15 Apartment Houseplants That Will Thrive in Your Rental

Boho living room filled with plants.

JC Design

One of the best ways to make your apartment feel like home is to add some greenery in the form of beautiful houseplants. But, finding the perfect plants for a small space—not to mention one without much light—can be a real challenge.

Not to worry! There are plenty of lush and lovely indoor plants that can thrive in your apartment, whether it's a compact studio or a spacious loft. Here are 15 of our favorite apartment plants you can use to decorate your space.

01 of 15

Pink Anthurium

pink anthurium plant with pink and green petals and green leaves

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  • Botanical Name: Anthurium andraeanum
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Orchid soil or free-draining soil capable of holding water
  • Soil pH: 5.5–6.5

This easygoing houseplant gets a pop of color from its pink spathe, the sail-like structure around its protruding flower. Unlike blooms that fade quickly, these can last for anywhere from two to three months at a time with proper care. Put this plant in an east-facing or north-facing window so that it's not in harsh, direct sunlight.

02 of 15

Prayer Plant

maranta plant with green and light green and red stripey leaves in white pot on small white table

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  • Botanical Name: Maranta leuconeura
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect sun
  • Soil Type: Well-drained
  • Soil pH: 5.5–6.0

Prayer plants—named for the way their brightly patterned leaves fold up like praying hands at night—include both calatheas and marantas (also called peacock plant). These humidity-loving specimens can be a bit fussy, so your best bet is to keep them in a bathroom window that gets bright, indirect light. That way, the warmth and steam from your shower will help keep their leaves from getting crispy.

03 of 15

Bird's Nest Fern

bird's nest fern with wavy green leaves in white planter on gray counter

OlgaMiltsova/Getty Images

 

  • Botanical Name: Asplenium nidus
  • Sun Exposure: Medium to bright, indirect light; some shade
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting soil
  • Soil pH: 5.0–5.5

Another humidity-loving jungle species, the bird's nest fern is also a great bathroom plant. Note that the more light it gets, the wavier its long, lance-shaped fronds will be; choose a lower-light spot, like a north-facing window, if you prefer them flatter. Take care to water the soil directly so that the center of the rosette stays dry to avoid rot.

04 of 15

English Ivy

green and white english ivy plant in white pot on white background

 kuppa_rock/Getty Images

  • Botanical Name: Hedera helix
  • Sun Exposure: Partial to full shade and bright, indirect sunlight
  • Soil Type: Fertile, moist, well-draining soil
  • Soil pH: 5.5–6.5

Vigorous and versatile, English ivy houseplants can grow just about anywhere with at least a little light. If you're running low on shelf or windowsill space, they also make great hanging plants thanks to their long, trailing vines. They're also easy to propagate—just put stem cuttings in water and watch new roots grow.

05 of 15

Pothos

pothos plant trailing from door frame

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  • Botanical Name: Epipremnum aureum
  • Sun Exposure: Moderate indoor light
  • Soil Type: Well-drained potting mix
  • Soil pH: 6.1–6.5

This houseplant is a mainstay of small apartments and spacious homes alike—not just for its lush, trailing vines, but because it's so hardy. As long as your conditions aren't extreme, pothos will thrive with a little light and a little water every week or two.

It doesn't even really need soil to grow—you can keep cuttings in water indefinitely and they'll do just fine.

06 of 15

Peace Lily

peace lily in bathroom

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  • Botanical Name: Spathiphyllum
  • Sun Exposure: Low, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting soil
  • Soil pH: 5.0–6.5

Like anthuriums, prayer plants grow attractive, long-lasting spathes in creamy white to light green. They're even more rugged when it comes to care and can survive in low-light environments. Keep in mind that if you do want your peace lily to bloom, putting it in a place with moderate to bright, indirect light will help make it happen.

07 of 15

Monstera

monstera with other houseplants in living room

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  • Botanical Name: Monstera deliciosa
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-drained potting mix
  • Soil pH: 5.5 to 7.0

One of the most sought-after specimens, big, lustrous monsteras make excellent statement plants—as long as your apartment has a good amount of floor space by a window with lots of bright, indirect light. They can grow quite large, and since they're vining plants in their natural jungle habitat, you'll need to give your monstera a sphagnum moss-filled pole to climb to keep it happy.

