How to Garden Without a Garden — Best Indoor Plants

best indoor plants
Source: Vintage Revivals

With the calendar flipping to Spring and the temperatures finally getting warmer, it’s the perfect time to infuse your environment with fresh flowers and botanicals. The abundance of flowers and shrubs available at your local hardware store this time of year can make anyone want to put their green thumb to work. However, if you live in an apartment, dorm, or small space with no yard, how do you grow a garden without a garden? We have all the tips and tricks you’ll need for growing some greens, no matter how much (or little!) space you have!

Save on your indoor garden supplies with Lowe’s and Home Depot coupon codes!

Growing plants inside not only infuses your décor with a dose of nature and injects all-natural energy into your space, but it also helps reduce stress, purify the air, and can yield yummy herbs and vegetables. While some plants thrive better indoors than others (see below), there are some tried and true gardening strategies that will ensure your plants thrive.

  • Try to place plants near south- or west-facing windows and doors for optimum sun exposure. Also set the house at a comfortable climate between 55-70 degrees. To ensure the plants get adequate sun and grow evenly, give them a half-turn each day.
  • Good drainage is key to keeping any plant alive, so be sure to use pots and containers with adequate drainage holes or use a solid layer of rocks/pebbles in the bottom of pots. To keep excess water from spilling onto your floors, place trays under any pots with holes.
  • Most plants require water when the soil is dry to the touch. To avoid overwatering, many experts recommend using ice cubes that melt slowly and evenly distribute moisture.
  • Be sure to remove dried/dead parts of the plants on a regular basis to keep the plant healthy and growing strong.

Best Indoor Plants

Indoor plants add life, texture, color, and vibrancy to a home. But which of the hundreds of plants at the plant store will work well in your home? Always defer to the details on the plant’s tag and/or talk to the knowledgeable folks at the nursery. These plants have been noted to be among the best indoor growers due to their uniqueness, ease of care, and price:

  • Citrus Trees
  • Olive Trees
  • Rubber Plant
  • Chinese Evergreen
  • Snake Plant
  • Croton
  • Split Leaf Philodendron
  • Schefflera

Air Purification Plants

Some plants have been noted as especially good indoor plants due to their air cleaning capabilities. Decades ago, NASA conducted a study to determine which plants performed the best in removing harmful toxins from the air (namely, benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene) and found a variety of plants to be quite effective. To optimize the air purification capabilities of your plants, use one 10-12” potted plant per 100 square feet of your home.

Best choices for air purification plants include:

  • Aloe Vera
  • Palms: Areca Palm, Bamboo Palm, Dwarf/Pygmy Date Palm, Lady Palm
  • Ferns: Boston Fern, Kimberly Queen Fern
  • Dracaena
  • Ficus (Weeping Fig)
  • Garden Mum
  • Peace Lily
  • Snake Plant (one of the hardest plants to kill!)
  • Spider Plant (easy to grow!)
  • Baby Rubber Plant
  • Chinese Evergreen
  • Mass Cane
  • English Ivy
  • Ficus Alii
  • Gerber Daisy
  • Golden Pothos
  • Janet Craig
  • Dragon Tree
  • Moth Orchid
  • Philodendron
  • Umbrella Tree


2 Air Purification Plants

Source: Bob Vila

Best Indoor Trees

Trees are often only thought of for outdoor gardens, but can also be successfully grown indoors. Not only do they add life and color to a space, but can also function as décor accents in and of themselves. If you have the space for a tree in your home, consider one of these promising candidates:

  • Schefflera tree
  • Fiddleleaf fig tree
  • Dragon tree
  • Rubber tree
  • Norfolk pine tree
  • Lemon tree
  • Guinea chestnut


3 Indoor Trees

Source: Going Home to Roost

Best Indoor Cacti

Cacti or “desert gardens” have taken the home décor world by storm. Not only are they striking home décor accents, but they are also ideal for new gardeners as they require little care once they are planted! Once you invest in a variety of cacti at your local garden center, keep these tips in mind for helping your little desert oasis thrive!

  • Cacti need very little watering; use the moistness of the soil to dictate how often you water.
  • Cacti require really good drainage to thrive. Use lots of rocks/pebbles under the cacti soil to assist in draining. Adding a layer of sand on top of the soil (as you would with mulch outdoors) will also assist in proper draining.
  • Cacti can be quite prickly; use gloves when planting and arranging your various plants.

Edible Gardening

Just because you don’t have an outdoor patch of land to plant and harvest herbs or vegetables doesn’t mean you can’t grow your own salad fixings! The best herbs to grow indoors include thyme, chives, mint, sage, rosemary and basil; and the most reliable vegetables to grow indoors include tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, beans, peas, cucumbers, Swiss chard, tomatoes, kale, eggplants, and peppers. All of these herbs and vegetables can grow quite well in containers inside when you use follow some tried-and-true gardening practices!

  • No matter what you are growing, proper containers are essential. Make sure they are large (many vegetables require generous-sized containers) with adequate drainage.
  • Use soil that is intended for herb/vegetable gardening; equal parts peat moss, potting soil, and vermiculite, perlite, or clean sand is a dependable mix.
  • Only water when the soil is dry, and place pots near south- or west-facing windows or spots that get at least six hours of sunlight per day.
  • When harvesting your produce, use sharp knives or scissors. Try to trim your harvest in the morning and don’t cut off too much to encourage the plant to continue to grow.
  • Once you harvest your produce, use our tips to make sure your veggies last!
  • As some vegetables become too large (namely, cucumbers and tomatoes), add supports to allow them to continue to thrive.
  • Lastly, many garden experts recommend using succession planting when you are limited by space and/or containers. This involves allowing one vegetable to grow and bloom. Once it is done blooming, remove it and plant a new vegetable in its place. This technique allows you to optimize growing seasons for certain vegetables when constrained to limited space!

4 Herbs Graphic

Source: Fix

Creative Indoor Gardens

Once you determine which plants will thrive best in your home, don’t hesitate to get creative with the containers, pots, and planters you use to display your plants! There are countless creative ways to contain your plants, making them a true component to your home décor! Here are some of our favorites!

5 Tin Can Herb Garden

Source: HGTV

All you need are some tin cans to make this country-chic tabletop herb garden. Little money and time investment can yield a season’s worth of salad seasonings!

6 Indoor Desert Garden

Source: HGTV

Cacti provide fascinating texture to a space. Group several together in a single decorative vessel to create a desert oasis right on your countertop. Find more terrarium projects with our ideas here.

7 Leather Sling Planters

Source: Vintage Revivals

If you’re short on floor space, look up! Hanging planters are a great way to add visual interest to a space, become instant décor, and are ideal for maximizing sun exposure in a darker room!

8 Garden Wall

Source: East Coast Creative

If you have a small patio with great sunlight, this wall-mounted herb garden is an ideal solution! You can customize the size to hold any number and size plants you wish without worrying about cluttering up precious outdoor space!