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Indoor Houseplants 101: 12 Ideal Botanical Companions for Your Apartment Home

Aug 15th, 2013

Autumn is only a month away, which means that before long gardening enthusiasts in many parts of the country will have to put away their gardening supplies and wait until spring to return to one of their favorite hobbies with gusto.  For these types–and especially for those of us who like to integrate plants into our apartment home decor but never seem to have any luck keeping them alive, there is a silver lining to the changing of the seasons.  Below, we discuss 12 plants that can thrive indoors with very little maintenance.

1. Philodendron

Capable of thriving in apartments that are kept between 60 and 80 degrees and requiring virtually no light, the philodendron is a special houseplants that apartment owners who are looking to invest in a plant for the long-haul should consider.  The philodendron is highly adaptable, and its stems will take cues from their environment, climbing up walls the plant is placed again or twisting up and around poles that are placed nearby.  Philodendron stems can grow up to a foot a year, and these plants are resilient enough to survive moves from one apartment to another.

2. Chinese Evergeen

The Chinese Evergreen is one of those lush plants that looks like it would require a great deal of moisture and sunlight in order to remain healthy.  In fact, this plant’s multi-colored leaves will actually suffer if exposed to too much sunlight.  Keep this houseplant in a low-light part of your apartment, and it will actually make that space feel brighter.  Add three or four ounces to its soil once or twice a week, and it should have no trouble surviving.

3.  Dracaena

This green and yellow houseplant has been given the moniker “corn plant” because of its resemblance to a corn stalk.  It requires little water and mild sunlight exposure, and can grow up to several feet tall.  If you live in a pet-friendly apartment and have a dog, be sure to keep this plant out of your pet’s reach, as its leaves are toxic to canines when ingested.

4. Fiddleleaf Fig

If you are looking for a houseplant that poses no threats to your beloved pooch, the fiddleleaf fig may be for you.  It does require a fair bit of sunlight, but does not need to be watered often or maintained in any other way.  The plant can grow tall, but its roots remain small so it rarely requires transplantation.  Look closely at this houseplant’s leathery green leaves, and you will see that they do resemble miniature fiddles.

5. Peperomia

With a maximum height and surface area of one foot, the peperomia is ideal for growing in small spaces.  In addition to requiring little water and very little sunlight, the peperomia is attractive because it comes in many colors and shapes, with leaves that range in color from light green and yellow to dark green with red fringes.  This is a perfect plant to house in your apartment’s kitchen or bathroom.

6. Jade Plant

If remembering to water plants is difficult for you but there is a room in your apartment home that receives no shortage of sunlight, then this beautiful plant may have considerable appeal to you.  The Jade Plant is fascinating to look at, it requires very little water, and it can contribute to the atmosphere of any room that is designed with a modern, Zen, or Asian-inspired theme in mind.

7. Grape Ivy

Are you in the market for a hanging houseplant?  If you generally keep the temperature in your apartment warmer than 65 degrees but cooler than 80 and a low-maintenance lifestyle is your motto, then look into the grape ivy plant to see if you like it.  If you do, you should have no difficulty keeping this beautiful vine alive in your home, provided that it is hung in a place that receives a bit of sunlight each day and that you remember to add a little bit of water to the soil every few days.

8. Devil’s Ivy

Although it is also a form of ivy, Devil’s Ivy could hardly be more different in appearance from Grape Ivy.  This large-leafed plant may also be hung, but it is more commonly found as a basket-enshrined table centerpiece.  Devil’s Ivy, or pathos, is versatile, and its height, width, and appearance will shaped by the pot, basket, or mason jar in which you plant it.  While Devil’s Ivy looks nothing like Grape Ivy, it has the same sunlight and water requirements.

9. Snake Plant

Sleek, slender, and glossy, snake plants sword-like leaves can add a lot of character to the design of any room.  No matter how much sunlight filters its way into your apartment home, this is a great houseplant to have.  The ideal temperature range for this plant is larger than it is for most plants, ranging from 60 to 85 degrees.  And gardening professionals recommend that the soil go dry between watering, making it great for those of us who only remember to water our indoor plants once a week.  If you are looking for a plant that could actually be called “cool” and will lend just as much to the design of a room as your artwork and furniture do, the snake plant is it.  It can even improve the air quality in your apartment.

10. Ponytail Palm

Native to eastern Mexico, the Ponytail Palm Tree is a houseplant that thrives in low light.  Its bulbous stump, one of the trees defining characteristics, stores water, making the plant owner’s job exceptionally easy.  Ponytail palms can grow up to eight feet tall, but there is a scaled-down bonsai variety that is much smaller and could be described as “cute.”

11. Rubber Tree

The rubber tree’s leaves are so green, it looks like it belongs in the Amazon rainforest.  Because of this, it may shock an apartment dweller who is considering purchasing a rubber plant from the local nursery may be surprised to find that they require very little water.  Light, on the other hand, is something that the rubber plant does need.  Two hours of direct sunlight or fours hours of indirect sunlight a day should be enough to keep this houseplant looking healthy.  Just be careful not to poke this tree with anything sharp, unless you are looking to see the beginnings of a pencil eraser seep down its small trunk.

12.  Cast-Iron Plant

Do 20-degree temperature ranges, weekly or biweekly waterings, and intermediate sunlight requirements turn you off from most of the plants discussed above?  If so, you’ll be happy to learn that we have saved the most resilient houseplant for last?  Capable of growing in temperatures as low as 45 degrees and as high as 85, the cast-iron plant is nearly indestructible.  Its beautiful leaves are ribbed like artistically crinkled tissue paper, but they are far less delicate than they look.  And as long as the plant is watered occasionally, its leaves will retain their color even if iit hardly ever sees the light of day.

There are several ways to improve the atmosphere of your apartment, but few can brighten up a room in the environmentally friendly way that houseplants can.  If you have a lack of confidence in your gardening skills and are looking to start out with something easy, the plants introduced in this article should do the trick.


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