Practical Guide to Small House Plants

The majority of traditional small house plants are popular for two simple reasons – they look good and they’re easy to grow. A third, and very important reason, is that they purify the air! Below we’ve listed a number of our favourite, easy-to-grow small house plants, with top tips on how to successfully care for them to ensure they flourish.

Types of small houseplants

There are various indoor small house plants to choose from, including both tropical and subtropical species. These comprise of succulents, forced bulbs and temperates.

Examples of succulents

  • Aloe vera
  • Crassula ovata (Jade Plant)
  • Cactaceae (Cacti)
  • Epiphyllum (Orchid Cacti)
  • Opuntia (Large genus that includes the Prickly Pear)
  • Mammillaria
  • Zygocactus (Christmas Cactus)

Examples of forced bulbs

It’s important to note that many forced bulbs are also temperate. Some examples include:

  • Crocus
  • Narcissus (genus) (Narcissus or Daffodil)
  • Hyacinthus (Hyacinth)

Examples of temperates

  • Saxifraga stolonifera (Strawberry Begonia)
  • Hedera helix (English Ivy)

You can learn more about the different variants of small house plants here, including more about how to care for them and the many positive psychological effects they offer.

Small House Plants

Ten of the easiest small house plants to grow in the home

1. Chinese Money Plants

This particular plant is moderately easy to care for. To thrive, it requires bright, indirect sunlight, and the correct amount of water. For best results, opt for a “drench and dry” approach (in simple terms this means water thoroughly, then allow the soil dry out thoroughly). In addition, it’s a good idea to apply weekly mistings. The plant’s unique round leaves create a dramatic impression, which is why it’s best to house Chinese money plants in a simple pot.

2. Staghorn Fern

This easy-to-care-for plant requires low to medium light conditions and moderate moisture for best results. If you lack space in your home, these species are a great option, as you can also hang them from the wall.

3. Weeping Fig

Although a little harder to care for, the weeping fig is a great option for the home environment. In order to thrive, it necessitates bright but indirect sunlight. It’s the perfect option for the likes of dining rooms, offices, bedrooms and living rooms. In order to keep the soil moist at all times, it’s important to water the weeping fig every few days. It’s a very vibrant plant and boasts an array of leaves, which means it looks better when placed in a simple, white pot.

4. Air Plants

This plant requires moderate care and is able to thrive in almost any environment. For best results, place in a location that receives bright, indirect sunlight. Soak the plant in water once a week for around 10 minutes to ensure it flourishes.

5. Paddle Plants

This is a great plant for the busy individual as it’s extremely easy-to-care for. When placed in full to partial sunlight, it will thrive. To ensure optimal growth, water this plant only when the top two inches of the soil are dry. Place in a small plant pot to emphasise the plant’s unique shape and add interest to any room in the household by placing on the likes of a bookshelf or mantelpiece.

6. Split Leaf Philodendrons

This low-maintenance plant enjoys bright, indirect light and even moisture. The leaves are extremely green, which makes it a great option for those looking to add a little colour to an otherwise subtle space.

7. String of Pearls

Another plant that is rated as easy to moderate to care for. It will thrive when placed in bright, indirect sunlight, provided that it has enough water. In just a short amount of time, you’ll begin to notice lengthy strands of pearls forming. Hang from a basket or bowl to create a dramatic centerpiece, whereby the leaves cascade over the sides.

8. Rubber Plants

This easy-to-care for shrub is another great option for the household, as it’s almost maintenance-free and small in scale. Place in an area that sits in bright, indirect light and water only when the soil is dry. Asides from looking pretty, rubber plants are also said to be one of the best natural air-cleaners.

9. Asparagus Fern

Indirect light is the perfect environment for the asparagus fern. They also require plenty of water. Just be careful not to over-saturate the soil.

10. Spider Plants

When placed in bright, indirect light, the spider plant will thrive. They only require occasional watering, which makes them extremely maintenance-free. Their curved leaves look great when showcased in a hanging planter.

Other low-maintenance small house plants

Golden Pothos: This particular specie of plant does well when placed in an area that receives bright, indirect light. Although it requires moderate watering, it’s important to never allow the soil to become water-logged.

English Ivy: Choose a location that receives four hours of direct sunlight per day (and indirect throughout the rest of the day). Stable moisture levels are also the key to keeping an English ivy plant happy. Put your plant in a pot that allows it room to grow or train it around a sculptural form to craft a topiary.

Fiddle Leaf Figs: Bright, indirect light creates the ideal environment for this style of plant. Only add water when the top inch of the soil is completely dry. For best results, and to create a dramatic focal point, place the plant in the corner of a room.

Peace Lilies: These plants are popular in style because they’re easy to care for and require little maintenance. To ensure the plant thrives, place in medium to low light and only add water when the top of the soil is dry. True to their name, they are renowned for creating a sense of peacefulness and relaxation in the home. These plants can be purchased online from the likes of Serenata Flowers and come housed in an attractive basket, which perfectly offsets their delicate white flowers and rich green leaves.

