15 Tiny Houseplants For Your Indoor Garden
Are you looking for a plant you can grow indoors that has a smaller growth profile? There are plenty of tiny indoor-friendly plants you can add to your houseplant collection. In this article, gardening expert and houseplant enthusiast Madison Moulton looks at her favorite houseplants that are quite small, but still beautiful.
Images of expansive indoor jungles have swept social media, featuring lush leafy plants and massive indoor trees. However, not everyone has the time or the patience to care for a collection of large indoor plants.
Big leaves are certainly on trend at the moment, but what about the tiny plants that take up as little space as possible? These adorable species are great table toppers or shelf decorators, often needing little attention to grow well.
If you prefer plants on the smaller side, take a look at this list of the most popular tiny indoor plants for the next member of your houseplant collection. You’ll find many different types of indoor friendly plants, including some popular succulents.
String of Pearls
In the world of adorable houseplants, nothing is quite as cute as string of pearls. You will find them labeled Curio rowleyanus or previously Senecio rowleyanus, but string of pearls is the perfect descriptor for this succulent vine.
String of pearls is a prominent member of the loosely defined string succulents group. The many succulents in this collection – including colorful names like string of bananas or string of dolphins – are prime candidates for growing indoors thanks to their tolerance of lower light levels.
This succulent vine remains small its entire life, dotted with tiny pearls along thin and delicate vines. This adorable look does come at somewhat of a cost though – the vines can be quite delicate. Prune regularly so they don’t get too long and add extra pressure to the roots, especially when planted in hanging baskets.
Kalanchoe is another succulent great for growing indoors. The kalanchoe genus is packed with interesting species, but you’ll typically come across the more common Kalanchoe blossfeldiana in your local nursery. Part of the Crassulaceae family, it is closely related to succulent houseplants like the jade plant.
Thanks to their succulent nature, kalanchoe is quite easy to care for once you understand its needs. But the benefits don’t stop there. These indoor plants are most sought-after for their flowers, appearing in a wide array of colors across different species and cultivars.
These compact plants also don’t grow very large, especially when confined to smaller containers. For an added decorative element, try planting these blooming plants in an old teacup to soften the look of the leaves. Just make sure to drill a hole in the bottom to avoid any chances of root rot.
Polka Dot Plant
The common name of Hypoestes phyllostachya perfectly describes the look of this plant. Instantly recognizable, the leaves have patches of variegation in many bright and eye-catching colors. Pink is a personal favorite, but there are also types with patches of red or even white to choose from.
The small leaves of this plant remain compact, ideal for smaller decorative areas in your home that need a pop of color. They can grow bigger if given the space, so keep the plant in a smaller pot if you want to contain its growth. Instead of repotting, remove the plant and trim the roots every year or so to control size.
Their small stature also makes polka dot plants perfect for placing in terrariums. Pair with moss and a few decorative elements from the garden to make the colorful foliage the star of the show.
Lithops are impossible to miss in the succulent section of a nursery. They instantly draw the eye thanks to their unusual look that has been compared to hooves, brains, or stones (the root of their common name).
This group is native to desserts of Southern Africa and is completely different from any other plant you may have encountered. They survive on almost no water – teaspoons at a time – and have a pair of fused leaves that gently separate to reveal an adorable flower in the right conditions.
Although this is one of the tiniest of all the tiny houseplants on this list, it does come with a catch. Lithops are not suitable for low-light areas. The leaves will stretch and die off if they don’t receive a full day of direct sunlight.
You are more likely to know this genus by their common classification – air plants. As epiphytes, these interesting plants absorb moisture from the air around them, needing only the occasional dunk in a sink of water to replicate the heavy rains found in their native environments. Beyond that, high humidity and sunlight are all they really need to thrive.
Tillandsias don’t always remain small. In fact, I used to have one in my houseplant collection that was almost the same size as my arm (for reference, I do have very short arms). But these slow growers do remain small for long periods and are usually sold at about the size of your palm.
Their shape and growth habit makes these plants ideal focal points in your home. Grab a decorative piece of wood and attach a few different types to create your own indoor art piece that won’t take up too much space.
This next entry is typically grown outdoors in shady spots as a ground cover. Here, it spreads quickly to form a mat of small leaves that look almost like moss. But, take a clump of that and place it in a pot and you have a wonderful, tiny houseplant to add to your collection.
Scientifically known as Soleirolia soleirolii, baby tears are related to nettles. Their soft and delicate leaves grow densely, filling containers with a vision of green. They also gently cascade over the sides of containers and make ideal hanging plants.
Unfortunately, baby tears can be tricky to grow. They need plenty of moisture to maintain their cute leaves and are far better grown outdoors in the right climates than indoors. But, if you give them the attention they need, they will be rewarding houseplants to grow.
African violets are instantly recognizable and beloved in their houseplant world. They are most well-known for their flowers that appear almost all year round in the right conditions. Brightly colored blooms with a glittery sheen emerge above fluffy green-gray leaves to create the timeless look houseplant collectors love.
African violets remain compact throughout their lives. Although the leaves may increase in size when given enough space, they will never grow to the size of other common houseplants.
