How to Grow Plants Indoors – Where to Start


I am sure there are many people out there that would like to grow plants indoors but not sure how or where to start. I will discuss with you how to start plants from seed, which vegetable and flower plants that can be started indoors, and how to care for plants after germination. It’s cold here in Mid-Michigan so we start some of our vegetable & flower seeds indoors then plant them outside when the frost threat is done in your area.


Which seeds to plant indoors

Starting plants from seed is a fun and rewarding experience, especially if you have kids. You can start your garden early in the season if you live in a winter climate like me. If you are a beginner, you might want to start with a couple easy seeds like tomatoes or marigolds. Other beginner choices are Cosmos, Basil, nasturtium and zinnia just to name a few. Also, when purchasing seeds look to see if it says “direct sow” that means you should not plant early indoors because they grow so fast and should be planted directly in the garden soil. You can usually start 6 to 8 weeks before last frost. For me that is usually Memorial weekend.

Some vegetables to plant indoors 4 to 6 weeks before planting outside

Fresh Vegetables

  • Cauliflower
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Watermelon
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Cabbage
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Most Herbs

7 Steps from Seed to Garden

  1. Timing
  2. Right container to start your seed
  3. Preparing the soil
  4. Add the seed to soil
  5. Water, feed, repeat
  6. Plants need light
  7. When it starts warming up, gradually take plants outside

Timing and Containers

Timing is everything when starting your plants indoors. The goal is to have the seedlings ready to go outside when the weather is favorable and past the frost warning. Most containers can be used as long as it has a 2-3″ depth and a drainage hole. Remember this is just to get the plants ready for the garden, so you don’t need a big container. Seedling starting trays are the best but cleaned out yogurt cups or small solo cups also work just as well.

Preparing soil and adding the seeds

For how to grow plants indoors, using a soil made for seedlings is best. Do not use reused potting soil or dirt from your garden. Start with a fresh sterile potting soil mix. This will help ensure healthy seedlings. Add soil to the containers, moisten the dirt before adding the seed(s), moist but not soaked.

Planting Seeds

You can either purchase some high nutrient soil or organic soil with no nutrients. If the soil has no nutrients you will want to purchase liquid plant food. Just like us, the plants need food too.

Read the instructions on the back of the seed packages. It will tell you how deep to plant the seed or sprinkle seed on top of soil. Add the seed(s) according to instructions. Some people will plant 2 per pot to see which one grows. If they both grow, keep the biggest, most healthy plant and snip the other.

Once the seeds have been planted, you can cover the containers with either saran wrap, clear plastic bag or some seedling containers come with a clear cover to give the greenhouse effect. This will keep the seeds moist for germination. Once you see sprouts of green, remove the top.

Plants have needs

Just like us plants need water, food and light. Seedlings need a lot of light. If you are growing in a window, try to use a south window for the most sun. Rotate the plants to keep them from leaning towards the light. If plants don’t get enough light they get spindly and weak. If you are using a grow light then set a timer to be on 15 hours per day and have the grow light a couple inches above the plants, as the seedlings grow taller raise the light.

Use a small watering can to water the seedlings. Water them when the top soil is dry. Look into a liquid fertilizer for the plants, as they will need food. Go by the recommended directions and not more. Some people use a little less then the recommended directions because they feel they are trying to make you use up the product. Also, when growing indoors, you will want to have a fan blowing on the plants. This helps with strength, good air movement and disease prevention.

Introducing seedlings to outside

When it starts to warm up outside. You can gradually start introducing the seedlings to being outside, then bring them in for the night about a week before you want to plant them outside. How to grow plants indoors, it’s not a good idea to just plant the seedlings outside. The process for introducing seedlings to the great outdoors is called hardening off. You can start by introducing the plants to a protective spot outside, out of the wind and some shade for a few hours. Each day increase the time outside and in less protective areas to get them used to being in the big garden. Once the frost threat has gone and you did the hardening off process, it’s time to plant in the garden. If you’re in a rural area you may want to put up a garden fence, especially for vegetables. The deer, rabbits and other woodland critters will also like your garden too.
There area some plants that are deer resistant but the vegetable garden is definitely a deer smorgasbord if you don’t protect it.

