Having a green thumb right away would be nice, but that’s not always the case for most folks, and it certainly wasn’t the case for me. During the pandemic, I started gravitating towards plants. But sadly, plant after plant in my care would reach their ultimate doom, sometimes less than a month after bringing them home. This made me question if plants were really right for me. What was I doing wrong? Why were my plants wilting and dropping leaves so frequently? Ultimately, it had less to do with me having a green thumb and more to do with researching and understanding various plants and the environments they thrive in. It hadn’t occurred to me that, maybe, just maybe, every plant has different needs. So, while I didn’t have a green thumb immediately after bringing my first plants home, I read up on them, talked to them, and figured out all their plant necessities. Now my house is a thriving plant mecca filled with good vibes, fresh air, and lush greenery. My advice is not to be discouraged or throw away that wilting plant just yet; you have a chance to turn it around. A green thumb is on the horizon!
WHY IT’S GOOD TO HAVE PLANTS IN YOUR APARTMENT
Plants are not only beautiful decor for your apartment, but they liven up your living space. Not to mention, they’re proven to have some pretty amazing health benefits. The fact is that we have a strong connection to nature. It has been scientifically proven that being out in nature around trees and letting the sun’s rays warm your skin can reduce stress and even boost your mood. While most of us don’t live in a tropical paradise, we can still bring a little bit of paradise into our homes. Multiple studies have shown that indoor plants keep owners healthier and happier, offering an array of physical and psychological health benefits that include:
- Reduce Stress
- Brighten mood / reduce fatigue
- Sharpen attention/ boost productivity
- Therapeutic (horticultural therapy)
- Improve indoor air quality
Important to note: All plants mentioned are pet-friendly and not toxic to cats or dogs. For more information about toxic and non-toxic plants, visit the ASPCA.
BEST PLANTS FOR BEGINNERS
Are you not quite sure what plant to start with? Well, beginners, you are in luck! These plants require little maintenance and won’t take up too much of your time. So, if you’re constantly on the go, traveling for work or pleasure, these starter plants may work best for your lifestyle.
There is a large variety of succulents like echeverias or hens and chicks that are pet-friendly. These small babies do best in bright light and only need watering every couple of weeks, perfect for renters on the go. Just be mindful not to overwater these drought-tolerant plants or root rot will occur, ultimately killing the plant.
Spider plant aka Chlorophytum comosum
Spider plant is a very adaptable plant that thrives in indirect light. It’s said to be one of the easiest-to-grow houseplants. This spiderlike plant quickly produces other plants that dangle from the “momma spider” plant like a spiderweb. Give them well-drained soil and bright or indirect light, and they’ll grow long and luscious.
African violet aka Saintpaulia
These lovely plants come in a variety of pink and purple hues and require low maintenance. African violets are sure to brighten up your space with their blooms that typically last year-round. For a happy plant, place these beauties in bright indirect sunlight and keep the soil moderately moist.
Friendship Plant aka Pilea involucrata
This propagation-friendly plant is — like the name suggests — perfect for sharing with friends. They grow well in medium to low light and typically don’t grow taller than 12 inches. They prefer humid environments, but a humidifier will help with that. This low-maintenance, velvet-like plant appreciates moist soil and six to eight hours of light (not direct sun).
BEST PLANTS FOR APARTMENTS WITH LOW LIGHT
Renters in big cities may have less window space or less lighting. If your apartment lacks windows, no worries; there are plenty of plants out there that thrive in little to low light environments.
Chinese Evergreen aka Aglaonema
Chinese evergreen does amazing in low light and only needs to be fertilized twice a year. Be sure to let the soil dry out between watering so that you won’t drown this beauty. Ideally, you can place these plants on tabletops or put them in a plant stand in your bedroom or living area.
Lucky bamboo is said to bring good energy and fortune into your home — who wouldn’t want that? Bamboo can grow in indirect light, and certainly, some species of bamboo do well in low light as well. You have the choice of using water or soil as their growing medium, so go with whichever aesthetic fits your apartment decor. This stocky plant is ideal for desks or coffee tables, as they won’t take up much space. Your guest will love this nice accent piece.
