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The 8 Best Small Indoor Plants

Some of the best indoor plants for small spaces are air plants, succulents, snake plants, ZZ plants, jade plants, and some flowering and trailing plants.

Small Houseplants

Houseplants can add life to any space, even the tiniest apartments and offices. For urban dwellers and anyone short on space, small houseplants allow you to enjoy greenery without overwhelming your home.

In this article we've rounded up the best low-maintenance, compact houseplants that are well-suited for small spaces. Whether you want an easy-care succulent, a delicate trailing vine, or a mini "tree" perfect for tabletops, there are small-scale houseplants to fit any style and space.

Can You Grow Houseplants In Small Spaces?

There are a range of houseplants that are well suited for small spaces. There are also many unique ways to place plants in your home that won’t take up much floor or table space. They can be styled in a hanging basket, placed on a bookshelf, or can sit on a windowsill.

While you can prune large houseplants to fit in small spaces, there are many houseplants that remain small and won’t require constant pruning.

Best Small Indoor Plants

1. Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’

Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’
Photo: The Sill The Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ is an easy-going trailing plant with thick, waxy leaves

With its waxy leaves splashed in shades of green, white, and pink, the Hoya Carnosa 'Tricolor' houseplant infuses any indoor space with charm. "The Hoya carnosa variegata 'Tricolor' is an easy-going trailing plant with thick, waxy leaves. "This slow growing plant is a great small house plant option considering it will grow slowly and will remain small in stature for a long period of time," explains Paris Lalicata, Plant Education + Community Engagement Associate, The Sill.

Unlike its finicky tropical relatives, this Hoya variety is easy to care for and perfect for beginners. Allow the soil to partially dry out between waterings and provide bright, indirect light. "We love Hoyas because they have beautiful, sometimes colorful foliage and are very easy-going plants that are also drought tolerant," adds Lalicata.

The Hoya Carnosa 'Tricolor' isn't the quickest growing plant but it can reward your patience with "dainty, sweet-smelling flowers as it ages," explains Lalicata. "It’s great for hanging baskets or anywhere with space for the vines to trail. Bonus: It’s pet-friendly," The Sill's plant expert adds.

Shop: Buy a Hoya Carnosa 'Tricolor' here at The Sill

2. Succulents

Photo: The SillSucculent refers to a wide range of drought-tolerant plants.

Mini succulents have water-storing stems and leaves, making them low-maintenance plants able to tolerate inconsistent watering. In fact, succulents are commonly killed due to overwatering, so don’t worry if you forget to water it.

Certain succulent varieties like plenty of light, while others easily adjust to low light and low humidity. Not only are they the perfect size for small spaces, but they are also a great option for beginners or for plant parents who travel a lot.

Fill small, decorative pots or geometric terrariums with succulents that fit on a shelf, table, or windowsill. Succulents can also become wall art decor by being placed in planters that attach to the wall. Some types of mini succulents that work well for small spaces are living stones, zebra plants, echeveria minima, sempervivum, and flower dust plants.

Shop: Buy a Succulent Assortment here at The Sill

3. Snake plant

Snake Plant
Photo: The SillThe Snake plant is characterized by its upright sword-like leaves.

small and compact.PublishedSnake plants grow vertical with upright leaves and no outstretched stems, which is great for limited spaces. Snake plants have adapted to survive without direct sunlight, so they can live in poorly lit apartments or basements. They also grow slowly, which is ideal for those concerned about a houseplant outgrowing its space.

Small varieties of snake plants include Sansevieria trifasciata, Sansevieria fernwood, Sansevieria cylindrica, and Sansevieria boncel starfish.

Shop: Buy a Snake Plant Laurentii here at The Sill

4. ZZ plant

ZZ Plant
Photo: The SillThe ZZ plant is a hardy, drought-tolerant houseplant.

ZZ plants are great to have in homes or offices. They are low-maintenance, thrive in low light conditions and low humidity, and have air purifying qualities. They only need to be watered when completely dry, and will survive inconsistent watering.

ZZ plants can be displayed on table tops in decorative pots. "ZZ plants are notorious for being placed in spaces with low light. ​​It is characterized by its waxy green leaves and its large potato-like rhizomes beneath the soil. These rhizomes store water, making the ZZ a hardy, drought-tolerant houseplant that only needs water every few weeks," explains Paris Lalicata, Plant Education + Community Engagement Associate, The Sill.

These slow-growers rarely need pruning, making them perfect for small spaces.

Shop: Buy a ZZ plant here at The Sill

5. Alocasia Bambino

Alocasia Bambino
Photo: The SillThe Alocasia Bambino is a slow-growing, compact plant has glossy arrowhead shaped leaves.

The Alocasia Bambino is truly "the runt of the Elephant Ear family," says Lalicata. This compact variety will look like a mini tropical jungle on your shelves.

Don't let its small size fool you, though - this little beauty makes a big statement wherever you put it. Heart-shaped leaves emerge in shades of moody green and gracefully point upward like tiny elephant ears. New leaves unfurl from the center, "revealing pretty veins as they mature," Lalicata explains.

