If you only have a small space, no room to grow plants outside or, like me, you have accumulated a lot of little pots over the years, small pot plants are for you. Small pot plants are a great way to fill tricky indoor spaces such as desks and window sills with life and color. Our guide to small pot plants is designed to highlight some of the most versatile and attractive options.
What Are Small Pot Plants?
While some plants quickly outgrow a small pot, others remain small. Ideally small pot plants won’t exceed 15 inches in height or spread. Additionally they should not produce lots of large roots, meaning they won’t easily become rootbound or require transplanting. Many of the small pot plants listed below are happiest when planted in a pot that is slightly too snug. They are also easy to grow, low maintenance specimens.
Most small pot plants are for a range of uses and rooms. Many of the suggestions on our list can be placed on bedside tables, shelves, desks or used in vertical planters and terrariums.
The following are some of the most versatile and attractive small pot plants.
1 Rex Begonia
Rex Begonia, also known as the Painted-Leaf Begonia, is one of the most eye-catching small pot plants. The rich, variegated, often flamboyant foliage is a great way to introduce color and interest to a room. Not the easiest of small pot plants to care for, our guide to caring for Rex Begonia has all the information that you need to successfully cultivate these attractive specimens.
The colorful foliage of Rex Begonia can quickly fill a space.
As well as a good houseplant, Rex Begonia is also a good outdoor plant. Ideal as part of a container garden you can also grow Rex Begonia as part of a mixed flower bed or border. When grown outside, in the ground, Rex Begonia is an annual plant.
Peperomia (Peperomia obtusifolia), also known as the Baby Rubber Plant, is one of the most popular houseplants for a very good reason. Peperomia is an easy to care for plant that thrives in low light and highly humid positions. In fact regular watering is all the maintenance that the Peperomia needs.
When it comes to caring for small pot plants that like humid conditions, the VIVOSUN Digital Indoor Hydrometer is a good investment. This device measures temperature and humidity levels around your flowers, enabling you to ensure that the ideal conditions are constantly maintained.
Ideal for inexperienced or nervous gardeners, Peperomia colorful foliage enlivens even the blandest space. Further adding to the attraction, there are a number of different Peperomia varieties such as Peperomia Caperata. This attractive cultivar is also known as Silver Ripple because the foliage looks like it has been sprinkled with silver dust.
Another distinctive Peperomia cultivar is Rosso which produces dark, rippled foliage with a red underside. This interesting feature makes the bushy compact Rosso plant a good choice for indoor hanging baskets.
The variegated leaves of some Peperomia cultivars provide lots of interest.
3 Nerve Plant
The Nerve Plant (Fittonia) is one of the most popular small pot plants. Coming in a range of patterns and colors, the Nerve Plant does best in a high humidity area, such as the bathroom. Fittonia also requires regular watering in order to thrive. Fittonias are a good choice for planting in a terrarium.
Distinguished by the colorful veins that mark their leaves, the different types of Nerve Plant species can be red, pink or a silver-white in color. Native to the rainforests of South America, these specimens struggle in temperate climates and are best grown as houseplants.
A little tricky to grow, our guide to growing the Nerve Plant has all the information you need to master Nerve Plant care. These attractive specimens are well worth the effort.
Fittonia’s colorful foliage lifts little spaces.
4 Moth Orchid
The Moth Orchid (Phalaenopsis) is one of the most exotic entries on our small pot plants list. Ideal for compact spaces such as bedside tables or the bathroom window sills, despite appearing delicate the attractive blooms of the Moth Orchid are pleasingly easy to care for. Just make sure that you don’t overwater the roots. While not strictly necessary, an application of diluted fertilizer every few weeks helps to encourage flowering.
With the right care the Moth Orchid’s attractive flowers can be encouraged to last for months. A long lived plant, you may need to occasionally repot your orchid. Despite their exoitc appearance the moth orchid is a versatile plant that doesn’t require any specialist care or knowledge in order to thrive.
The exotic blooms of the Moth Orchid are ideal for compact spaces.
5 Flamingo Flower
Flamingo Flower (Anthurium) is one of the more distinctive small pot plants on our list. As the alternative name, Painter’s Palette, suggests the waxy red flower, which is actually a colorful leaf, resembles the palettes used by painters.
