Your Complete Step-by-step Guide to Plants in Apartment

Your Complete Step-By-Step Guide To Plants In Apartment

One of the biggest drawbacks to apartment living is not having a big enough garden for all your pretty flowers and plants.

But that shouldn’t stop you from creating a beautiful green sanctuary right inside your apartment – and a balcony doesn’t have to come standard for you to achieve your indoor garden goals!

What are the benefits of having apartment plants?

Plants help us in many ways, from purifying our indoor air by removing carbon dioxide from it, to making us feel like we’re outside in nature even when we’re at home. This offers all-round wellness that’s hard to beat with artificial greenery.

You might think that having plants in your apartment requires green fingers, but this isn’t the case.

The truth is that anyone can have beautiful and healthy plants. Read on to learn how to make apartment gardening a success in your home. 

Choose The Right Indoor Plants

Best Indoor Plant

When you decide to bring indoor plants into your apartment, you need to pay attention to space. You might want big, beautiful plants but this might not be realistic for the tiny apartment in which you live.

On the other hand, you might think that you can bring any indoor plant to your apartment, but this is also not always possible. You need to consider how much space, sun, and air the plant needs to thrive. 

So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best apartment plants that don’t require too much care. 

ZZ Plant

ZZ Plants

This plant, otherwise known as the Zanzibar Gem, has pretty leaves that grow vertically. It looks a bit like a palm tree and it’s perfect for apartment living because it’s extremely low-maintenance.

To keep it healthy and happy, you only need to water it three times a month and it doesn’t need a lot of light, which is great if you don’t have many windows in your apartment. Best of all, the ZZ plant doesn’t attract pests or insects to it, so it’ll keep your place free of bugs. 


tillandsia plant

These pretty evergreen flowering plants add a burst of color to your home. Known as “air plants,” they draw moisture from the air and don’t need any soil in order to grow.

They’re quite amazing! Tillandsia plants have a minimal root system, hence not requiring soil, and this makes them low-maintenance.

It’s worth bearing in mind that if your indoor air is too dry, you should try to submerge Tillandsia plants in water for two hours every two weeks just to be sure that they receive enough of the moisture they need.

Zebra Plant

Zebra Plants

Called the Zebra plant because of its stripy leaves, this plant is actually a succulent. It stays really small, getting no bigger than eight inches in height, so it’ll fit in small spaces.

It doesn’t require a lot of light, which makes it perfect for putting in a variety of places in your apartment, such as the bathroom. The Zebra plant also doesn’t need to be watered very often.

When you see its side shoots and flower heads start to grow, you should move your Zebra plant into an area of the home that gets the most light.

You should also water it much more generously during this time because it’s in growing season.

Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant

Fiddle Leaf FigPlants

This interestingly named plant is tall and sleek, making it perfect if you want to avoid taking up precious floor space in your apartment.

With its green leaves, this plant looks bright and beautiful. You should put it in an area that gets medium light, but don’t worry about watering it often – only give it a top-up when its soil feels dry.

You can expect a potted Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant to grow up to 10 feet indoors, which is wonderful if you want to make use of your vertical space.

African Violets

African Violets

You might want to add some extra color to your apartment, and what better way than with pretty indoor apartment plants like African Violets?

These flowering plants really don’t need a lot of care, so they’re great if you’re not gardening inclined.

You should water these flowers once a week. Indirect sunlight is enough to keep them happy, or just pop them under a fluorescent light fixture.

When they’re about 10 inches away from artificial lighting that’s left on for about 12 hours a day, African Violets will get enough light to thrive. 

Lucky Bamboo

Lucky Bamboos

This plant can grow in both water and soil, so it’s very versatile. If you like the idea of growing Lucky Bamboo in water, you should replace the water every seven days.

On the other hand, if you prefer the low-maintenance allure of growing the plant in soil, you should water it whenever the soil feels dry to ensure it gets enough water.

The Lucky Bamboo plant only needs indirect sun to give your apartment a fresh, happy feeling.

