32 Best Indoor Plants to Spruce Up Your Space
Brighten up your home with a touch of Mother Nature—we've found the best indoor houseplants for every room in your home.
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Indoor plants for every space
When people spent more time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, many sought to spruce up their living spaces—and many realized that one of the easiest ways to do that was with indoor houseplants. Whether you’re adding to your collection or you’re ready to move on from fake plants and are just getting started, we’ve found the best indoor plants; yes, even low-light houseplants that don’t mind the dark and low-maintenance plants that will survive even if you forget to water them for a week or two. These indoor plants not only cheer up your space but also help you unwind. What more could you ask for? And don’t forget to bookmark where you can buy plants online to spruce up your indoor space.
No matter what sort of dwelling you call home, chances are pretty high that even if it’s lacking in floor space, it’s at least got windowsills. Almost any windowsill makes for a sunny spot for an indoor plant; a windowsill in a kitchen grants you the perfect opportunity to grow a little herb garden. What you can grow there depends on just how much light you get. But from parsley to basil, thyme to sage, there’s an herb or two that’s guaranteed to thrive in little pots or even a rectangular planter, helping you to liven up the room—and your meals. This nine-herb starter set contains everything you need to get growing—and get noshing. These are the 10 best herbs for a home garden.
Snake plant (Sansevierias)
With its upright, two-tone, and sword-shaped leaves, the snake plant is a terrific starter indoor plant for those unsure of their gardening skills. That’s because this long-lived, perennial succulent can tolerate a range of light conditions, and actually prefers to be scantly watered. That makes it hard to kill and perfect for those who travel a lot or tend to forget about their plants. This Bloomscape Sansevieria Moonshine comes in a recycled plastic pot. If your indoor space needs even more plants, you’ll want to try out one of these plant subscription boxes.
Baby tears (Soleirolia soleirolii )
One of the most adorable and affordable plants on the market, baby tears live up to their name, with tiny, bright leaves that embody the very essence of springtime. A tropical perennial that’s actually part of the hardy nettle family, baby tears also give you flexible planting options, allowing you to conform their needs to your space. You can plant them in a wide-mouthed container for a flat, mossy sort of look like the ones shown here; use them in a glass terrarium, or tuck their roots into a hanging planter—using vertical space instead of horizontal.
String of pearls (Senecio rowleyanus)
Another indoor hanging plant that will liven up your home, slender tendrils dotted with adorable pea-shaped “pearls” on the string of pearls grow down the side of a planter, dripping greenery into any room. It can be easily propagated; that means if you do well taking care of one of these indoor plants and want to make more of it, you can snip off a piece, and root it in water before planting this new clipping. As a succulent, it prefers low water but lots of light, so make sure you’ve got the right spot to hang it in before committing.
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Yes, it sounds obvious, but you might not be aware that there are a lot of plants that are grown purposefully on a super-small scale and can be cared for in order to stay that way. A lot of these are, like string of pearls, succulents, and/or cacti. Think: hens and chicks (Sempervivum); Haworthia; Echeveria; and the list goes on and on. No two look exactly alike—some have soft features, others spiky. So if you’ve got a sunny windowsill, you can try your hand at a few at a time, like this mixed succulent collection from Walmart.
Air plants (Tillandsia)
In a similar vein are air plants, bromeliads that are quite small, vary in their looks, and can be purchased individually or in groupings. The difference between these and succulents? They don’t require planting in soil; these amazing organisms get all the nutrients they need directly from the air through their leaves, rather than their roots, hence their name. This means you can place them literally anywhere they can get enough light: in a shallow dish on a tabletop or in a glass terrarium affixed to the wall, for example. Instead of traditional watering, they require weekly soaking. Allow these indoor plants to dry thoroughly before placing them back in whatever vessel you house them in. If you’re a pet owner, you’ll want to make sure you avoid these 16 plants that are toxic to dogs.
ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)
This dark-leafed beauty with a rhizomatous root system, also known as the Zanzibar gem, is another species that thrives on neglect which makes it a smart choice for beginner indoor plant enthusiasts. It likes conditions dry, it will tolerate a range of light conditions (although very low light will stunt its growth and impact its health), and, since it can be propagated from a single clipping, one or more of these can occupy even the smallest surface in your home. With its upright leaves, it’s also suited to narrow spots.
Silver Queen (Aglaonema ‘Silver Queen’)
With its silver-white variegated leaves, Silver Queen can be grown small—really small; think a little 4-inch pot—and will thank you if you place it in a dark-ish corner somewhere, where other indoor houseplants just won’t thrive. This just adds to its versatility as a low-water, cold-tolerant plant. It is susceptible to mealybug infestations, though, so make sure to do a thorough inspection of any plant you bring home before placing it next to others.
Got a window—even a teeny-tiny window—in your bathroom? This high-humidity room could be just right for a small fern (or several). These thin-leafed plants actually require humidity in order to thrive and do especially well in a peat moss-based mix. And, with 20,000 types of fern out there in the world at large, you’ll have plenty of varieties to choose from to enliven your showery oasis. This bird’s nest fern comes in a pot of your choice of four colors.
These denizens of cool, damp forests can do very well in the right conditions inside your home, too. The advantage: they take up only as much space as you decide to give them, creating a low-lying velvety plateau. Although there are thousands of species of moss to choose from, you can’t go wrong with pretty white-flowering variety Scotch moss (Sagina subulata ‘Aurea’), whose care requires a not-too-hot, not-too-sunny spot and occasional misting to keep it healthy and happy.
African violet (Saintpaulia)
If you can manage to get African violet care just right—it prefers indirect light and has very finicky feelings about how much water is the right amount—one of these fuzzy leaved plants will reward you with almost perpetual sprays of purple or white flowers. That means even the smallest of these tropical plants can give you a bright, festive eyeful all the dreary winter long.
Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula)
Not content with ordinary flora fare and want to have an indoor plant that’s more of a science experiment or talking point on family Zoom meetings? Then the Venus flytrap and other carnivorous plants—pitcher plants, butterworts, sundews—might be just what the plant doctor ordered. Many of these natives of bogs and other very wet spots grow extremely small. Their care, though, is highly specific so make sure you do your homework and are up to the task. Carnivorous plants like their habitat wet, free of minerals, and high on humidity and light. Well taken care of, they’ll reward you by trapping any insects that land on them. Find out how to revive a dead houseplant.
Pilea plant (Pilea peperomioides)
A native of China, this round-leafed bit of greenery, nicknamed the UFO plant, does well in most environments—as long as it’s not getting blasted by direct sun or confined to a light-less corner of a room. Rotating it consistently, so all its leaves face your light source from time to time, is about the only specialized care this indoor beauty requires. It likes to be watered about once a week and as long as these very basic needs are met, it will grow and thrive for years.
This pretty, three-colored variety of spiderwort plant is a colorful addition to an indirectly sunny window that could use a little visual interest; when the light is right, its lovely pink hue will shine on through. Since spiderwort will grow in long, luscious tendrils if it receives plenty of TLC and misting from a spray bottle, along with conscientious watering (i.e., make sure you don’t let its soil dry all the way), this is an especially apt indoor plant to stick in a hanging basket, but make sure it’s not exposed to drafts, which will make it very unhappy indeed.
Scarlet Star Bromeliad (Guzmania lingulata ‘Scarlet Star’)
Got a steamy, humid abode that could use some plant love? Consider bringing home a bromeliad, a stiff, spiny-leafed plant group. It may look intimidating, but the truth is this is an easy-care indoor plant, as long as you’ve got a bright and sunny place to keep it. Since it originates in tropical locales, it will thank you for maintaining the surrounding temperature between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, keeping its roots well misted, and filling the little cup formed in the middle of its leaves hydrated with a pool of water. When it’s happy you will know it: it will bloom with this spectacular red flower, which can last for as long as five months.