Plant seedling plants

Happy Planting!

Now that you have the basics for, which plants to start indoors, container, soil, how to feed, water and then introducing the seedlings to outside. How to grow plants indoors can be fun for the entire family. Either growing a sustaining vegetable garden or flower garden. You can either grow from seed or purchase plants ready to go.  With some light, love and patience you could have a wonderful garden to enjoy!

Now that you have the basics for, which plants to start indoors, container, soil, how to feed, water and then introducing the seedlings to outside. How to grow plants indoors can be fun for the entire family. Either growing a sustaining vegetable garden or flower garden. With some light, love and patience you could have a wonderful garden to enjoy!

Interested in more indoor gardening ideas Review of Smart Gardens by Click & Grow

Lavender flowers

I hope this was helpful to you! Let me know if there is other planting subject you would like to see here.



Chris - Founder of Gardening Tips for Beginners

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12 thoughts on “How to Grow Plants Indoors – Where to Start”

  1. Hello Chris,
    I had a belief that i do not possess a green palm but i really love plants (indoor) and flowers. Whenever i buy a pot of plant it doesn’t last a year.
    I am dying to learn and decor our interior with plants and make it greener. Now i have follow your post for tips.
    God bless you!


  2. Hi Chris,

    Thanks so much for sharing some good tips to learn more about how to grow plants indoors, and where to start. I’ve became a gardener a couple of years ago, I’m still on the learning stage and I do a few mistakes on the way, but I want to learn more and it looks like it’s the time to start get everything ready for Summer, and this means it’s time to start thinking about what plants I like to have in our family garden and to know more about when and how to start, we use to have a family garden, and we start planting the seeds as soon as the weather starts getting warmer, the sun feels brighter and warmer everyday, I will follow your tips and I’m think I can do better this year!

    • Hi Alejandra,

      Thank you for commenting on my post.  I am very excited for spring to get here but we currently have 3 to 4 feet of snow that doesn’t look like is going anywhere anytime soon, LOL.  I am going to probably start perennial flowers for my cottage garden I am doing this year and probably start vegetable seeds in April.  I’m in zone 5a, and we can’t plant until around memorial weekend.  Just watch the weather for when your last frost date is when planting outside.  Stop by again for gardening tips!

  3. Hello there! Oh wow, these tips really came in handy! I just bought a starter kit for how to plant basil today! In it came with the seeds, a soil pellet, and a little pot with a hole for drainage. From reading your article, it seems like that is all I need for now until about 4 to 6 weeks it seems. I am looking forward to how well my basil plant can grow! Thanks for this!

    • Hi Mike,

      Thank you for your comment!  Yes that is all you need for now then either transplant to a larger pot or plant outside after your last frost date.  Come back for more gardening tips!

  4. Thank you for the great information. It will really help people who love gardening. I have a big compound and my backyard is wide. Last month I tried getting into gardening but because of my business, I postpone it. Reading your article now I will see what i can do and look for plan to plant. 

  5. Hello again, thank you for another timely and helpful article. The things we go through the most at our home are peppers and herbs, and it would be really helpful to extend the growing season (and hopefully the yield) for these staples. I will make sure to use fresh soil this year instead of existing / used potting soil. I might not have been doing that correctly in the past. 

    My biggest challenge may be keeping the cat and dog out of the pots while they are inside — if you have any advice for that silliness I would love to know! 🙂

    • Hi Aly,

      Starting with fresh soil is key, the soil in the pots from the previous year could have disease on them.  I have 2 Sheltie’s, they don’t seem to bother my plants I have sitting on the ground.  I would put them up or hang them if you have places to hang the plants.  Thank you for your comments and stop back again for more gardening tips

  6. You know, I have actually struggled quite a bit with growing my plants indoors. Sometimes I can see them starting to grow but then even if I take good care of them they still end up not growing how I want them to grow or for very long. But this article has been very helpful in actually showing me what mistakes I have been making and I really appreciate that

    • Hi Misael,

      Thank you for your comment and I am glad my site could help you.  Please share my site with others and stop back for more gardening tips.


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