6 Apartment-Perfect Houseplants

An African violet in a green container with other plants in the background.

When adopting a plant for your apartment, you may have some specific requirements in mind. Maybe you don't have a lot of horizontal space and need a plant that can hang in a basket from the ceiling. Or, maybe you don't have a lot of natural light in your apartment and need something that doesn't mind a bit of darkness. These six houseplants have unique characteristics that make them contenders for your small indoor space.

1. African Violet

The African violet is one one of the most popular houseplants you'll find. Bold and blooming year-round, they prefer indirect light so their fuzzy leaves don’t burn. They do well in typical indoor climates with moist soil. Keep them away from drafty areas and they should do well.

2. Lucky Bamboo

A lucky bamboo plant in a blue pot.

Lucky bamboo is easy to grow and well suited for apartment living. Despite its name, it isn't actually bamboo at all but belongs to the lily family. The stalks are often shaped by professional growers in fancy shapes or curls, and you can find them in various grocery stores or home improvement garden centers. Lucky bamboo needs very little light, which makes it perfect for apartments that face other buildings, and can grow in water or soil. (If you choose to keep it in water, use distilled water and change it every few weeks.)

3. Tradescantia

A wandering jew plant with purple and green striped leaves.

This houseplant is a striped beauty. It's also known by other names such as the Wandering Jew or Inch Plant. The leaves of tradescantia are striped on top with a purplish tint underneath. They also may bloom with purple or pink flowers. They do need to be watered frequently when they are growing, but only enough to keep the soil moist. To save some space, tradescantia can be placed in a hanging pot because it can grow fast with long vines. If you decide you want more tradescantia plants, you propagate them by simply snipping a branch off and letting it sit in a cup of water. From that snipping, a new plant will emerge.

4. Cacti

Cacti grows well in desert-like conditions, which is perfect if you have a sunny windowsill in your apartment. Besides strong sunlight, they need warm conditions (70-80 degrees). As you can probably guess, cacti don’t need much watering, which makes them perfect if you travel a lot and can't rely on a roommate to water your plants. In fact, the best way to handle watering cacti is to let the soil dry up completely before watering again. To make them even more appealing, cacti come in a variety of sizes and colors to match your decor.

5. Bromeliad

A pair of pink bromeliads in hanging pots.

There are several varieties of bromeliad, all exotic and interesting in their own way. A relative of the pineapple, bromeliads have distinct, pointy leaves and produce sharp-edged blooms. Bromeliads do well indoors because they can handle low-light situations. They also come in a rainbow of vivid colors including red, yellow, orange, and pink. After blooming, bromeliads typically die, but leave lots of pups behind at the base which you can plant in new pots to get a whole new flower—a great way to try your hand at some simple gardening in an indoor space!

6. Rubber Tree

A rubber tree with glossy green leaves.

Originally from the Amazon rainforest, rubber tress do quite well inside. They're fairly low-maintenance and prefer indirect sunlight, which makes them perfect for apartment living. Get your rubber tree set up in well-draining soil and make sure you don’t overwater it or the leaves will turn yellow or brown. While the trees can grow to be 50 feet tall, they will only get as large as their container allows. A smaller pot will restrict their growth to a manageable size for your living space—unless you live in a loft with high ceilings and want it to grow tall!