Houseplants For Apartments (7 Houseplants For Small Spaces)

Houseplants bring life to a home, but when you have an apartment or small space, every square inch is precious. Not all houseplants work well in an apartment. Unlike with a house, you can’t just buy a houseplant and find a great place for it to live. But you can still have houseplants you love – you just need to pick the right ones for your small space.

When choosing a houseplant for an apartment, choose the plant based on where you want to keep it. Consider how much light it naturally gets, any drafts it may be near, how humid your apartment gets, and how much space the plant has to grow (its mature size). 

However, it’s important to remember that while Instagram photos of apartments filled with houseplants are inspiring, it’s best to start off with one or two houseplants. Then, if you like, you can expand, adding plant by plant. (This is especially true if you’re a houseplant beginner.)

By starting off small and building slowly, you’ll learn what plants work where and how to take care of them. Larger houseplants are expensive, and while smaller ones are relatively inexpensive, the cost adds up. There’s nothing sadder than buying a lot of plants, only for them to wither and die. 

Having a lot of houseplants also means a lot more time caring for them. By adding a few at a time, you can figure out how much time you actually have to spend on them.

If a houseplant dies, you’re not a failure. You’re learning. Read the care instructions more. Choose a better suited plant for that space. What we call a “green thumb” is just experience.

Ready to find your small space houseplant? Let’s begin.

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7 Houseplants for Small Spaces

Choose a plant based on the space you have available: 

  • How much light does it get? 
  • How humid is it? 
  • How big can it get before it gets in the way?
  • Is it next to an air conditioner or drafty window? 

When you have a small space, you don’t have many alternative locations (if any) if the plant struggles in a location. Most apartments only have windows on one side, so you can’t exactly move a plant from a northern window to a southern one.

How fast a plant grows and its mature size are two important factors, especially in a small space. Given the right conditions (and if you follow the above, they will be), plants grow. You can keep some plants smaller by pruning and leaving more time in between repotting, but you’ll want to know how big this plant can get. Some plants grow very wide, while some plants grow tall. If you have a narrow space, a wide plant will quickly overtake it. A plant that grows tall will have problems growing on a bookshelf.

But this doesn’t mean always opting for tiny plants. Decor-wise, one or two larger plants look more cohesive than many smaller plants. So don’t be afraid to get a larger plant, provided it will fit into your space.

If you fall in love with a plant, but it grows very large, look for dwarf varieties. Many houseplants (like the Money Tree) have been cultivated into much smaller versions. 

And if you have little ones around (whether children or pets), check for toxicity. It’s much harder to keep toxic plants out of reach from curious toddlers or kitties when you’re in a small space. Children and pets need space to run around too. 

#1 Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura)

prayer plant
Prayer Plant can grow up to 3 feet tall, and it is non-toxic for dogs and cats.

Geographic Origin: Brazil, South America

Mature Height: Up to 3 feet tall

Mature Spread: Up to 1 foot wide

Light Requirement: 6 to 8 houses of bright, indirect sun

Water Requirement: Keep soil moist with filtered/distilled water

Toxicity: Non-toxic for dogs and cats

Best for: Tables or hanging plant

If you only have room for one plant, Prayer Plants make striking visions with their broad dark green leaves with colorful veins. They get their common name from their leaves rising as the sun sets as they reach for more light. The most commonly found variety has red veins, but you can also find green, silver, purple, and white. Well-cared for, they grow into thick bushes of leaves. You can propagate more prayer plants through cuttings. 

Prayer Plants are more temperamental than Snake and Spider plants, but they’re still relatively easy to care for. They like 6 to 8 hours of bright but indirect sunlight and good airflow. As they’re an underbrush plant, direct sunlight will scorch the leaves. They also prefer temperatures on the higher side, so keep them off windowsills during the winter. 