How To Choose Plants For Your Apartment

As can be seen in the above-mentioned plants, it’s important to choose indoor plants that you can take care of without much hassle so that they will thrive.

Space is also an issue. You want plants that won’t grow too big or tall, while still looking good. And, a bit of color and pattern is always great to add to your apartment’s visual appeal.

But there are other things to bear in mind when choosing the right apartment plants so that you look after them properly.

Consider How Much Care You Can Give

Low maintenance plants

Water and light requirements of the plant aside, you need to choose plants that you can look after.

Choosing a low-maintenance plant that can thrive without hardly any care is better for you if you’re not gardening inclined or not home that much.

On the other hand, if you love nurturing plants and learning about how to take care of them, something a bit trickier can be a good project for you.

It basically boils down to how much time you can dedicate to your indoor gardening hobby.

Take Your Children And Pets Into Consideration

If you live with kids or pets, you should always avoid bringing toxic indoor plants into your apartment as these can make them sick.

For example, aloes and some lily varieties are toxic to both dogs and cats. Other plants can be harmful to kids.

These include arrowhead plants, ivy, and some lilies.

Before you bring an indoor plant into your home, always do research to find out if it’s safe for your pets and children, both of whom might be attracted to plants and try to eat them.

You’ll Need A Potting Mix For Your Apartment Plants

Potting Mix

Obviously soil is crucial for plants because it gives them the water, nutrients, and oxygen they need to survive and be healthy.

However, apartment gardening means your plants will need to be in containers or pots.

Now, while you might think finding garden soil and using that in pots will work a charm, it’s not such a good idea.

This is because it will become compact and prevent both water and air from reaching your indoor plants, as The Spruce points out.

That’s why you need to use a potting mix on your plants instead. It’s light and sterile, so you won’t have to worry about bacteria causing diseases in your plants. Its light texture also means that enough air and water will be able to nourish your plants.

You can easily make DIY potting mix by filling an aluminum container with garden loam or mature compost. Here’s what to do:

  • Water the mixture and then use a bit of foil to cover the container it’s in. Place a thermometer into the mixture and put both into the oven.
  • Bake the loam or compost at 250 degrees Fahrenheit. When the thermometer hits 180 degrees, you want to bake the compost for half an hour to destroy any bacteria.
  • Put the mixture somewhere to cool.
  • When it’s ready, mix it with equal parts of coarse sand and peat moss in a container. The sand will assist with the plant’s drainage while the peat moss will give the soil the structure it needs as well as make it hold onto moisture.
  • Give the mixture enough water so that all the ingredients are moist.
  • Let it sit for about an hour, then add four tablespoons of agricultural lime powder for every 20 liters (or 84 cups) of the mixture so that its pH will be 6 or 7, which is healthy for plants, as reported by SF Gate.
  • Then, add two tablespoons of slow-release fertilizer into every liter of soil that you have.

Choose The Right Pots

Picking The Right Pots

A beautiful plant isn’t going to survive if it’s not in the right pot. When choosing a pot, you should consider more than just how it looks in your apartment.

Choose a pot that’s big enough to fit the root ball of the plant and that also suits the plant’s height so that it’s in proportion and gives the plant enough space to grow.

Finding out how much your plant will grow will also help in this regard so you choose the right pot. This will prevent you from having to repot the plant too soon.

The pot you choose should have enough drainage for your plant. The ideal pot is one with a hole at the bottom under which you can put a saucer to collect excess water.

Pro tip: Put big rocks and a layer of activated charcoal at the bottom of the pot to prevent too much water from getting to and suffocating the plants’ roots.

Consider The Air’s Effect On Apartment Plants

You might be tempted to squeeze and cram plants into your tiny apartment, but always make sure you give your plants enough room to breathe. Here are some tips so you don’t cut off your plants’ air supply:

  • Avoid cramming plants into corners or behind other furniture. You should aim for at least seven inches of space between your plants and other items or furniture in the room.
  • Consider if the place where you want to put your plant has enough air circulation. Some of the best places for this include in front of a window and on tables, or make sure you choose hardy plants that don’t require a lot of air.
  • Keep your plants away from radiators. The heat emitted from them can make the plant and its soil dry out faster.

