Five Low Maintenance Houseplants that are GREAT for Apartment Living


Plants can do a lot for us. While they may be a great addition to any room, they do more than just look nice. Plants produce oxygen for us to breath and many of them can filter common household toxins from the air. Many plants like the Aloe vera plant  may also have both physical and therapeutic benefits as well.

The trick for many renters is finding houseplants that thrive with minimal attention and care in environments without a lot of access to direct sunlight. Whether you’re a seasoned green thumb or looking just for something that requires less attention than a cat, there are many plant options that will help you start your own little apartment garden. Depending on your experience level, the best plants suggested for apartment living tend to be those that do not require a lot of maintenance. Try to find plants that require little watering and don’t mind a bit of shade. Here are just five plants to help you bring some fresh air into your apartment.

1) Sansevieria laurentii (Mother-in-law’s tongue) is a great plant for apartment living. Some people call it “the houseplant you can’t kill”. Sansevieria thrives really well in both direct sunlight and shade and requires very little watering. If the conditions are right, you might even get a few white flower blossoms out of one. Sansevieria is one of several plant species that has earned NASA’s seal of approval for the plant’s ability to filter toxins such as benzene and formaldehyde from the air.

2) Aloe Vera is a common plant found in many homes and is know for its great healing qualities. The gel inside the plant can be used to treat small cuts and minor burns. While the Aloe plant likes direct sunlight, the plant doesn’t require much watering and is relatively low maintenance. Aloe is also known for its ability to help filter benzene and formaldehyde from the air.

3) Chlorophytum comosum (Spider Plant) is the type of plant you want if you tend to travel a lot or you have a history of killing plants. A native plant of tropical and southern Africa, the spider plant grows long narrow leaves with small clusters of greenish-white flowers. Spider plants will tolerate temperatures as low as 35° F but will do best between 65° F and 90° F. Spider plants are also great at filtering benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene.

4) Cacti… If they can survive in the desert, they can survive in the corner of your apartment! There are dozens of species of cacti that come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes… don’t overlook them. Most species need very little watering and can simply sit on a windowsill or a small patio. No need to ask your neighbor to take care of your plants next time you go out of town on business.

5) Ficus Benjamina (Braided Ficus Trees) are larger that the other plants on the list but if you have the room they can really add a lot to your apartment from a design standpoint. The standard braided ficus can potentially grow several feet tall (perfect for the 9’ ceilings in Parkway West) but only needs to be watered once or twice a week. The ficus plant prefers indirect sunlight which makes it a great plant to stick in a quiet corner.

Submitted by J.P. Yohannes

Assistant Property Manager, East River Leasing Office