Prayer Plant aka Maranta leuconeura
These glossy dark-green plants can grow up to 10-12 inches and do exceptionally well in low-light environments. As the name suggests, these plants will fold up like praying hands at night and return to lying flat during the daytime. They flourish in humid environments and love lots of fertilizer and moist soil.
Parlor Palm aka Chamaedorea elegans
These beautiful, tropical plants can grow up to six feet tall. They have bamboo-like stems that thrive in medium to bright indirect light but can easily tolerate low light. Water them every one to two weeks, making sure the soil dries out between watering. Place these luscious plants in the corner of your living room with some indirect sunlight and watch them grow.
Rabbit Foot Fern aka Davallia griffithianaa
Rabbit foot are trendy plants that are perfect for hanging. These plants prefer environments with high humidity. A quick fix would be to invest in a humidifier to keep this plant flourishing. Just remember to keep their soil moist, mist the leaves daily to add humidity, and they’ll thrive. Place these quirky plants in a hanging pot in your bathroom, kitchen, or living room and they’ll be happy.
BEST PLANTS FOR SMALL APARTMENTS
Zebra Plants aka Aphelandra squarros
Zebra plants are known for their shiny leaves and dark green foliage. Their striped foliage prefers humid environments due to their tropical nature. Renters with small apartments will love these pretty plants. Have some potting soil that drains well and keep the soil moist for a happier plant. They usually only get up to two feet tall, which is ideal for smaller apartments. They will add some fun and bright decor to any small space.
Lace Flower Vine aka Alsobia dianthiflora
These vine-like plants can be tempting to pets, so they are best to house in a hanging planter out of the way of mischief. Place them in bright, indirect light and be sure to water them whenever the soil starts to feel dry. The stems will grow about three feet long, but you can easily cut stems to maintain them. Sit back, relax, and watch their vines add character to small apartments.
Polka Dot Plant
For renters who want to add some color into their space, the polka dot plant may be a great fit for you. These colorful guys can grow up to three feet and typically stay on the smaller side. Make sure they stay in bright, indirect light with their soil remaining moist. Treat them with lots of love and care, and their white or pink polka dots will continue to shine and brighten up your mood.
BEST HERBS/ EDIBLE PLANTS
If you’re tired of constantly getting herbs from the local grocery store, we’d recommend giving a kitchen garden a shot. Chefs and foodies will love having their own herbs at their fingertips. These are the easiest plants to grow on a windowsill in your kitchen or living room:
Basil is a fragrant plant that thrives in warm weather. Place them near a warm window with plenty of direct light. They prefer moist soil, so try not to let them dry out.
These fragrant plants grow well with bright light and will thrive in south-facing windows. You can also grow them under artificial light. Allow the soil to become slightly dry between watering.
This aromatic plant is said to be the easiest herb to grow. Thyme needs plenty of sunlight and well-drained soil. Allow soil to dry before watering, and be sure to fertilize every two weeks for the best results.
Oregano loves warm environments, needing six to eight hours of sun daily. Place them near a south-facing window that gets plenty of light. Be sure to let the soil dry out between watering to avoid root rot.
These flavorful plants need direct sunlight for four to five hours per day. Make sure they are potted with suitable drainage holes. Check the soil to make sure it’s dry before watering again.
Catnip (for the kitties)
Catnip needs up to five hours of sunlight daily. They prefer medium moisture and require a pot that has the proper drainage to avoid root rot.
TOXIC PLANTS TO AVOID
While some of these plants are pretty popular, they are highly toxic to pets. If you have a cat or dog constantly getting into things, please avoid these plants at all costs.
- Pothos aka Devil’s Ivy
- Peace lily / Lilies
- ZZ plants
Plants are a great addition to your rental space and are sure to brighten up your mood and apartment. Remember, a green thumb may not happen overnight, but with some patience and a bit of research, you’ll have your own lush green living space in no time.