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Houseplants add touches of natural beauty to your home while providing you with the opportunity to nurture and care for living things.
We researched the best indoor plants and tested them in our own homes, evaluating hardiness, ease of care, and overall value. Our top low-maintenance pick, the Costa Farms 10-in White Bird Of Paradise Plant, can withstand cold temperatures, thrives in bright spaces, and has a distinctive, colorful look.
Here are the best indoor plants.
Best Low-Maintenance: Costa Farms 10 in. White Bird of Paradise Planter
Native to South Africa, bird of paradise is a low-maintenance perennial plant with a tropical vibe. It thrives in well-lit indoor areas—near a window is best—and needs to be watered once a week (or when the soil gets dry).
This pre-potted option from Costa Farms comes in a lightweight planter with drainage holes. You can transfer it into another pot or leave it as is.
Best Small: The Sill Peperomia Obtusifolia
Peperomia obtusifolia (AKA baby rubber plant) is known for its sturdy spoon-shaped leaves. Native to Florida, this houseplant has succulent-like qualities, meaning it stores water in its roots, stems, and leaves. This desk-sized option from The Sill comes in a five-inch round ceramic pot and only needs to be watered every week or two.
Best Medium: The Sill ZZ Plant
The waxy, green-leafed Zanzibar gem (ZZ plant for short) is the perfect mid-sized houseplant. It helps purify the air, doesn't mind low-light conditions, and only needs water once every few weeks. The Sill's medium ZZ comes in a 7-inch round ceramic planter in black, blush, cream, mint, or classic terracotta.
Best Large: Bloomscape Fiddle Leaf Fig Column
Want something a bit larger? You might consider a fiddle leaf fig column, like this one from Bloomscape. This sizable indoor plant comes in an eco-friendly pot made of recycled materials and will be between 42 and 58 inches tall when it arrives on your doorstep.
Native to West Africa, fiddle leaf figs need a little more attention than other plants. They prefer warmer temps, do best in rooms with bright natural light, and require frequent watering to keep the soil moist at all times.
Best Tree: Just Add Ice JAI266 Money Tree
Easy-going money trees make excellent indoor plants. This affordable pick from Just Add Ice comes in a 5-inch ceramic pot and will be about 15 inches tall when it reaches your doorstep. As the brand's name implies, all you need to do is add two ice cubes to the soil once a week and set it in a brightly lit room.
Best Hanging: The Home Depot Philodendron Brasil Plant in 6 in. Hanging Basket
The philodendron brasil can grow in low-light areas and needs to be watered about once a week. This hardy plant from The Home Depot comes in a hanging basket with a removable hook. Hang it from your wall, above a window, or an indoor trellis, and marvel as the two-toned leaves slowly climb down toward the floor.
Best Air-Purifying: Pure Beauty Farms 1.9 Gal. Sansevieria Laurentii Snake Plant in Grower's Pot
Snake plants are natural air-purifiers, helping to filter the air you breathe while oxygenating your space. Plus, they don't need very much water or light, which is ideal for houseplants. This elegant pre-potted pick from Pure Beauty Farms comes in a 9-inch round pot and will be about 3 feet tall when it arrives at your home.
Best Low-Light: American Plant Exchange Cast Iron Plant
The aspidistra elatior (often called the cast-iron plant or bar-room plant) is an almost indestructible low-maintenance option. It can thrive in heavily shaded areas and requires very little watering—in other words, it's OK if you neglect it a little. This cast-iron plant comes in a 6-inch container and sits about 3 feet tall.
Best Flowering: Costa Farms Spathiphyllum Sweet Pablo in 9.25 in. Grower Pot
Tropical spathiphyllum plants (also known as peace lilies or sweet Pablos) can produce white flowers—even indoors. They tolerate low-light conditions but don't mind brightly lit areas either. And you'll know when to water it, as the leaves will begin to droop. This sweet Pablo is about 4 feet tall and ships straight to your door from Costa Farms.
Best Succulent: Bloomscape Hedgehog Aloe
Native to South Africa, the hedgehog aloe (or spider aloe) is a spiky succulent with bluish-green leaves. While sunny spaces are best, it requires very little water—in fact, less is more—making it an ideal choice for forgetful pet parents. This small hedgehog aloe from Bloomscape is about a foot tall and comes in an eco-friendly planter.
