6 Indoor Gardening Project Ideas for *Any* Size of Home

For springy blooms, without having to step outside.

April  7, 2020
Photo by Ty Mecham

Now more than ever, home is where many of us are seeking refuge and solace in light of the novel coronavirus. This is a tough time, but we’re here for you—whether it’s a new pantry recipe or a useful tip for your kitchen, here are some ideas to make things run a little more smoothly for you and your loved ones.

You might think of gardening as an outdoor activity, but actually there are a lot of really fun ways you can get your hands dirty inside, too.

Personally, I love nothing better than spending a rainy spring afternoon repotting my houseplants to get them ready for growing season, and if you’re stuck indoors for much longer than you ever expected due to quarantine, a little time playing in the dirt might be just what the doctor ordered. Maybe it’s the former farmgirl in me, but I think there’s something so grounding about having a little grit underneath your nails!

So, go ahead, crack open that window to let in a little fresh air, spread out an old sheet or some newspapers, grab a bag of potting soil, and dig into one of these fun indoor gardening projects. Even if you have a self-professed “brown thumb,” you might be surprised at how much fun you have and how well your projects turn out.

Pot Some Plants!

Just because you don’t have an outdoor space to sow a garden doesn’t mean you can’t grow fresh produce and herbs—or really any other plants your heart desires. Container gardening allows you to grow all types of plants indoors, and all you need to get started is a few pots, soil, and fertilizer. You can start with seeds if you’re feeling ambitious (more on that in a minute), or repot some seedlings from your local nursery to give yourself a head start.

Start Some Microgreens

In addition to a few tomato plants and herbs in your container garden, why not try your hand at growing microgreens, too? Not only do they grow quickly and with minimal effort, but these miniature greens are a delicious addition to salads, sandwiches, and other culinary adventures.

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Top Comment:
“Getting ready to plant seeds. From peppers 🌶 I saved seeds from. ”
— Kathy

To start growing microgreens, grab an old casserole dish, soil, and some vegetable seeds—any variety will work, but beets, peas, and radishes are popular. You’ll want to plant the seeds in a thin layer of soil, then place the dish in a warm, humid location until they germinate. When the little plants sprout, just water, harvest, and repeat!

Make a Japanese Moss Garden

If you’re feeling a little more ambitious, a Japanese moss garden would be the perfect spring centerpiece for your dining table. Called kokedama, these beautiful arrangements are essentially a bulb wrapped in a piece of sheet moss and secured with twine. You can use a spring bulb—like a tulip or daffodil—or get creative, using the ball to hold an orchid, fern, or fun succulent variety.

Regrow Vegetable Scraps

While some plants seem hell-bent on dying (like the ever-trendy fiddle leaf figs), other ones will do anything to keep on growing. In fact, there are several items in your fridge that will keep growing if given the opportunity!

A lot of vegetable scraps will regrow roots and keep on flourishing if planted, allowing you to get more bang for your buck. One of the most common vegetables for this project is romaine lettuce—just give the butt a few inches of water, and it will start sprouting new leaves in a matter of days! You can also do this with celery, bok choy, and scallions.

These veggies all grow back quickly, but if you’re in it for the long haul, you can regrow potatoes, onions, and even pineapples.

Plant a Vertical Garden

Are you running out of surfaces to put your new houseplants? I frequently have this problem, and while you can often squeeze a few more onto a bookcase with some strategic rearranging, you could also just create a vertical garden. Items like ladders, pallets, and pipes can all be used to create vertical plant displays, helping you pack even more greenery into your home.

Germinate Some Seeds

After I graduated college, I was living at home with my parents as I looked for a job, and one day (for reasons I can’t recall), I saved the seeds from a lemon I was cooking with. Later, I brought the seeds to my mom—the plant lady—and asked, “Do you think I could grow these?” Her response was, “I don’t know. Try it.”

Six years later, I can confidently report that you can, in fact, grow a lemon tree from seeds plucked out of grocery store produce. My lemon tree is one of my favorite plants, and I’m holding out hope that one day it will even produce its own fruit.