Corn plant (Dracaena fragrans)
This “no-fuss” floor plant is a great addition to a big, bright room—although parents and pet owners take note: this gorgeous, emerald-leaved specimen is toxic so you’ll want to keep it out of reach of your mini loved ones. Most species of Dracaena, of which there are about 120, originate in Africa, so most of them (including this one) will benefit from warm temps and just the right amount of watering: that means, allow it to dry out thoroughly down to 4 inches, then give it a thorough soaking. As the name suggests, a corn plant can grow very tall indeed; to keep it in check and from taking over your house, pinch back its top leaves.
Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
If one look at a spider plant gives you 1970s vibes, this specimen gives a nod to that time (and that macrame), while also looking fresh and current. What keeps spider plants popular after all these years? They truly are a breeze to care for and can take a lot of neglect—although they will certainly look a lot better if you remember to water them, let all the water drain from their pot before replacing them in their window, and give them the light they crave. Possibly the coolest thing of all about a thriving spider plant is that it will generate small baby spiders, which will trail off new stems, and that you can get rooted in new pots. Before you know it, you’ll have a veritable spider plant nursery on your hands!
Mystery Box Plant Cuttings
Ready for a challenge? How about this box full of mystery cuttings: Taken from four easy-to-care-for indoor plants that can tolerate low light, they arrive with their own care sheets. You’ll be responsible for sticking them in water until their roots fully generate, and from there it’s on to small pots of soil and (hopefully) a new sense of confidence in your gardening skills. Possible plants include: scindapsus pictus, marble queen pothos, golden goddess philodendron, monstera karstenianum, red maranta, philodendron Brasil, golden pothos, hoya carnosa, peperomia bibi, begonia, purple waffle, and moon valley friendship, and each one has its very distinct charms.
Prickly pear cactus (Opuntia)
Fans of desert landscapes will revel in this extremely cactus-y looking cactus—abundant all over the West and Southwest, and also a staple Mexican ingredient that’s used, for example, in some vegetarian tacos. There are a few things to keep in mind if you decide to bring this outdoor-lover indoors. It’s going to need bright light from a southerly or westerly facing window; it likes to be warm; and it prefers to be watered with warm—and not too much—tap water and well drained. And it also bears remembering: this cactus has sharp spikes, so you’ll want to take care handling it, and also putting it anywhere near where kids and pets can reach it.
English ivy (Hedera helix)
Fans of ivy-covered buildings can recreate that verdant look on the inside of their houses or apartments. In fact, English ivy might be one of the most gratifying indoor plants to grow because it is so easy to care for—proliferating regardless of light, under-or over-watering, and a fair amount of neglect. You can keep your ivy tidily contained in its pot or planter (as seen here), or train it up your walls, over doorways, and across your ceiling with wire.
Council tree (Ficus altissima)
Here’s another classic tree that thrives in an indoor environment. A fig relative, this one can grow to about 6 feet in a pot, and is good at letting you know when you’re doing a bad job taking care of it: its leaves will yellow (a sign of over-watering), become brown and crispy (a sign that it’s getting too much direct light), or fall off (a sign that you’ve exposed them to some kind of stress—perhaps a move to the other side of the apartment or too close to the radiator). A ficus benefits from occasional fertilizing, and from being moved to a bigger container when it’s outgrown its pot—which it will indicate when it stops getting bigger but otherwise seems healthy.
Money tree (Pachira aquatica)
Said to bring good luck, a money tree—with its dark glossy leaves and braided trunk that’s said to “trap fortune”—will look like a million bucks, even if it actually fails to bring in any extra cash. It lives on indirect light and scant watering, making it yet another in a long line of indoor houseplants that will survive and thrive even a beginner’s ministrations. Bonus: It is considered pet safe by the ASPCA.
