8 Plants That Flourish Indoors
If you’re searching for one single element to add to any room to make it look better, go for a plant. They bring freshness and a joyful, welcome feel. Here are a few favorites to choose from.
1. Fiddleleaf Fig
Homeowners love the fiddleleaf fig (Ficus lyrata), proven by its increased popularity in the interior design world over the last few years. Known for their large, attractive, glossy leaves, they make great larger scale houseplants. In a large pot, they can grow up to 6-½ feet tall.
• Use for: Bringing a sculptural element to a room.
• Light: Requires bright filtered light, so try placing near a window. Avoid direct sunlight to prevent leaf burn.
• Water: As a tropical plant, keep consistently moist and in a warm room, if possible.
• Tip: Avoid having it sit in excess water, as it can get root rot.
Also known as devil’s ivy, this lush and leafy trailing vine is a favorite of those who complain they have “black thumbs” or find it hard to keep plants alive. Although pothos comes from a tropical jungle habitat, it’s very tolerant of infrequent watering and neglect. It can grow to be very long, but inside a home 6 feet is a common length. It ranks as one of the top plants for purifying air.
• Use for: Adding a homey touch. Perfect for those not interested in gardening.
• Light: Tolerates low-light spaces.
• Water: Just once a week is fine.
• Tips: Get a fuller, more robust plant by pruning. Keep out of reach of kids and pets.
3. Madagascar Dragon Tree
Featuring a compact, structural shape, the low-maintenance Madagascar dragon tree (Dracaena marginata) is hugely popular for impact and texture in rooms with clean lines.
• Use for: Modern and contemporary interiors.
• Light: Find a bright spot by a window.
• Water: Water thoroughly about once a month, when the soil feels slightly dry to the touch. To avoid root rot, be sure to discard any water in the drainage saucer so that the plant doesn’t sit in the water.
• Tips: For a shorter, bushier plant, simply prune the top. Also, a new plant can be grown from a cutting by placing it in water. It can be planted in soil when two new stems grow from the cutting, typically after a few weeks.
4. Zee Zee Plant
Another plant for those with “black thumbs,” the Zee Zee plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) features glossy green leaves and has an exotic look to it. Most importantly, it’s hard to kill. A perennial hailing from tropical Eastern Africa, this plant is slow growing and works well as a table centerpiece or an office plant.
• Use for: Spaces needing a very low-maintenance plant.
• Light: Requires indirect, bright light.
• Water: Water it every two weeks.
• Tip: Keep the Zee Zee plant away from babies and pets.
5. Maidenhair Fern
Despite not being the easiest plant for beginners, maidenhair fern (Adiantum spp.) makes a great addition to an interior. It features delicate, softly textured foliage, but must be kept moist, so is not the best choice for a forgetful homeowner.
• Use for: Softening or bringing texture to a retro- or traditional-style room.
• Light: Needs a brightly lit perch away from drafts.
• Water: Soil must be kept moist. A self-watering pot might be a good idea for those prone to forgetting.
• Tips: Applying liquid organic fertilizer on a regular basis will optimize the plant’s growth. Also, avoid letting the soil dry out — even for a day or two.
6. Snake Plant
An incredibly tough plant named for its long, pointed leaves, the snake plant, also known as mother-in-law’s tongue or Saint George’s sword (Sansevieria trifasciata), was very popular in the ‘70s and is currently going through a huge resurgence as an on-trend indoor and architectural plant.
• Use for: Bringing structure to retro, contemporary, modern or eclectic interiors.
• Light: Prefers full, bright light, but is forgiving and is able to tolerate many conditions.
• Water: Once a month. Overwatering is the only way to kill this plant.
• Tips: The snake plant is easily divided and shared. In addition, it looks great grouped with other indoor plants.
7. Umbrella Plant
Another plant that was popular in the ‘60s and ‘70s, the umbrella plant (Schefflera actinophylia) is adored for its beautiful foliage. Hard to kill, all it requires is plenty of water and regular fertilizing in order to flourish.
• Use for: Injecting life into a corner of a room, since height is one of its most striking features.
• Light: Thrives in indirect sunlight.
• Water: Moist soil and humid environments are best, so try to water weekly and spray daily.
• Tips: Use liquid fertilizer or slow-release fertilizer pellets in its growing season to maximize growth.
8. Air Plants
Super trendy right now, air plants (Tillandsia spp.) are popping up all over — from bars and restaurants to exhibits at interior design expos. Despite being called air plants, they don’t just live on air alone — they do need water. The difference from regular plants, however, is that they can obtain water only if it is on their leaves in the form of dew, rain or fog. This means they require regular misting, rather than being watered.
• Use for: Adding interest to a room, whether on a wall or in glass spheres hanging from the ceiling.
• Light: Air plants prefer bright, filtered light. If planted in glass globes, then keep away from direct sunlight.
• Water: For areas with dry air, mist plants with a spray bottle two times per week and then dip the entire plant in water for three hours every week or two. For air plants in glass globes, mist with one spray of water for small globes and two to three for large globes. Be cautious, as overmisting can kill the plants.
• Tip: After submerging your plant in water to wet it, avoid water collecting near the base and causing negative effects by turning the plant upside down and shaking it gently.