potted plants need a lot of water, especially if they are not on a balcony where they can get water from an occasional rain. Be sure that wherever you choose to house your apartment garden, that you can access it easily and frequently for regular watering.


If your mini garden is situated on a window sill or another indoor location, you will want to occasionally spray mist your plants to provide extra humidity, especially when there is heat on in your apartment.


If you are planning to have your garden on a balcony several stories high, be sure to recognize the amount of wind the area receives before you start planting.  Strong gusts can turn over pots and rip right through your plants, so either find a less exposed area or provide a wind block.


The weight of your potted plants must be considered before hanging them on window sills or balconies.  Yes, the proper potting mix is lighter than regular soil, but once your plants have been watered, the entire container can triple in weight.  Be sure that your containers are secured properly to handle the extra weight.


Recommended Plants

Before you decide to plant everything you can fit into your apartment, consider starting small. Based on what you enjoy eating, choose a few plants to try.  Visit a local nursery and garden center, like A&N Lawn Service, Inc., in Pittsburgh, to see what is available.  Seeds will offer you more variety, but small plants will have your garden growing sooner.   A&N Lawn Service, Inc. recommends the following items to start your urban garden:

  • Herbs
  • Salad Greens
  • Tomatoes
  • Chile peppers
  • Strawberries

All of these plants fare pretty well being grown in pots.  Always remember to have fun and enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor.

Pittsburgh Garden and Greenhouse

A&N Lawn Service, Inc., located in Franklin Park, 20 minutes north of Pittsburgh, has a garden and greenhouse conveniently located on Reis Run Road. Open year-round, we offer an abundant variety of plants, flowers and vegetables that are perfect for apartment gardens.  Stop by A&N Lawn Service, Inc. today or call us at 412-931-9230.