From the slow-growing jade to easy-care air plants, learn about the many types of small houseplants. You can find plants that like direct or indirect light, wet or dry conditions, and different types of soil. Small houseplants are among the most popular in size. They are indispensable for people who like homes with a fuller decorating scheme, but they can also be used more sparingly on shelves, tables, desks and windows which need that final piece to the puzzle. No matter what you’re looking for, we can help you find the perfect small houseplant.
Popular Types of Small Houseplants
Anthuriums: Looking for a small flowering plant that can live on shelves and tabletops that aren’t right next to a window? Anthuriums can provide a flash of color even in low-light conditions. Direct light can burn the leaves and harm the plant, but it can also thrive into more of a medium houseplant with lots of indirect light and the right soil conditions. In low-light, the plant will grow very slowly and live in a smaller pot for a long time. It’s most important to get the watering schedule and moisture level right. Both overwatering and underwatering can be issues.
Jade: A slow-growing plant, jades can be perfect for people who want to keep their plant small indefinitely. They can stay happy and contained in a small pot for a long time. With a combination of luck, repotting, and good plant care, you can take a small jade and nurture it into a much larger plant. You can also buy larger jades. Their thick teardrop leaves can be trimmed and repotted to make new jade plants that eventually grow out of the soil with a wood trunk. The danger with this plant is root rot from overwatering, especially with a pot that doesn’t have adequate drainage.
Wooly Lip Fern: Many ferns are full, quick-growing plants, but the wooly lip fern is a great choice for a small houseplant. The wooly lip is an evergreen plant with distinctive fern foliage. Strong plants in healthy conditions can certainly grow over a foot tall, but they can also be quite happy with growth of 6-12 inches when placed in pots no wider than 6 inches. The wooly lip fern is a mesic or medium-water plant, but generally prefers humid air and/or moistened soil. It can suffer from root rot when overwatered. It quickly turns brown and shrivels when underwatered but will quickly bounce back. One of its nicknames is the resurrection fern.
Kalanchoe: They can start out as miniature houseplants and eventually grow to medium-sized houseplants, but if you’re looking for a flowering succulent that can stay happy in a modest-sized pot, this is a popular choice and usually pretty to easy to find. Available in a wide range of colors, these flowering plants can be matched to the room’s color scheme. Perfect for east-facing windows or filtered light, these plants love lots of natural light but not too much direct sunlight. It doesn’t exactly thrive on neglect, but it is a succulent, meaning it’s vulnerable to root rot. Use a pot with good drainage, don’t overwater, and things should go well.
String of Pearls: String of pearls may live in a miniaturized pot and still act more like a small, if sprawling, houseplant. In some conditions, this plant may be healthy and yet contained, but more often it grows fast. Fortunately, it’s easy to trim and easy to propagate. You can start small and add multiple strands within the same pot. Its unique spherical leaves also make string of pearls a popular choice as part of larger houseplant arrangements that are drought resistant. This succulent is vulnerable to overwatering. In ideal conditions, the green pearls may bloom into small white flowers.
What is a Small Houseplant?
As we discuss as part of our advice for choosing houseplants by size, there are no set dimensions for what makes a houseplant small. Most plants, which are in a pot no wider than 6 inches and do not grow more than a foot in any direction, can be described as small. The thickness of the plant growth will also make a difference. With lots of stems or sprawling leaves, a houseplant can look substantial without taking up a ton of space. In contrast, a single stem or bulbous plant with tiny leaves will provide an extra-cute factor based on its teeny-tiny size.
There are plants that will stay small on their own. There are plants that can be aggressively trimmed to maintain their size. But small plants don’t have to stay small. There are ways to know when a houseplant is ready for a larger pot and easy steps to follow for repotting.