Make the Most of Windowsills & Small Spaces

Living in the city doesn’t mean it has to be a concrete jungle. Here’s a guide to making any windowsill or small space come alive with plants, herbs, and even flowers!
City living brings many conveniences, but most of the time space isn’t one of them. The urban landscape may be small, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful. With the right containers even the smallest apartment can have a lush indoor garden.
The first thing to consider is the amount of light the windowsill or space receives. Most plants do well in south, east, and west exposures but plants grown in a northern exposure may need a boost from grow lights, especially in the winter. Avoid windows that are drafty or that get almost no natural light. Rotating plants is a good solution for areas that get little light. Plants can be moved from a well lighted area to the dark one for a few weeks and then moved back into the light for a week or two. Direct sunlight isn’t necessary for most plants with the exception of cacti, succulents, and some herbs and flowers.
Next, think about containers. Choose ones that promote good drainage and have enough weight to them to avoid toppling in the breeze. For a more decorative touch, chose ceramic planters large enough for pots to be placed inside. These types of containers are also a good choice because they protect furniture from water damage.
Selecting Plants
When selecting plants, consider the exposure of the area and how much direct sun it receives per day. A bright southern exposure that gets direct sunlight for much of the day is perfect for all varieties of cactus as well as for succulents like Jade, Echeveria, and Kalanchoe. Herbs such as Oregano, Rosemary, and Chives will also do well here. For color and scent, Jasmine and Scented Geraniums are good choices.
For windows and shelves that get mostly bright but not direct sunlight, there are also lots of choices. Geraniums, Begonias, and Impatiens will do well in these conditions. For extra color, try a few Coleus plants. Most herbs and foliage plants will be very happy in here too.
A windowsill that gets low light can be more of a challenge. Try some of the houseplants that do well in low light, such as Mother in Law’s Tongue plant, Philodendron, and Cast Iron Plant. Cast Iron Plants are famous for their ability to withstand low light. They first became popular in Victorian England where homes were very dark due to the coal smoke in the air and the gas lamps inside.
Plant Care
Once the plants have been selected, chose a pleasing arrangement that will be easy to get to for watering and not likely to fall or be knocked over. If planters are not being used, be sure the surface won’t be damaged by water leakage. Plastic trays are available in a variety of sizes, shapes, and lengths at most garden centers and home stores. Placing plants in groups also increases the humidity around them, which helps keep them healthy and happy, especially in the superheated air of winter.
Just like plants grown outdoors, flowering plants will need regular deadheading, and most foliage plants will appreciate being pinched back to promote full, bushy growth. Avoid doing so with Palms though as their growing tips are on their leaves and any pruning or pinching back can kill the entire plant.
About the Author
I’m Ann Sanders, a Founder of A Green Hand, a blog dedicated to offering a platform for gardening and healthy living enthusiasts to exchange ideas so we can all play a role in making our world a better place. You can follow me on Facebook.

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