Best Grow Light: Yoyomax Grow Light for Indoor Plants
Some indoor plants can grow in shadowy settings, but for those that need to be placed in indirect sunlight, getting the light just right can be tricky. And that's where a grow light comes in.
This unit from Yoyomax has three heads, each with a gooseneck arm, and 60 full-spectrum LEDs. The heads can be switched on and off individually as needed and adjusted to one of the six dimmer modes.
What to Look for in an Indoor Plant
It should come as no surprise that all plants need food, water, and light to live, but what may be more surprising is that some need very little care to thrive. Succulents, air plants, and orchids, for example, need watering only a few times per month. Snake plants and ferns can live in very low-light environments, and moss terrariums or jade will do just fine in a drafty room during the winter.
While some plants require direct sunlight, others will die if they get too much sun. Avoid putting Philodendren or Peperomia in an overexposed room—the leaves will turn yellow. Put Ficus, aloe, or even a lemon tree in these areas instead. Still other plants—like succulents and spider plants—need a happy medium when it comes to sunlight.
There are some plants that can be dangerous to kids and pets, especially if ingested. Other plants can cause rash or skin irritation simply from touching the leaves or sap. And, surprisingly, these plants don’t always come with a warning, so it’s best to do your own research before buying an indoor plant. Some varieties that parents and pet owners should avoid include Peace Lily, Oleander, Caladium, Poinsettia, and Mistletoe.
Flowering vs. Non-Flowering
You might be happy to add just a bit of greenery with a non-flowering plant . Especially during the long winter months, however, the bloom of an indoor plant can brighten up your home.
The type of pot the plant comes in can also help you make up your mind as an ecologically minded buyer. Look for a pot made of recycled material.
Do indoor plants need drainage holes on their pots?
Generally, yes because otherwise, the soil can become soggy, which leads to root rot and other diseases and problems. Succulents and cacti are the exceptions. They are watered infrequently and therefore don’t necessarily need drainage holes, provided they are not overwatered.
How do you hang indoor plants?
You can hang indoor plants from the ceiling or a wall. First, find a hanging planter that is suitable for your indoor plant. Then find the joist or the beam nearest to the location where you would like the planter and screw a sturdy hook screw into the joist. If you cannot find a joist, for hollow walls like drywall or plaster, you can also use a toggle bolt or a toggle anchor. Once it's flush, you can hang your indoor plant on the hook. Whichever support system you use, it needs to be strong enough to support the planter's weight when it's filled with your indoor plant, soil, and water.
How do indoor plants drain without a drainage hole on their pots?
Indoor plants that have planters without drain holes don’t drain. Therefore it’s important to water the plant sparingly and slowly and not saturate the soil. Many plants, however, need more water than that. Succulent and cacti work best for planters without drainage holes because they only require little and infrequent watering.
What do you put under the pots for indoor plants?
To catch the drainage of indoor plants, there are drainage saucers in different sizes and materials, from plain, merely functional plastic drainage saucers to decorative ones. To prevent the saucer from overflowing when water drains out of the planter, the diameter of the saucer should be about the diameter of the pot. Hanging indoor plants are best placed in a double pot.
How do you fertilize indoor plants?
You can use liquid and slow-release fertilizers to fertilize indoor plants. To use liquid fertilizer, simply dilute the instructed amount with water in your watering can and water your plant. The frequency of how often you do this, will be noted on the label of your liquid fertilizer and also depend on what type of plant you have.
For slow-release fertilizer, simply mix the instructed amount from the product's label into the top layers of your soil. These applications will usually last a few months, but they do cost more than liquid fertilizer.
Should you repot indoor plants after buying?
Generally, you don't need to repot your indoor plants after buying. Since you are taking your plant into a different environment with different humidity, light, and a different watering schedule than the local store you bought it from, it will need time to adjust to these changes. Repotting your indoor plant can further stress it out and cause problems because it will need to adjust to a new pot on top of its new environment. However, there are a few exceptions to this, including if there's rootbound, a broken drainage system, brown leaves, not enough soil in the pot, etc.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Theresa Holland has been writing for The Spruce since 2019 and has several years of experience covering gardening products and home goods. She has a ZZ plant, money tree, and snake plant in her home (among others) and has a deep appreciation for indoor foliage. Additional reporting was done by Nadia Hassani, a master gardener with over 20+ years of gardening experience.