Indoor & Container Gardening for the Quarantine

Many people share the mandate to maintain social distancing during the current viral pandemic. Gardening indoors and container gardening can be a way to use the resulting alone-time productively, and may partially compensate for the loss of outdoor experiences.

Many people share the mandate to maintain social distancing during the current viral pandemic. Gardening indoors and container gardening can be a way to use the resulting alone-time productively, as well as offering soothing nature to the inside view, perhaps partially compensating for the loss of outdoor experiences. Additionally, plants provide companionship and gardening books with colorful photos of plants are a psychological boost and inspiration. This may be a window of opportunity to broaden existing skills, like starting plants from seed, teaching children how to garden, or cultivating something new. Adventuresome hobbyists might take on a new dimension and grow a living wall.

Instead of shopping in stores, countless nurseries and businesses offer online ordering and home delivery—so readers can garden from the safety of their home. Seed vendors reporting record sales attest to the popularity of the strategy, as do book sales on the subject reported by NPD Bookscan. These titles, all available digitally, can be used to beef up online collections or for readers advisory.

Bertelsen, Aaron. Grow Fruit and Vegetables in Pots. Phaidon. Feb. 2020. ISBN 978-0-7148-7671-4. $26.30.

A love of container gardening is paired with food preparation. This book shows how to establish and grow a potted kitchen garden, and gives guidance for selecting and maintaining a variety of plants. The 50 recipes using the resulting harvest have an air of simple sophistication. This would appeal to a broad range of gardeners, especially those with limited space.

Coronado, Shawna. Grow a Living Wall: Create Vertical Gardens with Purpose. Cool Springs Pr. 2015. ISBN 978-1-59186-624-4. $24.99.

Detailed and step-by-step explanations are given for establishing a vertical garden. This colorful book offers tips on plant selection and cultivation, plus advice on obtaining proper tools and equipment. Examples of various types of wall gardens are covered, along with specific purposes they may serve. Perfect for expanding existing space. 

Gattone, Toni. The Lifelong Gardener: Garden with Ease and Joy at Any Age. Timber Pr. 2019. ISBN 978-160-469534. $19.95.

Gattone presents strategies for gardening that allow people to work through physical challenges that come with aging. This approach to adaptive gardening is aimed for seniors, or adults who may be unaccustomed to the rigors of gardening. Modified practices can prevent injury caused by accidents or over-exertion. Gattone re-envisions a garden designed for comfort and safety, which often correlates to downsized and simplified. Lots of photos support the common sense advice given in the text.

Gilman, Jeff and Meleah Maynard. Decoding Gardening Advice: The Science behind the 100 Most Common Recommendations. Timber Pr. 2011. ISBN 978-1-60469-220-4. $16.95.

This book offers information on how to discern factual from inaccurate horticultural advice. It also covers over 100 universal gardening “dos and don’ts” using evidence-based facts regarding flowering plants, edibles, trees, soil care, and more. This is a fun and enlightening read.

Krezel, Cindy. Kid’s Container Gardening: Year-Round Projects for Inside and Out. photos by Bruce Curtis. Ball Publishing. 2010. ISBN 978-88302-75-1. $16.48.

The book provides 18 projects gathered from the author’s experience as director of the Good Earth Kids’ Club. Children can work on an assortment of container plants year-round that are easy to make. The instructions are easy to grasp including important information on the very basics of plants and gardening.

Lesseig, Ryan and Meriel Lesseig. Air Plant Care and Design. Skyhorse Publishing. 2016. ISBN 978-1-68099-154-3. $15.99.

Air plants, known as tillandsia, are easy to grow, and enjoy recent popularity. The authors provide a good introduction to this species, and tips on maintaining and displaying these “odd ball” specimens. Many varieties are available to purchase by mail.

Martin, Tovah. The Unexpected Houseplant: 220 Extraordinary Choices for Every Spot in Your Home. Timber Pr. 2012. ISBN 978-1-60469-243-3. $22.95.

This book brings out the garden artist in everyone. Eye-catching photos of pretty plants in quirky containers demonstrate how to liven up living space. Fundamental rules for growing, plant selection, and placement are covered, as well as over 220 specimens, ranging from exotic to conventional. Requirements for cultivation are thoroughly discussed in this enjoyable book.

Shepherd, Lizz. The Complete Guide to Growing Fruits, Vegetables, Flowers, and Herbs from Container Gardens. Atlantic. 2015. ISBN 978-1-62023-014-5. $14.99.

Shepherd provides the necessary information to start growing a wide variety of indoor plants all year long as well as some interesting historical background on gardening in pots and containers. It’s a challenge to trick a plant into “thinking” it is living in the jungle, but it can be done by using UV lighting, different soil compositions, or by creating specific climates indoors.


Deborah Broocker is a retired reference librarian. She is a lifetime member of the Georgia Master Gardener Association, and once hosted a radio show that discussed gardening practices and books.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing