Garden

Indoor plants: 13 of the best house plants

Breathe life into your home.
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From cleaner air to creative decor – there are so many benefits of having indoor plants around your house. However, it can be hard to know which varieties of house plants are suitable for indoor conditions plus how to properly care for them.

WATCH: 5 indoor plants that thrive on neglect

We’ve rounded up 13 of the best indoor plants that will thrive within four walls. Here’s how to breathe life into your indoors, with choices that suit your environment – and style!

What are the best indoor plants? Here are our top picks

1. Monstera deliciosa or “Swiss cheese plant”

Monstera
(Credit: Adobe stock)

There’s no doubt you’ve seen the “swiss cheese plant” all over Pinterest as they’re one of the most popular indoor plants going around right now. Their lush green leaves with distinctive holes make a stunning statement in any room and they can grow to fit any space. Monstera is like Goldilocks – not too dry, not too moist. It’s an understorey tropical plant, so water is less crucial than shade. Check down to 5cm. If it’s dry, water.

2. Cyclamen

Cyclamen

Cyclamen brightens up winter. Put in a cool, draught-free spot with morning sun. Water when the mix is almost dry, then stand the pot in water for 30 minutes. Voila, the perfect indoor plant.

3. Dracaena Massangeana or Mass Cane

Dracaena
(Credit: Adobe stock)

Dracaena adds spike and drama. This plant is popular amongst beginner green thumbs and it’s often an office staple thanks to its hardy nature. Mass cane often grows between 1.2 to 1.8 metres tall with stalky stems and long, green leaves featuring light yellow and green stripes running through them. It’s a great option if you’re looking for a large plant.

This indoor plant is best placed in indirect bright light but it can tolerate low light. Let mix become dry to the touch between waterings – perhaps monthly. A soggy mix can become fatal. You’ll only need to water it once a week. However, it’s important to note that Dracaena ‘Massangeana’ is toxic to dogs and cats so it’s not the best option if you have furry friends around the house.

4. Calathea

Calathea
(Credit: Getty)

Calathea with its crazy leaf designs is tropical, so adores humidity and moisture, but check the mix to 5cm before you water. If dry, give it a soak in a tub.

5. Moth orchids

Moth orchids
(Credit: Adobe stock)

Moth orchids are epiphytes, so don’t need water in the wild. But indoors is different, so water mix each 2-4 weeks and mist surrounding air to keep them humid.

6. Maidenhair fern

Maidenhair fern
(Credit: Getty)

If you’re prepared to give a maidenhair fern the TLC it needs then it can make a beautiful addition to your home. They have feathery, light green leaves with soft shiny stems and they make a great indoor hanging plant.

Maidenhair fern loves moisture, preferably in the air. Keep it out of strong light, keep the air around it moist by misting and water mix weekly.

DIY a rainforest environment by placing a saucer filled with pebbles beneath the potted plant. Fill the saucer with water to just below the top of the pebbles and as the water evaporates, it creates a humid microclimate around the plant. 

7. Zanzibar Gem

Zanzibar Gem
(Credit: Adobe stock)

This stunning plant not only looks great, it has been hailed as being ‘almost indestructible’ and is perfect for those who tend to neglect their plants, as it’s drought resistant. Native to Africa, it has deep, green glossy leaves and is able to survive a long period without water. The reason the Zanzibar gem is so hardy is due to its ability to store water in its potato-like tuber.

To care for your Zanzibar gem, don’t over-water it or sit it in water. In fact it thrives on neglect and prefers you don’t water it too often. Water when mix dries out completely – about every two weeks. But it can survive for months without water. It’s best placed in a bright to light shaded area, however it will tolerate a shady spot, but will just take longer to grow. Keep it out of direct sunlight as the plant can burn. You can add a slow-release fertiliser in spring and re-pot if you notice the root starting to bulge.

8. Anthurium Andraeanum

Anthurium Andraeanum
(Credit: Adobe stock)

These popular indoor plants are originally from Columbia and feature long, dark-green leathery leaves and produce beautiful, red, pink and white heart-shaped ‘flowers’ that can last for weeks. The ‘flowers’ are actually spathes, which are a leaf-like bract that surrounds a cylindrical spike. In order for the plant to bloom, it requires bright light (but not direct sun). It can grow up to 45cm high and soil needs to be kept evenly moist from spring to autumn and slightly drier in winter. The anthurium benefits from being fertilised every two weeks in spring and summer with a high-phosphorus liquid fertiliser.

Anthurium is tropical and thrives in high humidity, but its water needs are light because it’s prone to root rot. Allow the mix to dry out, then give it a soak in a tub.

9. Peperomia

Peperomia
(Credit: Getty)

Peperomia thrives on humidity, indirect light and low to medium amounts of water.  Water on the side of underwatering to prevent root rot.

10. Succulents

Succulents
(Credit: Adobe stock)

Succulents are a lazy gardener’s pal, but neglect is death. Water when mix is dry, because indoors they can’t catch the early morning dew they’d get outdoors.

11. Devil’s ivy

Devil's ivy
(Credit: Adobe stock)

Which indoor plant purifies the air the most? There are several air purifying plants to consider for your home, but for something that’s easy to grow, we highly recommend a pot of devil’s ivy.

Also known as pothos or golden pothos, devil’s ivy is really an indoor saint because it grows in multiple conditions. Light is a factor. If high, water needs are also high, and vice versa. Check mix to 5cm. If dry, water.

12. Aglaonema

Aglaonema
(Credit: Getty)

Aglaonema comes in a wonderful range of colours and patterns. Keep the mix moist, although you can let it almost dry out in between waterings since it’s prone to fungus gnats.

13. Fiddle leaf fig

Fiddle Leaf Fig
(Credit: Adobe stock)

Fiddle leaf fig is the go-to plant for indoors at the moment, but it can succumb to over-watering. It comes from rainforests so needs lots of water, but also good drainage so water doesn’t linger about its roots. Water weekly but don’t let it sit in too much of it.

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