So your collection of plants is continuing to grow. Or maybe you want to make space to add new plants to your collection. Or maybe you’re looking to improve the health of your plants?

Building a DIY plant shelf has many benefits. With a little planning and a few tools, you can turn any corner of your apartment into a cute garden.

What Makes a Good Plant Shelf

When making plants for your DIY plant shelf, think about light, temperature and humidity control, and managing pests. You also want to make sure that it has enough room for what you want to do.

Layout a full shelf if you need propagation areas, you can put them in a short shelf where the light will be closer to the plants. If there are plants that need specific lighting conditions, group them together.

I love when apartments have a big window of plants. It gives them privacy without having to block the beautiful natural light with curtains. And don’t fit your plants too close together, they will need space to grow.

And with living things and moisture comes pests, infections, and molds. Make sure your shelf is built with something that can withstand the water and the design makes it easy to clean all the crevices.

Examples of Different Plant Shelf Designs

The biggest design decision is whether you need an open shelf or a glassed in cabinet. This will depend on the environment in your home and what kind of plants you are growing. If your home has chronically low humidity or gets gold and drafty, consider protecting your precious collection.

If you’re trying to save space, go vertical and look at walls or suspending plants from curtain rods or the ceiling. A rope and wood plant shelf could be made adjustable.

Building a DIY Plant Shelf


Not everyone will need everything on this list. So build your full plan based around your space before you start purchasing.

The Shelves

The Lights

Humidity and Temperature

diy plant shelf upgrades

Cute Pots

How to Upgrade your Plant Shelf

Most of my projects continue to evolve long after I started them. Yours might too. Sometimes building everything at once can be out of budget. As long as your plants are getting enough light and water, they will survive.

diy plant shelf upgrades

Efficiency Upgrades

If you want to get fancy with your grow lights, there is some cool science being done about how different wavelengths of light can bring out different features in a plant. Look around at your local nurseries and plant shops to see what they have.

If you’re handy, you can also pick up lighting timers that will ensure your plants get enough light, even if you are no longer working from home. Or if you like water propagating, try finding a cheap pump to help you keep water fresh.

Air Circulation

Plants grow stronger with a little stimulation, so if you are using your plant shelf to start seedlings for your garden, or you have humidity loving plants but don’t want to risk mold, get some small fans.

diy vertical gardens plant shelf building
Via Instagram


Eventually, your plant collection will start to grow. It’s okay, we all knew this was going to happen.

If you don’t feel like building a whole new shelf, try a bunch of little shelves to form a stunning vertical garden. If you have some spare plants that look a little awkward, try playing with height and stands.

Tips for Maintaining a Plant Shelf

Set yourself a schedule to remove your plants once a month and dust, wipe down your shelves and ensure there are no critters anywhere. This is also a good time to check the bottoms of leaves for pests and dust leaves if they need it.

This is also a good time to fertilize your plants or check to see if any pots need topping up with compost. Remember that you shouldn’t re-pot plants until the spring. Disturbing the roots when their dormant can lead to plant shock.

diy wood slatted plant shelf
Via Instagram

What Can You Grow On a Plant Shelf

Plant shelves can be built to suit any type of plant. If you’re starting seeds, consider making your lights adjustable so they’ll get close enough. Plant shelves can be a great place to start seedlings before the gardening season.

If you’re growing specialty pants, make sure you have the right growing mediums and tools on hand. No matter what you end up growing, keep notes to help you improve year over year and don’t be afraid to experiment.