Small house plants are a fantastic way to bring the garden indoors, filling your space with greenery, colour, and scents throughout the year. They are also great for your health and wellbeing with their air-purifying and mental health boosting qualities. This is a particularly timely consideration with everything going on in society now, and the disruption to the way that we work and live, with even more time spent working and living at home. Given that prolonged periods of time spent indoors deprive us of our need for precious fresh air, sunshine, and nature, it’s no surprise that many people’s mental health has suffered. Small and large house plants can go some of the way in remedying that, and with so many lovely options, there’s little to wonder why they have significantly jumped in popularity.
Don’t fret if you think you can only benefit from having large, statement house plants in a larger home, we’re here to gladly tell you that’s not the case. You can add an abundance of greenery to any size of home. Smaller house plants are just as gorgeous and decorative, and better in some of their own ways. For instance, smaller plants won’t overwhelm your small living room or office, some even being just the right size to sit neatly on your desk or bedside table. The great thing about small potted house plants is that they can fit almost anywhere, and can survive almost anywhere, even in the dimmest of rooms. Our point is you do not have to miss out and we are going to help by providing some ideas on house plants for smaller living spaces: you have a lot of choice!
The Benefits of House Plants
We touched upon some of the benefits to your home, health and wellbeing already. But did you know there’s a lot of solid research around their positive benefits to us? Really! House plants have been part of many an academic study on the benefits nature and greenery bring to us as human beings. For instance, they can improve air quality up to 30% (depending on the number used) vs a comparable home that has none and remove Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from your indoor environment. It has been noted they can also help to add humidity to a room/space, which means less dry and dusty air to irritate your airways, cause runny noses, and itchy eyes.
Numerous studies have also found a connection between indoor plants and mental health. They create feelings of relaxation from stress and anxiety, prolong attention spans, boost self-esteem, offer inspiration, and create positivity within us. This goes so far as to aid our natural recovery processes. It has been documented that for hospital patients, plants and flowers had lowered blood pressure, raised pain tolerance, lowered anxiety, and lowered fatigue than patients who stayed in rooms without plants.
With Coronavirus disrupting our lives and causing higher stress, anxiety, and longer times spent indoors, indoor plants have really came to the forefront of people’s minds as a method to mitigate these effects. With everything they can do for us, we think you’ll agree with us when we say that plants are pretty special things.
Our Ideas for Small House Plants
It’s likely one of your main considerations will be where to put the plants around your home so you don’t create clutter, a potential easy accident, or in an overly busy area where they could be damaged. Beyond that though, you’ll obviously be buying for their aesthetic and the positive benefits they bring to a home. Further still, we know that life is ever more fast-paced, so you’ll be pleased to know that it doesn’t take much to care for these small plants. Let’s run through some choices.
Peace Lilies are exotic and attractive looking because of their large shiny leaves and unusual white flowers. Despite originally native to South and Central America, Peace Lilies need a moderate level of light and water. This plant is a great air-purifier and good for the soul too; in Feng Shui it is considered an aura purifier.
Aloe Plants are succulents which means they store a lot of water in their leaves. Just like their relatives, they enjoy the sun and prefer that their soil is completely dry between watering. They cannot tolerate standing water. Aloe are extremely easy to care for and great for treating minor burns and rashes too. It’d be perfect for an unused windowsill or two.
Swiss Cheese Plant
So named for its huge glossy leaves that grow with holes and splits, the Swiss Cheese Plant is a gorgeous and unique looking plant. It’s not hard to care for the Swiss Cheese Plant, it just needs a light watering when the soil looks dry and enjoys a bright room with indirect sunlight. However, it is quite shade tolerant too.
Fiddle Leaf Fig (Lyrata Compacta and Suncoast Cultivar)
One of the most-popular lovely looking house plants around. The large, vibrant, green paddle leaves are a particular draw of the Fiddle Leaf Fig. Given that it can absorb a lot of moister through its leaves, it likes a regular misting but will also benefit from watering via the soil in summer if looking particularly dry. It’s also a great choice for air-purification.
Mother in Laws Tongue (Snake Plant)
The Mother in Laws Tongue is so named for its rather striking sharp, long looking, leaves (sharp like a stereotypical mother in law’s tongue). The leaves are quite stunning also for their dark-green colour with a vertical light-green band of colour at the borders. Despite any negative feelings the name stirs, this is a fantastic house plant. It does well in low light and is equally happy in a very bright room. It’s great for air-purification too.
The Asparagus Fern doesn’t grow asparagus but is so named because its fronds (the leaflike part of the fern) resemble the top of a stalk of asparagus. This elegant fern has long wiry stems and lovely light fronds that scramble outwards, creating a bush-like appearance. This lovely plant likes bright but indirect sunlight and thrives on humidity, so a regular misting is needed. It’ll be great for any shelf or table.
