Growing plants indoors can provide you with a bit of the outdoors all year round. Bright tropical flowers, showstopping trees and useful herbs can grow from seed in your living room, kitchen or bathroom. Most houseplants are forgiving in nature and can be grown with success by even those who claim to be devoid of a green thumb. Starting plants from seed allows you to experience the process of growth that a plant goes through, from the excitement of the very first sprout to the blooming of the first bud.
The Kaffir lily, Clivia miniata, is a tropical houseplant that thrives in the shade. Native to South Africa, it grows under the protection of trees and bushes in its natural habitat. As a houseplant, it prefers partial shade and well drained, slightly acidic soil. Kaffir lily plants can grow up to 18 inches tall and up to 25 inches wide, so a large pot is recommended. The plant takes about four years to fully mature, at which point it will flower in the spring and summer months.
While flowers and hanging vines are fun, some indoor gardeners are more ambitious. If you'd like the joy of watching a tree grow in your living room, starting a ponytail palm tree, Nolina recurvata, from seed may be for you. This plant is not a true palm tree, but is a succulent, native to Mexico. At maturity, which can take up to 15 years in a pot, the ponytail palm reaches heights of 6 feet or more. This plant has a great amount of potential for people who occasionally forget to water their plants--over watering this plant is more harmful than under watering it. Requiring full sun and well-drained soil, starting this stunning plant from seed takes little effort.
For those who tend to the practical side of gardening, most herbs can be grown indoors from seed. Catnip, mint, sage, basil and chamomile are just a few examples of herbs that do well indoors started from seeds. Lavender, rosemary and thyme are notable exceptions to this and are incredibly hard for the hobbyist gardener to start from seed--the prospect has been known to give even seasoned gardeners terrors. When grown indoors, you can have access to herbs for medicinal, culinary or aromatic use all year round.
- "Tabletop Gardens: 40 Stylish Plantscapes for Counters and Shelves, Desktops and Windowsills"; Rosemary McCreary; 2006
- "Botanica: The Illustrated A-z of over 10,000 Garden Plants and How to Cultivate Them"; HF Ullmann; 2008
- "Taylor's Encyclopedia of Garden Plants: The Most Authoritative Guide to the Best Flowers, Trees, and Shrubs for North American Gardens"; Frances Tenenbaum; 2003