8 Trendy Plants That Just Aren't Worth the Effort

Variegated monstera plant with a graphic border

The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong

People often begin their plant collections by picking up a trendy plant they may have seen on Instagram or on the latest viral TikTok. It’s the easiest way to see which plants are popular and it’s hard to not want one when everyone else does. I know that I’ve certainly snagged a few popular plants based off of a social media post. And while some of them are great, there are definitely a few trendy plants that just aren’t worth the effort. 

So, that left me wondering, when there’s so much scrolling and buying going on, are there other plant people out there who feel the same? Undoubtedly there are and I spoke with them to find out which trendy plants they deemed “not worth the effort.” 

  • 01 of 08

    Caladiums

    caladium plant

    The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak

    Durrell from @theblackplantman said that the Caladium was the trendy plant he fell for. “They’re beautiful to look at but they're much easier to care for outside. Their delicate leaves shrivel up at the slightest inconvenience and their stems are very flimsy. Caladiums are also members of the “I love lots of water, no wait… that’s too much” club.” Thankfully he offered us a substitute, “If you like the pointy, arrow-like shape of the leaves, may I suggest an arrowhead vine (Syngonium podophyllum) instead? The medium green leaves come splashed with a variety of colors including pink, silver, white, purple, or cream.”

  • 02 of 08

    Cathalea

    calathea white fusion

    The Spruce / Krystal Slagle

    The next trendy plant hits a little bit home for me since I’ve never been able to keep one alive. Tiff of @plantmahmah said, “Although calatheas are strikingly beautiful, they are notoriously known as the drama queen of the houseplant world.. They need high humidity and distilled water to maintain their foliage, or else you’ll end up with a crispy calathea. This reel shows cost-effective ways to increase humidity without splurging on a humidifier.” Still love the look of the Calathea? Tiff says, “If it’s the colorful foliage that is catching your eye, I’d recommend aglaonemas (also known as Chinese Evergreens). Their foliage is just as diverse and colourful, plus they are low maintenance and low light tolerant! They don’t need particularly high humidity—your average home humidity is suitable for aglaonemas.”

  • 03 of 08

    Fiddle Leaf Fig

    end accent table

    The Spruce / Jesi Lee

    “So I know that fiddle leaf figs are still super popular right now, but I’ll be honest and admit that I do not get the hype,” said Jordan from @goldenhourabode. She continued, "I got one at the beginning of 2020 and it was probably one of the most temperamental plants I’ve ever owned—it seemed to drop a leaf every time I slightly moved the planter or if I missed watering it by a day or two. And I really don’t need that kind of negativity in my life, so I would way rather stick to a bird of paradise or a rubber tree instead! They’re both bright light plants, just like a FLF, but are much less picky and have much prettier foliage in my opinion!”

  • 04 of 08

    String of Pearls

    Two pots of string of pearls (Senecio rowleyanus) shot from above against a white background.

    The Spruce / Kara Riley

    “Okay guys don’t murder me but… string of pearls will never be worth it for me! Never again!” said Shari from @caribcultivated. “Okay maybe not? I have killed at LEAST four of these stunning girls and every time I swear it will be the last time. If you absolutely have to have the string aesthetic try a string of tears or beads. They’re not perfectly round but for some reason they’re way heartier. I’ve left my beads for months sometimes and they’re still alive! They are okay being top watered and don’t completely throw a fit if you water them too soon!” I’m with Shari when she says that String of Pearls are tough. I’ve never been able to keep one alive unless it’s planted in moss!

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Satin Pothos

    Satin pothos

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

    While many people go crazy for the foliage of the satin pothos, Scindapsus pictus, they don’t thrill me that much. Mine is always growing vines with no leaves so I have to keep on trimming it. Instead, I would try to get my hands on the rare pothos plant, the Cebu Blue Pothos which has beautiful long leaves with a blue tint. 

  • 06 of 08

    Variegated Monstera

    Expensive white and green variegated monstera in front of houseplants

    The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong

    Jane of @plantsonpapertowelroll has a bit of a different outlook on trendy plants, “I don’t care about plant trends—you won’t find a variegated monstera in my house! I know what I like and know what will thrive in my care; just because a plant is all over Instagram doesn’t mean it'll wind up in my house. It took me about a year to buy an Anthurium warocqueanum because I had to be sure I had the proper environment and —more importantly—the knowledge to support such a spectacular plant.”

  • 07 of 08

    Anthuriums

    Anthurium flowers

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

    “If you’ve done a deep dive into the houseplant collecting world this year you may have heard a thing or two about the anthurium craze," said Kasey from @planties_inabunch. She recounted all about how these plants need very specific environments to thrive in: “Although their majestic looking leaves may take your breath away, think twice before you bring one home if you’re not willing to put in the work to make their environment just so.” Some things they need: well draining soil, the right amount of water, and constant humidity. Instead of the Anthurium she says, if “you love the look of anthuriums. Their heart shaped leaves, and velvety dark appearance… and oh, those veins! Consider the Aroid cousin of the anthurium—philodendron! Specifically, Philodendron gloriosum.”

  • 08 of 08

    Boston Ferns

    Boston fern plant in wicker holder next to chair

    The Spruce / Kara Riley

    I am not a fan of Boston ferns (I’ve killed four). They are so finicky that it takes a lot to keep them alive! They need the perfect amount of humidity and their soil needs to be moist at all times but not wet. It’s very hard to tell the difference sometimes. If you’re still interested in a fern, try the asparagus fern which isn’t a fern at all. They’re really members of the lily family which makes them a bit easier to care for.