It’s hard living in an apartment far away from nature, and many people find it satisfying to bring nature indoors by growing houseplants. Fortunately, most apartments have large windows, giving natural light to the greenery.
Houseplants should fit several criteria: They should be smallish in size (you don’t want uncontrolled growth taking over your living space); they should be tolerant and forgiving for indoor conditions (dry air, potted roots, neglect); and they should help purify the air.
This last point is arguably the most important. Apartments can be subject to many air impurities (including formaldehyde, benzene, ammonia, and acetone, among others) emitting from carpeting, draperies, caulking compounds, upholstery, wall covering, and other everyday furnishings and features. In the often-confined spaces of apartments, some plants efficiently clean indoor air and absorb common emissions. For best results, keep two mid-to-large plants per 100 square feet of living space.
Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata). This classic fern grows well in pots, does not overwhelm a space, can be hung from ceiling hooks, and is among the best air-purifying plant available. Like all ferns, they prefer shade and should be well watered (the soil should not dry out). It might be helpful to nest the pot over a shallow tray filled with rocks and water as an additional reservoir from which the plant can draw moisture.
Palm trees. While you can’t grow a huge palm tree in your apartment, there are several smaller varieties (such as dwarf date palms, lady palms, bamboo palms, and areca palms) which do well in pots and add a little tropical lushness to your rooms. They are also excellent at purifying the air.
Cacti and succulents. If you want a forgiving and creative growth, these water-storing plants can make everyone look like a successful gardener. Just give your Succulents and Cacti plenty of sunshine, water and Succulent Love every other month or so, and they’ll stay happy.
English ivy (Hedera helix). This popular choice ranks nearly up there with the Boston fern as an air purifier. It’s easy to grow and will grow up surfaces if given a chance. They do splendidly in hanging baskets in room corners. Keep in mind English ivy does well in abundant light but suffers in high temperatures.
Red emerald (Philodendron erubescens). If you want the feel of a jungle in your apartment, these climbing plants with lovely glossy green and red oval-shaped leaves are for you. They’re easy to grow, thrive in lower lighting conditions, and do well in warm environments. Be sure to provide it with a climbing structure.
Golden pothos (Epipremnum Aureum). This easy-care plant does well in baskets, on shelves, or trained up poles. They’re hard to kill and do well in indirect lighting (as well as fluorescent lights). While the soil should stay fairly most, don’t overwater.
To walk into an apartment filled with green living things at the end of a hard day is much more rewarding than walking among four sterile white walls with nothing natural in sight. Consider expanding your gardening skills and bring nature within your walls with houseplants.