With urban living on the rise, many of us no longer have so much as a balcony to our names, let alone a lawn or a garden. But being an apartment dweller doesn't mean you can't liven up your living space with pretty plants. No matter where you live, and no matter how un-green your thumb, here are a few easy ways to bring the great outdoors inside.
1. TURN A SUNNY WINDOW INTO A MINI-GREENHOUSE.
If you have a south-facing window in your apartment, you have the perfect place for all sorts of plants to thrive. Jade plants, cacti, and geraniums will happily grow in all that sunshine; add another row of partial sun or shade-loving plants in front of that, and you'll have a gorgeous indoor garden.
2. PLANT KITCHEN HERBS.
Freshen up your space and liven up your cooking at the same time. If you have a kitchen window, you have everything you need to grow your own herbs indoors; pop them into wall-mounted pots, line them up on the window sill, hang them from a hook or rod, or put them in a fancy self-watering planter on your countertop. If you're not sure where to start, consider some low-maintenance plants like parsley, chives, or mint, which will thrive without much attention from you.
3. LIVEN UP YOUR BATHROOM.
Take advantage of the humidity you create every time you shower by putting a moisture-loving fern or bromeliad in your bathroom. Some species will even thrive without ever seeing the sun, if your bathroom is fluorescent-lit (and you don't mind leaving the lights on for your plants all day long).
4. TRAIN UP A CLIMBER.
Plants like philodendron and pothos can be trained to climb on just about any indoor structure, or placed high up on a shelf so that their long vines dangle decoratively. And if you love the gothic look of ivy, good news: English ivy is an invasive climber outdoors, but indoors, it can be trained nicely on a trellis, or—if you're really ambitious—up a wall of its own. Bonus: One study found that ivy will help clean your air of fecal particles. A pretty climbing vine and poop-free air? Sounds like a win-win.
5. MAKE YOUR WALL MORE SUCCULENT.
Courtesy of West Elm
If you're feeling crafty and have some time to spare, a vertical garden of low-maintenance succulents can be a beautiful way to spruce up your home with a gorgeous living tableau of color, shape, and texture. Use a DIY tutorial to build your own from scratch, or score one from a craftsperson like SucculentWonderland on Etsy. Retailers like West Elm also provide the plants and terrarium materials in kits that you can assemble yourself.
6. DRESS UP YOUR SPACE WITH EASY-TO-PLEASE HOUSE PLANTS.
Some indoor plants require a real green thumb and a lot of TLC, but a little water and reasonably controlled temperatures are all you need for low-maintenance house plants to thrive. And if your space isn't sunny, don't worry; some of the prettiest plants actually prefer not to receive direct light, which makes them perfect for city dwellers (whose sun exposure is often blocked by close, tall buildings) or people whose windows face north. Species like peace lily and spider plants will be perfectly happy with partial or ambient light.
7. PLANT A TREE.
Not interested in wee potted plants? Think bigger. Ficus, fiddleleaf figs, and rubber trees are just a few of the tree species that thrive inside and add a gorgeous splash of green to your living space.
8. GO FAUX.
Fake plants might seem like a cop-out to the dedicated gardener, but let's be real: There's no law that says you have to shoulder the responsibility of caring for actual living flora to enjoy the aesthetic benefits of house plants, especially if you travel a lot, or have a pet who likes to graze on your indoor greenhouse. The possibilities are limitless; if it exists in nature (and sometimes even if it doesn't!), a silk or plastic version is available. And even if you prefer—and have—the real thing, mixing some phony plants in with the authentic ones can be a nice way to add some diversity without the extra work of maintaining a finicky species like orchids.