Once you buy one of these stunning indoor plants, it’s hard not to want more. Luckily, you can turn your collection into a wonderful indoor feature. All you need is a small shelf or counter and plenty of pots. They are also easy to propagate from individual leaves if you don’t feel like spending money to expand your collection.
Chinese Money Plant
Chinese money plants are part of the Pilea genus (with the full name Pilea peperomioides). This genus is full of different species, each with cute and compact foliage that remains relatively small for its entire life.
They also continue to produce smaller versions of themselves that can be removed and replanted to keep the plants small and propagate at the same time. Simply remove the plant from its container, trim off the plantlets where they connect to the main stem and replant them into their own individual containers.
Along with compact size, Chinese money plants come with an interesting look and shape. They are also known as ufo plants after the almost perfectly round foliage. After years, the stems can become quite tall, covered in clusters of spherical leaves. But when growing indoors, most will remain small.
Most plants in the popular Peperomia genus are tiny. They may expand along vines, but the leaves that dot those vines remain quite small. One of the most sought-after members of this genus is Peperomia caperata, also known as the ripple peperomia.
Ripple peperomias are easy to identify thanks to their highly textured leaves. They have a gentle heart shape, with deep crevices that make the foliage appear rippled. They also come in many colors, including dramatic deep burgundy or interesting mottled green.
Under the right conditions, contrasting spadix flowers will emerge high above the leaves. Standing straight up, they add a bit more height to the plant overall, but don’t change its generally compact nature. In fact, flowers are a sign of a healthy peperomia and should be celebrated whenever they appear.
Much like the Peperomia genus, the Hoya genus is also full of plants that remain quite small (if you don’t count the length of the vines, which can reach several feet long). But the smallest of all is the sweetheart hoya, a common sight around Valentine’s Day.
The plants themselves aren’t particularly small – or at least not as small as some other plants on this list. But Hoya kerrii is often sold as a single leaf in a tiny container, the characteristic that makes it one of the tiniest houseplants you can buy.
Without a piece of the stem, these individual leaves won’t grow into fuller sweetheart hoyas with time. However, the ends will develop roots that can keep that individual leaf alive for longer periods, drawing water and nutrients from the soil. If you’re looking for a low-maintenance gift for a loved one, this is the perfect choice.
A moon cactus is one of the most interesting plants you can add to your houseplant collection. They are easy to spot, with colorful tops that almost look like fake cactuses. They are completely real, but due to their vivid colors are not able to survive on their own. To keep them alive, they are attached to other succulent species that contain chlorophyll for photosynthesis.
Moon cactuses grow quite slowly for this reason, remaining small for long periods. Even if they do grow slightly larger, they are still happy to grow in smaller pots and will easily fit on your home office desk or on a bright shelf.
They can be tricky to care for, so make sure you follow our moon cactus guide if you choose to grow these plants.
Another succulent plant, the Echeveria genus is probably the most recognizable of all the succulents. The geometric shapes and compact forms remain small, spreading outwards by creating small versions of the parent plant.
Echeverias, and succulents generally, aren’t ideal for indoor growth. They need a full day of direct sun to remain as compact as they are when you first purchase them. Without the right light levels, the stems will begin to stretch and look diminished – a process known as etiolation.
But, if your home has the perfect sunny south-facing windowsill, you should have no problem growing these succulents indoors. If they begin to overcrowd the container, simply repot and separate the pups, keeping them in the same small container they came in originally.
Members of the Aloe genus are not known for being small. They can grow several feet tall, sporting juicy thick leaves and gorgeous orange flowers that are pollinator magnets during the winter months. Luckily, there is a small species that just happens to be one of the most popular – Aloe vera.
Those who want to try growing Aloe vera indoors will need a bright window that gets a minimum of six hours of direct light per day, preferably more.
They also tend to not look their best when grown indoors and may need some more attention compared to your other houseplants. But, if the container remains small where their growth can be controlled, this Aloe will remain compact indoors.
Venus Fly Trap
Now for something a little different, we have the world’s most famous carnivorous plant – the Venus fly trap.
Scientifically known as Dionaea muscipula, this fascinating species evolved traps in low-nutrient habitats that would catch nearby bugs for nutrients. The traps are lined with a sticky substance that breaks down the insect to feed the plant, meaning they don’t rely on fertilizers or nutrient-dense soil like other houseplants to keep themselves alive.
Venus fly traps are another tricky plant to care for. But if you’re looking for something to fill a small space, they are certainly perfect candidates, remaining small for their short lives.
Closely related to lithops, baby toes (Fenestraria rhopalophylla) are becoming popular on social media for their interesting look.
Small columns of green emerge from the soil in clumps with translucent tops that allow the sunlight to reach the leaf cells lower down. This protects them from harsh weather and predators in their native habitats, with much of the plant buried below the soil.
Of all the tiny plants, these are probably the most adorable in common name and in look. If you spot one, make sure you snatch it up quickly as they tend to sell out.
There are many different houseplants that grow in smaller stature. The key is finding the perfect plant for your indoor garden, even if you have a limited growing space.
Any of the plants you’ve read about here will provide a compact growing profile, and generally have low-maintenance care requirements. So, the only question is, which of these pint-sized indoor plants are going to be the next addition to your houseplant collection?