Maximizing the Use of Windows for Interior Gardening

Written by KC Glass on . Posted in Blog

Growing plants indoors can sometimes be challenging. Indoor growing takes some skill and care but also largely depends on your windows and the amount of sunlight available to your plants.

If you want to have greater success growing plants indoors, here are some tips and changes you can follow to help make your growing goals a reality.

Choose a Room With the Right Exposure

Your first step to successful indoor growing is to choose the right room to grow in. Many people think that just because a room has a decent amount of daylight during the day, the plants will do well. However, simple daylight may not be enough for some sun-loving plants.

If you hope to grow plants that require full sun, you’ll need a southern window exposure. Western exposures can work as well. For partial-sun or shade-loving plants, you can reduce sunlight in a room with shades or move plants to an eastern facing window.

Add Insulation

You want to make sure that your windows are well insulated. Sometimes, a plant needs the light from a window but if the window is drafty, the plant will struggle with changes in temperature, especially during winter. You might put up a film or plastic to help an older window accommodate plants, or you might want to replace a window if you hope to grow plants successfully.

Make Small Windows Larger

Sometimes, even in a room with the right exposure, the windows are small or not placed where they would be the most optimal. If you’re dedicated to having an indoor garden, consider enlarging some windows or adding a new window.

A renovation or even new windows may seem like a big change, but adding a window or enlarging a window is not often an invasive or time-consuming renovation. You’ll have enough interior light for growing, especially in the winter time, when the sun is not as powerful and the days are shorter.

Install a Growing Window for Picky Plants

Even with a nice big picture window, some plants still don’t like to grow indoors. However, if you don’t have the resources to build a greenhouse, you can make an indoor greenhouse with one of the windows in your home.

A growing window is made from converting a normal picture window into a three-dimensional space that you can access like a cubby from the inside. The plants sit inside the cubby, getting sun from above and from three sides, but enjoying the climate control of the indoors.

You’ll need to hire a window specialist to make this greenhouse a reality for you. Make sure there is good drainage at the floor of the window to help collect water runoff and condensation. You’ll also need to provide care for the window — clean the glass to prevent mildew growth, and check periodically for air leaks and breaks.

These windows work well on the west of east side of the home instead of on the south. The full southern exposure can be too intense, especially inside a mini greenhouse that can trap heat. The design should include a window shade of some sort to give your plants a break from sunlight if they need it, especially during a heat wave.

Installing a plant window is a big endeavor, but it’s the perfect solution for people who love gardening, who want year-round plants, or for people who enjoy a variety of interesting, more unique houseplants that need a hothouse environment.

Use Mirrors to Your Advantage

When enlarging a window or installing plant window is beyond your maintenance abilities and your budget, you can try optimizing light in a room by adding some mirrors to assist with good sun exposure.

For example, you might get decent light from a small window, but because the window is small, the square of light it lets in passes over your plant too quickly, preventing it from getting enough sunlight to really stay healthy. You could also strategically place a mirror near the plant to continue reflecting sunlight onto the leaves even after the direct light has moved on.

Reflecting light can also help you grow more delicate plants in a southern exposure window. For example, a gentle fern might not enjoy the direct heat and light for so long. But placing the fern out of the way of the window cuts it off from the light. And a mirror on the wall will reflect light to the fern, giving it light without giving it too much intensity.

You can also help increase reflected light in a room by choosing to paint the walls white. White absorbs little light — instead, reflecting a great deal back into the room. Deep, dark colors in a room will make it less hospitable for growing plants.

For more information on adapting your home to grow more plants inside, contact us at Ken Caryl Glass, Inc.

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