Large palms and lush philodendrons are lovely additions to any home, but having huge plants like these indoors may not be the best option especially when you do not have the space to put them in. If you are living in a small space but want to invest in a garden, you can choose to have small indoor plants that give your home the finishing touch it needs.
Choosing small indoor plants that would remain small means that you live in a tiny space, and would need to choose your plants wisely. There are dozens of plants to choose from; Air Plants, Baby Toes, Succulents, Jade Plants, Living Stones, and more.
Small Indoor Plants and How to Care for Them
With tons of choices of indoor plants directly available to us, you can easily set-up your indoor garden with a few pieces readily available in your area. Here are our top choices.
Air Plant (Tillandsia)
Air plants are epiphytes, which mean that they are able to thrive by growing on other plants and surfaces by acquiring moisture and other nutrients from the air, rain, and water. Quite small in stature that they are often used in terrarium bowls and placed as a shelf or table decor. They stand at 3 to 8 inches in height.
There are actually dozens of variants of air plants, and they are quite popular among indoor gardeners since they are quite easy to care for.
How to Care for Them:
Air plants love humidity. Seeing as your home may not be as humid as the tropical rainforest where it is naturally from, here are some tips you may want to follow to keep your air plant alive.
There are two ways you can water an air plant. You can mist their leaves directly, or you can soak them in a water bath.
1. Misting the Leaves
You would need to do this on a daily basis. Since air plants absolutely love moisture, this would be vital for their survival. Simply get a clean water bottle and place in filtered water. Make sure that the water you use is in room temperature. Water that is cold will stress out your air plant.
Compared to misting, this doesn’t take too much of your time. You just need to do this once a week. Collect all your air plants and place them in a basin with room temperature filtered water. Leave them there for 20 minutes. Once they are done soaking, place them on a paper towel and set them in their container once they are completely dry. This method is the best way of watering air plants, as told by numerous experts.
These plants love the summer sun, but it may be too harsh on them that their leaves would burn. It is ideal to keep them in an area where there is abundant indirect or filtered sunlight. They also do well with artificial grow lights. Which means in colder seasons, you can opt to use those to help them produce food.
- If the leaves at the base of the plant start to wilt, you can simply remove them by pulling them off with your fingers or cutting them with a pair of scissors.
- If parts of the leaves start to brown, just trim off the dead parts of the leaf. Cut it in an angle so that the trimmed leaf can still grow with the healthy ones.
- Keep them away from cold and hot temperatures. It will dry them out. Ideally, they do well in between 50 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Baby Toes (Fenestraria rhopalphylla)
This plant acquired its name from resembling the tiny toes of an infant. It is a succulent that is native to subtropical areas. They grow to about 6 inches tall. They are very tolerant to minimum soil nutrients and extreme weather conditions that make them simple to take care of that even kids have no problem caring for these plants.
How to Care for Them:
They love the sun and require moderate watering. Since they are not too picky with fertilizers or weather, you should be able to take care of your baby toes quite easily.
Being part of the succulent family, you would not need to water these plants every day. Instead, feel their potting soil. Choose a potting soil that drains well, because if it is left in stagnant water, the roots of your baby toes will rot. If the soil is a bit moist, it is best to leave it alone. If not, give it just the right amount of water and let it drain out.
Baby toes store water in their leaves to sustain them which makes them very tolerant of drought. On cooler seasons, where they do not consume as much water, suspend watering your plant unless needed.
They thrive in the sun since they basically live in deserts. If kept indoors, it would be best to place them in areas where there is full sunlight and where the temperature does not go below 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Some varieties of baby toes have blossoms. What you can do to promote blooms is to fertilize them every spring with cactus or succulent fertilizers.
- When they start to multiply, all you need to do is divide them from the main plant and re-pot them. A young plant grows faster through side growth from the main plant rather than germinating them from seeds.
Succulent (Echevena spp.)
Succulents, in general, are plants that are quite easy to love. They are used to dry and hot conditions, having being native to Texas and Central America. They are simple to take care of and thrive in well-lit interiors. Depending on the variety, they can grow anywhere in between 3 to 8 inches in height. They can survive periods of neglect with low water and nutrients which makes them great for busy people with demanding schedules.
How to Care for Them:
It is important to watch how much you water these plants. Succulents are easily overwatered which causes them to rot and die easily. They thrive in the sun, a few trips outside would do it well.
In dry and hot seasons, be sure to provide moderate amounts of water. Let the soil completely dry out before watering again. Do not let it sit in stagnant water for a long period of time. It is important that the soil and pot you choose is able to drain out easily. Using clay pots is actually good for succulents since it promotes evaporation. Be sure to water them with room temperature water as not to cause stress to their growth.
If kept indoors, it would be best to keep them in a well-lit space where they are exposed to abundant sunlight. Either by the window sill or by your balcony. On days that they look droopy, you can put them outside for a bit of sun, but don’t forget to bring them back inside.
- These succulents easily produce baby plants that grow beneath the main rosette. All you need to do is gently get them from under the rosette and re-pot them in equal parts of sand, soil and compost.
- You can even grow new plants by cutting the leaf and placing it on the surface of healthy soil. The root will grow and, in a few weeks, a new rosette will form whereas the old leaf would crumble and dry.
- There is no need to constantly prune your succulent, but in the event their leaves start to wilt or brown, you just need to trim that part off.