Get A Bug-Tackling Strategy

Know that if you have indoor plants, you’re going to be dealing with bugs.

These include things like spider mites and flies. If this is troublesome for you, you might opt not to have lots of plants in your bedroom.

However, there are some important ways to deal with bugs on plants. Here are some successful strategies for eliminating them.

  • Use garlic as a general bug deterrent. Simply put a clove of garlic into the soil of the plant to keep it free of insects. 
  • Misting underneath plant leaves will keep spider mites away as they love dryness. You can also mix together ¼ cup of buttermilk, a gallon of water, and one cup of flour, and put this in your spray bottle, as The Old Farmer’s Almanac reports.
  • Let your plants’ soil dry between times when you water them as this will keep small flies away.
  • To get rid of aphids, mix together equal parts of water with rubbing alcohol and a drop of dishwashing liquid. With a soft brush, gently apply the mixture to plants suffering from aphids.

How To Fit More Plants Into Your Apartment

Just because you don’t have enough floor space for apartment plants, that doesn’t mean you can’t have an indoor garden. Here are some easy ways to get around a minimal space.

Use Vertical Spaces

Vertical Plants Apartments

All you need are some hanging baskets or planters in which to put plants, and then hang these up on walls, doors, or from the ceiling in any areas of the home that are usually ignored.

When putting plants into hanging planters, make sure you choose the right ones as not all plants will thrive in this setup.

Begonia tuberhybrida are a popular choice for hanging planters because they’re easy to grow, while Calibrachoa are durable plants and Geraniums are perfect for living in baskets because they can thrive with moist soil.

How many plants can be put into one basket or planter?

Make sure you stick to the rule of one plant per inch of basket diameter, which translates into 12 plants in a 12-inch planter. Fuchsias and geraniums are exceptions, however. You should put less – no more than five plants in a 12-inch planter, as reported by Thompson & Morgan.

Put Apartment Plants That Love Humidity In The Bathroom

You might not think of putting plants in the bathroom, especially if this is a room in the apartment that doesn’t get much light or is really small.

However, this is where you can make the most of plants that thrive in humid conditions. Such plants include ferns, African Violets, and Peace Lilies.

Pro tip: the thinner a plant’s leaves, the more it wants humidity so it’s a perfect candidate for steamy bathrooms.

Use Wall Planters

Wall Planter

You might have hanging planters, but don’t forget about wall planters!

Find some decorative ones on the market that provide the perfect platform for small plants. You can also put these in surprising places, especially if your wall space is minimal.

Ideas include putting them above doors or coat racks and wall hooks to add a dash of greenery to a small space. You could also hang them on cupboard doors, a spot in the house that’s usually left bare!

Grab A Ladder

A ladder can be the perfect place to display your houseplants. It’s really easy, too – all you need to do is prop your ladder somewhere and place small plant containers on its rungs.

The great thing about using a ladder to display plants and flower pots is that it frees up floor space.

Even if you prop the ladder against a bookshelf or wall, you still have space around it for other items and storage. In addition, a simple lick of paint can transform a ladder into a décor item.

How To Organize Plants In Your Apartment

You have the plants you want to grow in your small apartment, but how you organize them is important, not just to ensure that the plants survive but so that they look good.

Here are some tips to organize plants in your indoor garden.

Turn Your Corners Into Gardens 

Turn your apartment into a gardens

If you’re not sure where to put a plant, consider placing it in the corner.

The corners in your apartment usually remain bare because they’re too small for furniture, so they’re the perfect spots for plants, provided they have enough space for them.

You could place a large, flowering plant in one corner of your home, but dare to be creative. Place smaller plants, such as succulents, around the larger plant to create a visually appealing spot.

Play With Size And Color 

Having apartment plants of different sizes and colors can add a nice mixture of greenery in your home.

