The Best Plants for Your Basement

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Basements, often overlooked and underutilized, can be so much more than just storage spaces or makeshift laundry rooms. Despite their reputation for being dark and damp, basements can serve as serene sanctuaries with the right touch. One transformative addition? Plants. However, selecting suitable plants for basement conditions requires a unique understanding. Let’s delve deeper.


Why Grow Plants in the Basement?

The Breath of Life

Plants do more than just beautify; they literally breathe life into your home. They absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen during photosynthesis, purifying the air. Certain plants also filter out harmful toxins, improving indoor air quality—a boon for basement spaces that often lack adequate ventilation.

Aesthetics and Atmosphere

Plants can morph your basement from a drab, lifeless space to a lively, green haven. Their vibrant colors and varied textures can provide a visually pleasing contrast to the typical starkness of a basement. Furthermore, the act of caring for plants offers therapeutic benefits, infusing a sense of tranquility into your home.

Things to Consider When Choosing Basement Plants

Basement conditions are not standard across all homes. Here are a few critical factors to consider when selecting your plants:

Light Conditions

Basements often receive less natural light compared to other rooms. Assess the amount of light your basement gets and choose plants accordingly. Some plants thrive in low light, while others need a fair amount of artificial light to grow.


Basements can be damp due to lack of ventilation, making them an ideal environment for plants that love humidity. However, if your basement is dry, you may need to take extra measures like using a humidifier or choosing plants that prefer drier conditions.


Generally, basements are cooler than the rest of the house. While some plants love a cool environment, others might require a warmer climate. Choose plants that can adapt to your basement’s temperature.

Top 10 Plants for Basements

Here are ten plants that are ideal for most basements. Remember, individual growing conditions can vary, so do your research before making a choice.

1. Snake Plant (Sansevieria)

Light Requirements: Low to bright, indirect light
Watering Frequency: Every 2-3 weeks
Other Care Tips: Snake plants are hardy and thrive in a wide range of conditions. They’re a great starter plant for basement gardeners.

2. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)

Light Requirements: Low, indirect light
Watering Frequency: Once a week, or when leaves droop
Other Care Tips: Peace lilies love high humidity and can help improve air quality.

3. ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas Zamiifolia)

Light Requirements: Low to bright, indirect light
Watering Frequency: Every 2-3 weeks
Other Care Tips: ZZ plants are drought-tolerant and require little care, making them perfect for beginners.

4. Pothos (Epipremnum Aureum)

Light Requirements: Low to bright, indirect light
Watering Frequency: Once a week
Other Care Tips: Pothos are easy to grow and can survive in various light conditions. They’re also great air purifiers.

5. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum Comosum)

Light Requirements: Bright, indirect light
Watering Frequency: Once a week
Other Care Tips: Spider plants are adaptable and easy to grow. They prefer cooler temperatures, making them suitable for basements.

6. English Ivy (Hedera Helix)

Light Requirements: Bright, indirect light
Watering Frequency: Once a week
Other Care Tips: English ivy is a versatile plant that can grow in various conditions. However, it’s an aggressive grower and might need regular pruning.

7. Boston Fern (Nephrolepis Exaltata)

Light Requirements: Bright, indirect light
Watering Frequency: 2-3 times a week
Other Care Tips: Boston ferns love high humidity, making them perfect for damp basements. However, they require consistent care.

8. Philodendron

Light Requirements: Low to bright, indirect light
Watering Frequency: Once a week
Other Care Tips: Philodendrons are low-maintenance plants that can adapt to various light conditions.

9. Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra Elatior)

Light Requirements: Low to bright, indirect light
Watering Frequency: Every 2 weeks
Other Care Tips: True to its name, the cast iron plant is nearly indestructible and can withstand a wide range of conditions.

10. Rubber Plant (Ficus Elastica)

Light Requirements: Bright, indirect light
Watering Frequency: Once a week
Other Care Tips: Rubber plants can grow into large trees. They require regular watering but need good drainage to prevent root rot.

How to Care for Your Basement Plants

Caring for basement plants involves more than just watering. From lighting to humidity, pest control, and feeding, various aspects contribute to a plant’s overall health and growth. Here’s a more detailed guide on how to care for your basement plants:

Light Adjustment

Basements often lack the natural light most plants need to thrive. Evaluate your basement’s light conditions and choose plants that can adapt to it. For areas with little to no natural light, you may need to install artificial grow lights. Fluorescent bulbs and LED lights are both excellent options for indoor plants. They can provide the full spectrum of light that plants need for photosynthesis.

Remember, too much light can be harmful to plants that prefer shade or indirect light. If a plant is getting too much light, its leaves may start to fade or show signs of burn. In such cases, move it to a shadier spot or use a curtain or shade cloth to filter the light.


Overwatering is one of the most common mistakes new plant owners make. Most plants prefer their soil to be slightly dry between watering sessions. Always check the soil’s moisture levels before watering your plants. If the top 1-2 inches of soil are dry, it’s time to water.

When you water, make sure to water thoroughly, so it reaches the plant’s roots. However, avoid letting the plant sit in standing water. Most indoor plants prefer well-draining soil and pots with drainage holes.


Basements can often be more humid than other parts of your home, which some plants love. However, if your basement is on the drier side, you might need to increase humidity levels for certain plants. You can do this by misting your plants, using a humidifier, or placing a tray of water near your plants.


Basements are usually cooler, which can be a problem for tropical plants that prefer warmer temperatures. If necessary, use a small space heater to increase the temperature, but avoid placing plants too close to avoid damage.


