Low-Maintenance Houseplants That Can Thrive Anywhere (Even Your Tiny Apartment)

mbg Contributor By Erin Marino
mbg Contributor
Erin Marino is the PR and Marketing Manager at The Sill.

Photo by The Sill

If you've been waiting for the right time to bring some greenery into your home or office, spring is it! Think of springtime, the start of the growing season, as a helping hand to ensure that your plants will be happy and healthy in their new homes. The days are longer, the sun is stronger, and the temperature is warmer—all things that make plants (and people!) much happier.

Here at The Sill, a popular NYC plant shop, we think having a "green thumb" is a myth. We've all killed plants before; even the most experienced indoor gardeners on our team have their fair share of horror stories. But instead of getting discouraged, they've viewed these mishaps as learning experiences. After all, plant care is all about learning through doing, seeing, and feeling. So get your hands dirty this spring! Your future windowsill will thank you.

Choosing the right plant for your space

Before you choose the perfect plant friend, consider what sort of environment your space provides. For example, ferns prefer medium to low indirect light and high humidity levels. They're not going to thrive in a dry space that receives bright, direct sun, so don't force it! Pop a cactus there instead, and move that fern to your bathroom (if you have a window that provides some natural light).

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If you have barely any light

If you're looking for a plant to spruce up a ground-floor apartment or office building that is lacking in natural sunlight, these four plants are perfect. They don't just tolerate moderate-to-low indirect light—they thrive in it! Both the snake plant and ZZ plant are tall, structural showstoppers, while the philodendron and pothos are trailing plants with heart-shaped leaves, which come in a variety of variegations. As an added bonus, the snake plant naturally removes indoor air toxins such as benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, and toluene. The philodendron removes formaldehyde, too!

Snake Plant (Sansevieria)

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ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)


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If you have moderate-to-bright light

While direct light can burn the leaves of most plants, desert natives like cacti can thrive in bright, direct light conditions. That sunny, south-facing sill is in luck! If you're blessed with bright light, you can really choose any succulent or cactus. I have a cat who likes to share the sill with my plants, so here are some pet-friendly picks that have low-to-no toxicity.

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1. Blue Echeveria

2. Haworthia

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3. Assorted Cacti

Given the spiky exterior of most cacti, they're more enticing as a scratching post than as a potential meal for most cats, but keep in mind that they have varying levels of toxicity.

If you're partial to the look of leafier, tropical plants, the following ones thrive in bright-to-moderate, but for the most part indirect, sunlight.

1. Rex Begonia

Known for its funky foliage, a Rex Begonia is a great choice if you're looking to add some color to your houseplant collection. It prefers moderate light over bright light, though, so a colorful bromeliad might be a better choice if your space receives a ton of natural sunlight.

2. Monstera deliciosa

The Monstera deliciosa can make even the starkest of apartments feel like a jungle. Nicknamed the swiss cheese plant, its broad leaves can grow larger than your head!

3. Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata)

Although the FLF thrives in bright, indirect light, it requires a stable environment. A little fickle, it does not appreciate being moved around, and it doesn't deal with temperature and humidity changes well.

4. Spider Plant

This low-maintenance houseplant is known to reduce indoor air pollutants, and it's super easy to propagate. It blooms, too, so stay on the lookout for tiny white flowers.

5. Watermelon Peperomia (or any peperomia)

This is another of our favorites at The Sill because of its rounded, fleshy leaves with silver and dark green stripes that resemble the outside of a watermelon.

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