How To Choose The Best Plants For Your Apartment

apartment living room decorated with grey sofa, various plants on bookcase and end tables

Houseplants are the best way to bring light and life into a small space. By choosing the best plants for your apartment you’ll be able to incorporate some greenery into your living space that will purify the air and introduce nature into your home.

Apartment living should feel homey, spacious and relaxing, which is why adding some houseplants is an excellent way to make every square foot of your apartment look stunning and feel good.

The best plants for an apartment are low maintenance, easy to care for and do well with varying levels of sunlight and heat such as:

Keep reading to find out the best area to place each of these plants throughout your apartment.

The best plant in any space is a healthy plant. To use plants as part of your apartment decor, you’ll need to know the best tips for keeping your plants alive and healthy (you’ll thank us later for advice on avoiding that dreaded root rot!). It also helps to learn some creative ways to display plants within a small space. We’ll cover it all.

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Best Houseplants For Any Spot In Your Apartment

The best plant for your apartment may vary depending on the climate and the lighting conditions you have available in your space.

The Snake Plant, Spider Plant, ZZ Plant and Pothos are great universal choices because they are very resilient and can thrive in different climates, seasons, and levels of humidity.

Wherever you decide to show off these plants in your small space, they should do well.

Snake Plant (Sansevieria)

Snake plants are a great option for your first houseplant.

They can survive up to 6 weeks without watering, which is helpful if you forget to water or need to travel away from your apartment.

The stalks of this beautiful plant resemble the skin of a snake and make a beautiful entryway statement piece.

Spider Plant

Spider plants are the perfect hanging plant to use as part of your living room decor.

These plants grow quickly and are easy to maintain.

Spider plants will add dimension and balance to any room.

ZZ Plant (Zanzibar Gem)

ZZ plants don’t need much natural light to thrive.

This plant is perfect for a darker corner of your apartment or a bathroom that doesn’t get much direct light.

It looks beautiful sitting on a countertop, desk, or table.

Pothos

Pothos are known to purify the air and freshen up a stuffy room.

They look lovely displayed on a shelf, which helps keep your floors and surfaces clear.

Best Houseplants For Sunny Spots in Your Apartment

Succulents and cacti are your go-to for warmer climates and hotter spots in the apartment.

They are easy to maintain and thrive in warmer temperatures with a lot of direct sunlight.

You can water cacti every 3-4 weeks and succulents every 2-3 weeks depending on the season.

Be careful: with succulents and cacti, you are more likely to mistakenly overwater than underwater.

The soil should be bone dry before you water again.

You don’t even need to soak these plants all the way through in the winter.

In the summer, it’s recommended to give them a thorough watering.

Best Houseplants for Cool Areas and Low Light

Aside from the plants recommended above for all areas of your home, some plant types do well in colder temperatures and can definitely survive the winter – or that cool, almost-sunless corner.

The most important thing to remember in cooler climates is to avoid the temptation to overwater.

It is easy to feel like a good plant parent by regularly watering your plants. But don’t overdo it.

Most plants will be able to recover from underwatering but will not be able to recover from overwatering without a serious intervention (repotting and cleaning the roots).

Low light plants for your apartment:

Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus Lyrata)

Fiddle Leaf Figs will grow when they have bright indirect sunlight, but they will survive in low light and cooler temperatures.

Remember, just because your plant isn’t actively growing bigger doesn’t mean it isn’t thriving.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is also a great option for cool climates and low light.

While it is usually thought to thrive in desert climates, it also holds up really well during the winter.

It’s a pretty sturdy plant that can survive in extreme conditions.

How to Decorate a Small Space with Houseplants

Now that you’ve chosen the right plant for you and the environment of your apartment, think about how that plant will fit in your space.

The great thing about decorating your apartment with plants is that they are multifunctional. They clean the air, brighten up the space, and add an element of life and nature into your home.

Greenery will do a great job of spicing up a monochromatic minimal interior and also work well in eclectic, colorful spaces.

Whatever your style or décor, plants add life and dimension.

