A Comprehensive Guide to the Most Popular Indoor Plants

Indoor plants—an oxymoron like no other, since plants were never meant to live inside, and yet here we are. They're décor, they're wellness, they're kind of everything. Starting with the early Greeks and Romans, right through to the English during the Victorian era and the indoor jungles of the 1970s, a trend enjoying a resurgence today, indoor plants can elevate and brighten any home.

Which indoor plant is best for your home? And how often will it need watering? To help you begin or refine your own houseplant journey we've collated the 11 most popular indoor plants, from the best air-purifying plants to the most low-maintenance. If you have pets or young children around, be sure to check the toxicity level of your indoor plant before bringing it home.

Fiddle Leaf Fig

Scientific name: Ficus lyrata
Appearance: Bright to mid green leaves, straight stem
Care basics: Give it plenty of sun and only water when soil is dry to the touch

If it were a song, it'd be Beyoncé's "Single Ladies"—a classic hit that's a bit overplayed but never fails to get everyone to the dance floor. The Fiddle Leaf Fig plant loves lots of light and sun, so keep yours out of dark corners and away from blasts of air conditioning and central heating.

Swiss Cheese Plant

Scientific name: Monstera deliciosa
Appearance: Large green leaves with holes
Care basics: Keep in a well-lit spot away from direct sunlight, mist and dust leaves regularly–or clean with a soft, damp cloth, and repot occasionally

One of the most popular indoor plants in recent times, the monstera is native to Central America rainforests add tropical drama to any room. Its large, glossy leaves come with unusual holes, which is where its nickname comes from.

Devil's Ivy

Scientific name: Epipremnum aureum
Appearance: Light, bright green leaves on droopy stems
Care basics: Only needs watering once a week, cut back fortnightly in winter

This drought tolerant, fast-growing vine is highly versatile and super low-maintenance. It will survive in any location within your home, with a deep watering one a week and a proper prune and propagating in spring or summer. Devil's Ivy also comes in a range of colourways, making it the ideal way to customise your home décor with plants. Choose from Marble Queen (cream and grey-green), Wilcoxii (mottled green and white), Tricolor (green and yellow), and Neon (bright yellowy green).

Rubber Plant

Scientific name: Ficus elastica
Appearance: Compact with shiny, dark green, sturdy leaves
Care basics: Keep in bright, indirect sunlight and water regularly

Hardy and temperature-resilient with shiny leaves in dark green and burgundy, the Rubber Plant enjoys bright, indirect sunlight with weekly watering during warm weather and monthly watering in cold weather. Keep yours small by pruning regularly in a little pot, or allow it to grow in a larger floor pot.

Boston Fern

Scientific name: Nephrolepis exaltata
Appearance: Droopy, pointy leaves (if you squint it resembles Sideshow Bob in silhouette)
Care basics: Keep in a cool, humid spot with indirect sunlight, and don't let soil become dry

The Boston Fern is the ideal plant to hang in your bathroom because it thrives in humid conditions, but it also works beautifully on a (protected) balcony. Give yours a spritz once or twice a week—or a full a shower every few weeks, just a couple of minutes under cold water. To help make sure its soil stays moist, place the pot on top of a ceramic tray filled with pebbles and water.

Lady Palm

Scientific name: Rhapis excelsa
Appearance: Pointy green fan-style leaves, plenty of negative space 
Care basics: Keep in a well-lit, protected spot indoors and water when soil is dry to the touch

Of all of the fan palms, the Lady Palm is best suited to a life indoors. Its long green leaves fan out and create a textured look, and is capable of growing to around three metres when kept outdoors, making a perfect privacy barrier to keep on a balcony or at the back of a yard.

Giant Bird of Paradise

Scientific name: Strelitzia nicolai
Appearance: Tall stems, wide fan-style leaves in light, bright green
Care basics: Keep in bright, indirect sunlight and water regularly

Like the monstera, the Giant Bird of Paradise and its large, shiny leaves is a great way to instantly add greenery to your home, and can be cultivated to a range of different sizes depending on how much space your home offers. This is a low-maintenance option for someone wanting maximum impact with low effort. While the Giant Bird of Paradise can grow flowers outdoors, it probably won't bloom when kept indoors.

Prayer Plant

Scientific name: Calathea
Appearance: Highly aesthetic—stiff leaves with multi-green and red stripy pattern
Care basics: Indirect sunlight

You probably know the Prayer Plant by its scientific name, calathea—it's the one with decorative leaves that are popular among house plant people. Water your calathea regularly, but be careful not to overwater or it will drown. If cared for properly, the calathea will flower even indoors.

Snake Plant

Scientific name: Dracaena trifasciata
Appearance: Pointy, stiff green leaves with yellow border that stand up straight
Care basics: Hardy and low maintenance, can survive without much sunlight

You might know this plant by its more common nickname, Mother In Law's Tongue, but that feels sexist and it's 2020 so we're going with Snake Plant. This one also helps to improve air quality, so we recommend keeping a few throughout the home for cleaner air and good vibes.

Cast Iron Plant

Scientific name: Aspidistra elatior
Appearance: Plain, unassuming, perfectly imperfect
Care basics: Highly tolerant of neglect (hence its name)

The Cast Iron Plant is ideal for anyone with a poor track record for keeping indoor plants alive. Virtually indestructible with robust, dark green leaves, it is native to Japan and Taiwan and a member of the lily family.

Peace Lily

Scientific name: Spathiphyllum
Appearance: Pleated-look leaves with one or more white flower-like hooded leaf at centre
Care basics: Only water when soil is dry to the touch

This cheery plant is an easy-to-care-for, highly drought-tolerant air purifier. Its dark green leaves are offset with a white "flower" that is actually a specialised leaf bract that grows hooded over the flowers. Be careful not to overwater—if in doubt, underwater.

To help you decide which indoor plant is right for you, here are the best indoor plants for each star sign.

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