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    Best Plants for Indoors

    Authored by Leah Chester-Davis

    The wonders of houseplants abound! They bring a touch of nature indoors and give life to our rooms. They can help provide cleaner air and they even make us happier. The popularity of indoor plants goes back centuries. Interest in them exploded during the Victorian era and continued to gain in popularity as plant hunters roamed the earth in search of the latest, greatest find. Many of today’s indoor plants have origins in tropical or subtropical areas. No matter where they hail from, houseplants are more popular than ever. 

    How to choose a houseplant

    Cultural requirements are key when selecting indoor plants. Check their cultural requirements on the plant tag and consider where in your home they might be happiest. Lighting, temperature, humidity, watering, and fertilizing are a few of the indoor plant care basics that will result in happy, healthy plants that, in many cases, can be enjoyed for years. 

    The list of best plants for indoors is subjective. There are many to choose from and, fortunately, there are options to suit just about any taste or preference. While some people prefer plants that deliver pretty, colorful blooms, many houseplants offer up striking foliage that is the star attraction all on its own. In the past several years, cacti and succulents have elbowed their way into our homes, providing delightful specimen plants or charming groupings of several plants. As with anything in life, variety adds spice, so why not choose several different types of plants to add life and joy to your home.

    15 houseplants to try

    Among the best plants for indoors are these 15 favorites, in no order. While they are grouped into categories, some fit into more than one.

    Flowering plants

    1. Begonias

    Begonais offer both striking blooms in a wide range of colors and beautiful foliage. Whether it’s the wax and tuberous that have sweet, delicate blooms or the cane (angel wing) or Rex that show striking, intricate patterns on the foliage, begonias offer plenty of variety. They like bright, indirect light.

    Learn more about begonia >

    2. Kalanchoes

    Kalanchoes are succulents, and they have such pretty blooms and are so easy to care for that they are flowering plants to include in any indoor collection. They have dark green, scalloped-edge leaves and bright yellow, pink, or red flower clusters that last for weeks. They like bright windowsills or sunrooms.

    3. Anthuriums

    Anthuriums are all heart. Sometimes called flamingo flowers, their glossy, heart-shaped leaves are topped by cheery, heart-shaped, white, pink, or red blooms that are further accented by a yellow spadix or spike, making them real attention-getters. They need medium or bright light and above average humidity. In low light, the foliage will be pretty, but it won’t bloom.

    Foliage plants

    4. Pothos

    Pothos are tough plants that are determined to win your attention by performing admirably no matter where they are placed. With a little attention, their dark green leaves that are marbled in shades of yellow, cream, or white will shine. Pothos can trail or drape beautifully from hanging baskets, be pruned slightly to keep a full growth habit, or placed in a container to climb a totem or trellis. Newer selections provide more foliage color options, such as blue. This plant will be a show-off in bright light but tolerates low light.

    Learn more about pothos >

    5. Snake plants

    Snake plants sometimes called mother-in-law’s tongue or Sansevieria, lend an upright architectural element to a room and are among the easiest of houseplants to grow. They are considered succulents and are available in the form that grows 2 to 3 feet tall with stiff, upright, sword-like foliage, to shorter types that may only grow a few inches tall with more arching leaves. The leaves may be bright green to blue green, striped or banded, or edged in cream or yellow. They will grow more quickly in bright light but tolerate low light conditions.

    Learn more about snake plants >

    6. Aglaonema

    Aglaonema packs eye-catching, contrasting color into its foliage. Its large, dark green leaves are splashed or veined, sometimes in a bright pink or red, making it a stunner when placed in a pretty container. The bonus is it is easy to grow and not fussy. It is happiest in medium to indirect bright light where its colors will be at their best, but it will grow in low light. 

    7. Dracaenas

    Dracaenas include dozens of species and many different varieties that are readily available. Many, such as the kind commonly called corn plant, grow as trees in their native habitat. They have bold green leaves with a yellow stripe down the center and grow tall on a woody stalk. Others are dark green with noticeable ribbing on the leaves. ‘Lemon Lime’ presents a bold look with dark green leaves edged in yellow or chartreuse. ‘Limelight’ is a chartreuse that provides great contrast to darker plants. Others are edged in white or gray. Some have upright, sharp-looking foliage. And the list goes on. They are easy to grow and tolerate low light but are happiest with bright, indirect light.

