Apartment living is an affordable way to enjoy the advantages of residing in a bustling city. Studies show adding a carefully curated collection of indoor plants to your apartment can reduce stress levels and help purify the air. Getting it right with plant styling also enhances your overall design aesthetic.
But which popular indoor plants work best in an apartment setting? These dwellings often have space and light challenges, so you'll need to pick plants that fit in terms of size, shape, and care requirements. Fortunately, even if you're new to nurturing houseplants and your apartment is small and shady, there are many options to choose from. Check out these 15 practical and pretty apartment plants to help inspire you when creating your indoor oasis.
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ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)
If you stay in an apartment with small, north-facing windows, you can't go wrong with the ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia). This low-maintenance, low-light houseplant is also perfect for beginners or plant lovers with a brown thumb.
It's a drought-tolerant popular indoor species that's forgiving if your busy city life means you aren't on top of the watering schedule, and their waxy, wide, dark green leaves make a statement in any space.
Just keep this plant away from curious kitties or canines, as it's toxic to pets when ingested.Continue to 2 of 15 below.
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When space is at a premium, displaying trailing plants above apartment sofas or kitchen cabinets is an advantage. Vining species from the tropical aroid Philodendron genus, like the popular heart-leaf philodendron, are perfect plants for growing on shelves. These easy-to-care-for, fast-growing leafy plants make a spilling statement in any room. Bright but indirect light works for most philodendrons, so you don't need them to sit in a big, sunny window.
Having them on a high shelf that isn't easy to access is also handy, as these plants are toxic to pets.Continue to 3 of 15 below.
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Even if your apartment living room is small, that doesn't mean you can only pick petite plants. Sometimes, opting for one big-leaf houseplant as a statement piece in a minimalist space is the way to go. And nothing makes for a better or more on-trend focal point than a Monstera deliciosa. The large, fenestrated leaves add a tropical touch, and the plant can reach up to 10 feet tall when mature—perfect if you have high ceilings.
While it likes bright, indirect light, too much direct sun can scorch the impressive foliage, so positioning will be the biggest challenge. And be aware it's toxic to pets when ingested.
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Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
It's no wonder this classic, versatile and easy-to-care-for houseplant is an apartment-dweller favorite. Don't be surprised if you are gifted a spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) as a housewarming gift.
These pet-friendly houseplants are compact enough to fit in most spaces, can grow in a variety of light conditions, and, if your roommate forgets to water it while you are on vacation, it will likely be fine when you return.
Plus, because spider plants are so straightforward to propagate from offsets (pups), you can easily add to your or your neighbor's plant collections.
And if you're creating a bohemian-inspired apartment, retro spider plants, with their delicate, grassy, cascading foliage, are perfect for adding to a macrame plant hanger.Continue to 5 of 15 below.
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Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata)
If you're not confident in your houseplant care skills but still want to make a structural statement in any space, select the instantly recognizable snake plant (Dracaena trifasciata). Whether your apartment is big or small, light or dark, this hard-as-nails plant will likely still thrive.
The sword-like foliage is typically dark green with yellow edges, and they make a great focal point in a minimalist, modern apartment. With their upright growth habit, they can slot into small spaces.
Overwatering is the biggest killer of this species. When watering your snake plant, wait until the soil is fully dry. And watch where you position this beauty; snake plants are toxic to dogs and cats.
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Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum spp.)
If you want a houseplant with sculptural white, flower-like spathes why not try a peace lily?
These aren't plants for the most light-starved spaces, though. They really need indirect, bright light to thrive. They're also sensitive to overwatering and fluctuating temperatures. If you are unsure about when to get the watering can out, hold off until the foliage on your peace lily starts to droop.
Be mindful of where you put this plant in your apartment as they are toxic to people and pets.Continue to 7 of 15 below.
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Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana)
Lucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana) is a perfect plant for dim dwellings. Hardy and fast-growing, the sculptural and upright appearance makes a big impact in small apartment spaces.
If you want to relax in an apartment bathroom or bedroom with good feng shui, lucky bamboo is the plant for you. Steer clear of this plant if your apartment gets particularly chilly in winter, and keep it away from direct sun. It's another one to keep out of reach of your inquisitive pets because of its toxic properties.
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Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
Golden pothos plants are among the easiest houseplants to care for, making them perfect for most apartments. They grow fastest in bright but indirect light, but they can also handle the low light conditions of a basement rental.
Their long trailing vines are perfect for placing along the edges of high bookshelves or mantels when space is limited. Keep the vines of these toxic plants out of reach of your pets.
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Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema spp.)
The colorful foliage of low-maintenance, leafy Chinese evergreens make a splash in low-light apartments. But, if you opt for a variety with light variegation, you'll want a bright but indirect light position to prevent the pattern from fading. Go for a cultivar with dark green foliage if your apartment is duller.
