Apartment gardening is a fun and delicious hobby, and you can actually grow a lot of different plants in a small space — from herbs and spices to vegetables and micro-greens. But, did you know you can also grow more exotic plants, such as tropical fruits? Plus, some of them even make gorgeous houseplants outside of their fruit season, so it’s always nice to have them around.
If you want to add something new and exciting to your apartment garden, take a look at some of the tropical fruits you can actually grow indoors.
An avocado tree is easy to re-grow from scraps. It’s also been growing in popularity, so you may have already seen this technique on the internet.
First, take the pit from an avocado and place it on top of a wide-neck water bottle, or prop it with some toothpicks on top of a glass filled with water. The important part is that the bottom of the seed touches the water. Then, in about five or six weeks, the pit will develop roots and you can transfer it to soil and wait for the plant to grow. After you move it to the soil, remember to water it well until the transition is complete (since you’ve taken it out of plain water and put it in something dry). Finally, place the pot in a location where it can get indirect sunlight. Too much direct sunshine is harmful to the avocado plant.
Lemon trees are perfect indoor plants because they’re sensitive to cold or extreme temperatures, so the stability of the indoor space has beneficial effects on the growth of the fruits. A great variety for apartment gardening, in particular, is the Meyer lemon, which grows in smaller trees that are easily kept in an apartment. Just make sure to transfer it to a large pot with good drainage so it can develop a good root system.
The lemon tree needs to be watered about once a week. Keep it next to a window or on your balcony (if you’re in a warm climate and your balcony has southern exposure) for plenty of sunlight. At the same time, give it plenty of space as it will still need to grow and develop, despite being a smaller variety.
Surprisingly enough, pineapples don’t need that much space. They can actually serve as a houseplant and even bear fruit indoors. You will need a little patience, though. It can take up to a year and a half for a pineapple plant to produce fruit. But, in the meantime, it will sprout dark green leaves, which can look great in your apartment.
Pineapples can be grown from scraps. So, if you have a leftover fruit, cut off the top where the leaves are and let it dry. Next, put it in water and set it somewhere with stable temperatures. Then, change the water weekly or every few days until it develops roots. After that, transfer it to soil and it will start to grow. Keep the pineapple plant in a pot with good drainage, water it regularly and place it in a sunny spot. Eventually, it will produce flowers, which then give fruit, and you’ll have fresh pineapple in your apartment.
Although the papaya plant can be grown from the seeds of a store-bought fruit, that would take longer and you might not get the two varieties — male and female — that you need for the plant to bear fruit. So, as an alternative, look for plants that are already grown and select a variety that produces both types of flowers so you don’t have to harvest multiple plants.
If you do decide to grow a papaya plant from seed, transfer the papaya plant only once into a larger pot with good drainage. Meanwhile, keep in mind that the plant needs a lot of sun, so place it near a large window, and use natural fertilizer to help the plant develop as it consumes a lot of nutrients. Then, when the papaya plant grows, it will need to be watered daily. Even if it doesn’t produce fruit in the first year, it is still a gorgeous addition to your apartment, and its large, tropical leaves are perfect for a jungle-themed room.
The dwarf variety of a nectarine is an easy plant to grow indoors because it won’t grow into a full-fledged tree. Instead, it will remain manageable as a houseplant.
You can start a nectarine tree from seed — which will take a few years to develop and produce fruit — or you can buy a tree that is pre-grown. If you use a seed, get the pit from a nectarine and scrub the remaining fruit off it. Then, place it in a glass of water to see if it sinks or floats. If it sinks, that means it will be good to plant.
Next, open the pit to retrieve the seed from inside, put it in a damp paper towel in a plastic bag and place it in a warm spot. Once the seed starts to germinate and develop roots, you’ll be able to plant it in soil. Place the pot where it can get a lot of sunlight and keep it in a warmer area so it develops properly. Also, make sure to use a pot with good drainage — nectarine trees like water, but they don’t do well when the soil is too damp.
To enhance the plants you grow indoors — especially tropical fruits — use natural fertilizer to give them a necessary boost of nutrients. How often you fertilize will depend on the type of fruit you’re growing, so research the appropriate methods for fertilizing your plant.
Living in an apartment doesn’t mean you can’t have a garden — and a tropical one at that! While it will require some dedication and lots of patience, indoor gardening can be your new passion. Bonus — you get to eat what you grow and that will feel like quite the accomplishment.