10 best indoor plants for shallow pots. Main. Small plant in shallow pot

10 Best Indoor Plants for Shallow Pots and How to Care for Them

10 Best Indoor Plants for Shallow Pots. Pinterest Pin

Hello there, plant fans! Did you know that wide, shallow pots are becoming increasingly popular these days? That’s because they are stylish, much easier to handle than deep containers and they can accommodate a large variety of indoor plants, so what’s not to like?

Whether you already have some shallow plant containers at home or you’re looking to buy a few, here you’ll find the best indoor plants for shallow pots.

The best indoor plants for shallow pots are cacti, succulents and bonsai trees. These are most commonly grown in wide, shallow pots, rather than tall. This is because their roots are shallow and tend to spread out rather than down, so any plants with shallow root systems will grow healthy in shallow pots.

Let’s dig in and see which are the 10 best indoor plants for shallow pots.

10 Best Indoor Plants for Shallow Pots. Prayer Plant leaves - Maranta leuconeura

Click here to check out the latest price for my favorite Prayer Plant on Amazon.

Maranta leuconeura (or simply, Prayer plant) is a beautiful perennial from the prayer plant family, with oval-shaped leaves that makes for a spectacular indoor plant.

Its foliage is beautifully patterned, with combinations of white, green and red colours, making a bundle of crowded leaves that catches everyone’s eye.

What is so special about the prayer plant is that its leaves stay flat during the day and then fold like praying hands during the night, and this is where its name comes from too.

Prayer plants are shallow-rooted plants, so planting them in tall containers, with too much soil beneath their roots, can lead to root rot since the water in the bottom layer of the soil will not be absorbed.

This is why the ideal container for a prayer plant is a shallow container, so all the water is absorbed by the roots.

Quick guide on how to care for Maranta leuconeura

Container shallow container
Light prefers indirect sunlight, but tolerates shade
Water when the top of the soil is beginning to get dry, with room-temperature water, in the morning.
Temperature 70°F (21°C)
Fertilizers During the warm season (spring to fall), every two weeks
Pruning two to three times a year
Repotting in spring or summer, only if root-bound (pot-bound)

9. Calathea ornata (Pin-stripe calathea)

10 Best Indoor Plants for Shallow Pots. Calathea ornata

Click here to check out the latest price for my favorite Calathea Ornata on Amazon.

Just like her cousin Maranta leuconeura, Calathea ornata is also from the family known as the prayer plants.

This beautiful perennial with oval-shaped leaves makes for a spectacular indoor plant. Its foliage is beautifully patterned with pin-like stripes, hence the name Pin-stripe calathea.

With its lovely combination of white and green colours, Calathea ornata makes for a bundle of crowded leaves that catches everyone’s eye.

Calathea Ornata thrives in shallow pots. Prayer plants are shallow-rooted plants, so planting them in tall containers, with too much soil beneath their roots, can lead to root rot since the water in the bottom layer of the soil will not be absorbed.

Quick guide on how to care for Calathea ornata

Container shallow container
Light prefers indirect sunlight, but tolerates shade
Water once a week in the summer and every other week in the winter, with room-temperature water, in the morning. Do not let the soil dry out. Give it small amounts of water more often, rather than a lot at a time.
Temperature most comfortable with a 70°F (21°C) temperature but can cope with as low as 55°F (13°C)
Fertilizers spring to fall, fertilize every two weeks
Pruning simply cut the damaged (yellow) leaves with a sharp knife when they appear - it usually happens when the plant gets older.
Repotting every two years

8. Episcia (Flame violet)

10 Best Indoor Plants for Shallow Pots. Flame Violet

Click here to check out the latest price for my favorite Flame Violet on Amazon.

This delightful little bundle of joy is one of my all-time favourites. Make sure you grow your Flame Violets somewhere where you can enjoy them every day, as they are a delight to the eyes.

Flame violets are usually small, but they can grow up to 18 – 20 inches.