All that to say, if you have some seeds lying around—whether from a package or from fresh produce—it’s incredibly rewarding to grow them into plants. Try starting an herb garden on your kitchen counter, or see if you can get produce seeds to germinate like I did!

Personally, I like to use the paper towel method to get seeds started. Simply wrap a few of them in a damp paper towel and place it inside a sealed plastic baggie. Put the bag in a dark, warm place and check on it every few days, dampening the paper towel as needed. I’m currently trying to get an avocado seed to sprout this way.

As you can see, there are lots of indoor gardening projects you can tackle this spring, no matter your gardening skill level. The worst thing that happens is your plants die, but then you can simply donate them to your compost bin and start again.

What gardening projects do you have lined up this month? Tell us in the comments below!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

Freelance writer, product tester & baking enthusiast.


shreiya February 3, 2021
I'm a STEM blogger and recently wrote a post on gardening for kids (the outdoors kind) - - so I just realized Indoor gardening is SUCH a great idea, especially in these times where kids have nowhere to go! Vertical gardens and microgreens are surely fascinating for them. Thanks, Camryn!
Nidhi S. November 17, 2020
Thanks a lot for sharing this post, It really helped me and made me aware!

nina September 5, 2020
Love this article.
Angelag83 April 19, 2020
Comment; How exciting! I am growing Tomatoes and peppers outdoors for the 1st time but have been contemplating lettuce. I saw this article and put the stump of a head of romaine in a cup 3 days ago, and viola, lettuce!! Now, question, should I transfer it into a pot? Will it actually grow eatables? And, how do I keep this going?
Margaret L. May 3, 2020
If you transplant the romaine into a pot or a garden bed, it will grow more and longer, and yes, eatables! But it probably won't grow as big as the original head of lettuce was. Annual plants, which lettuce is, grow anew each year from seeds. When it has matured the plant will try to make seeds to leave in the ground to make the next generation. If it isn't allowed to make seeds (because we keep cutting off its top), it will keep trying, maybe even until next spring if it doesn't freeze, but it won't live indefinitely. I have a couple of celery plants that I have grown from the bottom end of a head of celery, and while they look beautiful, the stalks are maybe a quarter the size of a newly harvested, mature plant, and it won't live for more than a year or so, at best. I love using those small stalks and leaves when I need some aromatics for soup or a beautiful cocktail garnish. But they'll never add up to a whole grocery store head of celery.
[email protected] April 16, 2020
You can grow lovely vine from sweet potatoes! Put a skewer thru a potato, hang it over a jar with water, and it grows!
Kathy April 15, 2020
I've been growing avocados for about a year. Yeah I know a long time, both are leafing out. They are about 5" and 10" tall. They love water. Getting ready to plant seeds. From peppers 🌶 I saved seeds from.
Arati M. April 15, 2020
How exciting! Good luck with the peppers!!
Wendy L. April 12, 2020
We just saw sprouts from some cantaloupe seeds saved from the one we ate! Wasn't too hopeful that they would sprout but they did! Paper tower method works for everything we've germinated so far, including some random orange seeds.
Wynne W. April 8, 2020
Couldn’t get recipe for cottage cheese pancakes bc she was too busy being cute. Not many people cook from scratch anymore but those of us who grew up with Julia Child who made sure her presentation was right on...the print was too small to read which is why we need a cook to tell us what she’s using in measurements-would be helpful....
Lauren K. April 10, 2020
I found you the recipe by doing a quick search for "cottage cheese pancakes" on the site's search feature (top right corner of the site, looks like a magnifying glass):

Food52 tends to always have every recipe searchable in case you stumble across videos that aren't linked directly to their recipe pages!
Arati M. April 8, 2020
I've been mourning the loss of my patio and beloved plants (we just moved apartments) but this inspires me to return to gardening, albeit with smaller projects, inside my home. Thanks, Camryn.