It’s headed into winter so I thought I would write a round-up of my current top 10 favorite houseplants.
I love plants. I am a plant collector, a plant hoarder, or a plant fanatic. Whatever you want to call me, I have quite a few plants and keep searching for the next one or two!
I think you’ll love learning about houseplants. Maybe you’ll even want to start your own indoor garden collection of plants.
Here are my favorite houseplants. Some are unusual, some are easily found. All of them are easy to care for.
1. Dwarf Monstera – Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma (Araceae spp)
The first favorite houseplant I want to talk about is my Rhaphidophora Tettrasperma. This is a rare tropical aroid, hard to find, and expensive. But it’s so easy to grow that it’s worth looking for. I grew mine from a cutting I got off a plant that’s in the café in the building where I work. I asked for permission before I took the cutting, of course.
Sometimes called “Dwarf Monstera” or “Philodendron Ginny,” it looks like a mini monstera deliciosa or Swiss cheese plant. The leaves are split with “windows” like the monstera but stay quite small, not over 12”.
I just call mine Ginny. She is growing so fast, I think she likes the name and the place by my desk.
It has a vining growth habit and loves to climb on a moss-covered post. The leaves remain a lot smaller than a normal monstera which makes it perfect for the smaller spaces.
This is an easy plant to propagate from stem cuttings and takes off once established. I’ve been cutting it back and it continues to flourish.
The Ginny or Rhaphidophora Tettrasperma wants bright, indirect light and a pot with good drainage.
As for watering, water when the top of the soil dries out.
It will need a moss-covered post or some kind of support like a trellis for it to grow tall on. Or you can choose to let it vine down, cascading from a high perch.
2. Monstera Deliciosa (Araceae spp)
The next favorite houseplant I want to talk about is my Monstera Deliciosa. It has many names, but the most popular is the Swiss cheese plant or monster plant.
These plants can truly grow into monsters! They’re very large tropical plants with giant leaves and a climbing growth habit. When indoors they can grow up to 4 – 5 feet tall. Mine is about 4 feet tall, and it’s probably only three years old or so.
As it ages, the new leaves grow with large cut ribbons or holes. They resemble the split-leaf philodendron, but you can tell the difference by looking at the leaves. The Monstera has leaves with perforations and holes in them; the Philodendron has leaves with perforations but no holes.
Once it gets big enough, it doesn’t stand up on its own and needs support. It has aerial roots on the stems to hold on to, so give it a trellis or pole for support. If you let it lean a little at first, you will have problems keeping it upright later, so I would recommend keeping it straight right from the beginning.
The Mostera Deliciosa needs bright, indirect light. Too much sunlight will cause its leaves to burn. Water moderately and evenly, about once a week. Wait until the soil is dry on top to water again.
Place your monstera in an area that gives it lots of space. Use it as décor item in a statement-making spot in the living room or large entry.
I like it so much I just got another one. Pretty soon they might need their own room!
3. Stromanthe Triostar (Stromanthe sanguinea “Triostar”)
One reason that I love my Stromanthe Triostar is that it’s such a striking tropical plant and fun to watch.
A cousin to the Calathea, the leaves move according to the light source. You’ll see the plant constantly rearranging its leaves.
It has a fun shape with cool coloring on the leaves. Broad, shiny variegated leaves with cream, green, and pink foliage are shaped like fans. The undersides of the plant are sometimes green. Some species grow into a dark red to add color underneath its fans. The Christmas colors make it an alternative to the Poinsettia for the holidays.
The Hoya is not the easiest plant to grow, but it’s really worth the effort to try.
The Stromanthe Triostar plant usually needs low to medium, filtered light but not direct sun!
I had to do some research on mine because the white parts started to become brown due to too much light. It turns out that the white parts of the plant are lacking in chlorophyll so if left in the sun, they will begin to brown.
Plant in well-draining potting soil. Water regularly with purified water to maintain evenly moist soil.
4. String of Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus)
I just got my String of Pearls plant. It’s also known as “string of beads” or “rosary.” This houseplant is very quirky looking and has small green bubbles cascading along a slender stem.
The string of pearls grows long stems that will spill down the pot.
The plant can also produce tiny white flowers with bright colored stamens that some say smell like cinnamon. You can encourage the spring flowers by cutting back on the water and moving the plant to a slightly cooler area during the winter months.
Easy to propagate, you place stem cuttings into water and allow them to root. Then, you can then plant the cutting in soil once the roots grow. Voila! You’ve got new plants for free!