Plant Flame violets in wide, shallow containers because they have shallow roots which spread quite quickly so they need lots of room.

Quick guide on how to care for Flame violets

Container shallow container
Light prefers bright, indirect light but tolerates shade
Water keep the soil slightly moist. Put some water into the saucer and position the potted plant on it - this way the plant gets enough water without damaging the leaves
Temperature prefers cool temperatures - 50 - 65°F (10 - 18°C) at night and around 75°F/24°C during the day
Fertilizers monthly if the plant is actively growing
Pruning it doesn’t need much pruning, but it can be pinched back if it gets too big
Repotting every other spring

7. African violet

10 Best Indoor Plants for Shallow Pots. African Violet

Click here to check out the latest price for my favorite African Violet on Amazon.

Just like their cousins Flame violets, African violets are these super cute indoor plants that are a must in everyone’s household because of their colourful blooms.

African violets are shallow-rooted plants so they’re at their best in shallow wide pots. Repot your African violet if it grows, place it in a wider and slightly deeper container, but try keeping the right proportions:

  • If your African violet is up to 8″ in diameter, place it in a 2″ container

  • If your African violet is about 9″ to 10″, place it in a 3″ container

  • If your African violet has grown to be 14″, place it in a 4″ container.

Here’s a quick guide on how to repot or change soil of your houseplants.

Quick guide on how to care for African violets

Container shallow container
Light prefers bright, indirect light but tolerates shade
Water Water with lukewarm tap water that has been sitting overnight (to help evaporate chlorine). Allow soil to dry out between waterings and never drop water on the leaves.
Temperature keep it warm - between 65°F to 80°F (15°C - 26°C)
Fertilizers every four to seven weeks
Pruning Pruning is essential for African violets, pinch off or cut the leaves or flowers if the violet has become leggy
Repotting twice a year

One more important thing about Flame violets and African violets is that they both need high humidity.

6. Snake plant (Dracaena trifasciata/Sansevieria)

10 Best Indoor Plants for Shallow Pots. Snake plant leaves

Click here to check out the latest price for my favorite Snake Plant on Amazon.

With its beautifully double-patterned and tall foliage, the Snake plant is usually grown in wider pots rather than tall, for stability.

But another reason why a shallow pot is the right choice for a Snake plant is its shallow roots, spreading outward rather than growing down deep.

The Snake plant is a very low maintenance houseplant, fairly cheap and popular, quite slow to react to mistreatment.

Like any other houseplant, if not cared for properly, it will eventually die, but it will do so much slower than other indoor plants and will recover in no time if it starts receiving regular care.

The Snake plant doesn’t need much apart from constant and consistent watering.

When applying water or fertilizer to the soil, be consistent and do it all around the surface of the soil, for even distribution.

If by mistake you’ve overwatered it, and some white granular stuff started appearing on the soil, it might be mold. Check out this article to find out more about mold on houseplants and how to get rid of it.

Quick guide on how to care for Snake plants

Container shallow container
Light prefers indirect sunlight, but can withstand wide ranges of light, from full sun to low light
Water Water every 3 to 7 weeks, depending on its size. They like being on the dry side. Watering is the trickiest part as it can cause rotting, so the soil must be almost completely dry before watering and make sure to drain excess water afterwards.
Temperature likes warm conditions and does not tolerate temperatures below 50°F (10°C). Ideal temperature is 70°F - 90°F (21°C -32°C).
Fertilizers Apply all-purpose plant food every three weeks in warm weather.
Pruning cut very tall leaves with a sharp knife if you want to keep your plant small.
Repotting every 3 to 4 years, usually when it has outgrown its pot.

5. Aloe Vera

10 Best Indoor Plants for Shallow Pots. Aloe vera leaves

Click here to check out the latest price for my favorite Aloe Vera on Amazon.

This plant needs no introduction. Aloe vera is such a popular succulent in almost every household and for good reason.