Some ways to save space while welcoming new plants into your home are:

  • Plant stands
  • Hanging planters
  • Windowsills
  • Multi-level shelves
  • Wall shelves for tiny succulents
  • DIY plant wall

Check out the video below for 10 clever ways to hang plants in your apartment without having to drill holes in the wall – your landlord will thank you!

10 HANGING PLANT DIY HACKS FOR RENTERS | No Drill, No Holes | Miss Bird

Maximize Vertical Space With Plants

Using hanging plants or wall shelves are some of the best uses of space and can help you maximize the amount of greenery in your apartment. They also allow you to draw the eyes up to emphasize the vertical space in your apartment.

Chances are, you’d like your apartment to be bigger. Using plants to decorate your vertical space can help you feel like you are living in a larger space.

Tips for Overall Plant Health

We’ve said it before because it’s just so essential to remember: the best way to keep your plants healthy is by maintaining proper drainage. This means that there is a way for excess water to run out of the pot so that the roots don’t soak in standing water. If the plant is drowning in water, it can’t access the oxygen it needs to thrive.

We’ve talked a lot about why you can’t overwater and why those roots need oxygen. It’s time to tell you how to do it.

How to Water Healthy, Apartment-Dwelling Plants

Any of the plants above will have similar watering needs.

To keep your plants thriving follow these tips:

Water every 1-2 weeks. You should thoroughly wet the soil to the point where excess water drains out the bottom of the pot. However, they will be okay if you miss a week here or there. In fact, you can neglect a snake plant for months, and it will be fine.

Pro Tip: Plants with thick waxy leaves are pretty easy to keep alive. Most high maintenance plants have papery thin leaves. Unfortunately, high maintenance plants are more likely to go on to plant heaven. They have a tendency to be more temperamental and less forgiving when they aren’t given the correct amount of water or light.

Give Your Indoor Plants Proper Drainage and Aeration

The easiest way to do this is to create some space between the bottom of your plant and the pot to make sure excess water can drain away from the roots and air can circulate.

  • Drainage holes: You can keep the plant in the plastic pot it came in because there are always drainage holes in those. If not, you can easily cut or drill some holes in the plastic.
  • Spacers for air:  place some stones or spacers in the bottom of a decorative pot and set your plant in the plastic container in the decorative pot on top of the stones. It’s best to create about an inch or two of space at the bottom of the pot for happy, healthy roots.
  • Aerating the soil: Take a chopstick, barbecue skewer, or other stick-like tool and poke it deep into the soil a few times. You are breaking up the soil a bit and allowing air a shortcut into the roots. Soil compacts over time, and this can help open things up and speed up the drying time after you water.

Ridding Your Plants of Pesky Pests

One of the many problems that can arise from root rot is bugs. Fungus gnats, mites, and other common pests are attracted to overly moist soil. Your plants may look great in your apartment, but you probably won’t be thrilled about the additional roommates. They’ve got to go.

If you do develop a pest problem, here are some strategies.

  • Allow soil to dry out between watering. This is your first line of defense – and a real must.
  • Spray the underside of leaves with water. Then carefully wipe them dry, removing any unfriendly visitors as you go. 
  • Mix water, vinegar, and dish soap in a spray bottle. Coat the leaves of your plants with it daily. The solution should help dehydrate any pests.
  • Invest in some non-toxic insecticidal soap to spray on the soil once a week. That should attack the problem at the root, pun intended!

Before You Bring a Plant Into Your Apartment

Really examine the plant before you take it home. Your indoor plant decor won’t go far if you start with unhealthy plants.

Here are some signs your plant is healthy:

  • New growth
  • Leaves free of spots or holes
  • No visible sign of insects on leaves or soil

Warning signs of an unhealthy plant include:

  • Yellow or brown leaves and stems
  • Insects on the leaves or in the soil
  • Droopy leaves
  • Leaves with crispy edges

Don’t let your inspection stop there.

You should also look underneath the pot to see if the roots are poking out of the drainage holes.

Even better if you can gently remove the plant, soil, and all, from the plastic container to check on the condition of the roots. The roots should not occupy much space around the edge of the soil or the bottom of the pot.

Get Planting!

Now that you know how to choose the best plants for apartment living and how to display them, it’s time to start creating your urban jungle.

snake plant and peperomia plant in white pots

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