17 Most Popular Houseplants

houseplants on a shelf

The Spruce / Kara Riley

Houseplants add style to our homes and clean our air. Even if you're not an experienced plant parent, some will thrive in ordinary indoor conditions with minimal care.

Here are 17 of the best houseplants that are harder to kill and look great in any room.

  • 01 of 17

    Fiddle Leaf Fig

    a fiddle leaf fig

    The Spruce / Corinne Bryson

    Homeowners rely on Ficus lyrata to provide a fresh, modern twist to their decor, even in smaller spaces. Natural light is important for the large leaves to engage in photosynthesis, so place it close to a south or east-facing window. Allow soil to dry between waterings.

    • Light: Bright light
    • Water: Dry between waterings
    • Color Varieties: A variegated cultivar has creamy leaf margins
  • 02 of 17

    Chinese Money Plant

    Chinese Money Plant

     patnowa / Getty Images

    Pilea peperomiodes is at home in minimalist and contemporary surroundings. The circular leaves are produced with abundance in average soil and indirect light. Mature Chinese money plants have a slightly cascading habit that looks great in hanging baskets.

    • Light: Indirect light
    • Water: Regular watering
    • Color Varieties: Green
  • 03 of 17

    Spider Plant

    a spider plant on a side table

    The Spruce / Krystal Slagle

    Chlorophytum comosum has been a popular houseplant for decades, but this throwback plant is still relevant in any setting where you desire a low-maintenance specimen that also purifies the air. The arching leaves make these plants great for pedestals or hanging baskets.

    • Light: Indirect light
    • Water: Average to dry
    • Color Varieties: 'Bonnie Variegated' has white striping
  • 04 of 17

    Peace Lily

    a peace lily plant

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

    The graceful white spathes of the peace lily have long been rendered in silk plants, but there's no reason to go fake when the living specimens of Spathiphyllum are so easy to grow. Peace lilies do well in low light but need regular moisture.

    • Light: Low light
    • Water: Moist
    • Color Varieties: 'Domino' has white stippling on leaves
    Continue to 5 of 17 below.
  • 05 of 17

    Air Plant

    Air Plant Terrarium

    EnchantedFairy / Getty Images 

    The Tillandsia genus has breathed new life into the terrarium hobby. Although these plants do grow without any soil, they still need bright light and weekly watering, which you can achieve with a heavy spritz from a spray bottle or by dunking the whole plant in water.

    • Light: Bright light
    • Water: Weekly misting
    • Color Varieties: 'Tricolor' has reddish leaves; 'Abdita' has pink leaves that darken to red upon flowering; 'Huamelula' has salmon leaf tips
  • 06 of 17

    Aloe Vera

    Aloe Vera Houseplant

     Emilija Manevska / Getty Images

    The gel from cut Aloe vera leaves is widely used in first aid remedies and cosmetics, adding function to form as a houseplant. Like most succulents, it prefers dry sandy soil and bright light. Healthy plants will produce pup offsets to replace any leaves you might harvest.

    • Light: High
    • Water: Dry
    • Color Varieties: 'Christmas Carol' has red leaf edges; 'Walmsley's Variegated' has cream streaks
  • 07 of 17

    Jade Plant

    a jade plant

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

    You can't go wrong with a Crassula ovata in a bright room: It's every bit as pretty as those trendy faux plants you see at the hobby store, only fake plants don't continue to grow and become more stately over time as real jade plants do. Water sparingly and add supplemental lighting if leaf drop occurs.

    • Light: High
    • Water: Dry
    • Color Varieties: 'Calico Kitten' has pink and cream leaves; 'Variegata' has cream streaking
  • 08 of 17

    African Violet

    African Violets

     Christina Schmidhofer / Getty Images

    Although referred to as a single specimen, the Streptocarpus genus encompasses about 20 species and many more hybrids to bring delicate blooms to your home or office. Use a soil-free mix to encourage good air circulation, and water moderately at the soil level to prevent spotting on the leaves.

    • Light: Indirect light
    • Water: Light, regular moisture
    • Color Varieties: Thousands of cultivars available; flowers may be pink, blue, purple, or white, with picotee or stippling
    Continue to 9 of 17 below.
  • 09 of 17

    Snake Plant

    a snake plant

    The Spruce / Alonda Baird

    Dracaena trifasciata is about as close as it gets to a plant-it-and-forget-it houseplant. The plant tolerates a wide range of moisture, soil, and light conditions. You can find variegated types, and the plants also look great grown in metal or concrete containers for industrial chic.

