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The Best Indoor Plants to Grow in Small Pots or Containers

You love gardening, but you have a tiny home or apartment, hence why you want indoor plants you can grow in small pots or containers. These houseplants shouldn’t get excessively large, as you can’t accommodate too much growth. Which plants should you have your eye on? We researched to provide you the answer.

What are the best indoor plants to grow in small pots or containers? The best indoor plants to grow in small pots or containers are as follows:

  • Fern
  • Rosemary
  • Coriander
  • Salad onions
  • Pansies
  • Chili plants
  • Snapdragon
  • Carrots
  • Spider plant
  • Lettuce
  • Zucchini
  • Swiss chard
  • Thyme
  • Cucumbers
  • Potatoes
  • Strawberries
  • Radishes
  • Chives
  • Tomatoes
  • Beetroot

As you can see, most of the 20 indoor plants on this list are edible! On top of enjoying a beauteous garden in a small space, you can also eat a lot of what you grow. Let’s talk more in-depth about each of these versatile houseplants now.

20 Houseplants That Grow in Small Pots or Containers

Fern

If you’re an avid reader of this blog, then you know a lot about ferns by now. These vascular plants have plenty of indoor varieties, including the button fern, bird’s nest fern, blue star fern, cretan brake fern, staghorn fern, maidenhair fern, holly fern, and—a favorite of this blog—the Boston fern.

You won’t have to worry about your indoor fern taking over your other houseplants, as they’re not excessively large. A basic container will hold the fern adequately, but make sure you keep it in the shade throughout the day. If you use potting soil to grow your fern, then only buy the well-draining kind. Sometimes, it’s advocated to add rocks to a fern container, but you know from this blog how that’s not the best idea! Avoid doing this please.

Rosemary

Herbs will appear a lot on this list, as they’re so easy to grow and don’t need a lot of room in which to do so. The first herb we’ll talk about is the Salvia rosmarinus or rosemary. This herb is also a perennial with a natural, woodsy scent and needles like a pine tree. In some instances, rosemary can develop flowers in hues like blue, purple, pink, or white. It’s a lovely sight to say the least!

You can use either a small pot or container for your rosemary, but make sure you keep your eyes peeled for mildew. Poor air circulation can cause mildew to develop on your houseplant, which could kill it. Let the soil dry mostly out before watering and always use potting soil with great drainage. South-facing windows with strong, bright light will also produce healthy rosemary.

Coriander

Here’s another herb you can add to your indoor garden: coriander. An Apiaceae family member, coriander is also known as cilantro, or that garnish that goes on plenty of delicious dishes. Cilantro comes from the leaves and stems of the coriander plant and contains about 22.71 calories for each 100 grams of the plant. You could even enjoy the seeds if you felt like, as the entire plant can be eaten.

To get your coriander to the point of harvesting, you should choose a small pot to plant some coriander seeds. Add potting soil with a rich consistency and then avoid overwatering. Watch where you keep the coriander plant in your home or apartment, too. In the morning, it likes direct sunlight, but not all day. Once the afternoon sun rays come in through your window, give your indoor plant dappled light instead.

Salad Onion

The salad onion has many nicknames, among them the spring onion, Japanese bunching onion, long green onion, bunching onion, and Welsh onion. Many of them describe the look of the Allium fistulosum, which has long, tall green stalks and rounded yellow flowers at the top. You don’t eat the flowers, of course, but you can munch on the stalks. They go especially well in salads. If you’ve ever eaten regular ol’ onions before, the salad onion doesn’t taste a whole lot different.

Do you have a small-ish container lying around from other indoor planting adventures? That’s the perfect place to grow your salad onions. Shallow soil is ideal, about half an inch into the dirt. When the soil dries out, water it. It should take about eight weeks before you can harvest your salad onions, but the wait is very much worth it.

Pansy

Here’s a fun fact: pansies are edible. Granted, they sort of taste like grass, but they look beautiful atop soups, cakes, and salads. The pansy came about when a few flower species got hybridized. What you get is a gorgeous flower with lighter and darker patterns. While lots of pansies are white and purple, that’s far from their only hues. This indoor plant can also grow in shades of yellow and lavender, sometimes even in one flower!