The trickiest part of caring for prayer plants is water and air humidity. They need filtered or distilled water, with their soil kept moist. However, they don’t tolerate overwatering, so ensure they have a well-draining potting mix and pot and empty saucers after watering. They prefer higher humidity, at 50 to 60%, but if you keep the soil moist, they can tolerate drier conditions.

#2 Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata, formerly Sansevieria trifasciata)

Snake Plant
Snake Plant grows 2 to 4 feet tall and is the perfect houseplant for narrow spaces.

Geographic Origin: Southern Africa

Mature Height: 2 to 4 feet

Mature Spread: 1 to 2 feet

Light Requirement: 4 to 6 hours of indirect sun

Water Requirement: Allow soil to dry in between waterings

Toxicity: Toxic to dogs and cats

Best for: Floors, narrow spaces

One of the most popular houseplants, snake plants are found in homes, offices, and cafes worldwide. Why? They’re pretty much impossible to kill, prefer it when you forget to water so its soil dries out, and thrive even in low-light situations. Instead of growing outward, they grow upward, making them a great plant for narrow spaces. 

Snake plants are pretty easy to take care of. While they like bright, indirect light, they can take some direct sunlight and shady corners. Let the soil dry out before you water. It’s better to water too little than too much.

#3 Tradescantia (Tradescantia zebrina)

tradescantia zebrina
Tradescantia zebrina is a vine houseplant with purple, silver, and green leaves.

Geographic Origin: Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras

Mature Height: 0.50 to 0.75 feet

Mature Spread: 1 to 2 feet

Light Requirement: 4 to 6 hours of indirect sun

Water Requirement: Allow soil to dry partially in between waterings

Toxicity: Non-toxic

Best for: Hanging pots or bookshelves

If you’re looking for a beautiful vine-like plant that’s also pet-safe, then Tradescantia has you covered. It features silver variegations on top of its dark green leaves, and purple underneath. While it’s not actually a vine, it grows long, trailing stems with leaf nodes every inch. They’re easy to propagate by cuttings. 

Choose a place that’s neither too bright nor too dark. Water once the soil is partially dry. They’re a goldilocks plant, preferring it not to be too dry but not too wet either. Soggy soil can cause root rot. 

If you prefer a bushier growth, pinch back the stems. Otherwise, allow the stems to grow long and hang them along shelves. (They won’t grip anything, so have a surface to hold them up.) 

#4 Money Tree (Pachira aquatica)

Money Tree Pachira aquatica
Money Tree grows up to 8 feet tall – keep it small with a small pot.

Geographic Origin: Central and South America

Mature Height: can grow to 6 to 8 feet indoors, but can be kept small

Mature Spread: can grow to 1 to 2 feet wide, but can be kept small

Light Requirement: 6 to 8 hours of bright, indirect light

Water Requirement: Water deeply, then allow soil to dry out

Toxicity: Non-Toxic to Dogs and Cats

Best for: Floor, tables, narrow spaces

Money Trees are often used in Feng Shui because its clusters of five leaves represent the five elements and it’s believed to bring wealth to a household. It’s also a striking household plant that offers an abundance of foliage that takes up vertical space instead of horizontal. When it’s young, the trunks are braided so that they’ll continue to grow that way, “locking in” its luck. 

Money trees grow wild in the humid wetlands of Central and South America, so they need a lot of water. Unfortunately, they also suffer from overwatering. Give the plant a deep watering, then let the soil dry out in between. If it starts to drop its leaves, water less (unless it’s cold, then move it to a warmer location). Money trees like humidity, so place it in a spot that’s more humid, like a kitchen. 

#5 Peperomia (Peperomia spp.)

Peperomia only grows up to 9 inches tall, so it’s great for small spaces.

Geographic Origin: Central and South America

Mature Height: 6 to 9 inches, varies by species

Mature Spread: 3 to 6 inches, varies by species

Light Requirement: Depends on species

Water Requirement: Allow soil to dry out between watering

Toxicity: Non-toxic (double check by species)

Best for: Small spaces like desks and bookshelves

If you’ve only got a tiny space, like on the corner of a desk or shelf, then a small Peperomia plant has you covered. Peperomia isn’t one species, but a genus that includes over 1,000, so you’re bound to find one that suits your tastes and conditions. Most have interestingly colored and textured leaves. They’re non-toxic and easy to care for. 