Azalea (Rhododendron family)
Sure, green leaves and dense foliage are super nice—and a room full of blossoms adds an extra level of cheer. Azaleas are common in outdoor gardens, but properly chosen (make sure you’re buying one that the seller recommends for indoors!) and tended, they can grow well and happily around your home as well. These plants prefer cooler temperatures and ample water—never let them dry out. They also like slightly acidic soil so consider purchasing a fertilizer that will help you maintain the proper pH. You’ll be rewarded with blooms aplenty.
Peace lily (Spathiphyllum)
These un-showy tropical plants can grow to about a foot-and-a-half under the right conditions, which is to say, in a nice warm and not-too-bright room, with waterings before their surface soil is dry to the touch. Your reward for gentle, loving care will be a single-petaled white flower that will linger for weeks. No bloom insight? Consider giving your peace lily just a smidge more light.
King Anthurium (Anthurium veitchii)
This is a high-humidity craving plant, which means that you’ll have to attempt to recreate a bit of a tropical forest in whichever diffusely lit room you choose to set it up in. Having a humidifier running in the room will certainly help, especially if you live in a place with steam heating in the winter, and so does spraying its leaves at least once a day. Like the air plants we highlighted earlier, King anthurium is an epiphyte, which means in nature, it doesn’t need to grow in soil but instead is usually found on the surface of another, bigger plant and gets all the moisture it needs from the air. That’s even more amazing when you consider that this plant can grow leaves up to six feet long! Don’t forget to browse these air-purifying plants you’ll want for your home.
Although this sour orange tree is certainly a beauty, there are many varieties of citrus trees and other indoor fruit trees that you can introduce into your home. That said, they need special care so take one of these on only if you feel like you’re up to a next-level challenge. For starters, well-drained soil is key, and citrus is very finicky about watering; you might have to play around for a bit to hit on the right ratio of dry-to-wet. If it gets too cold, its leaves will drop so a warm, draft-free spot is essential; watering with warm rather than cold water can also help. If you can figure out your citrus’s deepest desires, it will reward you with fragrant blooms and fruit and years of growth and beauty.
Mini moth orchid (Phalaenopsis)
Orchids have a reputation for being difficult to grow. And while they definitely require a different kind of care than, say, ivy, orchids in the Phalaenopsis family, like this moth orchid, are good species to start with because they are generally forgiving. They like a bright room that’s warm in the day and cool at night, and prefer not to be misted or exposed to direct sunlight.
Jade plant (Crassula ovata)
Keep this succulent properly watered—never dried out but never soaked, either—and give it full sun and you will find that it grows quickly and steadily for years. It’s not uncommon to hear stories of 40-year-old jade houseplants that take up a vast amount of space and, if you’re lucky, it might be you who is telling these stories someday.
Cape primrose (Streptocarpus)
Cape primrose are pretty little flowers that bloom over and over if the conditions are right. Susceptible to root rot, it’s critical to let the top of the soil they’re planted in feel dry to the touch before watering them; but placing a planter in a water dish of pebbles will also make sure it’s getting enough moisture—and humidity—without going overboard. When they’re done with one cycle of blooming, make sure to fertilize them to make sure you’ll get another bloom in the future.
Bird’s nest fern (Asplenium antiquum)
Unlike the feathery fronds of many other fern species, bird’s nest has thick, forked, or “crested” fronds; new ones emerge as curls at the center of the plant, and they’re fun to watch unfurl as the days progress. Like other ferns, this one is pretty easy-going and likes bright but not full-on light, along with damp soil and temperate climes.
Lavender topiary (Lavandula)
No need to keep this lavender topiary in with the kitchen herbs! Place it in any warm room in direct sun and it will perfume the surrounding air, even when it’s not in bloom. Make sure you pot it in well-draining soil, give it a good drenching when it gets dry, and, to keep its topiary shape, prune it as soon as it starts to look shaggy.
Months of flowering houseplants
Now that you’ve mastered indoor plant care, why not treat yourself to a plant-of-the-month club, from White Flower Farm. Sign up for three months all the way up to 12 months and find yourself a plant parent to everything from Dendrobium (August) to holiday cactus (November). More indoor houseplants really are the merrier!