I recently posted a picture of my basil plant on instagram. A fellow instagrammer (@hafaabdulcader) asked me about tips on indoor gardening. As a city dweller, it’s one of those fun things virtually anyone with access to a window and some light can do.


1. Neem Oil

This is good stuff. This all natural pesticide comes from the seeds of the neem tree. The Dyna-Gro Neem Oil brand was recommended by other gardeners online and it has great reviews on Amazon itself. It’s not expensive. I think I bought this off of Amazon for about $12.

I can completely understand why it’s so beloved. It’s super easy to use and effective. Indoor gardens are still vulnerable to pests. If you introduce a new plant into your home, you don’t always see issues until its too late. Use neem oil to coat the plant completely. Try to get it in all the nooks and crannies so that you can feel confident you are introducing a healthy plant into your collection. By the way, you can also water your plants with it too.


I wish I had known about this when I first started indoor gardening. I bought a beautiful gardenia and watched it die a horrible death by the wrath of dust mites. Dust mites are airborne and get transported to plants indoors by drafts, open windows, etc. Protect your plants with neem oil. It smells gross but it’s awesome.For more detailed information on neem oil, visit

For more detailed information on neem oil, visit the National Pesticide Information Center.

2. Basic Requirements

You probably can guess this one. Water and sunlight. The key to happiness of most living things in my opinion. Basil needs water — lots of it. This plant is always thirsty. Keep the water coming and it will keep growing — provided it has enough sunlight. Basil also loves sunlight. Right now it is positioned on the north side of my apartment. I believe this plant would do well facing north, east, or south. It probably could do well in a west facing window, but I can’t really be sure since I haven’t tried it myself.

3. Attention

Some plants need more, some need less, but it never hurts to be attentive. Some might say attention could go in the basic requirements section of this post, but I’m calling it out here for emphasis. Without attention, you may not know what you might need to adjust to keep you plant healthy. With basil, when it gets tall like mine, the bottom leaves start to yellow. This is normal and nothing that I worry about. If the leaves start to curl and you see a web-like structure happening around the leaves, you’ll likely need to intervene. I’ve never had any issues with basil. It’s one of my favorites to grow. It doesn’t take much to be happy, it smells great, and it’s oh so useful when cooking!