- Protect your plants from harsh cold weather. In cold and snowy days, do not bring your plants out. The cold temperature can kill them.
Jade Plant (Crassula ovata)
Closely related to the succulents, these plants are resilient and very easy to grow indoors. In addition to this, they live for quite a long time and are often passed on from one generation to the next.
They may be tolerant of dry and warm conditions, but they cannot survive droughts. It is very important to keep the soil of your jade plant moist but be sure that it is not sitting in stagnant water. Depending on the variant you got, these plants can grow from 5 inches up to 4 feet. Be sure to ask your local nursery if the plant you did get is the small variant should this be a specific preference.
How to Care for Them:
They are able to grow in both indoor and outdoor conditions. If you prefer to have them indoors, it is vital that you water moderately and provide it with ample amount of light.
Use soil that easily drains, as much as these plants enjoy moist soil, sitting in water will eventually rot their roots. It is important to water them according to the weather condition. Allow the soil to dry out in between watering during cold seasons and moderately water them during spring and summer time.
If you have newly repotted or planted a jade plant, it is best not to water them right away. Wait for at least a week in order for their roots to settle in and recover from physical damage.
Jade plants are sensitive to salts and other chemicals in tap water. Be sure to use filtered or distilled water at room temperature if you are watering them. Avoid getting their leaves wet in the process of watering them. This will induce rotting.
These plants can handle direct sunlight. You can keep them in your garden or even just by the window of your kitchen. They need at least 4 to 6 hours of sunlight every day. And as long as you provide it with the right amount of water, and they are kept within their ideal temperatures: 65 degrees to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, you will have a healthy plant.
- You can fertilize your jade plant with cactus or succulent fertilizers. This can be done up to four times in a year especially if you are aiming to have your plants bloom.
- During winter, keep your plants away from the window pane and areas where there are cold drafts.
- These plants are also known as the “money plant”. Knowing where to put them in your home will encourage the flow of good luck and prosperity.
- Like the succulent, you can also grow another jade plant by merely replanting its leaves. All you need to do is to take a part of the leaf with a bit of stem and wait for the callus to form over the cut area and the place in the ideal potting mix. Remember not to water it right after potting.
Living Stones (Lithops spp.)
Another variant of succulents, these plants are fondly called “living stones” due to its stone-like appearance. They are native to South Africa but have been quite popular among commercial nurseries worldwide.
They rarely grow more than an inch above the soil and have just about two leaves per plant. Their leaves are thick and padded that seem to look like hooves or a small, gray stones clustered together.
They thrive in sandy soil and blistering hot weather conditions. Hence, they do not need to be watered often since they are able to store moisture within their leaves.
How to Care for Them:
The trick in caring for any kind of plant is to try and mimic the conditions of where they come from. In this case, we are fully aware that Lithops grow in the desert, and they would be accustomed to hot conditions and minimal water.
During dormant seasons, it is advisable to completely stop watering your plant. If you would want to promote flowering, you could water them during spring with water diluted with cactus or succulent fertilizer. Be sure that your potting soil is completely dry before adding more moisture, over watering your plant will cause rot. Since it does not have a “true stem”, it will easily die.
Accustomed to the hottest regions in the world, they would do well outdoors even during the summer. Most of the plant is below ground, and it has a small foliar space that is able to gather light to produce its food. Which is why it has developed “window panes” on the surface of its leaves that is made of calcium oxalate. This feature increases the amount of light penetration.
- These plants are prone to pest and fungal problems. They may get scale gnats, mealy bugs, and a variety of fungal issues. When you notice discoloration on the leaves, evaluate your plant and treat with the appropriate process.
- Propagation happens through seed or plant division. Seed would take months to grow, whereas young plants are easily separated and repotted. Just be sure that your potting media is dry and completely devoid of moisture.
How to Set-Up Your Indoor Garden in Your Small Space
Once you have chosen the plant you want for your garden, the next thing you need to do is prepare a space for them in your home. Here are some ways you can set-up a small garden in your apartment.
One thing you need to do when you start your indoor garden, especially if you are a beginner, is choose the right plants. Starting with the small plants we have listed above would work well with any starter garden. They do not occupy too much space and are quite resilient.
Use Multi-Tier Plant Holders
Once your plant population starts to grow, you would need to be smart about how you place your plants. Using multi-tier holders or even layering them on a simple shelf can save you a whole lot of space and allow you to keep more plants.
Maximize Well-Lit Areas
Most of the plants we have listed above would require some amount of sunlight. Before settling for a space, make sure that the area is accessible to light for your plants. The more light, the better. Remember, plants need light to produce their food.
Utilize Outdoor Spaces
If you have a small balcony or even an open-access window, use those spaces to keep your plants, especially those which would do well in direct sunlight. By doing so, you are giving the best to your plant and at the same time, making more space for your indoor garden.
By using a variety of potting, decor, and even furniture, you can easily build your plants into your home. It’s all about creativity! Recycle old bottles, repurpose old furniture, and check out a variety of smart options you can use to place your plants in. It doesn’t have to be expensive; you just need to be a little more creative.
At the end of the day, any starter garden would need to start small. With these plants we have listed here, you are sure to have a great time growing and caring for them. By the time you have adjusted to gardening, and decided you are finally ready to get more plants, there is an even wider variety of indoor plants to choose from.