More than a quarter of Australians live in apartments or units, but high-rise living doesn't mean giving up on dreams of a beautiful garden. Whether you have a north-facing balcony, a sunny windowsill or just a grow light, you can create your own container garden in the smallest of homes. Use these four top apartment gardening tips to help you get started.
1. Find a Sunny Spot
Plants need light to thrive. The ideal spot for an apartment container garden is a north-facing balcony or windowsill that isn't overshadowed by other buildings. If you don't have a window or balcony that receives sunlight, then you'll need to choose plants that thrive in shade, such as mint. If you have your heart set on sun-loving plants, you'll need to use an indoor grow light as a substitute for the sun. Use reflective surfaces to focus the light from the lamp onto the plants, so they receive the maximum benefit.
2. Feed Your Plants
Plants that grow outside draw nutrients from the ground, but plants growing in containers can quickly deplete the nutrients in their potting soil and become malnourished. You may notice their leaves turning yellow or brown as a result. Use a liquid fertilizer to feed your plants regularly.
3. Don't Cram In Too Many Plants
When you're low on space, it's tempting to cram as many seeds as you can into your containers in the hope of creating a dense mini-jungle. However, most plants like to keep their distance from others. Always check the instructions on the seed packet to find out how much space the adult plant needs before you start sowing. If you only have space for small containers, consider growing herbs such as chives, thyme and rosemary, which can thrive even in tiny windowsill pots. Give each herb its own pot to prevent the fastest-growing species taking over.
4. Consider Hydroponics
If the thought of bringing potting soil into your spotless apartment makes you shudder, why not try your hand at hydroponic gardening? Hydroponic gardeners grow their plants in a nutrient-rich liquid instead of in soil. This can help to protect your plants from soil-borne diseases and pests, as well as reducing the space that each plant needs. Setting up your first hydroponic growing system requires some specialist equipment, so it's a good idea to visit a hydroponic store to get the advice and supplies you need.