Your pansies will get along with flowers, ferns, herbs, vegetables, fruits, and just about anything else your tiny indoor garden may contain. They only need a pot and then their beauty will astound you every day all year long. Yes, that’s right; because you’re keeping them in your home, apartment, or office, the pansy never loses its luster.

Chili Plant

Do you have a taste for all things hot? If so, then you must add the chili plant to your indoor garden. This houseplant grows chili peppers. As a part of the Solanaceae family, chili peppers will spice up any dish you add them to. You can also grow sweet peppers, poblano, peri-peri, cayenne pepper, jalapeno, or habanero. Each has varying degrees of hotness, so it’s worth trying them all!

Put your chili plant on a windowsill, please. It’d be great if you could someday move it to its own indoor greenhouse. At the very least, generate heat through other methods, such as with heat lamps or adjusting your home’s humidity. That’s because the chilies will have more of a kick if they grow in a warmer environment.

Snapdragon

While you can and should eat a lot of the houseplants on this list, you might want to skip the snapdragon. Sure, they’re edible, but no one really noshes on them because they’re kind of bitter. Anyway, the snapdragon or Antirrhinum also goes by the name dragon flower. The tall, cone-shaped gathering of flowers is said to look like the face of a dragon if you squeeze the bunches laterally. It’s almost like the dragon has opened and closed its mouth!

With the wealth of colors afforded to you by a snapdragon, this flowering plant can brighten up any drab home or office. Despite that they may look delicate, snapdragons are quite durable. Even somewhat inexperienced gardeners should manage theirs well enough then. Make sure your snapdragon gets copious amounts of sunlight, at least six hours every day but preferably eight.

Carrot

Carrots should need no introduction. This bright vegetable is known for being orange, but it also comes in a rainbow of other hues. These include yellow, white, red, black, and purple. You even get subtle differences in flavor when you switch to other carrot colors, so why not add some carrot plants to your indoor garden in all their varieties?

A pot will be your best bet for your carrots, as you need to plant them pretty far down into the soil. In the warmer months, provide water when the soil dries out and give the carrot plant lots of sun. One very important facet of growth is maintaining the foliage of your carrot plant. If damage occurs through bruising, insects known as the carrot fly could hover around your plant and destroy the roots, killing your poor carrots.

Spider Plant

Blog readers will recognize the spider plant by now. In fact, you may have even grown your very own spider plant since. Here’s something we never talked about, though. Like so many of the other indoor plants that thrive in small pots or containers, you can eat the spider plant. Just make sure your pet doesn’t get some, as this houseplant doesn’t get along well with cats or dogs.

While spider plants grow long, dangling vines not unlike the arachnid they’re named after, these houseplants don’t get super large. They look best if you can hang them, such as in a pot or basket. Then their vines can stretch out and dangle.

Lettuce

A staple of any salad, the lettuce plant actually belongs to the Asteraceae or daisy family. You can grow more than a dozen types of lettuce, among them:

  • Watercress (which goes great in salads and soups)
  • Romaine (a darker, leafier type of lettuce)
  • Radicchio (which is unmistakable with its dark red hue)
  • Mizuna (also referred to as Japanese mustard greens)
  • Mesclun (which has green leaves with noticeable red veins)
  • Iceberg (a low-calorie but largely tasteless lettuce type)
  • Frisee (an endive variety)
  • Dandelion greens (which, although it doesn’t sound like it, is lettuce)
  • Butterhead lettuce (which goes by names like Boston and Bibb lettuce)
  • Arugula (which has an appealing spicy taste)

With so many varieties, you could fill your entire indoor garden with lettuce, and no one can blame you for that! No matter which type you pick, it’s better to grow it in a pot. You can plant lettuce using seeds, digging them into very shallow soil with a rich consistency. Then, moisten the soil and you be surprised at the speed lettuce grows.