08 of 15

Air Plants

six green and pink air plants lying in white ceramic tray on white wooden table

Dorling Kindersley: Rob Streeter/Getty Images

  • Botanical Name: Tillandsia
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: N/A
  • Soil pH: N/A

Air plants just might be the ultimate plant for small spaces (and forgetful plant parents). These epiphytic specimens absorb moisture and nutrients from the air through their roots, meaning there's no need for pots or soil. You do need to feed and water them, though: give them a five-minute soak in a bowl of water every couple of weeks and spritz them with air plant fertilizer to keep them healthy.

09 of 15

Lucky Bamboo

lucky bamboo woven together in a bowl on top of a black table with window in background

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  • Botanical Name: Dracaena sanderiana
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light or shade
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0–6.5

Despite the resemblance, lucky bamboo isn't actually related to real bamboo, but to other Dracaena plants like the corn plant and dragon tree. It's another plant that can thrive in soil or in a large vessel of water. The latter option is great for forgetful gardeners—no need to remember to water if the plant is sitting in water already.

Be sure to trim your lucky bamboo plant regularly to help it keep its shape and to promote fuller, bushier growth.

10 of 15

Dumb Cane

dumb cane plant with light and dark green leaves in yellow pot

Dennis McColeman/Getty

 

  • Botanical Name: Dieffenbachia
  • Sun Exposure: Low, medium, or bright light
  • Soil Type: Moist and well-drained
  • Soil pH: 6.1–6.5

This versatile, easy-to-grow houseplant gets its name from its toxicity: a compound in the foliage makes the mouth and tongue swell up if you chew it. For this reason, be sure to keep this jungle plant far away from curious kids and pets. Otherwise, it's a great addition to any collection that's able to thrive in spaces from low-light to bright.

11 of 15

Staghorn Fern

two staghorn ferns mounted on wood boards on white wall

Allison Cherry/Getty Images

 

  • Botanical Name: Platycerium bifurcatum
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: N/A
  • Soil pH: N/A

Elegant staghorn ferns are epiphytes, hanging out on tree limbs in their tropical native habitats. This actually makes them great for apartment living because rather than the usual soil, staghorn ferns can be mounted on a plaque or rustic wood plank with a little sphagnum moss, a few nails, and some string. Hang them in your brightest room away from direct light.

12 of 15

Arrowhead Plant

pink arrowhead plant with heard shaped leaves on wooden chair in sunlight

@amandaandtheplants

  • Botanical Name: Syngonium podophyllum
  • Sun Exposure: Low to bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining soil that holds moisture
  • Soil pH: 5.5 - 6.5

Arrowhead plant is another great option for lower-light spaces. Put it in a north-facing or east-facing window, or keep it in a spot several feet from a brighter window that faces south or west. Since it's actually a vine, your arrowhead plant will want a pole, trellis, or other support to climb—or you can grow it as a hanging plant and enjoy its trailing growth habit.

13 of 15

Nerve Plant

closeup of pink and green fittonia plant

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  • Botanical Name: Fittonia spp.
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining soil that holds moisture
  • Soil pH: 6.5

If space—rather than light—is your constraint, consider the charming nerve plant. Mature specimens rarely grow larger than a foot tall, and many stay quite compact if you continually repot them into the same small container. They're also quite beautiful, with leaves lined in red, white, or pink against a green background. Make sure your plant has a good amount of humidity to keep it looking lush.

14 of 15

Chinese Evergreen

four chinese evergreen plants in wicker baskets against dark gray wall

 artpritsadee/Getty Images

  • Botanical Name: Aglaonema commutatum
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Peat-based potting soil
  • Soil pH: 5.6–6.5

Another versatile—and colorful—genus, Chinese evergreens can do well in low to bright indirect light. Keep in mind that if you're hoping to keep one in a particularly dim spot, you'll want to go for a green variety; those with red, pink, yellow, or cream-speckled leaves need more light to keep their vivid colors and patterns.

15 of 15

ZZ Plant

small zz plant with green leaves and tan stems in yellow pot with terra cotta pots behind it

 

SharafMaksumov/Getty Images 

  • Botanical Name: Zamioculcas zamiifolia
  • Sun Exposure: Shade to partial, indirect sun
  • Soil Type: Commercial potting soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0–7.0

ZZ plants can make any space look lush and lively, but they're one of the absolute toughest plants to kill. That makes them a great option for a gardener who's rarely home to water—or for the kind of low-light or too-dry spot in your space that's otherwise inhospitable to houseplants (just keep them out of direct sunlight). Be sure to let the soil fully dry out before watering—think a few months between waterings, not weeks.

Article Sources
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  1. Norton SK. Lost seasonality and overconsumption of plants: Risking oxalate toxicityJEvoHealth. 2017;2(3). doi:10.15310/2334-3591.1085

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