Peace Lily Basket

Create a feeling of peacefulness and relaxation in any home with this beautiful Peace Lily, the delicate pure white flowers and intense green foliage are simply wonderful, presented in a contemporary square wicker basket.

Jade Plants: To ensure these plants grow to their full potential, place them in an area that receives a few hours of sunlight every day. They only need water when the soil is completely dry to the touch. This vibrant plant, with its deep green leaves and red tips, will add instant energy to the home, especially when housed in an equally striking pot.

Dragon Tree: Named because of its spiky leaves, the dragon tree is a statement plant that is small enough to house in the home. It’s important to remember direct sunlight can damage these species, which is why it is best to place the plant in a shaded area.

Cacti: These plants flourish in natural light and only have to be watered once a week during the months of spring and summer, and every three weeks during the autumn and winter. If you’re working with a smaller space, invest in a variety of small cacti and place together in a colourful terrarium. This will fashion the perfect centerpiece.

Aloe Plants: Another easy-care small house plant, the aloe plant enjoys the sun and only requires watering once every week. Place this small house plant in a tall pot, to ensure leaves are kept at a height.

Calatheas: To avoid the leaf colour from fading, choose a location that receives indirect sunlight. For best results, ensure the soil is evenly moist. These species look best when displayed in a simple white pot as this will ensure the colourful leaves really stand out.

Snake Plants: Indirect light creates the perfect conditions for these plants, along with light watering. Only water when the soil has fully dried. When displayed in a raised planter, snake plants will add interest to an empty corner in your hallway.

Pink Kalanchoe: This is another popular small houseplant that can be ordered online from Serenata Flowers. It comes in the shape of a delicate arrangement of plants offering a pretty pink hue. The plant itself is presented in a rustic trough for added pizazz!

Best small house plants for clean air

Small house plants are able to lower the effects of indoor air pollution, by removing volatile organic compounds (VOC) including benzene, xylene and toluene from the air. The plants do this by using soil microorganisms. They can also remove carbon dioxide from indoor areas, which is associated with lower work performance. This makes such species a great addition to the home office. Small indoor houseplants are also able to reduce airborne microbes and increase humidity.

Some of the best small house plants to invest in for clean air include:

  • Dracaena
  • Garden mum
  • Spider plant
  • Weeping fig
  • Snake plant
  • Peace lily
  • Boston Fern
  • Bamboo palm
  • Aloe vera

Best flowering indoor houseplants

There’s something delightful about a home brimming with flowering plants. Thankfully, there are a number of small house plants available, all of which boast beautiful blooms. You can learn more about the many varieties and styles here.

African Violets: These species come in the shape of compact, free flowering blooms complete with a wide variety of flower forms and hues. When cared for in the correct manner, African Violets can bloom nearly all year round.

Poinsettias: This particular specie of plant is said to be the single most prevalent houseplant in the world, despite the fact these plants are usually associated with the festive season. Poinsettia plants are now also available in shades of pink and white, as well as the traditional red hue.

Orchids: These small house plants are the largest group of plants in the world, with an impressive 30,000 known species in existence to date.

Peace lilies: These plants have a calming effect on those around them, which is why they are used by many interior designers to add interest and depth to a room. To ensure optimal growth, choose a location that boasts warmth, filtered light and humidity. When cared for correctly, blooms tend to appear in the late summer months, and last for many weeks.

Desert Cacti: This specie of plant is renowned for its beautiful blooms and there are a number of varieties of cacti to choose from. To ensure they flower, place the cactus in an area that achieves lots of sunlight and be sparing on water.

Kalanchoe: These modest plants are both easy to grow and bloom. The end result? A cluster of delicate, upright flowers.

Amaryllis: One of the most superb bulbs of all, this specie of plant boasts large, rich-hued flowers, which sit upon tall stalks. They are available in a wide range of colours, including salmon, red, pink and orange, as well as a multi-coloured varieties. You can buy them as potted flowering plants or naked bulbs. In most cases, dependent on when the bulb is planted, they will bloom from late December until early summer.

Hibiscus: These blooms are available in both single and double forms, and come in a wide range of pretty hues, including many multi-coloured varieties.

Anthurium: When buying this specie of plant, the easiest to grow variant for home use is the A. scherzerianum. These plants boast distinctive red flower arrangements, complete with heart-shaped red spathes and white or yellow flower spikes. They can be a challenge to grow, but the end results are definitely worth the effort.

Difficulties that may arise when growing small house plants

Lack of water, too much light, too little light – these are all problems that can affect the wellbeing of small house plants. However, if researched correctly, most can be overcome. You can learn more about common growing problems here.

You can buy small house plants from your local garden centre or via a reputable online florist. You’ll often find a wide variety of options to pick from, most of which can be delivered directly to your door.

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Lily Calyx is our in-house flower whisperer, an expert on all things botanical and an enthusiastic orchids collector. She loves discussing the insights of the secret world of flowers, shares her gardening tips and hacks and moons over the latest additions to Serenata Flowers flower range. Ask Lily anything about flowers and we can guarantee she will have the answer.

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