The only location in my apartment where I can fit plants is a southwest facing window. However, the window is shaded for most of the afternoon by the heavy foliage of some alders, so it gets very little direct light. Perhaps an hour (if that) around noon and another hour late in the evening. On the plus side, all the walls around, both inside and outdoors are lightly colored, so it seems relatively bright with indirect light for much of the day.

So far I've only had some chives growing there, which seems to have done alright. I would like to add other edible plants, both herbs and if possible some vegetables.

What plants would work in such a location right now in late summer, and what could I try next spring?


That is going to be very difficult. A few tough herbs might work - mint and thyme come to mind. Have you thought of a small hydroponic system?


Sheep sorrel. My yard is a small lot shaded by some trees and other buildings and this grows fine in mostly shady areas. But most food plants need some sun during the day. It has a tart lemony flavor and is literally a weed, so is easy to grow given reasonably good conditions.

Frankly I'd get a grow light, or some other type of bright light (like for Seasonal Affective Disorder) on a timer.


Nothing that I can think of - a pot of chives or mint might work for quite some time, but in terms of actual vegetables, I'm afraid they really do need sunlight, or artificial lighting as already described.


If your chives are growing decently, try green onions/scallions. Mine have always grown well in the same conditions as chives. Most lettuces do alright in bright indirect light - maybe ask your garden store staff which seeds they have that would be best?


Most plants produce reproductive growth (flowers, fruit) with lots of sunlight and less nitrogen. Keep the nitrogen level equal or less than the Phosphorus and Potassium. You might be able to get a few herbs to grow for awhile but if you are serious you are going to have to get a grow light, 20,000 lumens minimum. Least expensive I've found is a high-output T-5 fluorescent at 20K lumens for about $115. If you want to grow any plants indoors even with lots of windows, I'd make sure I had a good grow light. During the summer months, take your plants out on a shaded patio. This way they'll get a great boost to last through the winter.

Make sure you don't plant tiny plants in BIG pots. Relegate yourself to upgrading pots as the plant grows. Use ONLY sterilized potting soil, preferrably with bacteria and mycorrhizae included. Use OSMOCOTE 14-14-14 twice a year for fertilizer. DON'T USE TAP WATER. Purchase distilled water. Unless you have your own well, use the water before it goes through any salt treatment. Do not place rocks or gravel at the bottom of the pot! Creates a 'perched water table' and really inhibits drainage.

Got to have light to produce food. Energy in - Energy out. Don't you have a bit of garden space for vegeys out of doors?

  • No, I don't have outdoor space, much less a well, I live in an apartment. There's a tiny balcony that can't really fit anything and anyway it's on the same side with basically the same amount of light. Your post contains some useful information, but doesn't answer the question at all. – user11975 Aug 23 '15 at 5:06
  • Oh, and I should have ruled out grow lights in the question. I don't want to use electricity to grow plants, if that's what it would take I'd rather leave plants to those who can tap the sun better. – user11975 Aug 23 '15 at 5:10
  • Takes a lot of energy to make seeds, fruits...there are lots of plants that grow well indoors but not any that can MAKE enough energy from the sun to produce vegetables, fruit, flowers...try sprouts or perhaps lettuce. If you don't provide extra energy you won't be able to grow food. There are solar panels, batteries that could power the grow light but again it'll take a bit of money to get set up...sorry! – stormy Aug 24 '15 at 17:32

lettuce, arugala, spinach, potatoes ( maybe) mint, chives, garlic ( though garlic likes outside better) ginger, sorrel, betel are some. You may need supplement with light in the darker months.

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