Millennials, who now make up the largest generation in the world, are renting more than the prior generations.
Unlike Gen Xers or boomers, millennials have preferred renting an apartment rather than moving to the ‘burbs for the larger living space and backyard. They choose natural over pre-packaged. They seek small versus grandiose. But in their urban high-rise apartments, like those filling the Chicago skyline, millennials also want to be closer to nature.
Adding even just one or two houseplants is a guaranteed way to make your apartment feel calm and peaceful. An added bonus – plants will actually clean the air!
Bringing nature into the apartment is as easy as visiting your local nursery, home improvement store or even Trader Joes. In one stop, you can buy seeds or full-grown houseplants and bring an organic appeal to any apartment.
Green Up Your Space
One way to bring the outside indoors is to sprinkle houseplants around your apartment. Fill the kitchen with herbs, the bathroom with low-light loving plants and create a statement in your living space with a big, beautiful floor plant.
If you’re lucky enough to have a balcony, fill it from spring to autumn with seasonal bloomers.
Caring for plants doesn’t have to be time-consuming and you don’t need a green thumb either. Planting indoor bulbs or low maintenance plants such as cactus or succulents can brighten up any room and are oh-so-easy to maintain. Better yet, native plants from the Chicago area will take less water and maintenance to grow and thrive.
Here are a few houseplants that can grow on a balcony or sunny indoor spot in any apartment.
The large-leaf peperomia plant is easy to grow and loves medium to low light (perfect if your apartment isn’t flooded with sunshine). Keep the soil moist and well-drained and your peperomia will flourish and give you a stunning plant for decor and improving the air quality of your home. Keep an eye out for the variegated variety – the white and green leaves are extra pretty.
The hearty spider plant is a sure-fire winner and a popular choice for apartment dwellers. The reason is that they are easy to care for and self-propagating, meaning the more it grows, the more plants you can create! Simply snip off one of the baby plants and pot it in fresh soil. The other benefit to a spider plant is that they do well when their roots are crowded, so they flourish and fill out any pot beautifully.
Fiddle Leaf Fig
Over the last few years, the fiddle leaf fig has become the darling of house plant loving social media influencers and HGTV stars. It’s easy to see why. This floor plant can be a bit fickle, but if you care for it, it will reward you with gorgeous large leaves.
Native to Africa, this plant loves the sun, but will do fine indoors even during Chicago’s cold winters. Remember to turn it once in a while, or it will grow at an angle while seeking the sunshine. Give it a little love and care and you’ll be rewarded with a plant that could last a lifetime.
Bring on summer! Colorful wave petunias are best suited for sunny balconies or patios. These beautiful flowers will spread out to fill whatever planter they are in and will love soaking up the sunshine of a Chicago summer. They are super easy to care for. Give them a little water and they’ll reward you all summer long with vibrant blossoms.
Herbs just may be the perfect plant for your apartment. Easy to grow herbs like rosemary and mint will leave any balcony or kitchen smelling organic and fresh.
Bonus – you get to cook with them! Pluck a mint leaf for your morning tea. Whip together fresh basil pesto. Add some cilantro garnish to your tacos. Herbs will do wonderfully on a balcony or in a sunny windowsill. Bring them inside and have a taste of summer all winter long.
Caring for Plants in Your Apartment
For the jet-setter millennial, watering the houseplants regularly can be burdensome. But it doesn’t have to be. Slow-release watering bulbs are easily inserted into the soil of potted plants and only need filling each week or so.
Here is an even better idea. Many luxury apartments have on-sight management who will care for your plants when you’re away. All the benefits of indoor nature without worry or hassle.
A word of caution: Watch for insects! Pests like aphids, spider mites, and other insects can attach themselves to houseplants, and this is one part of nature we don’t want indoors. Add some worm tea to your plants. It acts as a natural insect repellant and makes the plants grow stronger.
Creating a green apartment is simple, costs little, and brings the fresh air of the outdoors into any apartment. Grab some green companions and add some Zen to your space.