Zucchini

If you’ve ever wondered where zucchini comes from, it grows from a plant, of course. The zucchini plant will do well indoors, and for your efforts, you can harvest this delicious squash many a time. Make a healthy dinner like zucchini pasta or use the veggie as the crust for a mostly nutritious pizza. Then, take what’s left over of your zucchini cooking and toss it into some bread mix for delectable, unforgettable zucchini bread.

That empty pot you have in your small home or office can house your indoor zucchini plant just fine. Use seed starting mix with no soil and fill the pot up to two inches with it. Then, bury a single zucchini seed half an inch deep into the soil. Water until the soil begins to crumble. Once your zucchinis reach a length of three or four inches, you can harvest them.

Swiss Chard

Admittedly, swiss chard is an acquired taste. The chard plant or Beta vulgaris belongs to the common beet family. Extremely low in calories (seven calories for a cup of chard), most people who eat this veggie will cook it first. Chard does taste especially great cooked with some pepper, nutmeg, thyme, salt, onion, and garlic. If you don’t like the bitter flavor of swiss chard, then try eating it raw. It’s a little milder then.

As swiss chard grows, it sprouts up pretty leaves in hues like bright green and maroon. Some have white stems, but it’s those with the bright red stems that will leave you in awe. To plant your own swiss chard at home even if you don’t have a lot of room, use a small pot and some chard seeds. Bury them an inch into the soil. As you harvest the swiss chard, more will grow in its place.

Thyme

Getting back to herbs for a moment, next we’ve got thyme. It belongs to the Lamiaceae family (aka mint) and the Thymus genus. It’s a perennial evergreen with a fantastic scent. If said scent seems a bit familiar to you, it could be because thyme is close to the Origanum or oregano family. While thyme acts as a topping or garnish for many dishes, in the past, it’s had ornamental and medicinal purposes as well.

Your thyme plant needs an indoor growing environment that’s no lower than 60 degrees Fahrenheit. By using potting mix with perlite, peat moss, some potting soil, and sand, water can drain and your thyme gets the nutrients it needs. Use a clay planter for thyme, as it keeps the roots from soaking for too long.

Cucumber

Another common vegetable, the cucumber belongs to the Cucurbitaceae or gourd family. If you’ve only ever seen cucumbers at your local grocery store or farmer’s market, here’s something that ought to interest you: cucumbers grow on vines. Also, you can pick from one of three cucumber types, including seedless cucumbers, pickling cucumbers, and slicing cucumbers. Yes, this long, green vegetable is a lot more fascinating than you may have given it credit for.

Get a container for your cucumbers and make sure they’re vertical instead of horizontal as they begin to sprout up. Even if room in your home or office is at a premium, by adding posts or wrapping a cage around your cucumber plant, the vines have something to attach to. Now the cucumber plant won’t take up valuable space from the rest of your indoor garden.

Potato

What can’t you use potatoes in? You could slice them up thin and bake them into slightly healthier chips than what you can find at the grocery store. Besides that, you can also prepare homemade French fries or add potatoes to soaps, salads, and countless side dishes. A filling, carbohydrate-heavy starch, potatoes can even be your main dish.

Like the cucumber, you want your potatoes upright as they begin growing. A container can hold them, but make sure it’s deep, at least six inches. Mix light sand with potting soil (with a ratio of 1:1 sand to 10:1 potting soil). Then add your tubers and, within a few weeks, you should notice foliage appear.

Strawberry

You may have stopped buying strawberries once summer ended, but now you can enjoy an endless summer with your own strawberry houseplant. In the Fragaria genus, strawberries are a light, sweet treat that tastes good anytime. Whether you like yours dipped in sugar or chocolate or maybe even plain, you can’t go wrong with some strawberries in your indoor garden.

Okay, so how do you even get started growing strawberries? You want to use a container and make sure the summery fruit gets lots of sunlight, six hours daily. A grow light can supplement lost sunlight, such as during the autumn and winter. Maintain soil dampness and fertilize on occasion. You’ll know when the strawberries are ready for harvesting because they’ll look juicy and red.

