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Just because you live in a sixth-floor apartment in the city doesn’t mean you can’t surround yourself with greenery. Apartment life can often feel like you are cut off from the great outdoors. But, with a little planning, you can bring the outdoors in to your living space.
Even if you have the opposite of a green thumb, there are lots of little (and big) plants that are easy to keep alive, fun to have, useful to keep, and don’t take up a lot of space. Here are a few great indoor plants to spruce up your apartment.
Succulents and Cacti
If you’re likely to forget or don’t have time to water, opt for something that requires very little tending. A succulent or cactus plant can survive for quite awhile without water — obviously, since they’re largely desert plants. If you have mobile pets or frequent parties, it’s probably best to steer clear of cactus spines.
Succulents, on the other hand, don’t generally have the formidable spines of their prickly counterpart. Stick one (or ten) in a window that gets medium light for long periods of the day.
If you’re looking for something a little different, a Venus flytrap is surprisingly easy to maintain. As long as they’re in the right conditions, a flytrap can get pretty big and live for a couple of decades. The “right conditions” is the tricky part. They need plenty of drainage, which means holes in the bottom of the pot or a nice gravel lined terrarium. They come from the bog, so the best soil option is a 2:1 sand and peat moss mixture. Don’t use water from the tap — flytraps like acidic soil, and tap water tends to be alkaline.
And don’t get them for a fly problem — it takes a Venus flytrap about 10 days to eat just one fly. You really do have to feed them flies, though!
For high, empty spaces, ivy can be a great apartment plant. Ivies grow long, dangly vines that can reach floor to ceiling if you given enough time. This also depends on the variety — and there are 5-10 different types of ivy that flourish as indoor plants. They’re great in a hanging basket, on a high shelf, or the back corner of an oddly shaped counter. Ivies prefer their soil on the dry side and do much better with plenty of bright light.
Coleus can do well as outdoor or indoor plants and are super easy to propagate. Basically, if you snap off a limb at the right spot, you can stick it in a new pot with a little rooting hormone and you’ll have a whole new plant in a few days. Coleus will also get as big as you want them too — if you give them lots of light and lots of water, you’ll have a plant up to your knees in no time. If you want to keep it small, less light and gentler water.
Coleus also come in a great variety of colors — depending on the variety, you can get leaves in every color from pink to blue.
Aloe vera is an awesome, medium-sized plant. Just like a coleus, every new shoot means a potential new plant. They’re also good for apartments with poor natural lighting — aloe loves indirect sunlight. If you’re prone to sunburns or flat iron accidents, aloe vera is definitely the plant for you. Just snap off the end of a shoot and squeeze. The liquid that comes out is usually more effective than the bottled and store-bought version.
If you’re trying to fill up an empty corner, small trees can actually flourish really well indoors. Even tropical trees can survive in cold, dry climates (as long as you run a humidifier a few times a week — which is great for your skin, too). Bonsai trees come in all different kinds, and can have some really cool shapes.
Avocado trees are a little sensitive, but you can literally start one from an the avocado you used in your guacamole. Use a thin knife to score an “X” into the brown covering of the seed, stick four toothpicks into the bottom at an angle, and place the seed in a small cup of water, so that the water just covers the edges. Once a shoot forms, you can plant it. But, don’t get too excited, you won’t be getting free avocados for a few years.
For something that smells nice, looks nice, and is super useful, opt for a miniature herb garden. You can get planters designed to hold multiple herbs at once, or plant a few different herbs in a few different pots. Mint, oregano, and basil are all pretty easy to maintain. Plus, you can pinch off a few leaves and throw them in your dinner.
Lavender looks beautiful, smells wonderful, and is a great way to naturally boost relaxation. Rosemary is a little more difficult to keep alive, but it has a spicy, rejuvenating scent that would be perfect for livening up your work space.