Despite its exotic looks, the Bambino remains totally manageable. It loves humidity but isn't too picky about its care. Water when the top inch or two of soil has dried out, mist occasionally if your home is dry, and give it bright indirect light. Too much direct sun will scorch those precious leaves!

Paris notes that Alocasia Bambino's appeal comes from its "slow-growing, compact nature and its glossy arrowhead shaped leaves with bright veining." This miniature stunner will "surely stand out in any space," especially when kept "in a tropical environment indoors that provides higher humidity."

Shop: Buy an Alocasia Bambino here at The Sill

6. Jade plant

jade plant
Jade plants are often described as looking like “mini trees”.

Jade plants are perfect for people that live in small places as they are often described as looking like “mini trees”. They feature woody stems with fleshy, dark green oval leaves that store water.

Jade plants don’t grow fast or large, and the tallest an indoor jade plant can grow is around four feet. This type of houseplant thrives in small containers with a solid base to handle the weight of the plant when it reaches maturity. Keeping your Jade plant in a small container will control its growth without affecting the health of the plant.

Jade plants need bright, indirect sunlight and prefer dry environments, so keep it out of areas with high humidity such as bathrooms.

As a bonus, Jade plants are very easy to propagate. Since they’re said to bring good luck and prosperity to a home according to Feng Shui, baby jade plants make a fantastic gift to share with friends.

Shop: Buy a Jade plant here at Bloomscape

7. Bird's Nest Fern

Bird's Nest Fern
Photo: The SillA small Bird's Nest Fern measures between 4"-8" tall from the soil line to the top of the foliage.

This "petite cutie is one of the few low-maintenance ferns that do great as a houseplant," explains Lalicata. It earns its nickname from the tight "nest-like crown" at its center, from which "rippled, bright green leaves" emerge.

While the Bird's Nest Fern can reach up to 3-5 feet tall, Lalicata notes it's "a slow grower and will remain small for many years." So no need to worry about it outgrowing your space anytime soon.

Despite its graceful, cascading fronds, this fern variety is easy to care for. Paris says it "thrives in indirect sunlight" and "loves humidity." Try putting it in your bathroom for that sweet steamy atmosphere.

The Bird's Nest Fern is also pet-friendly, making it a great choice for plant parents with curious cats or dogs. And it asks so little of you in return - just water when the top inch of soil is dry and mist occasionally for extra moisture.

Shop: Buy a small Bird's Nest Fern here at The Sill

8. Air plants

air plants
Air plants don’t require soil to survive.

Air plants don’t require soil to survive, which gives you endless and creative ways to display them in small spaces. Air plants are commonly styled in terrariums, hanging planters, or any other type of hanging mobile. Additionally, air plants could be mounted on bark or shells, or put in a glass globe. Most air plants are tiny, only ranging from 2-12 inches tall.

Air plants need bright indirect light, and they also do well under a grow light. To water this special type of plant, soak it in a bowl of water once a week and let it dry on a towel.

Shop: Buy a Xerographica here at Air Plant Supply Co

Bonus: Small Flowering and Trailing Plants

Flowering plants

Begonias, African violets, gardenias, and kalanchoes are excellent small plants if you’re looking to add a burst of color with a flowering plant.

Trailing plants

Trailing plants, such as string of pearls, string of hearts, and golden Pothos, with its heart-shaped leaves are also ideal space savers. Style these hanging plants in a sunny corner of your living room or bathroom to add a pop of greenery to a small room without taking up much space.

Pothos can be pruned or allowed to trail in a hanging basket.

Plants To Avoid

If you’re looking for small plants that don’t take up a lot of space, avoid these large tropical plants:

  • Banana plant

  • Bird of paradise

  • Corn plant

  • Dragon tree

  • Ficus tree (Weeping fig)

  • Fiddle leaf fig

  • Golden bamboo

  • Money tree

  • Monstera (Swiss cheese plant)

  • Parlor palm

  • Rubber plant

  • Umbrella tree

  • Yucca

Frequently Asked Questions

What plants are good for very small pots?

Air plants, cacti, and some varieties of succulents can stay in tiny pots for several years before needing repotting.

Which indoor plant purifies the air the most?

The indoor plants that purify the air the most are the peace lily, spider plant, snake plant, corn plant, and the ZZ plant. These types of plants remove carbon dioxide and various pollutants from the air while returning oxygen to the air through the process of respiration.

Which plants need the least amount of light?

Bromeliads, Chinese evergreens, cast iron plants, Dracaenas, Dieffenbachias, english ivies, and Philodendrons are just a few low-light indoor plants. "Since light is food for plants you need to make sure you understand the kind of light your space provides so you can pick the best plant based on your lighting conditions," adds Lalicata.

What is the best plant for an office?

Low-maintenance plants that grow under artificial light are the best types of plants for offices. Some plants that are easy to care for and can survive without regular watering are peace lilies, spider plants, Chinese evergreeens (Aglaonemas), and Anthuriums.

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