It has amazing benefits for health, it’s no stranger to the beauty industry, and let’s admit it, it is just stunningly beautiful when taken care of properly.

 Aloe Vera has spiked, elongated leaves which hold the plant’s beneficial juice. Aloe vera can grow tall and it can get leggy very quickly, especially if overwatered or kept in a sunny place.
 
Aloe vera needs to be watered thoroughly every 2 weeks or so, depending on its size, but can do well with less water for a while and recovers quickly from overwatering.
 

Container wise, Aloe vera has rather shallow roots, especially compared to how tall it can get, and can become root-bound quickly, as its roots spread rapidly, so it is good to keep it in a container that fits its rooting system perfectly size-wise.

Keep your Aloe vera plant in a rather wide and shallow container, where it has room to spread, about 5″ (12 – 13cm) tall and 10″ (25 – 26cm) wide.

Quick guide on how to care for an Aloe vera plant

Container shallow, wide pot
Light keep it for about six hours a day in direct sunlight, then move it to a slightly shader area.
Water water thoroughly every 2 weeks, make it 3 to 4 weeks in winter. It’s best to leave the soil dry out before the next watering
Temperature ideal temperature is 60°F - 75°F (15°C - 23°C).
Fertilizers Aloe vera doesn’t need fertilizer, but if you want to, you can apply fertilizer once a year in the spring.
Pruning Trim off any small brown tips or leaves, use a knife for bigger plants. Don’t worry, the trimmed tips will grow back.
Repotting repot in spring or summer if it has grown root-bound or too large for its container.

4. Pothos (Devil’s Ivy)

10 Best Indoor Plants for Shallow Pots. Pothos plant

Click here to check out the latest price for my favorite Pothos on Amazon.

Pothos is a species of flowering plant, but it is more often recognized by its variegated, heart-shaped leaves.

Because it is super easy to care for, Pothos is a very common plant for beginners.

You can grow your Pothos plant in almost any climate, expose it to a wide range of light variations, as long as you don’t overwater it.

Container-wise, Pothos will thrive in a small pot that is about 2 inches (5 cm) wider than its root ball.

Pothos are climbing plants, so they won’t grow too tall, but will rather grow down.

A relatively shallow pot offers your Pothos the chance to grow thicker, keeping the vines not too long or too leggy, and it will generally look much fuller and healthier.

Quick guide on how to care for Pothos (Devil’s ivy)

Container small, wider containers.
Light keep it in full light, but not direct sunlight.
Water water once every 7 to 10 days
Temperature ideal temperature is is 70°F - 90°F (21°C - 32°C)
Fertilizers once every three month, only if you notice that it is not growing normally.
Pruning Cut back leggy stems, if you want a fuller Pothos plant
Repotting rarely requires repotting, it thrives in small pots.

3. Bonsai Trees

10 Best Indoor Plants for Shallow Pots. Bonsai tree

Click here to check out the latest price for my favorite Bonsai Tree on Amazon.

Bonsai is the Japanese art of cultivating miniature trees in small containers. The fact that bonsai is a long-studied art doesn’t have to discourage growing Bonsai trees in your own home.

Bonsai Trees are unique, amazingly looking plants, that are easy to grow and care for if you follow some simple guidelines.

Firstly, with Bonsai trees you will need to pick the right tree species. For indoor growing, the most popular species is the Ficus Bonsai, as it tolerates standard room temperature and low-humidity environments.

This little tree is perfect for beginners too.

A few other things to keep in mind with an indoor Bonsai tree is light, watering and container.

  • Light needs to be bright, so your Bonsai tree will indulge in the full sunlight if placed right in front of a window.

  • When it comes to watering, there is no rule. Your Bonsai tree is the only one who will tell you when it needs to be watered, usually when the soil is slightly dry.

  • Keep your Bonsai tree in a very shallow, wide container. The pot needs to be made of ceramic, have a width of ⅔ of the tree’s height for oval and rectangular pots and ⅓ for round and square pots. The pot should be the same height of your Bonsai tree’s trunk, measured right above the root flare (nebari).