String of Pearls
This marvellous succulent has amazing trailing stems of bead-like leaves, their ‘pearls’, that makes it a great choice for a hanging pot, basket, or for an eye-catching cascading effect from shelves. Easy to care for, it just needs bright light and doesn’t need watering that often.
This sweet little heart-shaped plant will be the cutest addition to any windowsill. It’s a succulent so it needs little water and enjoys bright direct light.
Chinese Money Plant
This charming little succulent plant has smooth, round, fleshy green leaves on long stalks. It looks great on any shelf or table. This little plant needs moderate to bright but not direct sunlight, and only needs a watering when the soil has begun to dry out. The leaves will give you a sign it needs watering too by drooping a little. In Feng Shui, this plant is thought to enhance wealth and foster prosperity.
Air plants are interesting plants since they don’t need actually need soil to survive, hence the name ‘Air’ Plant. These are great if you’re looking for a small plant and don’t want to deal with pots or soil. It likes full sun and needs a regular misting of water. A great addition to any office desk.
Jade Plants are attractive plants, almost like a bonsai tree in the way it grows with its miniature trunk and branches. It’s a succulent too, which means it retains a lot of water in its leaves. That means you don’t have to spray or water it too often. Its leaves are quite juicy and thick, oval-shaped, and often a deep jade green colour, sometimes with hints of reds at the leaf edges. Easy to care for and just needs to be in a bright room.
Everyone knows this one. They love direct sunlight – as bright as possible – and being succulents only need lightly watered when the soil has dried out. Caring for a few of these plants is the same as caring for one and are great for desks in the home office or shelves.
Cast Iron Plant
Do you need a plant that’s as hard as nails? One that simply persists in the face of neglect that would kill other plants? Then this is the one for you. They can take different levels of light and shade well (it practically grows in the dark), and only needs watering when the soil is dry. It’s a nice-looking plant too that would complement any console table or chest of drawers.
Also known as ‘living stones” since these plants resemble small stones. They are succulents though and are great if you want to show off to your friends for their unique appearance. They like bright but indirect light, and like cacti don’t need much water either. Put them somewhere people will notice them!
Dragon Trees are elegant, pleasing to the eye and easy to care for. They have a slender woody stem which develops upward growing, long and thin, deep-green leaves. The tips of the leaves also develop a reddish tinge adding some extra character. They are quite tough and resilient to neglect only needing water when the soil starts to dry out. Dragon Trees are quite thin so they can do wonders filling narrower spaces. Get this, they are on NASA’s list for air-purifying plants that remove toxins from the air!
The archetypal household plant. The Spider Plant has many long, curved, skinny leaves that poke outwards from their pot. They are often displayed in hanging baskets or in pots on small stands. Spider plants are fantastic air-purifiers, particularly on formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, and other volatile organic compounds so place in a bedroom or stuffy room.
Caring for Small Houseplants
Caring for your small indoor plants is relatively easy, some require more care and water than others, so it pays to know what level of care they’ll require before purchasing. Most are easy and straightforward to care for.
There’s one main rule to follow though: watch how much you water! Many people worry that watering their plants too infrequently is what will cause them to die, however the opposite is actually true. Overwatering is the most common reason indoor plants die. You have been warned. Most of these plants only need only regular light watering, or constant moisture (something like a mist spray will suffice here).
They’re not really affected too much by light levels either. Bright but indirect light from a nearby window should be all that they need to flourish. Be aware that direct sunlight can burn and kill a lot of indoor plants. Depending on the species some can tolerate exceptionally low light levels.
So, when it comes to caring for them, they are all quite low effort and maintenance. But we advise checking the individual requirements of the plants you like before buying. There are few things in life less fussy than indoor plants!
You know your space better than anyone, so we won’t bother suggesting putting plants on a desk, shelves, or on that little feature cabinet next to the mirror. No, instead, we’ll get you thinking about the places you haven’t even considered yet!
Go up the wall
A shelving unit or wrack can be propped up against the wall to create a simple vertical spot for your small house plants. You could also just put some extra shelves up to achieve this.
Hang from the ceiling
Did you think of hanging plants from the ceiling to create a stunning display? Using all levels of your home will create the illusion of a veritable garden in your home. If you have high ceilings, why not go a step further and go for the trailing plant varieties?
Create a living wall
Create an indoor live vertical abundant garden that adds an instant ‘wow’ to any space without taking up a lot of room. Vertical screens of lush foliage bring the stuffiest inside space to life.
Get Started by Buying Some Plants
Small indoor plants are some of the most versatile greenery you can place around your home. You could start by buying a few of the ones you really like and see where they fit in with your available space right now. As time goes on and you get used to their care, you could look to add more small plants in other areas, such as the hanging options we mentioned, likewise with the plant stand, or even the living wall. Living in a small space really doesn’t have to hold you back if you are keen to add more greenery.
- House Plant Ideas for Your Home Office (Article)
- Large House Plant Ideas & Benefits (Article)
- Houseplants – Big Ideas for Small Spaces (Video)