Plants need nutrients to grow. Most of the essential nutrients are found in the soil. However, over time, indoor plants can deplete the nutrients in their pots. To replenish these nutrients, feed your plants with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. Always follow the package instructions to avoid over-fertilizing, which can harm your plants.

Pest Control

Even indoor plants can suffer from pests. Common indoor plant pests include spider mites, mealybugs, and scale. Regularly inspect your plants for any signs of these pests. If you notice small discolored spots, tiny webs, or sticky residue on your plants, they might be infested. Treat any infestations early with a mild insecticidal soap or a mixture of water and mild dish soap.


Regular pruning helps keep your plants healthy and looking their best. Remove dead or yellowing leaves as they appear. Pruning can also help maintain the shape and size of your plants, particularly for fast-growing varieties. It encourages bushier growth, prevents legginess, and helps the plant direct more energy towards new growth. Always use clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears to make clean cuts without damaging the plant.


Eventually, your plants may outgrow their pots. Signs that a plant needs to be repotted include slow growth, roots growing out of the drainage holes, and the plant becoming top-heavy or tipping over. When you notice these signs, it’s time to give your plant a new home. Choose a pot that is one to two sizes larger than the current one and has good drainage. Gently remove the plant from its old pot, place it in the new one, and fill in with fresh potting soil.

Patience and Observation

Finally, remember that caring for plants requires patience and observation. Each plant is unique and may not react to care instructions the same way. Pay attention to your plant’s signs. Droopy leaves, spots, or slow growth can all be signs that something is off. Adjust your care routine as needed, and don’t be discouraged if a plant doesn’t thrive despite your best efforts. Gardening is a journey, and there’s always something new to learn.

With the right care, your basement can become a lush, green space that offers a peaceful retreat from the outside world. The process of nurturing your basement garden can be as rewarding as the beautiful result. So, roll up your sleeves and start your basement gardening journey today. Happy planting!

Frequently Asked Questions about Basement Plants

When it comes to indoor gardening in basements, many questions might arise. Here are some expanded answers to common queries:

Can all plants grow in the basement?

Not all plants are suitable for basement conditions. Basements typically have lower light levels, cooler temperatures, and higher humidity compared to other parts of the house. Therefore, plants that can thrive under these conditions are ideal for basements. Examples include Snake Plant, ZZ Plant, and Peace Lily. However, with the right care, like using grow lights or humidifiers, you can adapt your basement to suit a wider variety of plants.

How often should I water my basement plants?

The watering frequency varies depending on the plant type, the size of the pot, and the specific conditions in your basement. A good rule of thumb is to let the top 1-2 inches of soil dry out between waterings. However, some plants prefer their soil to be consistently moist, while others prefer it on the drier side. Always check the plant’s specific watering requirements and adjust as needed.

Do I need a grow light for my basement plants?

If your basement doesn’t receive any natural light or receives very low light, you may need to use grow lights for your plants. These can provide the full spectrum of light that plants need for photosynthesis. However, some plants, like the Snake Plant or ZZ Plant, can survive in low light conditions without supplemental lighting.

How can I increase the humidity for my basement plants?

If your basement is dry and you have plants that prefer higher humidity, you can increase the humidity levels in several ways. One method is to mist your plants regularly with water. You can also place a tray filled with water near your plants; as the water evaporates, it will increase humidity. Using a humidifier is another effective way to raise humidity levels in your basement.

Can I grow edible plants in my basement?

Yes, you can grow certain edible plants in your basement, provided you have the right setup. Many herbs, leafy greens, and even some types of vegetables can grow indoors with adequate light. Using grow lights can help you grow edibles successfully in your basement. Some suitable choices include lettuce, spinach, radishes, and a variety of herbs.

How can I prevent pests in my basement plants?

Regularly inspect your plants for any signs of pests. This includes discolored spots on leaves, tiny webs, or a sticky residue on the plant or nearby surfaces. If you notice any signs of pests, you can usually treat them with a mild insecticidal soap or neem oil. Ensuring your plants are healthy and not stressed (from overwatering, lack of light, etc.) can also help prevent pests, as pests often target weakened plants.

Do basement plants need fertilizer?

Yes, like all plants, basement plants need nutrients to grow. Most potting soils contain nutrients, but these get depleted over time. Feeding your plants with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every few weeks during the growing season can help replenish these nutrients. However, be careful not to over-fertilize, as this can harm your plants. Always follow the fertilizer package’s instructions.

How do I know if my basement is too cold for plants?

Most common indoor plants prefer temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit (15-24 degrees Celsius). If your basement is consistently cooler than this, it might be too cold for many types of plants. Symptoms of cold-stressed plants can include slow growth, wilting, or discoloration. If you’re unsure, use a thermometer to check your basement’s temperature. To raise the temperature, you can use a space heater but make sure to keep it at a safe distance from your plants to prevent drying them out.

Can I propagate plants in my basement?

Yes, you can propagate many types of plants in your basement. Propagation involves creating new plants from the parent plant’s cuttings or leaves. The process depends on the type of plant, but most cuttings will need a warm, humid environment to develop roots. Therefore, if your basement is warm and humid, it could be a great place for propagation.

How do I know if my basement plants are healthy?

Healthy plants typically have vibrant, evenly colored leaves. They should show steady growth during their growing season and have strong, upright stems. If you notice that your plants have discolored, wilting, or falling leaves, or if their growth has stalled, they might be stressed or sick. The problem could be related to water, light, temperature, or pests. Regularly checking on your plants and reacting to any signs of distress early can help keep your basement garden healthy.

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