However, don’t put too many different plants together as this will make everything lose effect. Focus on a minimal approach to make the most impact.

For example, putting three succulent planters on the mantelpiece, from largest to smallest, can be much more striking than filling up the whole mantelpiece with lots of succulents.

Use Plants That Drape Over Furniture

You can add a new dimension to your indoor plants by choosing hanging plants that flow over their planters.

This creates a waterfall effect that looks beautiful on any furniture or in any area that needs a bit of a décor boost, such as a bookshelf or in a corner.

You can even choose vines that drape over a bed canopy if you’re really feeling creative to bring greenery to your home in unusual ways.

Create An Herb Spot

Herb Garden

Growing your own produce is super rewarding, it’s good for the planet, and it can also be fun! If you have a very sunny area in your home, why not turn it into an herb garden?

You can fill the area with lots of potted herbs, but make sure the pots are in different colors and sizes to add dimension.

If your balcony is very sunny, it’s the perfect place to grow some lovely herbs and perhaps even fresh produce.

Make Use Of Floating Shelves

If you have some floating shelves in your apartment that are already storing other items, you can add some small plants to the mix to bring them to life!

These make regular floating shelves much more interesting, and you don’t need many plants to have a big impact.

If you’ve installed floating shelves specifically for plants, don’t tread with caution. Put lots of different plants together so that they fill the shelves and look like a green wall.

Play Around With Height

Plant houses

It’s not just size and color that you should play with when grouping together flowers and plants. You should also consider height.

By putting plants of different heights together, this creates more depth. It’s also easier on the eye. You could arrange apartment plants in this way on furniture or even when hanging them from the ceiling.

Pro tip: Consider height depending on the mood you want to create in the specific room of your home. For greater feelings of calm, hang plants of the same height from the ceiling in a similar fashion to pendant lights.

Similarly, having plants of different heights in one corner of the room can create more visual stimulation, especially if the plants are of different colors, textures, and sizes.

Layer Your Plants

When choosing where to put your plants, opting for the layering strategy can help.

As Mind Body Green reports, layering your plants refers to how the larger plants should go at the back, such as against a wall or window, and then the smaller plants should be placed in front of them.

This technique groups together plants of different sizes but in a harmonious fashion, preventing clutter. It also ensures that all the plants will get enough light, instead of the smaller plants being blocked by larger ones.

Create A Portable Indoor Garden On Wheels

Garden Wheel

You don’t have to choose where to put your apartment plants and then commit to enjoying them there.

With the use of a bar cart, you can change the location of your plants and flowers without a hassle.

This is also great because it means you can give your plants more sun when they need it, thus helping them to stay healthy. A bar cart is also great because it means you can easily move it out the way when cleaning your apartment.

You can turn your bar cart into a wonderful portable garden by choosing bright, colorful pots and flowering plants to display in it. The plants will also be easier to water in this setup.


Just because you live in a small apartment, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a beautiful indoor garden.

There are many ways to work around the obstacle of not having enough space, and these include making use of the vertical space in your apartment.

When building your indoor garden, it’s important to choose plants that thrive well in apartments, such as those that don’t require a lot of light or care, so that your indoor garden will thrive. Go on and be green!

Related Questions

Can you plant things on your fire escape?

Although this might seem tempting, it’s illegal in most cities so it’s best avoided. Rather put plants or flowers on your balcony (if you have one) or a ledge.

However, it’s crucial to water your plants every day in the summer if they’re outside.

What are the worst plants to try to grow indoors?

high maintenance plant

Try to avoid high-maintenance plants that require lots of sun and water.

Some of the indoor plants to avoid include azaleas, which want both humid and cool conditions, miniature roses, as they need more than five hours of direct light daily, and gardenias. These are fussy and don’t like to be moved.

What plants are best when purifying indoor air?

Some plants are more beneficial than others, and they include Bamboo palm that removes toxins like benzene (found in detergents) from the air, Boston fern, which removes formaldehyde from the air, and Peace Lily that purifies and humidifies the air.

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