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12 Best Houseplants + Trees for Every Type of Home

Houseplants have made a dramatic impact on the interior design world in the past two years. The first aspect of your home to garner praise used to be your furniture or a piece of art. Now, guests are likely to compliment you with “Wow! I love your plants!” 

Growing great plants is easier said than done, right? Well, maybe. Turning your space into an urban jungle or tropical paradise takes a little elbow grease and a little knowledge. By reading up on the picks below, you will be set up for some foliage fun. In addition to cleaning the air and improving your mood, having plants in your home serves as a dynamic and ever-changing decoration that allows you to see your hard work pay off. These options each require slightly different environments (light, watering, misting) but all can live inside your home and never need to be moved outside. 

Photo: Holden Rhodes

Before we get to the good stuff (i.e. the plants), here are a few terms that may be helpful as you decide what plant is best to help transform your space. 

First off, light. It is a common misconception that plants enjoy being in direct sunlight. Instead, most plants do not want to be in direct sunlight and actually will burn (yes, burn) if they are. Rather, they prefer bright, indirect light. The most helpful way to understand this is to imagine your plants’ leaves have eyes on them. If those eyes could see the blue of the sky, but not the direct sun rays, that is bright, indirect light. 

Next up, watering. This seems like an intuitive step, but most people actually aren’t great about watering their houseplants. Due to the fact that houseplants are living in–well, a house as opposed to nature–their loving caretakers have to simulate a natural environment. With watering, you’ll want to fully saturate the soil with water. The best way to do this is not with a watering can, but actually to place your potted plants in the sink or shower (depending on their size). Then, allow water to run through the potted plants (simulating rain) until water comes out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. It is recommended that you let the plants sit for about 10 minutes before returning them to your living spaces to avoid any ongoing drainage. 

Last but not least, misting and climate control. Most indoor plants are actually tropical plants that exist in rainforest-like environments. Unless you have an absolutely unreal treehouse-style home in a humid part of the world, you most likely will have to just do a little extra work to make your plants think they are still in the rainforest. This means, misting! Because we all live in climate-controlled environments (air conditioning and dry heat), plants can dry out, crack, or even die in these artificial settings. To counteract this, consider misting your tropicals a couple of nights a week before you go to bed. No need to go overboard with it, but providing a little humidity will help promote new growth and leaf unfurling, as well as keep your plant aesthetic optimal. (Pro tip: if possible, never put a plant directly under or next to an air conditioning vent or heater, it is far too harsh and no amount of humidity will counteract that, sadly).

Photo: Holden Rhodes 

Monstera Deliciosa – also known as the Swiss Cheese Plant, this top pick has become an online sensation. While there is a variety of Monsteras out there, the Deliciosa (or “delicious monster” due to its poisonous nature) has risen to fame for its gigantic, quick-growing leaves and outstanding fenestrations. 

  • Light: bright, indirect (can tolerate lower light in some instances, but not ideal).
  • Watering: once a week, fully saturate the soil. 
  • Misting: mist leaves only 2-3 times per week.  
Photo: Unsplash

ZZ Plant – these plants are tough, and I mean really tough. Much like the snake plant (see below), these plants require minimal light and watering. They are perfect for windowless rooms/bathrooms or basement apartments. If in a windowless room, be sure to put it in a room with a window every couple of weeks for a few hours. 

  • Light: extremely low light tolerant. Can be in bright, indirect also. 
  • Watering: once every 6-8 weeks. 
  • Misting: not necessarily.
Photo: Unsplash

Alocasia – a wide-ranging family of houseplants, these tropicals are a bit tricky but worth it. Their stunning and unique leaves are sure to improve any space. 

  • Light: bright, indirect. 
  • Watering: once a week, fully saturate the soil. 
  • Misting: optional; mist leaves once a week lightly if desired.
Photo: Unsplash

Aloe Plant – Not just for sunburns anymore, aloes are versatile and easy-going plants with a practical purpose! 

