If you don’t have enough space in your garden to grow beautiful plants, who says you can’t do it in your basement? You can! But, you will need to ensure that you provide your plants with all the healthy elements they require to thrive, such as enough warmth and moisture.
Some of the best plants for basements include the ZZ plant, cast-iron plant, and spider plant. These are low-maintenance and easy to look after, even if you don’t have a lot of gardening experience.
In this article, I’ll break down 10 of the best plants that can grow in your basement, along with tips on how to look after them so they thrive.
Top Basement-Friendly Plants & How To Grow Them
Growing plants in a basement can be challenging because you’re dealing with low-light conditions and you have to use a planting medium, such as one that’s a blend of vermiculite, peat, and compost, to encourage the plants’ roots to grow.
That said, what makes your basement gardening tasks easier is to choose plants that don’t have many requirements and can grow with minimal care. Here are 10 worth considering.
Otherwise known as Devil’s Ivy, Pothos is a plant with greenish-yellow leaves that is perfect to grow indoors, even in a basement. This is because it can even grow in the dark, so you don’t have to worry if you can’t give it a lot of light. That said, make sure you choose a pothos plant that isn’t very variegated as these types can lose their color if they’re kept in a low-light area of the home.
When looking after your pothos, water it every week or two but allow its soil to dry out between waterings. Since you’ll be keeping it in the basement, you can get away with watering it less because plants kept in brighter light will require more water to keep them hydrated.
What’s great about pothos is that it doesn’t crave lots of humidity – even the dry air of your basement will be suitable. That said, ideal conditions include a humidity of around 50-70%, as this mimics the plant’s natural tropical habitat.
2. Baby Rubber Plant
A baby rubber plant is a succulent with green, ovate-shaped leaves. It’s easy to care for and ideal for basements because it can tolerate a variety of lighting conditions. Although it loves humidity because it’s native to jungles in South America, it will grow at room temperature and in dry indoor air.
Let its soil dry out almost completely before watering your baby rubber plant. It doesn’t want to sit in soggy soil as this can cause root rot, which can be fatal. Its soil should be well-draining, though, so add some perlite to its soil mix. This plant can also benefit from having fertilizer in the spring.
Make sure that your baby rubber plant isn’t exposed to drafts of cold air, as this can cause its leaves to become brown at the tips or edges.
3. Bird’s Nest Fern
This type of fern produces fronds that are approximately two feet (0.6m) long, and they have beautifully curled edges. Although easy to look after, your Bird’s Nest Fern does require some important care tips so that it thrives in the basement.
It needs a lot of warmth and humidity, so if your basement doesn’t provide this you should consider growing it in a terrarium. Easy ways to encourage enough humidity are to install a humidifier in the basement or place the fern pot on a tray that’s filled with pebbles and water.
This plant requires temperatures of 60-80°F (15-26°C), although it will tolerate temperatures as low as 50°F (10°C). If exposed to colder temperatures, it can suffer damage, so you also want to protect it from drafts.
When it comes to its light requirements, the Bird’s Nest Fern requires indirect light, but it can fare well even in low-light conditions. In fact, keeping it out of bright light is beneficial to the plant as it will prevent damage to its fragile fronds.
4. Cast-Iron Plant
If you want to add beautiful greenery to your home, the Cast-Iron plant is a great choice because its dark green, glossy leaves can grow up to two feet (0.6m) in length. Although its blooms aren’t usually displayed when the plant is grown in the home, it’s easy to take care of as it thrives in low-light conditions.
Cast-iron plants don’t want to be watered regularly so you should add water to the soil when it dries out. Keep the soil well-draining, but don’t worry about the type of soil as these plants can tolerate a wide variety. That said, since you’re growing it indoors, the plant benefits from being fed an all-purpose liquid fertilizer that’s been diluted in half. Feed it during the spring and summer when it’s growing.
The best temperature range for these plants is between 60 and 75°F (15-24°C). You want to keep them away from cold temperatures that dip lower than 50°F (10°C), as this can harm them.
5. ZZ Plant
Sometimes called Zanzibar gems, this plant has oval, shiny green leaves that can be so waxy and green that they look fake.
A ZZ plant is known for being low maintenance. You don’t have to worry if you forget to water it because these plants grow from rhizomes that store water beneath the soil. This is why they can also tolerate drought conditions when planted outdoors, as The Spruce reports. These plants only require watering once every week or two.
Ensure that the potting medium in which you plant your ZZ plant is well-draining. With this in mind, regular potting mixes that you purchase at gardening stores or online can work well.
