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 plants are suitable for indoor conditions plus how to properly care for them.
We’ve rounded up the 10 best indoor plants that will thrive within four walls and asked the experts how you can keep them around forever.
1. Monstera deliciosa or “Swiss cheese plant”
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 plants prefer a warm climate away from direct sunlight and they benefit from regular cleaning with a soft, damp cloth.
"Let the top 4cm of soil dry out between watering as over watering may lead to root rot, signs of this are yellowing or wilting leaves,” Gisele Zanier, founder of Beyond Sunflowers, a plant emporium based in Melbourne told Better Homes and Gardens. “For best results Monsteras should enjoy conditions that are fairly moist so avoid artificial heating and cooling, they will require monthly feeding in spring and summer when planted in containers."
In its natural habitat, Monsteras like climbing so provide it with some kind of stake or trellis for support.
2. Epipremnum aureum or Devil's Ivy
Devil’s ivy, also known as golden pothos or pothos, is a fast-growing and forgiving vine, suited to any position in the house. Whether they're potted in hanging baskets or cuttings places in glass vases, these plants are super low maintenance and absolutely stunning. The leaves are waxy, heart shaped and colouring depends on cultivar – Wilcoxii are a mottled white and green, Marble Queen have more of a cream and grayish-green colouring, Neon is a shade of bright, light greeny-yellow and Tricolor have green leaves with yellow, light green and cream dappling. They're highly drought tolerant and don't require regular fertilisation. Water Devil's Ivy deeply once a week and cut back to every other week in winter. Spring and summer is the best time to prune and propagate your plant, placing the cuttings in glass jars of water to encourage rooting.
3. Dracaena Massangeana or Mass Cane
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 plant is best placed in indirect bright light but it can tolerate low light. 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. Spathiphyllum or Peace lily
Spathiphyllum, commonly known as the Peace Lily, has long been a popular house plant, especially since NASA featured it in its list of best air purifying options. It has glossy, dark green foliage and stunning white flowers, usually growing between 45 to 65 centimetres tall. These tropical plants thrive in bright, indirect light, it can handle low light but that may cause it to bloom poorly. A peace lily will usually only need to be watered and misted once a week in warmer months, less often in winter. They hate soggy or wet soil and they’re prone to root rot so let the plants dry out a bit between waterings. Be sure to wipe down the foliage to prevent dust from building up. Make sure it is kept away from pets or children who may be tempted to chew it, as the plant is poisonous and may cause severe discomfort if ingested.
Don’t be intimidated by the Bromeliad. Although once regarded as a plant for the advanced gardener, these beautifully coloured rosette-forming perennials make for easy, low maintenance houseplants. When indoors, they need medium to bright light (but not direct sunlight) and do well in shallow pots with fast drainage. You can water the plant by filling the central cup (otherwise known as the tank) of the plant once a week during the warmer months and less during winter. Make sure you flush it on a regular basis to prevent water stagnation. As they are not heavy feeders, you can drop a slow-release fertiliser into the cup of the plant or mix it into the soil, once a season.
6. Sansevieria or Mother-in-law’s Tongue
Originating from Southern Africa and Asia, another low maintenance houseplant is the Snake Plant, otherwise known as Mother-in-law’s tongue. The name refers to the pointed tips of the leaves, symbolising the sharp tongue of the Mother-in-law. This upright, succulent plant can grow up to two metres and is extremely hardy. It takes a lot to kill it, so this is another great option for those who tend to neglect their plants. It should be placed in bright light with some direct sun for several hours a day. It will tolerate shade, however the plant will take longer to grow. Moderate water is required, with the root ball remaining slightly damp in summer, but dryer in winter to avoid rotting. Don’t overwater, as the plant would prefer to be too dry than too damp.
7. Zanzibar Gem
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 is 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. Once a month is enough. 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
These popular indoor plants originally from Columbia, 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.
9. Maidenhair Fern
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 hanging plant. Not only do they look fragile, Maidenhair Ferns truly are the goldilocks of the plant world when it comes to care instructions. They require not too much light, but not too little, growing well in a warm spot with a bit of humidity. DIY 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 s the water evaporates, it creates a humid microclimate around the plant.
10. Ficus Elastica or Rubber Plant
With shiny leaves in shades of dark green and burgundy, the Rubber Plant or Rubber Fig is très on trend when it comes to house plants. It can either stay small in a little pot or be encouraged to grow into a large indoor tree. It's a hardy, temperature-resilient option that likes bright, indirect light with weekly watering in warmer seasons and in colder seasons it can survive on monthly or fortnightly watering.
Looking for a selection of houseplants you can't kill? Watch the video below!