Peperomia come with an easy rule: the bigger the leaf, the more sunlight they need. Plants with small leaves are best for shadier spots, while plants with bigger leaves should be close to a window. Just keep them out of direct sunlight, as most species will burn. 

Except for desert-growing peperomia, most peperomia prefer humidity as they get most of their water through their leaves. Desert-growing peperomia prefer dry conditions. Whichever species you have, allow the soil to dry out between waterings as they suffer from overwatering. Choose a well-draining, neutral potting mix, or even use a succulent potting mix.

#6 Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana)

Kalanchoe blossfeldiana
Kalanchoe blossfeldiana stays fairly small and tolerates indirect sunlight.

Geographic Origin: Madagascar

Mature Height: 6 to 18 inches

Mature Spread: 6 to 18 inches

Light Requirement: 6 to 8 hours of bright, indirect sunlight

Water Requirement: Allow soil to dry in between watering (more when in bloom)

Toxicity: Toxic to dogs and cats

Best for: Tables

If you’re looking for something with sprays of flowers, try Kalanchoe. Most of the year, Kalanchoe has attractive dark green succulent leaves. But in the early spring, it bursts into clusters of tiny red, pink, yellow, orange, or white flowers. 

Kalanchoe is pretty easy to care for. Just be careful not to overwater it. It is a succulent. It can go a few days extra in between watering if you forget. If you tend to overwater, plant it in an unglazed clay pot instead of plastic so that excess water dissipates more quickly. Water more while they’re blooming. Pinch back stems for better blooms and to keep its shape.

Like a Christmas Cactus, blooming may require a bit of help. It’ll only bloom if it’s given 14 hours of darkness a day for 6 weeks.

#7 Common Staghorn Fern (Platycerium bifurcatum)

Platycerium bifurcatum Staghorn Fern
Common Staghorn Fern grows up to 2 to 3 feet tall, and it looks like antlers.

Geographic Origin: Java, New Guinea, Australia

Mature Height: 2 to 3 feet

Mature Spread: 2 to 3 feet

Light Requirement: Bright, indirect light

Water Requirement: Allow the potting medium to dry out a bit before soaking potting medium and fronds with rainwater or distilled water

Toxicity: Non-toxic to dogs and cats

Best for: Wall hanging statement piece

Common Staghorn Fern offers a very unusual look. Unlike most ferns, their fronds are not delicate. It got its name because people thought the fronds looked like deer or elk antlers. Instead of growing in soil, they attach themselves to trees like Tillandsia.

While you can grow small plants in an epiphytic fern potting mix, they’re more often grown on wooden boards or in wire baskets. Wire baskets are lined with coconut coir or sphagnum moss and packed with a combination of cactus/orchid potting mix. This medium gives the roots something to hold on to. 

You can hang them on the wall, so long as it gets good air circulation, bright but indirect light, and moderate humidity. 

While Staghorn Ferns absorb a lot of their water through their leaves, they also take up water through their roots. Soak the potting medium with rainwater or distilled water, but allow it to dry out a bit in between. Don’t let the roots dry out completely, though. In low humidity situations, mist the fronds frequently. 

Fertilize during the spring and summer with diluted liquid kelp. Staghorn ferns go dormant in fall and winter, so cut back on watering and don’t fertilize. Once it gets as big as you want it, stop fertilizing.


When choosing a houseplant, always consider where it’s going to live first and the conditions it will get. Once you know that, you can narrow down your choices to find the right plant that you love.

Looking for some other interesting houseplants?

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Jon M

Hi, I'm Jon. Let's solve your gardening problems, spend more time growing, and get the best harvest every year!

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