    • Light: Low to high
    • Water: Low
    • Color Varieties: 'Bantel's Sensation' has cream leaves; 'Black Gold' has thin gold edging; 'Gold Hahnii' has wide gold bands
  • 10 of 17



     Dana Gallagher / Getty Images

    In their native habitat, plants in the Bromeliaceae family grow as epiphytes nestled in trees. That means two things for their care: they like filtered light, and good aeration around their roots. Orchid potting medium works well. Fill their stiff leaves with distilled water to further mimic nature's way.

    • Light: Filtered or indirect
    • Water: Medium
    • Color Varieties: Orange, yellow, red, white, pink, and purple varieties available
  • 11 of 17

    Lucky Bamboo

    a lucky bamboo

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

    The ability to grow in water and the pliable stems that you can weave into grids or braids make Dracaena sanderiana a handsome statement in any small space. Lucky bamboo ceases to grow when you clip the top, making it easy to manage, unlike the bamboo that grows outdoors. Grow in low light or artificial light.

    • Light: Low
    • Water: High
    • Color Varieties: Green
  • 12 of 17


    Ivy Houseplant

     Tonya Nunn / Getty Images

    A container of trailing Hedera helix is an instant upgrade for your kitchen, bathroom, or anywhere you have bright light and some humidity. Cooler rooms that remain at or below 70 degrees Fahrenheit will also extend the life of these Northern European natives.

    • Light: Medium to high
    • Water: Medium
    • Color Varieties: Green, variegated
    Continue to 13 of 17 below.
  • 13 of 17

    Dumb Cane Plant

    Dumb Cane Plant

    vaitekune / Getty Images

    The common name 'dumb cane' doesn't do much to describe the elegant Dieffenbachia, which exhibits large speckled and splotched leaves in humid areas with bright light. Provide moderate moisture, and keep the toxic leaves away from kids and pets.

    • Light: Medium to bright
    • Water: Medium
    • Color Varieties: 'Honeydew' has gold leaves; 'Mary' has splotches of cream; 'Snow' has white speckles
  • 14 of 17


    Basil Plants

     Steven Morris Photography / Getty Images

    Your favorite herb just became your favorite houseplant. Basil, Ocimum basilicum, loves warm temperatures and lots of light. Trim off flowers to keep those fragrant leaves coming. Try cinnamon basil or purple basil for something different.

    • Light: Bright
    • Water: Moist
    • Color Varieties: 'Dark Opal' and 'Purple Ruffles' have purple foliage
  • 15 of 17

    Umbrella Plant

    umbrella plant

    Ivan Grgic / Getty Images

    If you have a yen for tropical plants, check out the Heptapleurum arboricola, which can grow up to ten feet tall in the jungles of Taiwan. You can check this growth in containers, especially with slow-growing variegated cultivars like 'Gold Capella' or 'Sunburst.'

    • Light: High
    • Water: Medium
    • Color Varieties: 'Sun Burst' is a gold variegated type; 'Janine' is a white variegated type
  • 16 of 17


    Croton Plants

    Maarigard / Getty Images

    Codiaeum plants offer that colorful pow that neutral gray or taupe rooms need. Bright light is essential for good leaf coloration and plant health. Leaf form varies from paddle-like to grassy and narrow, but all have stripes or splotches of yellow, red, orange, or pink.

    • Light: High
    • Water: Medium
    • Color Varieties: Orange, white, yellow, red, pink, purple
    Continue to 17 of 17 below.
  • 17 of 17


    philodendron in a basket

    The Spruce / Margot Cavin

    Whether trailing from a basket or growing up a trellis, Philodendron hederaceum is the classic low-care houseplant that thrives in all light conditions. You might see the heart-shaped leaves growing to giant proportions outdoors in frost-free zones, but it's just as happy in your bedroom.

    • Light: Low to high
    • Water: Medium
    • Color Varieties: 'Brandi' has silver variegation; 'Micans' has purple-tinted leaves; 'Prince of Orange' has orange-tinted leaves
Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Aloe vera. North Carolina State University Extension

  2. Streptocarpus (African violet). North Carolina State University Extension

  3. Dracaena trifasciata. North Carolina State University Extension

  4. Heptapleurum arboricola. North Carolina State Extension Service

  5. Philodendron hederaceum. North Carolina State Extension Service