Tropical House Plants

The Best Tropical Plants for the Home

Your guide to the twelve best tropical plants to grow indoors.

  • 01 of 12
    Elephant ear plant
    By Lazaregagnidze (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

    These great plants are common but distinctive and almost regal. Large, arrow-shaped green leaves are ribbed with silver. They are much easier to grow inside than most Alocasia species and provide seasonal displays of wonderful foliage.

  • 02 of 12
    Anthurium Growing Outdoors
    Keren Sequeira / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Anthurium is a classy tropical that are highly prized for their stately, bright flowers. There are lots of anthurium cultivars out there, and while they are challenging, these are highly rewarding plants.

  • 03 of 12
    Bird of Paradise Blossom
    Richard A. Cooke / Getty Images

    The Bird of Paradise is one of the most tropical flowers in the world, with an almost gaudy array of blue and orange plumage. Fortunately, they're also surprisingly easy to grow indoors.

  • 04 of 12
    Close-Up Of Potted Bromeliad
    Marius Hepp / EyeEm / Getty Images

    I think bromeliads are probably the easiest of all tropical plants to grow. These tropical epiphytes are easily adapted to growing in pots, and they're much more tolerant than many of their lush-leaved colleagues.

    Continue to 5 of 12 below.
  • 05 of 12
    Cordyling plant
    Thomas Tolkien from Scarborough, UK (My garden Uploaded by herkuleshippo) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons HTML
    Ask anyone who's been to Hawaii: cordyline are virtually synonymous with the tropics. These bold and colorful foliage plants are available in a wide array of leaf colors, and with proper care, can provide a bold accent.
  • 06 of 12
    Dieffenbachia dumb cane plant
    Dennis McColeman / Getty Images

    Dumb cane (dieffenbachia) are almost ubiquitous as houseplants, so it's easy to forget they're also a true tropical foliage plant. Watch out for the sap on these plants—it can be caustic.

  • 07 of 12
    Ficus plant
    Peter Chadwick / Getty Images

    Ficus are fussy, yes, but a well-grown ficus is near the pinnacle of houseplants. Large, glossy and imposing, ficus plants are well worth the effort.

  • 08 of 12
    Palm tree indoors next to couch
    Daniel Sambraus / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Palm trees are the enduring symbol of everything tropical, and here is a selection of palms that are easy to grow indoors.

    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • 09 of 12
    White peace lily flowers (spathiphyllum)
    YingHuiTay / Getty Images

    I love peace lilies, especially when they're massed and in bloom. Personally, I don't think they're as hard as they look, and even if they are a bit of a challenge to overwinter, it's still well worth the effort.

  • 10 of 12
    A potted philodendron in a green planter
    Michael Westhoff / Getty Images

    What self-respecting list of tropical plants could overlook philodendron? Recent advances in breeding have made it easier than ever to grow these as normal, non-trailing houseplants. Try it. You'll see.

  • 11 of 12
    Schefflera pueckleri foliage
    DEA / C. SAPPA / Getty Images

    Sometimes called umbrella plants, schefflera leaves are broad, glossy and abundant. Use them as background plants, or use a big one in a bright, warm corner for a nice canopy effect.

  • 12 of 12
    Orchid Festival At Kew Gardens
    Oli Scarff / Getty Images

    It's actually kind of funny because orchids are the most varied of all plant groups—they range all over the world, from deserts to woodlands to tropical forests. But the orchids most people love are the tropical and subtropical ones, and what says "tropics" more than a flowering orchid?