Pot it Like it’s Hot: Best Plants for Apartments

This blog is originally published on Redfin.com and featured Springer Garden.

Houseplants are a great way to bring nature inside, but some apartment-dwellers may find it difficult to find the perfect plants for their space. Since some apartments have minimal natural light and square footage, it’s important to know which plants are resilient enough to survive in that environment.

In order to help renters with this, we consulted plant enthusiasts from Denver, CO, to Chicago, IL, to share their best recommendations and care tips. By the end of this article, you’ll know what the best plants for apartments are, how to keep them healthy, and how to use them to decorate a space.

Some of the best plants for apartments

Best plants for apartments

Best overall

Some indoor plants are easier to maintain than others. Here are some plants that are easy to care for, can bounce back quickly, and live a long time. 

Monstera deliciosa

The Monstera deliciosa: This plant is a fast-growing, easy-care indoor plant that does well in moderate light. Instantly uplift your home decor with this spectacular, tropical big green plant. – The Urban Garden Companion

ZZ plant

Zamioculcas zamiifolia (ZZ plant): For first-time plant parents, I would suggest a ZZ plant. It’s an excellent pick because it’s so easy to keep alive and it can tolerate a variety of light conditions. – xoxo Bella

Snake plant

Sansevieria (snake plant): Choosing houseplants for an apartment sometimes means compromising to pick the right plant for the existing light conditions. A snake plant does well in low to medium light conditions, is an expert at purifying air, and comes in many common and rare varieties. As a bonus – it propagates very easily, so you can create homegrown gifts for friends and family. – Southside Plants

Succulents and cacti

Succulents and cacti: Succulents are easy to maintain, they don’t need frequent watering, and they can live for a long time. Simply place them in your home or office to bring a natural touch to your space. – Springer Garden

Best for apartments with limited space

For renters low on space, Planted in Pots suggests, “incorporating plants higher on walls. Placing plants vertically either on shelves, hanging on cool wall hooks, or climbing up a moss pole can make your ceilings seem taller and the room feel larger.”

 If your apartment has limited space, they recommend the following plants:

Strelitzia (bird of paradise)

Bird of Paradise

Rhaphidophora tetrasperma

rhaphidophora tetrasperma

Philodendron Mican

Philodendron Micans

Best for apartments with low light

You can still incorporate plants in your space even if your apartment doesn’t have a lot of sunlight. SuburbanSill compiled a list of a few plants that thrive in lower light conditions. They remind renters that, “low light doesn’t mean no light. These plants will still need to be near a window to thrive.”

Epipremnum aureum (devil’s ivy)

Devil's Ivy

Aglaonema (Chinese evergreen)

Chinese Evergreen

Best for renters with pets

If you have pets, make sure to do extra research to ensure the plants you bring into your apartment won’t be harmful or toxic to your animal. Live Long & Plant suggests the following plants known to be safe for pets:

  • Spider plants
  • Nerve plants
  • Calatheas

Similarly, Homestead and Chill recommend the below plants for cat owners:

  • Air plants
  • Ferns
  • Ponytail palms
  • Bromeliads

How to be a better plant parent

After you have purchased your perfect plant, it’s important to care for them the right way to ensure they stay happy and healthy. From pest control to watering schedules, here are some beginner-friendly tips on being a better plant parent.

Deter insects with cinnamon

Whatever houseplant you choose, they can be prone to insects. You can easily deter bugs by sprinkling ground cinnamon or cinnamon bark oil around the soil. The active substance in cinnamon, cinnamaldehyde, has a strong scent, making the perfect safe and natural bug deterrent. – Chemistry Cachet 

Start simple

When choosing a houseplant, it’s important to know that all are not equal in terms of light, size, and water requirements. Make sure you read the plant’s tag and start with something simple. When watering, stick a finger in the soil to see if it feels dry. Only water if the soil is dry to avoid root rot. Also, make sure that your pot has drainage. – Trowels & Dirt, Instagram: @trowelsanddirt

Utilize grow lights if your apartment lacks natural light

Living in small spaces often means that you have limited sun exposure, making it difficult to grow many kinds of plants. One trick is to get a few grow lights for indoor plants that pop into your existing lamp fixtures. That way, you have extra light pouring down on your plants without having to sacrifice design or space. – Brody Hall, Environmental Scientist, and Certified Horticulturalist, The Indoor Nursery

Keep a watering journal

Watering schedules are helpful when you’re first learning about plant parenthood, but not all your green ladies will need the same routine. Some plants like it dry while others need consistent showers, and most plants will want more water in summer. Keep a watering journal to track each plant and maintain the proper conditions for all your green friends. – Earth Witch Gardening

Place plants near south or east-facing windows when possible

When buying houseplants for your apartment, make sure that you consider the amount of lighting that you currently have in your place and which direction your windows face. Even though some plants are low-light, they’ll still need light to survive. It’s ideal to have south or east-facing windows. – Carryon Babe

Location, location, location

Select the area that you’d like to ‘greenify’, take note of the amount of sun exposure that area gets and what direction the nearest windows face, then stop by your local garden center and watch your indoor jungle grow. – Platt Hill Nursery 

Fertilize your plants with coffee grounds

Coffee grounds are a great source of nitrogen, potassium, and magnesium – all of which are essential nutrients for plants. To use them as a fertilizer, simply sprinkle them around the base of your plants and water them in. Bonus tip: If you have a mold problem, don’t worry – vinegar can help. Just mix equal parts vinegar and water, pour it into a spray bottle, and spray it on the affected areas. The vinegar will kill the mold and help to prevent it from coming back. – Bouqueh

Try bottom-watering

Over and under-watering is a common mistake for plant owners. To avoid this, try bottom-watering. Grab a bowl, fill it with water, place your plant, and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. After that, let the remaining water drain – you’ll notice that your plant is well-watered by seeing the moist topsoil. – Watering Can App

Let the plants care for you

Houseplants are not only pleasing to the eye, but they also benefit your health. From helping keep your indoor air clean to the mental health benefits of having them in your home to look at and care for, having indoor plants are a great addition to any living space. – The Healthy Voyager

Houseplant decor tips

Incorporating indoor plants into your apartment is a great way to decorate the space and show off your personality. Here are some houseplant decor tips to make your indoor plants stand out. 

Figure out where your plant will live

The first step when choosing plants for your apartment is figuring out where they’ll live. It’s important to map out the space and identify areas where you can place or hang plants like fire escapes, walls, handrails, or windows. Based on your apartment layout, light, moisture conditions, etc., you can buy plants best suited for your apartment’s conditions. – SnapBlooms

Incorporate planters with personality

When adding plants to style your apartment, small details can make big impacts. Ditch the nursery pots for planters with personality; think fun colors, textures, and mixed materials. The location of your plants can also make a subtle statement, a variety of hanging and floor plants is visually pleasing without taking up too much space. – Soil to Sill

Create a design plan

Every garden should start with a design plan, and it’s no different if you’re decorating your apartment with houseplants. Resist the urge to buy every popular plant on social media and instead focus your efforts on creating a plant oasis with a theme; an edible garden in the kitchen, a tropical garden on the deck, a xeric garden in the living room. Be creative but have a plan. – Triangle Gardener

No nails allowed? No problem

Make more space for your vines by hanging them from upcycled coat racks or garment racks. You could also make your own unique trellis to create a stunning vertical display. – The Girl with a Shovel


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