The colorful red leaves emerge from the Flamingo Flower’s lush, green foliage. As the colorful leaf develops, a spadix or fleshy spike protrudes from it. This can feel rough to the touch because it is actually made up of lots of tiny flowers. If pollinated, which is unlikely if you are growing Flamingo Flower as a houseplant, the spandex can produce clusters of berry-like red fruit.
A long lasting and attractive plant, Flamingo Flower typically reaches a height of between 12 and 18 inches. This is a low maintenance flower which is ideal for compact spaces. Best placed in indirect light and well draining soil.
Flamingo Flower’s red leaf and protruding spandex can resemble a painter’s palette.
6 African Violet
The next entry on our list of small pot plants for indoor spaces, the African Violet (Saintpaulia) is one of the most popular indoor flowers. Capable of growing in a range of soil types, the main growing requirement is that you put the plant in a light position and keep the foliage dry when watering. The easiest way to do this is to place the African Violet in a dish and add water to the dish, allowing the plant to soak up the moisture that it needs.
A popular plant amongst grandparents and older relatives, the African Violet developed a reputation for being an old-fashioned plant. Despite this unfavorable reputation, in recent years the African Violet has started to enjoy a resurgence in popularity. This is largely thanks to the new varieties that are being developed. As well as producing colorful flowers, which can also be picotee or ruffled, newer cultivars can also display attractive, variegated foliage.
The dainty flowers of the African Violet are typically purple in color. However, white, pink and lavender flowering cultivars can also be found.
A compact plant with a free-flowering nature, the African Violet is best planted in a container that is slightly too snug. This encourages lots of flowers to form.
An old fashioned choice, the delicate purple blooms of African Violet sit above thick, green leaves.
7 Aloe Vera
One of the most useful small pot plants, Aloe Vera is part of the succulent family. As well as being visually attractive, the fleshy leaves can also be used to soothe sunburn, minor burns, cuts and scrapes.
Aloe Vera is a low maintenance succulent that is best planted in a sunny spot. Remember to allow the soil to dry out before watering. Aloe Vera is also easy to propagate. This can be done by simply removing and potting on the pups that grow at the base of the mother plant.
Aloe Vera does well in a light window but also tolerates low light positions.
There are over 400 different types of aloe vera including Stone Aloe (Aloe Petricola) which produces vibrant red, yellow and orange blooms which sit above long blue-green leaves. Stone Aloe also improves air quality.
Cape Aloe (Aloe Ferox) is popular for its thick, dull green leaves which are decorated with red-brown spines and red flowers. Coral Aloe (Aloe Striata) is another colorful cultivar. Coral Aloe’s foliage ranges in color from pale gray-greens to deep bronzes and browns with a pink tinge.
Aloe Vera is both a reliable and useful specimen.
8 Baby Toes
Baby Toes (Fenestraria rhopalophylla) is one of the more distinctive small pot plants. So called because it is ideal for compact spaces or planting as part of a succulent arrangement. Like many small pot plants, you can also cultivate Baby Toes in a Ferrisland Glass Terrarium as part of a succulent display.
A versatile option, Baby Toes tolerates a range of different light conditions. Baby Toes is just as happy in a corner or on a bedside table as it is in a bright window. Just remember to plant Baby Toes in succulent appropriate soil and try not to overwater it.
9 Jade Plant
Jade plant (Crassula ovata) is another of the low maintenance small pot plants on our list. These elegant houseplants, that are surprisingly easy to care for, are sometimes called the Lucky Plant or Money Tree because some people believe that they bring good luck to the home. This has made the Jade Plant a popular housewarming gift.
Jade plant is an attractive succulent that is native to South Africa and Mozambique. The oval shaped plump foliage which sits on thick woody stems can give the Jade plant a tree-like appearance, helping to make it one of the more distinctive small pot plants on our list. While some types of Jade plant can reach up to 3 ft, more compact varieties are also available.
Jade is identified by its distinctive plump, oval leaves.
10 String of Pearls
Sting of Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus) is another of the succulents on our small pot plants list. Named after its pea-shaped foliage that can resemble a stream of cascading green pearls, String of Pearls can develop into a large specimen. However, they are easily kept under control by planting in a snug container and propagating as and when necessary.
String of Pearls has a vining growth habit. When planted in a container it pours over the sides if no support is provided. They can also be planted in a hanging basket or trained to grow up a trellis. One of the more unique small pot plants on our list, while String of Pearls is classed as a succulent it is actually part of the asteraceae family, meaning that it is more closely related to the daisy than the cactus.
