Look around your home for a minute. What’s missing? Where are the plants?
A little bit of greenery can do wonders for your home’s aesthetics and liven up your decor. Live plants can help clean and purify the air in your home, and they can also serve as a natural mood-booster by making you feel more connected to nature.
Worried about your ability to care for your plants properly? Got a “brown thumb” instead of a green one? Well, even the synthetic kind can still soften the sharp edges in a room, enhance your decor and help create an atmosphere in your home that’s inviting and relaxed.
Let’s talk about the best plants for your indoor areas.
Indoor Plants That Thrive Without a Lot of Attention
If you’re a newbie to indoor gardening, adopting a plant can seem like a hefty responsibility to take on — but there are plenty of easy-to-manage houseplants around. Consider the following:
The “starter plant” for many an indoor horticulturist, this lovely, droopy vine grows with abandon in most indoor environments. Pothos plants do equally well in soil or vases of water, and they thrive in both low light and bright windows. Since their vines will trail quite a distance, these are great plants for hanging baskets or the tops of cupboards and bookcases.
Similar to the pothos plant, a philodendron has darker, richer-looking leaves with a distinctive heart shape — and they seem to actually thrive on neglect. They can survive both over-watering and forgetful watering, and they throw out their vines very quickly. Plus, cuttings take root easily, so one plant can rapidly turn into a dozen (if you want them).
If you’re pressed for space but still want something green, the diminutive snake plant could be ideal. These cheery little plants come in a variety of tones, but they grow straight up in a compact shape and top out at about 12 inches. That makes them easy to incorporate into tight spaces. They prefer a bit of light, so these are perfect to brighten up a bare windowsill.
Aloe plants thrive best in sunny spots, so don’t hide this one away in the shadows. Like the snake plant, they stay fairly compact, but their spiky, succulent leaves create a lot of visual interest in a room. Plus, they come with a bonus: Fresh aloe from the leaves can be used to treat all kinds of skin conditions, especially bug bites and minor burns.
Indoor Plants That Are Safe for Your Pets
If you have a cat or a dog, you need to pick pet-friendly plants that won’t put your four-footed friend in danger if they decide to chew the leaves. Some of the best options include:
The spider plant has long been popular as a houseplant both because it has a frothy, attractive look and is remarkably pet-friendly. If you want to keep them out of your pet’s reach, hang them in your windows or sit them on top of a well-lit shelf — but they’re non-toxic, so there’s no reason to worry if your cat or dog chews a few leaves when you’re not home.
Cast Iron Plants
The name gives you a clue about how durable these plants can be — so they’re great if you have little confidence in your abilities to care for your greenery. Native to Japan and a cousin of the lily, these plants have beautiful dark green leaves that are non-toxic to cats, dogs and humans alike.
If you want a plant that looks great and smells great, why not go with a potted herb or two? The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention and Cruelty to Animals) says that cats and dogs can safely co-exist with rosemary, sage, basil and thyme. Plus, you can use the cuttings in your cooking whenever you like, which makes these plants both beautiful and useful.
Faux Plants That Look as Good as the Real Thing
Maybe you already know that any live plants you bring into your home are under a death sentence because you simply don’t have the time to care for them — no matter how low-maintenance they may be.
Well, you can still create the look you want and trick your brain into feeling like you’re surrounded by nature with the following faux plants:
Living fig trees are hard to keep happy indoors — but there are plenty of faux options out there that look remarkably realistic. The fiddle leaf fig, in particular, has broad green leaves and the height you need to add a touch of elegance to an otherwise bare corner or hallway — and the leaves only need to be dusted once in a while to stay shiny and clean.
A group of succulents (called “hens and chicks” if you’re from certain parts of the country) adds charm and whimsy to a table — but getting the real thing to stay alive indoors can be particularly tricky. Fortunately, there are all kinds of realistic-looking arrangements out there for sale, and their compact shape makes them perfect for accent pieces in bathrooms, bedrooms and other places where a living plant would struggle to survive.
Okay, to be perfectly clear, there’s nothing not to like about a real indoor lemon tree. There are dwarf varieties that will produce lovely sweet-smelling flowers and even the occasional lemon — but they’re really hard to keep alive. If you want the look but don’t have time for the upkeep, a faux lemon tree will do the trick. Beautiful and dramatic, they’re perfect accents for a formal living room or screened-in porch.
Ultimately, any plant can help you transform your living space into a true retreat — and that’s exactly what you need your home to be.