The Best 11 Houseplants for a Basement - Backyard Boss
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The Best 11 Houseplants for a Basement

If you’ve lived in a basement apartment or have a basement in your house, you know how important it can be to bring some life into the space. Lower levels are often dimly lit, cold, and damp, and since most indoor house plants originate from tropical regions, basements can be poor environments for growing houseplants.

But all is not lost; some plants will thrive in your lower level. Here are the best 11 houseplants for a basement.

1. Tradescantia Zebrina

tradescantia zebrina and schefflera actinophylla plants decorating modern apartment
Image credit: Rachel Claire via Pexels

Known by many names, such as zebra plant, wandering dude, inch plant, or just zebrina, this stunning trailing plant is one of the easiest houseplants to grow. They prefer a medium-light environment but are flexible about their location.

Zebrinas thrive in temperatures between 59 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit, making them perfect for a cooler lower level. Provided with the right amount of light, their leaves will reward you with rich purple and bright silver stripes.

The color may fade into solid green if placed in too harsh sun or low light. Other variegated varieties include pink and cream-colored leaves.

2. Dracaena Fragrans

Hands holding a Dracaena fragrans
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Commonly referred to as the corn plant, this tropical plant is low-maintenance. They flourish in low-light environments and like their soil to dry out between watering. Dracaenas do best in temperatures above 64 degrees Fahrenheit, so place them away from drafts.

Since they don’t need a lot of light, they’ll like a protected corner that receives indirect light. Although they are slow growing, they can become quite tall. If you are tight on space, consider smaller potted varieties.

3. Crassula Ovata

green plant on white ceramic pot
Image credit: Susan Wilkinson via Unsplash

More often called the jade plant, this succulent shrub thrives in the sun, so if your basement doesn’t have any windows, consider artificial lighting for your Crassula ovata. 

As it is a succulent, jade plants don’t need a lot of water. So long as it gets enough light, you can leave this plant be and forget about it for a bit without any harm. They can handle temperatures between 50 and 59 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter – perfect for the basement.

4. Aspidistra Elatior

Aspidistra elatior or cast-iron-plant or bar room plant with spotted leaves in pot
Image credits: mizy via Shutterstock

This plant sure lives up to its nickname, cast-iron plantit tolerates low light, cool temperatures, and infrequent watering. Basements, corners, stairways, and other areas away from windows are perfect locations.

Despite tolerating almost any climate, Aspidistra elatior does prefer well-draining soil and doesn’t like full sun. The large, flat leaves can grow up to 2 ½ feet in length. Since this plant isn’t toxic, it’s great for those with pets.

5. Sansevieria Hahnii

Green and yellow Sansevieria plant whit a white background
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Snake plants are a popular houseplant because they will thrive almost anywhere in your home as long as they aren’t overwatered. Few plants are happy in low and bright-light environments, but snake plants aren’t picky about their lighting.

Temperatures above 60 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal, but they can handle slightly lower temperatures. The bird’s nest snake plant is great for the basement because of its smaller size. Place it on a window sill, corner shelf, or coffee table — the options are endless.

6. Coleus

pink and green flower plant
Image credit: Mor Shani via Unsplash

This foliage plant is a part of the mint family, but you’d hardly know it from the exquisitely colored leaves. They have a unique marked pattern and come in an array of colors.

Different varieties have different light requirements, so opt for one best suited to your lighting conditions.

7. Chamaedorea Elegans

green plant on white ceramic
Image credit: Dominika Roseclay via Pexels

Chamaedorea elegans, or parlor palm, is one of the most popular houseplants because it does well in low-light environments. They handle cool temperatures better than other palms but won’t be happy with the prolonged cold.

Place them back from doors, windows, and areas with drafts. A protected corner that receives indirect light would be a great location.

8. Peperomia Obtusifolia

Healthy green houseplant in front of a window
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Confusingly called the baby rubber plant, this peperomia isn’t actually related to the rubber plant. The slow-growing leaves have beautiful cream-colored splotches that are occasionally accented with pink.

Peperomia obtusifolia is a fantastic houseplant due to its ability to grow in low light. They are also great for the basement because they prefer cooler temperatures, between 55 and 64 degrees Fahrenheit.

9. Haworthia

succulent in a square pot
Image credit: Sandeep Singh via Pexels

Jokingly called fairy washboards, the Hawthoria genus of stemless, rosette-forming succulents have small defining teeth along their leaves. Compared to other succulents, they don’t need as much direct light, so they’ll do well in your basement, especially if you give them a bit of artificial light.

Since Haworthias don’t grow very tall, they are perfect for small basement window sills. Like other succulents, they need infrequent watering and tolerate lower nighttime temperatures. In the winter, they prefer temperatures between 50 and 54 degrees Fahrenheit which is ideal for a lower level.

10. Hedera Helix

ivy potted plant
Image credit: sodamtree via Pixabay

English ivy is a fantastic climbing plant that likes cooler temperatures, making basements an ideal location. It thrives in daytime temperatures between 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit and can handle lower nighttime temperatures and drafts from open windows.

It’s a hardy plant that grows as a perennial in milder regions. Though English ivy will grow in low light, it does its best with bright indirect light, so consider boosting it with a little artificial light. If you have a basement bathroom with a window, this is an excellent place for ivy as it will thrive in the humidity.

11. Begonia Rex

red kiss begonia rex
Image credit: leoleobobeo via Pixabay

Begonias are a beautiful species that has numerous varieties. The begonia rex is a group of colored-leafed begonias that do well as houseplants. They like lots of light, but not direct sunlight, so they are great set back a few feet from a window.

They don’t do well with temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, so keep away from drafty locations. Begonia rex is toxic to some animals so keep out of reach of pets. 

Keeping Your Plants Warm

Indoor Kale Garden under grow lights
Image credits: Permaculture Apartment Images via Canva

If you struggle to keep your plants warm, you may want to consider an electric heating mat. Most houseplants prefer temperatures above 60 degrees Fahrenheit, but during the winter months can handle a slight drop. All indoor houseplants need a cooler period to be dormant and rest as they would in their natural habitat.

Be sure your plants aren’t too close to hot air registers throughout the cooler months. The dry air that blows from the heating ducts can harm your plants. When the sun shifts in the winter months, you may also want to consider grow lights to ensure adequate lighting.

Don’t Leave Out The Basement

As you can see, there are many plants that will thrive in a basement environment. Whenever possible, utilize any small windows you have on your lower levels to brighten up the space. These small nooks are perfect locations for small plants that can handle cooler temperatures.

Do you have any of these plants in your basement?

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