8 Tools You Need If You’re Apartment Gardening (and How to Store Them)

published May 19, 2022
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Like so many of my fellow millennials, I’ve become an avid plant collector during the pandemic. I went from having a black thumb that I inherited from my mom to having a well-earned green thumb after a series of spectacular plant parent failures. A lot of my first plants ended up in the grave (apartment dumpster?), but honestly, learning through trial and error was part of the fun. Now that I have an impressive little houseplant collection adorning just about every sunny windowsill in my one-bedroom, I also have a budding gardening tool collection to match. 

Since apartments don’t generally lend the space for a full-blown garden shed, I had to declutter my tools a bit and get super selective (and creative!) with the garden tools I invested in. Here are all the gardening tools I need in a small apartment, and how I store them. 

A Watering Bin

One of the best ways to water house plants is to bottom water them, but when you have a small sink, that task can be tedious. Instead, get a large shallow bin like this one from IKEA to bottom water multiple plants at once. I also like to use this bin when replanting indoors. I pop the planter inside, and it keeps all of the dirt and mess in one spot. It’s also great for mixing your own potting soil. Once done, I like to store it behind my pantry door. 


While scooping dirt with your bare hands can make you feel one with the earth, gardening gloves can be a godsend when you don’t want to get dirt underneath your fingernails. Get a snug but comfortable pair like this one from Food52.

Hand Trowel

Since apartments don’t have plots of land to till and work, you’re not going to need any heavy-duty gardening tools inside. A trusty hand trowel will be enough to scoop dirt in and out for planters and flower beds. Just make sure that you get one that isn’t too large, so you can easily maneuver around smaller planting pots. You can easily buy one at the Dollar Store, or if you prefer it to be delivered to your doorstep, get one from Amazon like this  Edward Tools Garden Trowel. 

Garden Fork

This is necessary to help aerate the soil, so it doesn’t become compacted and cause root rot. It can also be used to create holes for seeds if you’re growing plants from scratch. You can also get this at your local dollar store, or nab one from Amazon.

Spray Pump

Having lots of plants in a small space means that pest infestations can spread pretty quickly. The best way to avoid that is to spray down your plants consistently with neem oil, which is a natural pest repellant. You can buy neem spray in a bottle, or you can make your own with concentrated oil. If you do the latter, I love using the HDX Handheld Sprayer to add an even, fine mist coating on all leaves. 

Pruning Sheers

These are great for cutting plants for propagation purposes and for trimming away dead or diseased pieces. (Just make sure to clean them with rubbing alcohol after, so you don’t spread the disease to your other plants!) You can also use a pair of pruning sheers (like the ones that come in this two piece set found on Amazon) to trim back overgrowing houseplants, especially if they’re getting too big for their nook or windowsill. 

Dirt Storage

Bags of dirt are huge — and if you make your own potting mix, you will have multiple bags to store. Since apartments are usually low on space, you have to get creative with hiding them. I like storing mine in a large garbage bag, which I then put into a decorative trunk. But a storage ottoman, storage bench, or large cabinet will work just as well. And if you like to keep all of your planting equipment in one place, you can also store your gardening tools in a bin or bucket inside it, too.

Watering Can

If you don’t want to carry your plants back and forth to the kitchen sink to thoroughly water them, then a watering can is a must. I prefer having a small one like this one from IKEA so it’s easier to store.

I store mine on the side of my fridge using magnetic hooks.

Now, let’s talk about storage!

You can store all of your gardening tools in a chest or trunk as mentioned above, or you can use a compact storage solution. For example, you can get an all-in-one stainless steel gardening tools folding stool like this one from Amazon, which not only gets you a full set of tools, but a handy spot to store them. Just fold the chair and put it behind your pantry or closet door.

If you have just a few tools, you can get a simple peg wood rack, or if you have more items (like the sprayer and watering can), you can get a pegboard wall storage system, like this one from IKEA. It’s customizable, and you can add shelves for your bigger pieces.