Keep an eye on your pet as these plants are toxic to pets when ingested.
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Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior)
One species that is really true to its common name is the cast-iron plant. You won't find a harder-to-kill, more drought-tolerant houseplant. Basically, whatever the light is like in your apartment, it should thrive. Just keep it away from direct sun in a south-facing window, and don't go overboard with watering.
This slow-grower won't quickly overwhelm your small space, although the dark glossy leaves can reach over half a meter in length once mature. And it's perfect for those drafty apartment spaces where other plants struggle to thrive.Continue to 11 of 15 below.
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Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata)
When you have a narrow apartment hallway or galley kitchen, the drought-tolerant Dragon tree, with its tall, upright habit and elongated, thin foliage, can augment the space and make it look larger.
These elegant, statement-making plants with red tinges on the edge of the leaves thrive in a bright but indirect light position but will still survive in a long hallway with small windows.Continue to 12 of 15 below.
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African Violet (Saintpaulia ionantha)
A sophisticated leafy green jungle is many apartment dwellers' dream. But sometimes, a pop of flowering color can be what you're looking for. And with the right care, African violets can bloom several times a year.
While not suited to the dimmest of spaces, if you can offer bright but indirect light and a warm and humid environment, keeping your African violet alive shouldn't be too tricky. These compact plants are perfect if you don't have a lot of space, they're easy to propagate, and they're pet-friendly.
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Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)
Parlor palms are tall (growing up to 6 feet indoors), so they might not be what you're looking to add to a small apartment plant collection. But, if you want a dramatic ornamental focal point in a narrow space with grand tall ceilings, it could be the perfect fit.
These pet-friendly plants do best with bright but indirect light but can cope with lower light conditions. Just avoid overwatering this indoor palm plant—soggy soil is a no-no.
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Jade Plant (Crassula ovata)
Not all apartments are light-starved. If you're lucky enough to have a southern-facing floor-to-ceiling window, you'll have sun streaming in all day. Succulents are great low-maintenance options for bright spaces, and jade plants, with their thick, fleshy leaves, are a popular pick.
Other than making sure you pick the right position for these sun-worshippers and offering occasional watering (they don't like wet feet), you won't have to do much else. Be aware that this plant is toxic to pets when ingested.
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Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera x buckleyi)
If you want to brighten your apartment with a vibrant pop of color during the colder months, why not add a long-lived Christmas cactus to your plant collection? It might not be the easiest species to nurture if you are a beginner, but the plant's unique appearance and bright blooms make the extra effort worth it.
Handily, they're adaptable to a wide range of light conditions, but they prefer partial shade. It's getting the watering levels right that is the biggest challenge. Unlike many other cacti, these plants need fairly regular watering, but soggy soils can attract pests and cause root rot. And Christmas cacti aren't fans of rapid fluctuations in temperature, so keep them in a spot where things stay consistent.
What plant is best for apartments?
There isn't a one-size-fits-all best apartment plant. You'll have to look at your available light, along with temperature and humidity levels. How big your space is and the surrounding decor also plays their part in helping you decide what plant to go for. Picking adaptable and low-maintenance houseplants helps if you're a beginner.
Is it good to have plants in your apartment?
The right plants can instantly elevate your interior design and are perfect inexpensive decorative enhancements for any apartment. Bringing the outdoors in is especially important if you live in an apartment in an urban jungle with little available green space. Plus, houseplants offer well-being benefits, including stress relief, mood-boosting, and upping productivity levels.
How do you keep plants alive in low-light apartments?
If your apartment has few windows or the light is blocked by surrounding high rises, don't despair. There are lots of low-light houseplants to choose from. But remember that low light doesn't mean no light. If you have rooms with very small or no windows, you can still nurture indoor plants, but you'll need to invest in some grow lights.
Lee, Min-sun, et al. ‘Interaction with Indoor Plants May Reduce Psychological and Physiological Stress by Suppressing Autonomic Nervous System Activity in Young Adults: A Randomized Crossover Study’. Journal of Physiological Anthropology, vol. 34, no. 1, 2015, p. 21. doi:10.1186/s40101-015-0060-8
- Pegas, P. N., et al. ‘Could Houseplants Improve Indoor Air Quality in Schools?’ Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A, vol. 75, no. 22–23, 2012, pp. 1371–80. Taylor and Francis+NEJM, doi:10.1080/15287394.2012.721169
Zamioculcas Zamiifolia. North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox.
Heartleaf Philodendron. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Swiss Cheese Plant. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Peace Lily. Home & Garden Information Center.
Dracaena. Pet Poison Helpline.
Golden Pothos. Pet Poison Helpline.
Chinese Evergreen. Pet Poison Helpline.
Jade Plant. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.