Which plants should I grow in my sunroom?
April 21, 2007 12:11 PM   Subscribe

What are some edible plants I could grow easily in a west-facing sunroom?

I recently moved to an apartment with a big, three-season sunroom with west-facing windows. I'm generally pretty awful at keeping plants alive - I've been known to kill cactuses, jade plants, etc - but I'd still like to try my hand at sunroom gardening.

I'm looking for particular herbs or vegetables that are (relatively) hardy, easy to grow semi-indoors, and amenable to west light. High-yield plants would be even better (I've been told tomatoes fit this category). I'm less concerned with ornamental plants, and more interested in stuff I can eat.
posted by lindsey.nicole to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

You don't need to buy the pre-fab kit if you are handy with the tools and the whatnot. And germinating seeds.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 12:19 PM on April 21, 2007

In my non-green-thumb growing experience, it is impossible to kill okra. Unfortunately, it's not a favorite vegetable of many people, but it will at least give you confidence to try other things! A friend makes a mean Indian/Pakistani okra dish, email me if you need it.
posted by lil' ears at 12:25 PM on April 21, 2007

Container tomatoes, like this cherry tomato and this patio tomato would be a good choice. They want as much sun as you can give them. It's hard to find the right kind of soil to pot tomatoes in - they need loam but with a bit of fibrous amendment like peat moss; an unusually high amount of calcium and phosphorus; but do best with low or moderate nitrogen. Most fertilized potting soils have way too much nitrogen for tomatoes.

Basil, rosemary, thyme, and garden marjoram are all basically weeds and will grow happily in many different conditions; parsley, cilantro, chives, and various sorts of sprouts are also things that friends of mine have grown indoors with success.

It's surprisingly easy to kill a cactus or a succulent, if you water them. Those plants require almost no attention; people who try to be attentive to their plants tend to kill them with overwatering.
posted by ikkyu2 at 1:44 PM on April 21, 2007

I can't offer anything that hasn't been mentioned already - but I have to say that fried okra is my favorite food of all time!!
posted by matty at 2:35 PM on April 21, 2007

Tomatoes, if they don't get enough sun, take a long time to ripen and don't develop good flavor. They really prefer overhead sun or at the least a south facing window. I personally would never attempt them indoors unless I had supplemental lighting.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 4:07 PM on April 21, 2007

I've had good success with basil plants on a sunny indoor windowsill. When the plants are big enough, pluck off the growing tips to eat; this will encourage the plant to form side shoots.

Basil likes lots of light and lots of water; young basil plants will start to droop if you don't water every day. It perks right up again after being watered, and grows fast enough to keep you in salads for a good long while.
posted by Pallas Athena at 5:45 PM on April 21, 2007

I once grew green beans in a college dorm room. If you get the kind that grown as a bush, it won't take over your window screen, but that was part of the charm for us.
posted by advicepig at 7:36 PM on April 21, 2007

Another thing you may need to consider is humidity and temperature. Mum would kick me out and shut the door to rise dough in my West facing room. Some plants don't mind a bit of a sauna... Got nothing for what to grow but maybe tips on how.

Just some general stuff. To cut down on blah-blah none of the following is absolute but ranging from general to pretty much a rule with possibly a few exceptions.

Re-pot when you bring it home. Upend and tap, yanking is for weeds. Any severely dreadlocked roots need to go! Tease the remainder apart. Roots need to be a free and flowing mane

A plant is mirrored by it's roots underground. Roots collect water and nutrients. Problems from a pot that's too big will be solely yours. If roots are growing from the bottom of a pot it's too small.

Leaves are effectively solar panels absorbing energy from sunlight. Waterproof on the top with pores for breathing on the underside. Rinse underside from time to time to keep free from dust.

Removing leaves encourages more growth. As leaves get larger they shade. So one leaf can prevent five 'little solar panels from getting charged.' Be sure to remove stalk all the way back to the stem. If there's no leaf on it it's doing nothing but wasting energy

What a plant grows it can use. (Why we are never to take fire wood from forests). So the leaf removed in the point above if not being eaten would be put to good use pushed into the soil.

When fruiting or flowering all energy is put into this. The plant will strip all but the completely essential. Leaves that begin to brown and curl are just wasting energy. Snip them and poke them into the soil where they will be of more use.

If your sunroom turns out to be a hothouse Orchids will thrive. They can be exquisite and frivolous is sometimes just as important as practical.
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 7:16 PM on April 22, 2007

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