There are many aspects that can be mentioned when talking about caring for a Bonsai tree, especially one grown indoors, because a Bonsai tree is no regular houseplant, but hopefully, this guide on how to care for indoor Bonsai trees will make it all easier.

Quick guide on how to care for indoor Bonsai trees

Container keep your Bonsai tree in a ceramic pot. Width: ⅔ of the tree’s height for oval and rectangular pots and ⅓ for square and round pots. Height: same height of the tree’s trunk above the root flare.
Light direct, bright sunlight.
Water water when the soil is slightly dry.
Temperature Indoors, Bonsai trees thrive in standard room temperature, but can withstand lower temperatures as well.
Fertilizers weekly throughout its growing season, from spring to early autumn.
Pruning during spring or summer, to keep its shape
Repotting every 2 years if growing fast, or when root-bound.

2. Cactus

10 Best Indoor Plants for Shallow Pots. Cacti/cactus

Click here to check out the latest price for my favorite Cacti on Amazon.

Cactus is one of the most popular and loved plant species, due to their remarkable cushion-like structures, or spines, colourful display and really unusual shapes. But there is more to cacti then their looks.

Because they need a fairly small amount of light, love a warm climate and are small enough to fit anywhere, cacti make for the perfect house plant.

And because they are so tiny (well, most of them), cacti live their best life in small, shallow pots.

They have incredibly shallow roots and don’t need much water to live, so the perfect pot for a cactus is a small, shallow pot.

Quick guide on how to care for a Cactus

Container use a pot just as wide as your cactus.
Light 4 to 6 hours of sunlight daily
Water water your cactus once a week in summer, once every 10-14 days throughout the growing season (spring to fall). In the coldest season (late fall and winter), allow soil to dry before watering your cactus
Temperature cacti need warm temperatures to survive, ideal is 45°F - 85°F (7°C - 30°C)
Fertilizers Fertilize with highly diluted all-purpose fertilizer
Pruning Most cacti don’t need any form of pruning or trimming
Repotting every 2 to 3 years

If you really love cacti but you’re a beginner, here’s an article that I found very useful in explaining in more detail how to properly care for a a cactus.

1. Succulents

10 Best Indoor Plants for Shallow Pots. Succulents

Click here to check out the latest price for my favorite Succulents on Amazon.

Aaah, the fleshy (or should I say flashy) ones – the winners!

These amazing little plants are a treat for our eyes because they are so beautiful and compact, with thick leaves and sometimes bright colours.

You can’t help but fall in love with a succulent, for me they are the ultimate house plants.

You’ll love a succulent because it is simply smart. Yes, these plants know how to survive on their own – they have thick leaves to retain water in dry climates or soil.

They make for the most perfect house plants and two of the plants we previously described in this list are succulents in nature – Aloe vera and Cactus.

A little secret about succulents is that they love company. Yes, they love living with other succulents, even in the same pot! So don’t be afraid to plant different types of succulents in the same container, they’ll thrive together. I actually wrote an article on this topic – do plants get lonely?

Quick guide on how to care for a Succulent

Container use a wide and shallow ceramic or terracotta container for your succulent
Light succulents don’t like direct sunlight, but do need a fair amount of light, so placing it on a south-facing window will do the trick.
Water when the soil is completely dry, soak your succulent completely, until water comes out of the bottom of the pot
Temperature succulents thrive in temperatures just above freezing, ideal is 35°F - 40°F (1.5°C - 7°C).
Fertilizers apply fertilizer in early spring and then again in late summer.
Pruning succulents can be pruned anytime, but ideal is at the beginning of growing season (early spring).
Repotting repot summer-dormant succulents in fall and winter-dormant succulents in spring, every two years.

Okay, that’s all for the shallow container loving plants, but if you’d like to read another interesting article about light requirements for various indoor plants, check this article out.

Stay green, guys!

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