Thanks to its sprawling growth habit, String of Pearls is an attractive choice for planting in a hanging basket.
11 Venus Fly Trap
The Venus Fly Trap is one of the most reliable small pot plants that also repels flies. These carnivorous specimens are often unfairly seen as a novelty plant for children. However the Venus Fly Trap (Dionaea muscipula) is also, with the right care, a great small pot plants choice.
The leaves of the Venus Fly Trap teeth-like raspy edges with fine trigger hairs. If touched twice these snap shut, imprisoning flies and ticks.
A quirky plant it is best planted in a sphagnum peat moss because it is sensitive to soil minerals. Water your Venus Fly Trap with distilled water for similar reasons.
Venus Fly Traps like bright light and cool winter temperatures. After consuming an insect the leaves closer tightly enabling the digestive fluids to break down its prey. Once digested the leaves slowly re-open. The resilient little specimens can go for up to two months between meals.
The Venus Fly Trap is more than just a novelty plant.
12 Flaming Katy
Flaming Katy (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana) is another of our small pot plants that is classed as a succulent. Available in a wide range of colors, you can also find single and double flowering varieties. This range of choice means that there is a Flaming Katy for everybody.
Flaming Katy typically flowers in the fall, producing attractive blooms in shades of red, pink, roagne, white and yellow which sit above glossy dark green leaves. The leaves often have serrated edges, adding further interest. Ideal for compact spaces, mature specimens can have an eye-catching cup shape.
Flaming Katy is a winter flowering succulent, this means that it brings color and life to plant collections that may otherwise be dormant. When not in flower the green foliage provides year round interest. Easy to care for, Flaming Katy repeat blooms year after year.
Flaming Katy is popular for its profuse flowering habit.
13 Polka Dot Plant
The Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya) is so called because of the polka dot pattern on its foliage. These white spots pop out, contrasting nicely with the green foliage. You can also find red, yellow, pink or light green spotted varieties.
In its natural habitat, in South Africa and Madagascar, this is a reliable, evergreen shrub. In cooler climates the Polka Dot Plant is ideal for growing in small containers and terrariums. Wherever you choose to use the plant, make sure the surrounding humidity levels are high. If they are not high enough, regularly misting the foliage helps to keep your Polk Dot specimen looking lush and healthy.
Regular misting helps to encourage lush green, speckled foliage.
Ideal for compact containers, in favorable, humid areas Polka Dot Plant can also be planted in a large planter or flower bed. Here it can reach a height and spread of 3 ft.
There are many different types of Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) all of which share the tropical plants trailing or vining growth habit. One of the easiest to care for small pot plants, Pothos grows indoors without a lot of regular maintenance, filling even the most compact space with masses of attractive, heart shaped leaves.
An ideal choice for hanging baskets, where the vines and foliage drape attractively downwards, Pothos leaves are typically leathery and glossy. Like a number of the other small pot plants on our list, Pothos also purifies the air around it as well as bringing color and interest to the home.
Pothos is one of the most reliable specimens on our list.
Echeveria is one of the most popular succulents. Closely related to Hens and Chicks (Sempervivum) these small pot plants tend to be less hardy, making Echeveria an ideal houseplant.
Developing into a compact leafy rosette as it grows, Echeveria are distinctive specimens that come in a range of different colors and patterns. Happiest in a light position, if you don’t have enough bright light you can place under grow lights. Like other succulents, Echeveria leaves are thick and full, particularly when well watered.
Easy to care for, there are over 100 different Echeveria cultivars including:
- Topsy Turvey is a unique looking cultivar with downward facing leaves. Dusty blue in color, Topsy Turvey leaves are said to be shaped like tiny hearts.
- Lola produces wide, round leaves with pointed tips. Usually green in color, the leaves can turn pink if sun-stressed
- Black Prince is a particularly attractive cultivar because, when placed in a light position, its leaves turn an attractive shade of black or dark purple. In darker positions, the leaves remain green.
Echeveria develops a distinctive leafy rosette.
When it comes to finding small pot plants for indoor spaces the choice can seem overwhelming. The specimens listed above are a good starting point. Attractive and easy to care for, they suit a range of different styles and situations.
Many of our small pot plants provide a natural way to enliven and improve living spaces. Whether you choose to just grow one or two small pot plants or start your own living wall, the small pot plants listed above provide a great way to introduce greenery and interest to even the smallest space.
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.