    8. Philodendrons

    Philodendrons are another choice that offer many different varieties to choose from in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and colors. One of the most common often gets confused with pothos. Philodendron includes varieties that are vines and are lovely in hanging baskets or growing up a totem or pole. Others have an upright habit. This is an easy to grow plant that is quite forgiving and fuss-free. It will be its prettiest in medium to bright, indirect light but will tolerate low light. 

    9. Palms

    Palms are popular for their dramatic, tropical-like foliage. Several species are available but perhaps one of the easiest to grow is the ponytail palm (not a true palm) that is quite unique with its large, swollen trunk or base, known as a caudex. Rising up out of the base is a long stem topped with a rosette of evergreen leaves that cascade downward like a ponytail. The caudex stores water so if you are out of town or forget a watering it will typically be just fine. It prefers bright, indirect light but will tolerate low light.

    Learn more about palms >

    10. Aspidistra

    Aspidistra is sometimes called cast-iron plant, and that says it all. It is tough and can handle just about any condition. It has glossy, dark green, arching, lanceolate leaves that grow as large as 4 inches wide and 24 inches long. There are types with variegated foliage of green with white striping. It prefers bright, indirect light but can handle low light. 

    11. ZZ plant

    ZZ Plants grow to about 3 feet tall and wide. They have thick broad stems that taper upward and feature leaves that have 6 to 8 pairs of elliptic-shaped, glossy, dark green leaflets that are about 1 to 3 inches long. It is slow growing and easy to grow, requiring little maintenance. Its tolerant of low light and humidity.

    12. Peperomias

    Peperomias are one of the smaller options for indoor plants. Several varieties are available with many colors and textures. Some varieties, such as watermelon peperomia and parallel peperomia have stunning variegated or patterned foliage that is attention-getting and great accents for any room in your home. String of Turtles has trailing vines of small, patterned leaves.

    13. Prayer plants

    Prayer plants have some of the most appealing foliage. It is characterized by large oval shapes and patterns with varying shades of green with pink or red veining. It is fun to see this plant when its new leaves emerge in tight tubes that slowly unfurl to reveal the unique patterns. The undersides of the leaves are solid, from grayish-green to purplish-green and the leaves close up at night. These plants do well in indirect bright, medium, and low light rooms. 

    Cacti and succulents

    14. Cacti and succulents

    Cacti and Succulents have taken the plant world by storm the past several years and continue to remain popular. This group of plants is wide ranging and delightful. Whether small specimens of Cacti, Crassula, Senecio, Sedum, Sempervivum, or Echeveria are potted up in small, individual containers to line a windowsill or grouped together, they create interest without a lot of fuss.

    15. Aloes

    Aloes are among the tried-and-true favorites, particularly aloe vera, that have a bold texture and upright habit though there are many varieties available. Several have variegated, mottled, or mosaic patterns. If they receive enough light, they send up flower stalks with colorful blooms. They prefer bright locations in your home. 

    Learn more about aloe plants >

    These are among the easiest, most rewarding indoor plants to grow but there are many others.  Whether you grow a fern, ficus, orchid, bromeliad, monstera, croton, cyclamen, alocasia, African violet, plectranthus, tradescantia, gerbera, schefflera, or any other worthy candidate, one thing stays true: there are incredible options to bring joy and the therapeutic touch of nature into our homes. And plant breeders are always introducing new cultivars that add both delight and interest to any houseplant collection.  

    Pot them up in a pretty container, give them basic plant care, and reap the rewards these workhorses have to offer year after year. After all, a new houseplant is a relatively inexpensive treat for yourself! 

    More houseplant knowledge

    Lifestyle factors for thriving houseplants, plus 10 options to consider adding to your home.
    If you're an indoor seed-starter or a plant parent for houseplants, grow lights may be on your mind. Learn more about these fake sun makers.