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Article: Ask A Gardener: Your Gardening Questions Answered: Indoor Gardening try, try again!

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critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

September 1, 2012
7:31 AM

Post #9261338

Looking back at what Sally & I wrote for Khushi, I've got a couple more thoughts to add...

Don't be discouraged! Every gardener kills plants, whether or not they are "beginners." Keep up your enthusiasm, and you'll figure out what works for your situation. In my Chicago studio apartment, I had (at various times) a terrarium with woodland plants & lichens, a golden pothos that grew to enormous lengths back & forth across my window, a potted ginko tree on my (tiny) kitchen table, window boxes with impatiens (which my cat treated like celery)... in fact, thinking back, I'm not sure I had any "normal" potted houseplants; everything seemed to be an experiment.

There are plenty of plants that do thrive indoors. My favorite "tough" houseplants are spider plants, pothos and heart leaf philadendron, and African violets (yes, they are tougher than people think). If you're interested in herbs partly for their scent, check out pelargoniums, the "scented geraniums," which do just fine inside for me during the winter. If you want to try the herbs you mentioned or other plants that just need more light than your window provides, do not think you have to buy a fancy (and expensive) "grow light" system. You can hang a fluorescent fixture nearly anywhere... under your upper cabinets, for example, to provide light for plants on the kitchen counter. See the article I wrote on "Setting up Light Shelves" for more information and ideas: http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/464/

So, keep trying, have fun, and let us know how it goes!

I also want to mention that DG has a helpful "Beginner Houseplants" forum, open to members and subscribers alike ( http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/f/b_houseplants/all/ ) as well as an Herbs forum (one of my favorites, even as a new subscriber).
RedSpirals
Tehama, CA

September 3, 2012
1:58 PM

Post #9263579

Compact fluorescent light bulbs in regular lamps can work if you cannot set up a full light shelf. Desk lamps are best because they aim most of the light in a small spot. I like to use one 'full spectrum' and one 'soft light' bulb, but if I can use only one, I use full spectrum. I am growing marjoram, thyme, and garlic chives this way.

Not all herbs are easy to grow in a window, especially as far north as Belgium. Place them in a southern window if you can so they will get as much daylight as possible. If they are right against the glass, they might get too cold or too hot. I think the easiest herbs to grow this way are oregano, thyme, marjoram, and sage--plants with woody stems. Chives can do well but may not last through winter. Green onions do so well that you can put the white ends in a glass of water and they will grow. I have never been able to grow basil inside. It would need a lot of artificial light and warmth.

I love houseplants! If you have pets or young children, be sure the plants are not poisonous, or put them securely out of reach. Good luck!
critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

September 3, 2012
3:01 PM

Post #9263633

Great tips, Red -- thank you!

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