Radish

Given how deep in the soil radishes grow, you probably didn’t think you could plant them at home, let alone in a small office or apartment, right? Well, you’d be surprised. The Brassicaceae family member is one that you can enjoy whenever you want once you begin planting your own. Considering the crunch and color they add to salads, you won’t want to go without radishes.

It’s a tricky dance keeping up with a radish’s moisture requirements. They need some moisture for root health, but with too much, the roots could die. Make sure you don’t plant too many seeds, keeping each one an inch from one another. If you ever have the space to upgrade your container size, then you can grow more radishes at the same time.

Chives

The Allium schoenoprasum or chives are within the same family as the salad onion, scallion, leek, shallot, and garlic, hence the Allium in their name. These perennials look a lot like grass before being harvested. You take a handful of chives, chop them finely, and then savor the slight dash of flavor they add to all sorts of meals.

You’ll get more chives the bigger the pot you use, but even a few chives should let you garnish most of your dishes. Each day, make sure the chives get four to six hours of sunlight, with more okay if you forget about your plant by accident. Like the radish, grow lights can fill in for those days with little sun. If you have established chives to use to grow a new houseplant, you can speed up the growing process. Otherwise, seeds work great.

Tomato

Only the second fruit on this list (yes, as we’ve talked about before, tomatoes are technically a fruit), imagine what you could do with your own supply of fresh, delicious tomatoes. You can make pasta sauce, tomato soup, or homemade pizzas a whole lot more often. Once you find out how easy it is to grow tomatoes, even if space at home is tight, you’ll always want them in your indoor garden.

Fill a small container with seeds to get started. Mix with potting soil and keep the containers in a sunny environment with plenty of warmth. You will have to water your houseplant a lot at first, every single day. Once the tomato seeds become seedlings, you can cut back on watering them quite as often. Oh, and don’t forget to give your tomato houseplants eight hours of daily light for the fruit to grow big and yummy.

Beetroot

From a red fruit to a red veggie, the last indoor plant to grow in a small pot or container is beetroot. Whether you call them golden beets, dinner beets, red beets, sugar beets, garden beets, or table beets, when you eat beetroot, it’s nothing more than the plant’s toproot.

Use a deep container with holes for growing beetroot, then add a sandy soil to it that’s 16 inches deep. Keep the beets spaced from one another (by a foot) or they’ll compete for growth space. Each seed should have a depth of ¼ inches into the soil. Temperatures shouldn’t dip below 50 degrees when growing beetroot (and yes, they like it colder than most indoor plants). Within 17 days, germination should occur.

Related Questions

Are apples flowering plants?

You may have been surprised to learn that some of the houseplants on this list can grow flowers. Although we didn’t talk about apples, you’re still curious: do these houseplants produce their own flowers as well?

Indeed, they do. Apple trees are known as angiosperms, which is just another word for flowering plants. The type of flower grown on apple trees is the apple blossom, a white, appealing flower.

How small can squash grow in a container?

What if you want to grow squash in your home, apartment, or office? You must choose the variety quite carefully, as certain squash types can easily exceed 20 pounds. Obviously, you won’t have the room for that.

Try looking into small pumpkins and even acorn squash if you need a tiny squash to plant in a container.

I’m a lover of plants, animals, photography, & people, not necessarily in that order. Currently, I’m focused on photographing indoor plants & chachkies. I write & rewrite articles about creating an environment where indoor plants can thrive. I’m good at listening to music but bad at shopping to muzak.

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9 Cute Small Indoor Plants

The Spruce / Kara Riley

Houseplants filter our air, raise the humidity in our environment, and add a touch of nature to our surroundings. However, not everyone has room to cultivate a fiddle leaf fig or an areca palm plant indoors. Grow one of these cute small indoor plants in a teacup, on a ledge, or anywhere you need a green boost.

Baby Tears

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The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

Everything about Soleirolia soleirolii is cute: the common name of baby tears elicits that “aww” reaction, and the myriad of tiny leaves gives character and charm to this easy houseplant. Grow baby tears in a small terrarium or under a glass cloche in bright filtered sunlight to give this small plant the humidity it craves to stay lush.

