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Houseplants for Small Spaces

Houseplants add cheer to a home, especially in winter. A good reference book will help you master their care, but sometimes the biggest hurdle is just choosing the right plants for your place. This is magnified when you have narrow windowsills, little floor space or pets and young children limiting your plant-placement options. If you're dealing with little space, check out these easy-to-place options. Just remember that smaller pots tend to need more frequent watering.

A collection of small succulents and a fern fit on a small shelving unit in a bright space.

A collection of small succulents and a fern fit on a small shelving unit in a bright space.

1. Miniature African violets. These are tiny versions of the classic flowering houseplant (which isn’t so big to begin with!). Mini violets remain happy in a two- or three-inch pot, offering up several flushes of candy-colored flowers throughout the year. They need moist soil, so keep on top of watering.

2. Cacti and succulents. These spiny or not-so-spiny water hoarders can grow quite large in the desert, but in the home they grow incredibly slowly, meaning a small purchase will fit your narrow windowsill for years. As a bonus, they thrive in dry soil.

A tiny cactus needs little space or care and will be quite slow to outgrow its pot.

A tiny cactus needs little space or care and will be quite slow to outgrow its pot.

3. Air plants. These curious epiphytes pull water from the air, so they don’t need to be grown in soil, and they’re also naturally small and slow to grow. This opens up more placement possibilities, since you needn’t accommodate a pot. More on air plants.

Air plants are easy to tuck into nooks and crannies. They just need bright light and the occasional soaking.

Air plants are easy to tuck into nooks and crannies. They just need bright light and the occasional soaking.

4. Miniature begonias. Look to terrarium suppliers for the multitude of tiny bold-leaved begonias that have been bred. Their colorful, textural foliage can brighten a shallow windowsill or shelf, and they don’t need tons of light.

5. Miniature orchids. Moth orchids are among these easiest orchids to grow, and there are miniature varieties available. They’re often sold in two-inch-wide pots, and they prefer indirect light. More on mini orchids.

Mini orchids come in two-inch pots, with leaves and flowers scaled down to perfect proportions.

Mini orchids come in two-inch pots, with leaves and flowers scaled down to perfect proportions.