7 Overlooked Plants That Thrive in an Apartment with Overzealous Heat

updated Jan 22, 2020
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Credit: Kristan Lieb

It’s cold outside. But not in your apartment! Are you one of the lucky ones living in an older building that churns out radiator heat like there’s no tomorrow? (No drafty windows here!) Maybe you live in a newer apartment but have a partner or roommate who prefers to have the heat on full blast throughout the winter—or maybe you yourself prefer full-force heat. Do your thing!

But what about your plants? You’ve protected them and cared for them so well all year.  Don’t let that full-force heat knock them out. For your current plant collection, Puneet Sabharwal, CEO of Horti, a plant subscription designed to help plant parents build confidence, says there are a few things you can do to help your plants survive the heat, such as keep your plants away from the heat source, add a humidifier (or just add a little water to their trays that the heat can soak up), and group your plants together.

“Because you are trying to move your plants closer to the window for more light, sadly, in apartment situations, windows and heaters go pretty much together,” he says, “but grouping plants together is another amazing way to create a sense of moisture. They build their own little mini-ecosystem if you keep them together.”

If you’re in the market to add a new plant to your mini-ecosystem, here are seven overlooked plants that can thrive in your apartment with overzealous heat.

Credit: Horti

Peperomia Green (Peperomia Obtusifolia)

While Sabharwal says choosing successful plants ultimately depends on your lighting conditions, he recommends this one as a wonderfully sturdy and adorable plant that can take the heat and thrive in several light conditions.

Peperomia is pet-friendly and prefers bright light, but can also handle medium to low light. They don’t have a ton of moisture in their soil, as they are semi-succulent and can hold water in their leaves. Just make sure to avoid the leaves when watering.

Buy: Peperomia Green in 4-inch pot, $12 at Horti

Credit: Cerlin Ng/flickr under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


Tara Heibel, founder of Sprout Home, a plant design and garden center in Chicago and Brooklyn, says that the thick and leathery leaves of Clusia show that this plant can put up with some heat. “Even though their leaves are quite tough, they appear playful in stance and shape.  They can give you some height and bulk to your home jungle,” she adds.

Clusia requires full-to-part sun and well-drained soil, so make sure you can provide enough light for this one to thrive.

Buy: Small Leaf Clusia, $29 at Plantvine

Credit: Antoine Boureau/Getty Images

Sea Grape (Coccoloba uvifera)

If you are able to provide full sun in your apartment, the Sea Grape could be an interesting and unique option to add to your collection. Heibel says this plant is like the tougher cousin of the fiddle leaf Ficus (Ficus Lyrata). They require well-aerated soil, so she suggests adding a little sand to the soil blend to help achieve this effect. They prefer to dry out a little in between waterings.

Buy: Large Sea Grape Bush, $43 at Plantvine

Credit: Furiarossa/Shutterstock

Silver Squill (Ledebouria socialis)

It makes sense that a succulent can thrive in heat, but have you seen a Silver Squill? It’s not just any succulent. “Raised in part sun, this bulb-based plant can grow up to ten inches and be quite showy,” says Heibel.  

Silver Squill has minimal water needs, and might even flower if it is happy in its conditions. Heibel says you can break up the clumps every couple of years to keep it growing.  It really is a showstopper.

Buy: 4-inch Silver Squill, $11.85 at Succulents Box

Snake Plant (Sansevieria)

We know a snake plant can take low light conditions and that, in general, it’s pretty hard to kill. But did you also know it can stand the heat? “This is a plant we talk about a lot, but is consistently a winner,” says Sabharwal. “This plant is going to give you so much confidence.” Just make sure not to overwater your snake plant. It doesn’t need a lot of water since it can store it so well. Sabharwal adds: “They’re also amazing in high light, which is a thing that people don’t realize, and they do really well in dry heat.”

Buy: American Plant Exchange Snake Plant in 6-inch pot, $19.99 at Amazon

Credit: rattiya lamrod/Shutterstock


“Yet another reason why I love this plant: it is also fine with heat,” says Heibel. When hoyas bloom, they are breathtaking, so we were thrilled to learn that such a beautiful plant can take some heat. Hoyas require part sun, and Heibel suggests letting it dry out by about 20% of its volume between watering.  She warns against too much repotting, as it thrives on some neglect. Some hoya varieties are pet-friendly, check your variety here to find out. “With so many types to choose from, every household should have one,” she says.

Buy: Variegated Hoya Carnosa Plant in 4-inch pot, $16.95 at Garden Goods Direct

Mistletoe Cactus (Rhipsalis Baccifera)

“Their texture is a fun compliment to other traditional leaf/plant forms that might be in your space already,” says Heibel. She adds that these are great for tight spaces that need a little something special. Rhipsalis need partial sun and to dry out between waterings. They are also non-toxic to animals.

Buy: Horticult Rhipsalis baccifera 10″ unrooted cutting, $15 at Etsy