String of Pearls

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The Spruce / Kara Riley

The Senecio genus of succulents gives us so many interesting leaf forms, including the string of pearls S. rowleyanus, which so closely resemble every kid’s least favorite veggie (but isn’t at all edible). The plant’s unusual leaf form helps it thrive in its native South Africa, where the spherical leaves both maximize water retention while minimizing leaf surface area that would result in water lost to evaporation. String of pearls will trail daintily from a small hanging container in a warm room with filtered light; snip off the pearls as needed to shape and keep in bounds.

Air Plant

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The Spruce / Kori Livingston

Few plants are as forgiving as those in the Tillandsia genus. These epiphytes live perched on branches in frost-free environments, taking the moisture they need from the air using specially adapted scales on their spiky leaves. Mount them on driftwood, arrange them in a basket, or create a soil-free mini terrarium for these mess-free plants. They grow very slowly and need little more than partial sunlight and a weekly dunking in water to stay hydrated.

Donkey’s Tail

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The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

Sedum morganianum is the perfect houseplant for that person who has a bright sunny spot that has room for a small trailing or creeping plant. The fleshy, succulent leaves of the donkey’s tail are a clue to the drought tolerance of this plant. You should grow donkey’s tail in a sandy cactus potting mix to prevent root rot. If you accidentally break off one of the stems, don’t discard it; donkey’s tail is easy to propagate with cuttings. Just insert the cut end into some soil, and place under a clear enclosure until it forms roots.

Scotch Moss

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A patch of bright green Sagina subulata ‘Aurea’ conjures up notions of garden fairies, gnomes, or any woodland creature who might like to nestle in the ethereal mossy foliage of this one-inch tall plant. As a Scotland native, Scotch moss prefers the cool, moist conditions of its homeland. Frequent misting will keep your moss perky and bright. Indirect light from a north-facing window will help to maintain the chartreuse color without scorching the plant. If your moss produces tiny white flowers, you’ll know you’ve mastered its growing requirements.

Wooly Thyme

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Wherever you need a pick-me-up of aromatherapy, place a container of Thymus pseudolanuginosus. The soft, fuzzy leaves are so touchable and release a savory burst of thyme scent with every pinch. The slow-growing plants only reach three inches in height and creep slowly to form a dense, wooly mat in a full sun container (and may even flower). Water wooly thyme sparingly, when the soil’s surface is dry to the touch.

Venus Fly Trap

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Tim Forsström/Getty Images

Venus flytrap plants are sometimes billed as a novelty plant for kids, but with a little care, they make the perfect small houseplants. The leaves of Dionaea muscipula, with their teeth-like raspy edges, are equipped with trigger hairs that, when touched twice, snap shut on prey insects like those pesky fruit flies you’ve been trying to get rid of. These quirky plants have some equally quirky growing requirements: They do well in a peat moss growing medium, and being sensitive to minerals, need distilled water. Add bright light and cool winter temperatures to ensure a long life for your Venus flytrap.

African Violet

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What’s old is new again. African violets (Saintpaulia) were the “it” plant for your grandparents, but they are enjoying a resurgence, spurred perhaps by fun and funky new varieties with ruffled or picotee blooms and variegated foliage. One thing that hasn’t changed is the compact size of African violets, and their free-flowering nature. These plants like tiny pots, which spurs blooming. Keep your African violets moist and pot-bound, give them bright light, and feed them with a balanced flower fertilizer to keep them performing all year.

Purple Shamrock

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The Spruce / Kara Riley

The Oxalis genus contains several hundred clover species, some of which are weeds, and some of which are highly ornamental. The burgundy or red cultivars, which may produce yellow or white flowers, often appear in garden stores around St. Patrick’s Day. Plants grow six inches tall and eight inches wide in containers, which you should keep on the dry side.

The miniature trend is hot, and houseplants are hopping on the bandwagon. Add these small cute plants to your cubicle, apartment, or tiny house.