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Essential Houseplants

February 04 2022

Essential Houseplants
Essential Houseplants

There’s nothing common about these classics

Whether you’re overwhelmed by the choices, new to gardening, or just a fan of our blog (we don’t blame you), the following plants are the classics of the contemporary indoor garden—and not just in the Pacific Northwest.

We’ve arranged this list with arrangements in mind. There’s no one right way to create a thoughtful and attractive indoor garden, however it’s often a good idea to position plants in small groups that fit your spaces (in terms of both size and aesthetics).

For more on houseplant arrangements, read our previous post here.



Large statement plants

Tall and/or bushy houseplants are typically bought to fill a blank space or corner—and these do the trick. But for those wanting to up their interior design and home decor game, you can’t go wrong with any of these large statement plants.



Tall, showy, and forgiving, dracaena (dra-SEE-nuh) comes in many varieties, typically with long slender leaves—often with variegation in gorgeous reds or yellows.



Iconic, quirky, and coveted, there are actually quite a few varieties in the monstera family. Ask us for advice on which one to get based on your space and preferences

Ficus Lyrata*

Also known as the fiddle-leaf fig, this tall and fast-growing ficus sports a sturdy trunk with broad leaves that look more fig-shaped than fiddle-shaped to our eyes.


Trailing and vining plants

Conventional wisdom holds that vining plants are for trellises and trailing plants are for hanging baskets, and that’s not bad advice as far as it goes. But draping vines or trailers from a bookshelf or mantel, or letting them climb pegs or hooks across a wall can add a showstopper element to these plants.



Ah, pothos—aka devil’s ivy—it’s impossible to tire of your lush green leaves! This hardy vine grows fast and occasionally sports beautiful striations. We’ve seen people string them around the crown molding of an entire room!


You’ve seen this lovely trailing epiphyte in a thousand homes, and for good reason: it’s easy to care for, quick-growing, and elegant. The cordatum variety trails nicely from a shelf or jute basket—same with the Brasil, which is identical but for its striking variegation, and the lemon-lime (aka neon), with its bright green hue.



With its stunning leaves and slow-growing vines, hoya is a staple in many indoor gardens. Some boast flat, variegated leaves while others feature bunched clusters that look like hair scrunchies. Though easy to care for, it can be a finicky bloomer, but its so-called porcelain flowers are insanely cute.


Tabletop or accent plants

Sometimes all you need is a compact shape for a compact space—a flirty wink instead of a bold statement. The plants on this list are popular and make excellent accent pieces for a table, shelf, or small corner. They capture the eye with their color and/or texture, and tend to remain fairly self-contained.



With so many fern varieties, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. We’ll make it easy on you: common varieties include asparagus,* boston, maidenhair, and lemon button. Unusual (and rather striking) varieties include staghorn, crocodile, and Japanese painted.


One thing calatheas tend to have in common is their shameless leaf patterns and pronounced veins. They’re slightly more challenging to grow, but so, so rewarding.


ZZ Plant

Though super easy to care for, the striking zz plant still isn’t the first plant home gardeners tend to think of. We think that just adds to their mystique.

Peace Lily*

A graceful plant that works perfectly in a pot on a stand, the peace lily is easy to care for and those flowers…


Yes, this is the same thing as the snake plant. And yes, we love it. The tall, pointed, striated leaves needn’t get unruly—put it in a small pot on your nightstand or other low table for an eyepopping accent.


There are more than a thousand varieties, many widly different from one another. Most are easy to care for, and have dramatic foliage. Verticillata (“bellybutton”) is cute, and metallica’s dark greens and pinks make us swoon. See also the felted leaves of incana, and the awesome wrinkled texture of caperata.

*toxic to cats and dogs if ingested.



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