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How can I grow herbs with low light in my apartment?

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Q: I live on the sixth floor of an apartment building. My apartment is a studio and I have two windows side by side with one having a window air conditioner in it. I want to grow fresh herbs but my sunlight during the day doesn't hit my side of the building or my studio apt. very well until around 2 pm and not for long. Is there anyway I can grow herbs in my apartment? I also want to have house plants but haven't bought any because I'm not sure what kind to buy. I don't want to waste money by going out and buying some and having them die because I bought the wrong kind. Does anyone have some ideas for me?

Thank you.

sparkingbrowneys

A: sparkingbrowneys,

In the case of herbs, besides using grow lights, which most studio apartments don't have space for, your best bet may be to try herbs that are suitable for shade. Most herbs need full sun for best growth, but a few will grow in partial shade, although their vigor will be compromised. You could try angelica, sweet woodruff, sweet flag, goldenseal, sweet cicely, lungwort, lady's mantle, mint and bee balm all tolerate partial shade. Unfortunately, the culinary properties of these herbs are limited.

There are several houseplants that tolerate low light. Here are some ideas: Arrowhead vine (Syngonium podophyllum), Cast-iron plant (Aspidistra elatior), Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema commutatum), Corn plant (Dracaena frangrans 'Massangeana'), Golden pothos (Epipremnum aureum), Grape ivy (Cissus rhombifolia), Heart-leaf philodendron (Philodendron scandens), Japanese aucuba (Aucuba japoncia), Japanese holly fern (Cyrtomium falcatum), Kangaroo vine (Cissus antarctica), Parlor pine (Chamaedorea elegans), Peace lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii), Snake plant (Sanservieria trifasciata), Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum), Table fern (Pteris cretica).

About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com

Recent Answers

Here are the recent answer to this question.

By Susan K. Beal [3]02/20/2005

A shop light is a great idea.... Grow lights are also available in the form of an ordinary light bulb. I once found one at Walmart for under $5.00. Any sort of full spectrum light might work since they are designed to mimick daylight. I used florescent lights for over 15 years, and had very healthy plants.

By Susan Sanders-Kinzel [9]04/30/2004

We posted this to the HappyGarden Discussion list.

Grow lamps were suggested by Gloriamarie. And Linne suggested this:

"I'd hang up a Shop Light,the bulbs are cheap & provide Plenty of light.Put
the plant stand under it.It might light up the whole room for very little
money."

By Susan Sanders-Kinzel [9]04/28/2004

If you don't have much sunlight you probably will need a growlight to get a healthy crop of herbs.

By Susan Sanders-Kinzel [9]04/28/2004

Here's another article with general information.

http://www.hgtv.com/hgtv/gl_herbs/article/0,1785,HGTV_3595_1377315,00.html

By Susan Sanders-Kinzel [9]04/28/2004

Here is some good general information.

http://doityourself.com/herbs/growingherbsindoors.htm

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