The Busy Guy’s Guide to Indoor Gardening and Greening Up Your Living Space

When a man moves into an apartment, he fills it with necessities: a couch, a bed, a dresser, a kitchen table, and an entertainment center. If he’s ambitious, he might even frame those concert posters before putting them on the wall. It’s fine, it’s functional, but does it really feel like home? (Ask his mom, if you need the real answer.)

Pro tip: Add some plants! With just a few low-maintenance vegetables, herbs, or ornamentals positioned around your pad, you could actually get to a place where bringing home a date is a tactical advantage instead of move to be avoided at all costs.

Besides impressing dates, greening up your home brings a slew of physical and mental health benefits, not the least of which is a few delicious ingredients you can use in the kitchen. Here are some basics that will get you started.

Succulents

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Succulents have the number one trait most rookies look for in a plant: low maintenance. As long as they get the sun they need, these plants are happy getting watered once a week. And if you forget a week, they can usually take it. In the winter, they need even less maintenance. You can find succulents that thrive indoors and with very little effort — these things can live for decades. Sure, it’s a commitment, but you gotta start somewhere.

Bonsai Trees

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On the other end of the maintenance spectrum, there’s the beautiful and highly prized bonsai. This Japanese art form uses shaping techniques to produce miniature versions of mature, full-size trees. If you’re new to the bonsai game, go to your local nursery and buy one that is already in a pot and growing. (Just make sure the species of tree is suited to your climate.) Take it home and put it in a good position, depending on how much sun your species requires. Along with regular maintenance, the key to bonsai is judicious pruning. Don’t go crazy —remember, this is a process that takes years.

Vegetables

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Maybe you live in a tiny studio in the East Village, or maybe you just like the idea of testing the waters before full-on investment in a tractor and plow. Either way, an indoor vegetable garden is a great way to get some plant life into your home. Also, you get to harvest something you’ve grown, which easily adds “wow” factor when making dinner for your significant other. Lettuces, hot peppers, and tomatoes are all popular choices to put in a simple raised bed next to a living room or bedroom window.

Scallions

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If the idea of getting just one season’s worth of yield on your indoor garden is a buzzkill, scallions are the perfect compromise. Easy to care for and able to grow through the winter, they can be used in any number of dishes, from dips to chicken dinners. These oniony plants like narrow, deep pots and direct sunlight. Even without direct sunlight, they’ll grow, just not as fast. The cool thing about scallions is not only is the whole thing is edible, but when you cut them for harvest, they continue to grow.

Herbs

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Perfect for the guy looking to test out his green thumb, indoor herb gardens are great because they are useful in cooking and they can come in handy, easy-to-use kits. Basil, cilantro, and parsley are just three of the many herbs you can grow right at home. Herb gardens love natural light and need good drainage. Be sure to use a saucer or drain dish under your pot to collect the water that will run out.

Microgreens

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Easy, colorful, and fast-growing, microgreens are the perfect plant for your windowsill garden. All they need is lots of light and a dose of humidity. Get your small pots, plant your seeds, follow the directions for covering, watering and care, and before you know it you’ll be trimming your arugula, beet greens, and lemongrass. You’ll end up with eye-popping color and mouthwatering flavors that boost the profile of a plethora of dishes.

If you’re a guy with a a yard and a full-fledge garden, check out these tools to help you hoe those rows.

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