  • Light: bright, indirect. Can tolerate lower light, but not preferred. 
  • Watering: once every week or every other week, depending on lighting conditions. 
  • Misting: Not necessary.
Photo: Unsplash

Pothos – Want to turn your place into a lush, vining, green jungle? Look no further than the pothos. Coming in both golden and marble varieties, the pothos (also called “Devil’s Ivy”) can live in almost any lighting condition and looks outstanding vining off of shelves or even cabinets! 

  • Light: bright, indirect. Can tolerate lower light, but be sure to move near a window at least once a week for the day. 
  • Water: once a week, fully saturate the soil (Note: pothos leaves will curl and droop noticeably when they need more water. These plants are exceptionally hearty and will spring back to life after being seemingly dead with a good watering).
  • Misting: 2-3 times a week. 
Photo: Unsplash

Snake Plant – Also called “Mother In-Law’s Tongue” these pointy pillars are actually a type of succulent. They are a go-to for first-time plant owners and professionals alike. Basically, you have to pour bleach on them to kill them. 

  • Light: extremely low light tolerance. Can be acclimated to brighter conditions. 
  • Water: once every 6-8 weeks. Can go longer without issue. 
  • Misting: definitely not. 
Photo: Unsplash

Xerographica – These lesser-known air-plants are sure to spruce up your space. Unlike other plants, they grow outside of soil and at no time require to be planted. 

  • Light: Bright, direct (this means they are in the rays of the sun), or indirect (simply can see the sky).
  • Water: once a week, soak your xerographica face down in a bowl of lukewarm water for 10 minutes. Allow drying face down for a few hours. 
  • Misting: 3-4 times per week. 
Photo: Unsplash

    

Silver Leaf Philodendron – Similar to its sister plant, the pothos, philodendron are easy-going, communicative vining plants that do great in bright spaces and high up on shelves where they can vine down in all their glory. The silver leaf variety is especially unique, with metallic scaling on the leaves! 

  • Light: bright, indirect. 
  • Water: once a week, fully saturate the soil.
  • Misting: 2-3 times per week. 
Photo: Unsplash

Fiddle Leaf Fig – Notorious B.I.G.? More like Notorious F.I.G. These plants are famous for being fickle and can drop leaves or even die on a whim for no good reason. However, get one in a good spot and they can last for decades. Similar to Monsteras, these plants have found their calling through their minimalist aesthetic and popularity among millennials. While they can be absolutely stunning, buyers beware: these plants will break your heart and the bank. 

  • Light: bright, indirect. East or West-facing windows are best. Do not move the Fiddle Leaf Fig once you have placed it, unless to water. They do not tolerate change. 
  • Water: once a week, fully saturate the soil.
  • Misting: once a week, mist any new growth (will bud at the top of the plant) to promote unfurling. Do not over mist. 
 Photo: Unsplash

   

Rubber Tree – A close relative of the Fiddle Leaf Fig is the Rubber Tree. With bold coloring and a far less volatile personality, these trees are great in any size and add substantive depth to any white-washed space. They are more easygoing, less expensive, but sadly will not actually produce you any materials to make rubber — sorry!

  • Light: bright, indirect. 
  • Water: once a week, fully saturate the soil. 
  • Misting: not necessary. 
  Photo: Unsplash

Yucca Tree – This tree has a slimmer profile than most indoor plants and can tolerate extremely bright sunlight, making it a great option for a slim space next to a big window, like at the end of a couch or next to a television. Its height draws the eye up, making small spaces appear larger. Originally occurring in more desert-like environments, the care for these trees is minimal. 

  • Light: bright direct or indirect. 
  • Water: once a week during the summer. Once every other/every third week during the off-season. Fully saturate the soil.
  • Misting: not necessary. 
Photo: Unsplash

Norfolk Pine – Feeling festive all year round? Say hello to the Nordic Fir! This alternative to a Christmas Tree can be dressed up for the holiday season but is a living tree that won’t die come the New Year. Did you know an estimated 30 million Christmas trees are discarded each year? Consider doing some good for the planet with this more sustainable alternative! 

  • Light: bright, indirect. 
  • Water: once a week or every two weeks in the winter. Fully saturate soil. 
  • Misting: not necessary. 

Whether you’re a novice at the plant game or an adventurous, advanced horticulturist looking to level up, you’re sure to find at least one out of this dozen that will do the trick!

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