Growing Plants On Your Windowsill

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By John Toepfer

Don’t give up the joy of gardening just because it’s getting cold outside. You can still garden in places that maybe you’ve never even considered before. Practically every home, office or apartment unit has a window and that window usually has a sill. Even that small space can provide enough room for a pot or other container and that is just the space you need to enjoy gardening all year long.

A windowsill that faces south or east with a view not obstructed by trees or buildings is the ideal location to provide the sunlight you’ll need for your plants. If you’re fortunate and have a window like this in your kitchen just think of what you can grow there. How about a kitchen herb garden where you can keep your favorite herbs like basil, chives and oregano right at your fingertips. If you get six hours of sunlight you can even grow a salad garden such as lettuce, radishes or spinach. Even dwarf varieties of vegetables such as a cherry tomato are not out of the question.

Vegetables and herbs aren’t the only plants you can grow on a windowsill. Houseplants grown for their foliage such as Ivy or Wandering Jew can beautifully cascade from a container on a windowsill or if you want a plant that flowers you can try Begonias or Gardenias. Some of your summer annuals are also great candidates for windowsill plants. Cuttings of coleus or impatiens can be brought indoors to brighten your home during the winter months.

This type of gardening makes a fun family project and here are some tips to help you succeed at it:

  • Watering is an important task to stay on top of as small containers and pots will dry out quickly indoors. Brown leaf tips or insects such as spider mites are a sign that the plants are not getting enough moisture. Keeping a spray bottle handy and misting the plants several times a week is a good way to prevent this problem.
  • Windows can be good conductors of cold temperatures so make sure your plants leaves are not touching the glass. You also want to turn your plants a quarter each week to make sure all sides of the plant are exposed to the sun.
  • Make sure your pots or containers have a drainage hole and use a soil made for containers and indoor plants.
  • If you grow vegetables indoors they will need to be fertilized biweekly to monthly with a liquid fertilizer to keep them producing throughout the winter months.

Finally, the windowsill isn’t the only part of the window that you can garden on. Containers such as The Living Ledge can be attached to the window itself and add another way to enjoy gardening indoors. You can also get creative with different types of containers such as cans, cups or even a coffee pot or change up the display with holly leaves or garland during the holidays. So this year why not try “living on the ledge”.

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