5 Tiny Plants to Fit in Awkward Corners, Cramped Spaces, and Other Tight Spots

updated Jun 11, 2021
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Credit: Carina Romano

Houseplant lover with not a lot of square footage to spare? Good news: You do not have to put your green thumb on the shelf just because your place isn’t palatial. Many houseplants take up minimal space and require minimal care, too — some will even be perfectly fine in a dim corner of your garden studio. 

These five tiny plants are the perfect size for tiny spaces. While they’re already small to begin with, all of the following grow at a slow pace — so no space-eating scaries here! All of these options will stay nice and compact.

Credit: Carina Romano

ZZ Plant

Zamioculcas zamiifolia, more commonly known as the ZZ plant, is one of the most sought after house plants because of its hardy reputation. Unless you overwater, these plants are pretty difficult to kill.

The ZZ plant is a tropical perennial plant from eastern Africa. There are multiple varieties on the market these days, from plants with jet-black foliage (Raven)  to curly leaves (Zenzi). The variety that makes this list, however, is the Zamicro variety, which will stay under two feet tall for its entire lifespan. That means if you want a statement plant in your home, but need it to stay tiny and tidy, this is a great plant for you.

Better yet: ZZ plants don’t need a ton of light to perform photosynthesis, so it’s the perfect plant for those awkward, small spaces in your home. Water only when the soil is dry; overwatering this plant will lead to root rot.

Credit: panattar/Shutterstock

Haworthia

Native to South Africa, the haworthia is a slow-growing succulent that is naturally compact. It’s trademark look is what separates it from other easily confused succulent species. Haworthias typically grow upward in a column with the leaves forming layers. 

These plants typically grow no taller than five inches (depending on the variety) but will never get very big. 

To care for a haworthia, give it bright to bright-indirect light and water only when the soil is dried all the way through. 

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Marimo Moss Balls

Marimo moss balls are my favorite plant on this list, and for good reason! Plot twist: it’s not actually moss. “Marimo” is a Japanese word that translates to “seaweed ball.” Technically a Marimo moss ball is an algae that grows in a ball shape — but its growth rate sits at just 5 mm per year when kept as houseplants in small aquariums or containers. Another bonus? Marimo moss balls been said to live for over one hundred years. So, if you’re into family traditions and passed-down belongings, a Marimo moss ball fits right in. 

Marimo moss balls must be kept in low to indirect light. Direct sun and hot water (which is, of course, a side effect of exposing the container to direct sun) will brown the plant quickly. Change the water once every two or three weeks, and keep your moss ball in distilled water. 

Credit: Minette Hand

Tillandsia

Tillandsia, a species also known as air plants, are native to Central and South America, the West Indies, and the southern United States. There are hundreds of varieties that have adapted to unique environments like rainforests, deserts, and lowlands. 

These plants are epiphytes, which means they grow without being rooted in soil. This makes them perfect for houseplant lovers in small apartments, since they don’t require a pot. In fact, you can display air plants almost anywhere that gets enough light, which means you can take advantage of wall and fridge space, in addition to shelf space.

Air plants are also slow-growers, so you don’t have to worry about your plant outgrowing your space. 

Air plants need bright, indirect light. Keep them away from direct light as they’ll dehydrate and die under the exposure of too much hot sun. 

There’s a great array of watering recommendations out there, but I recommend watering your air plants once a week. Soak the plant upside down for 15 to 20 minutes, and then set it on a towel to dry. Don’t put it back in its spot until it’s totally dry, or you’ll find it rotting from the inside out. 

If soaking isn’t the path for you, try misting your airplants daily to supply them with the adequate amount of moisture to thrive. 

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Echeveria

Echeveria is one of the largest genera of succulents and is native to Central America. It grows outwards from a center point, making a rosette that rarely gets larger than six inches across.

There are over 100 species of Echeveria in all kinds of colors, from pink to green to almost black.

These succulents need bright, direct light and minimal watering to survive. Only water when the soil is dried all the way through. Do not overwater! Once a succulent has been overwatered, it will struggle to regain its health.