The 10 best plants for apartment dwellers

February 25, 2020

Photo by Brina Blum on Unsplash

From purifying the air to making your apartment feel more welcoming and alive, there are a multitude of reasons to incorporate plants into your home decor. However, for many of us, keeping these precious specimens alive can be a small but legitimate challenge—especially when space and natural sunlight is limited (like many apartments in New York City). To make the commitment to caring for and sustaining the life of greenery a bit easier, we’ve put together this list of special and very sturdy plants perfect for apartment dwellers like yourself.

All of these products have been hand-selected by team 6sqft. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these affiliate links. All prices reflect those at the time of publishing. 

1. Pothos – Epipremnum Aureum

Image by Luisella Planeta Leoni on Pixabay

This leafy green is ideal for adding lively accents higher up in your apartment. They are perfect for hanging baskets or as a climbing plant. Plus their purifying qualities allow them to absorb and strip toxins like formaldehyde often found in common household items like carpet and area rugs. They can survive in a variety of lighting conditions, but please note that low light may reduce the leaves’ variegation.

Pothos Plant, Hanging Jute Basket
Pothos Plant, Hanging Jute Basket, $68 from Terrain
Costa Farms Golden Pothos Devil’s Ivy Live Indoor Plant, 6-Inch, $19.99 on Amazon 

2. Snake Plant – Sansevieria Trifasciata

Image via Wiki Commons

Snake plants are some of the most tolerant plants out there. They can withstand weeks of neglect without losing their shape and fresh look. Snake plants are great for the novice green thumb as they can thrive in environments with very low light and water. Added benefits include their ability to help purify the air by removing toxins like formaldehyde and benzene.

Snake Plant: Laurentii – from $33 at The Sill

3. ZZ Plant – Zamioculcas Zamiifolia

Image via Wiki Commons

ZZ Plants are native to Zanzibar, a country located in East Africa, and are considered by some as the “Houseplant of the Future.” This is one of the lowest light plants available, only needs to be watered three times per month, and rarely attracts pests.

ZZ Plant, from $44 at The Sill

4. Iron Plant – Aspidistra Elatior

Iron plant, Aspidistra Elatior, plants for indoors, low-light plants, air purifying plantsImage via Wiki Commons

Iron Plants boast dark leafy greens and can add a visually striking aesthetic to any dark corner. They also have an affinity for low lighting and can survive with very little water and poor soil.

Cast Iron Plant – Aspidistra Elatior – 6-inch pot, $40.98 on Amazon

5. Cacti – Cactaceae

Image by Denise Husted on Pixabay

If variety is what you’re looking for then you might want to invest some of your apartment funds into purchasing cacti. Cacti are available in all sorts of weird and wonderful shapes and sizes. These easy to care for plants can survive in the desert, so if you have a window available, it’s likely your apartment will be an equally equip environment to provide these plants with everything they need to thrive.

Altman Plants Assorted Live Cactus Collection – Four 2.5 Inch cacti, $18 on Amazon
10-inch white ceramic pot with cacti garden, $35.99 on Amazon

6. Succulents

Image via Pixabay

Who doesn’t love a succulent? Over the past few years, we’ve seen a boom in this plant’s popularity which can probably be attributed to their good looks and their no fuss MO (they are nearly indestructible). All you need to keep these guys going is a little bit of sunlight and water once every other month.

Succulent Assortment Succulent Assortment – $30 – from The Sill
Succulent Garden, Wood Trough Succulent garden in a wood trough, $78 at Terrain
Set of three Mkono 4-inch mini glass geometric terrariums with succulent air plants, $24.98 on Amazon

7. Spider Plant – Chlorophytum Comosum

Photo via Edward Webb flickr CC

Spider plants again fall into the low light category, but they also self propagate by sending out off-shoots. So if abundance is what you’re after, look no further. Spider plants do well when their roots are crowded, making them the perfect companion for any New York apartment whether planted in a bundle or on their own.

Costas Farms 10-inch spider plant, $26.99 on Amazon

8. Bamboo

Image via Pxhere

Bamboo only needs water and shade to survive, and in addition to its good looks, bamboo is also meant to create a positive living environment. It is considered a living example of the feng shui elements of water, wood and earth, and in accordance with feng shui practices, if you place your bamboo in the correct pot, it can introduce fire and metal to complete a balance of the five elements.

Costa Farms, tabletop bamboo plant in 5-inch white ceramic planter, $33.99 on Amazon
10 stalks of 18-inch spiral bamboo, $38 on Amazon

9. Ficus Tree – Ficus benjamina

Image by Andrew Fogg on Flickr

If you’re lucky enough to have room for a full tree, then the ficus is what you should be after. Also known as the weeping fig or Braided Ficus, this low-maintenance, attractive plant is perfect for your indoor oasis. The braided trunk, however, does not occur naturally. When the plant is young, its multiple trunks can be weaved together to grow into a permanent braid. While the ficus is a very common indoor plant, they are also grown outdoors. In nature, it can reach up to 50 feet tall.

Costa Farms Ficus Lyrata, Fiddle-Leaf Fig, four-feet-tall indoor tree in gray planter, $79.86 on Amazon

10. Peace Lily – Spathiphyllum Wallisii

Image via Wiki Commons

This beautiful plant boasts long dark green leaves and elegant white flowers. The Peace Lily is great for small spaces and requires little sun for survival. In fact, direct sunlight can actually damage the plant’s foliage—it has the nickname “Closet Plant.” The plant doesn’t require a lot of watering, but when it does, it’s easy to tell as the leaves begin to drop.

Costa Farms Peace Lily Spathiphyllum, Three-foot in white-natural seagrass basket, $56.99 on Amazon



Editor’s Note: This story was originally published in 2015 and has been updated.


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  1. A

    Lily plants can be toxic to cats.

  2. C

    I’ve got a three year old Geranium that hasn’t sprouted flowers since I bought it but the leaves look absolutely beautiful.

  3. D

    ZZ Plant – Zamioculcas Zamiifolia is the best. Cute and robust. The only thing you can do wrong is give it *too* much light; The leaves don’t burn, but the plant’s growth is stunted and the leaves turn a dark dark green.