While the plant can grow in areas where there isn’t enough light, this can cause them to become leggy. This is why a spot in the home where they will get bright, indirect light is best. If your basement doesn’t get enough light, you will have to supplement your ZZ plant’s daily light with the use of artificial grow lights.
6. Spider Plant
A spider plant is a common houseplant that requires minimal care, which is probably why it’s so popular. Since it thrives in moderate to bright indirect light conditions, you can grow your spider plant in the home and even in the basement. As a bonus, this type of plant doesn’t want to grow in a direct, harsh light as it can burn its leaves.
Spider plants thrive in temperatures that are between 55° and 80° (12.7-26.6°C), so they’re suitable for growing indoors.
When it comes to the correct soil for your spider plant, choose a well-draining potting mix that will prevent the soil from becoming too wet. You should water your spider plant approximately once a week when the soil becomes dry. However, make sure you provide it with distilled or rainwater as it’s sensitive to fluoride in tap water.
7. Snake Plant
A snake plant, which is also called mother-in-law’s tongue, has green and yellow variegated leaves that are pointy and stretch up to the sky. These plants are great for basements because they don’t need a lot of care. Snake plants tolerate low-light conditions but you might notice that their leaf colors fade a bit when they don’t have a lot of light.
They’re not thirsty plants, as you only need to water them when their soil becomes dry. They don’t want to be waterlogged. During the fall and winter, water them even less.
Something you should do regularly to keep your snake plant in excellent condition is to wipe down its leaves so that dust doesn’t accumulate on them. But be careful when you handle them, as damaging their leaf tips can cause the plant to stop growing.
Snake plants want dry air, so ensure that your basement doesn’t have a lot of humidity. Also, it’s one of the best plants to keep indoors during the winter season.
8. Lucky Bamboo
If you don’t have green fingers, growing lucky bamboo is easy and fuss-free. This type of plant, which has bright green leaves, will brighten up your home but it doesn’t need a lot of light to grow. It can be kept in low-light areas of the home. Just make sure you provide it with some indirect light as it can’t grow healthy in complete darkness.
If you own a lucky bamboo plant that you want to move from a sunny area in the home to your darker basement, you should do this gradually so that the plant can better adapt to its new conditions. Transfer it over the course of a few weeks, as SFGate reports.
When watering your lucky bamboo, do so once a week, and always ensure that a few inches (approx. 5-7 cm) of water cover its roots.
If your basement is usually warm, you’re in luck as lucky bamboo wants to live in temperatures of between 65° and 90°F (18.3-32.2°C).
9. Spineless Yucca
This evergreen plant has thick stalks and sword-shaped leaves, but since its leaves aren’t filled with spines it’s easier to handle than other yucca plants. Keeping it in the home won’t make it grow as quickly as when it’s grown outdoors, but it can still reach a height of approximately five feet (1.5m) when grown in pots, as The Spruce reports.
Although easy to care for, the spineless yucca does need more light than some other basement-friendly plants that we’ve featured on this list. Although it does well in shady conditions, if it doesn’t get enough light its leaves will become brown. It wants full-sun conditions, so give it as much as you can. Artificial grow lights can help to provide it with more light.
Despite the light requirements, this plant is very easy to care for when it comes to its watering. Leave the soil to dry out between waterings. Since your yucca will be in a pot, water it until you can see water seeping out of its pot’s drainage holes, then let the soil dry out before you top up on its water.
It’s also low-maintenance when it comes to the temperature it requires to grow, as it can handle anything from 32°F (0°C) to 90°F (32.2°C).
10. Peace Lily
To invigorate your basement space with prettiness, consider growing a Peace Lily, with its curled, creamy white flowers and dark-green glossy leaves. It’s a low-maintenance plant, as it doesn’t require light. In fact, it thrives in shady conditions while tolerating fluorescent lights.
Although this lily plant doesn’t want to be exposed to sudden temperature changes and cold drafts, it can fare well in moderate temperatures – aim for a basement temperature of between 65 and 80°F (18.3-26.6°C).
When watering your peace lily, make sure its soil is always moist without being waterlogged. Water your plant when the top inch (2.54cm) of soil is dry. It’s beneficial to water your peace lily from the bottom, which is when you put a tray underneath the peace lily container and add water to it every few days. The plant will be able to draw up water from the bottom, getting as much as it needs to stay hydrated.
If you want to add greenery to your basement, you can – you just have to ensure you grow plants that can easily adapt to low-light conditions.
In this article, we’ve featured some popular low-maintenance plants that will thrive in your basement, as they don’t require a lot of light or water, with prime examples including the ZZ plant, snake plant, and spineless yucca. Happy gardening!