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The best indoor plants for your apartment or rental

Plants liven up any home, but they look especially nice in rentals, where permanent decorating isn’t always possible. 

While there are hundreds of plants you could keep indoors, not all will be right for your environment or experience. You can narrow down your choices by considering factors such as light and humidity requirements and the complexity of care. 

Once you know more about the options available, you’ll soon be cultivating your own indoor garden. 

What to consider when choosing houseplants

Not all plants have the same requirements. Some need bright sunlight to thrive while others prefer shady positions. Some need humid environments while others need dry conditions. It’s up to you to decide how much time and energy you have to put into caring for your plants. There’s no shame in choosing low-maintenance varieties if plant care isn’t high on your agenda. 

How much time you have

It’s a good idea to think about this first. Some plants need more attention than others. This attention can consist of daily misting, regular pruning and frequent fertilizing, which can be time-consuming. Consider how much time you have to dedicate to your plants. If you want plants you can just tend once every week, you should avoid high-maintenance varieties.

Lighting conditions

Think about where you want to position plants before you pick out plants for those spots. A sunny, south-facing windowsill is perfect for light-loving plants, including most cactuses and succulents, but it can scorch the leaves of others. 

If you’re looking for a plant for a particular location in your home, always check its light requirements to make sure they match up. Luckily, there are plenty of low-light plants available for parts of your home that don’t get much sun. 

Water requirements

How often a plant needs watering is an important factor when picking one out. Know what your chosen plant needs so you don’t over- or under-water it. 

You should also consider whether the water requirements are something you can commit to. It’s fine not to want to water plants daily, but don’t choose varieties that need consistent moisture levels if so. 


It’s common to cram plants into spaces that are too small for them, but this causes problems with airflow and doesn’t give them enough room to spread out. Choose a plant size conducive to the space you have and be prepared to move plants when they outgrow their current homes. Utilizing hanging planters can also save floor space.


Some plants, including orchids and most ferns, thrive in humid conditions. These can be hard to recreate at home, but bathrooms and kitchens are more humid due to steam from baths, showers and cooking. Cactuses and succulents are native to arid areas and tend to prefer lower humidity. 

Indoor plant care

It’s good to learn more about how to take care of indoor plants before you commit to buying one. Some plants require more specialist care than others, but even learning the basics will help you out. 


All plants need watering, though some more often than others. It’s easy for beginners to assume that more water is better than less water, but overwatering is a common way of killing plants. If you aren’t sure about the water requirements of a given plant, look them up.


When kept in containers, the nutrients in soil deplete over time. As such, plants are happier when you fertilize them at least semi-regularly. When they’re actively growing in the spring and summer, fertilize plants every two to three weeks. The rest of the year, do so once every six weeks. 


Wiping down the leaves of plants with a damp cloth once every three or four weeks removes built-up dust and dirt so your plant can absorb sunlight more efficiently. Be gentle and avoid wiping the leaves of plants with fluffy down or other coatings that could be damaged or removed by the process.


Trimming back dead leaves and overgrown parts helps keep them in good condition. With flowering plants, “deadheading” (removing the dead flower heads) can keep them blooming throughout the whole growing season. 

Best low-maintenance indoor plants

American Plant Exchange Cast Iron Plant

Nicknamed the cast iron plant because it’s so tough, it’s hard to kill an aspidistra — it can grow in a range of light conditions and it’s not too fussy about regular watering. The lush, dark green leaves make it an attractive choice.

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Hirt’s Gardens Reverse Variegated Spider Plant

Although you must remember to water spider plants once the top couple of inches of soil dry out to avoid the edges of their leaves going crispy, they don’t need much care beyond this. They grow easily and produce pups you can propagate into new plants.

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Asparagus Fern

Ferns have a reputation for being hard to care for, but asparagus ferns are low maintenance — perhaps because they’re not technically ferns, rather belonging to the lily family. They can thrive in both bright and shady spots, Just remember to keep their soil moist.

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Lavender Plant

If you’re looking for an indoor plant that will add color and fragrance to your home, lavender is the obvious choice. It doesn’t like too much moisture, so you don’t need to remember to water it too often — just find it a sunny window and it will be happy.

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Best indoor plants for low light

Costa Farms Easy Care Devil’s Ivy

While it needs a little attention to thrive, this striking trailing plant can survive with practically no light and long periods of drought. It’s a great choice for anyone who often forgets about plants or who is away from home regularly.

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ZZ Floor Plant

With few requirements beyond occasional watering, the ZZ plant (short for Zamioculcas Zamiifolia) is a great choice for a houseplant in a shady spot. This one is a large floor-sized plant that comes with a decorative planter.

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Calming Peace Lily Plant

Thriving in shady spots, peace lilies are perfect for rooms that don’t get much direct sunlight or spots far away from a window. Not only do they have lush green foliage, but they grow lovely white blooms if you care for them properly.

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Costa Farms Aglaonema Red Chinese Evergreen

Because Chinese evergreens require moderate to high moisture, you’ll need to remember to water yours regularly. However, light isn’t such an issue because it does well in partial to full shade.

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Best indoor plants for bright light

Monstera Deliciosa Floor Plant

Also known as Swiss cheese plants due to their holey leaves, monsteras enjoy bright but indirect sunlight. Their gorgeous large, broad, glossy leaves make them popular plants.

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Rooted Rubber Tree Ficus Elastica

A great plant for beginners, the rubber tree will thrive with weekly watering and a bright spot, although direct sunlight should be avoided. Its broad shiny leaves need wiping to keep it looking its best and help it thrive.

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Wekiva Foliage Yucca Cane Plant

These drought-tolerant plants need bright but indirect sunlight to thrive. In the right position, yucca plants are fairly low maintenance.

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Tropical Pink Hibiscus

Placed in direct sun, such as on a sunny windowsill, hibiscus plants reward you with large, beautiful blooms. This one comes with a pink planter with a hibiscus flower design.

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Best indoor succulents and cactuses

Costa Farms Aloe Vera

Probably the best known of all succulents due to its medicinal properties, aloe vera is easy to care for and reproduces easily, growing pups you can repot.

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Hirt’s Gardens Sunset Jade Plant

As it grows, the stems of this succulent become woody. It can even grow huge and treelike given enough time. It likes plenty of sun but only needs watering when the soil has dried out.

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JM Bamboo Christmas Cactus Plant

This might not be what you picture when you think about cactuses, but it blooms beautifully in winter, making it an attractive indoor plant. This one has orange flowers.

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Succulents Box Golden Barrel Cactus

Native to the southwest U.S., this cactus can grow as large as 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide, though it grows slowly. It can produce bright yellow flowers in spring and summer.

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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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