This plant wants well-drained soil and bright but not direct light. This is very similar to a succulent’s needs. Don’t overwater the string of pearls.
5. Hoya (Hoya carnosa)
This plant is not a succulent but resembles one.
It has been one of my favorite houseplants for years due to its waxy thick leaves and blossoms. In fact, it’s called the Wax Plant due to its beautiful waxy foliage. Its other name is Porcelain Flower.
The Hoya doesn’t bloom very often. But if you are lucky to have blossoms, when it does bloom, it produces tiny white flowers in spectacular clusters. The smell is very potent with a floral scent. You’ll want to place the plant in bright light to encourage it to bloom.
Most hoyas are planted as hanging plants, the long vines and sprouts allowed to trail to the floor. My father’s Hoya has three stems that are 20 feet long. He has it draped around the cable several times so that it doesn’t touch the floor.
You can also grow it as a floor plant and allow its aerial roots to attach to a trellis or post as it grows. Interesting fact: new vines will grow without any leaves on them.
You’ll want to get the entire soil and pot wet when watering your hoya. Then, let the soil dry out almost completely before your next watering. Use a succulent type of potting soil. They like to be rootbound.
Place in an area that received bright, filtered sunlight.
6. Philodendron (Philodendron scandens)
Philodendron scandens is also called Heartleaf Philodendron. This is really a fun plant to grow as it’s so easy. It has heart-shaped leaves that grow to 2-4 inches long and can come with variegated colors. The long’ slender stems can grow up to 4′.
Philodendrons have a vining growth habit. I have seen decorators who have wrapped their philodendron around their house or room to make a “living room.” Philodendron could also be used as an anchor plant when designing a “living wall.”
The Philodendron species offers plants that have various color differentiation and can be variegated or not variegated. Variegated plants mean it’s a pattern of irregular patches or streaks. In the philodendron family, this often is seen as white patches.
My newest philodendron is pink with white streaks in it. The poor thing was in bad shape when I got it: the leaves were yellowing and drooping. As it acclimates to its new home, the older leaves have returned to green and the newer healthy leaves have a pink hue. It’s really striking
These plants do well in bright, indirect light. They might adopt leggy growth patterns if kept in low light.
The Philodendron Cordatum watering requirements are easy. Moisten the soil and wait for it to dry before watering again.
You want to pinch your plant back. This helps keep it bushy and full, not lanky. Place the pinched stems in water and they will grow roots for a new plant. Propagation made easy!
7. Pothos (Scindapsus aureus or Epipremnum aureum)
Pothos plants are sometimes known as Devil’s Ivy and Money Plant. They are easy to care for and very durable. They’ve have been shown to help clean the air.
I adore my Pothos plant. To me, it’s very similar to taking care of a philodendron and rewards me with its climbing vines and color.
The plant can grow up on a stake or trellis. Or for a change, you can also have it drape down a bookcase or table as shown here.
A Pothos will want the soil moist. I usually wait until the surface of the soil is dry prior to watering again, about once a week. You’ll want to make sure your Pothos is in a pot that has drainage and well-draining potting soil. If overwatered, they can die. You’ll see the leaves start to discolor. If the pot has standing water or is in a no-drainage pot, the roots may rot, ultimately killing your plant.
8. Snake Plants (Sansevieria trifasciata)
Next on the list is the Snake plant. It’s a very low maintenance plant that can be used in your décor plan.
It requires minimal pot space because it doesn’t mind being cramped and rootbound.
Snake plants can survive in low light. I water mine about once a week when the surface of the soil looks dry. With snake plants, you will want to keep it in a pot that has good drainage.
This plant is one of my favorites to propagate because nothing is simpler. Snake plants tend to have offshoots or “pups”. You can either keep them in the pot to grow as one plant or you can separate the “pup” from the mother plant and start a new snake plant. Just make sure that your “pup” is big and healthy enough to survive without the mother plant!
ZZ Plants (Zanzibar Gem) (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)
I received my ZZ Plant as a gift and I love it.
You’ve seen them in the malls. They always look good regardless of the care they receive. The plant has wand-like stems with fleshy, oval leaves. The entire plant is coated with a shiny, waxy substance that looks almost plastic. Some think it’s a fake plant.
The Zanzibar Gem is one of the easiest to have around. It would take months of neglect for the plant to finally succumb and die.
This plant can survive in almost any condition including lighting and water changes. If you start to see its leaves fall off, that means it is attempting to conserve water. Don’t fret! Just give your guy a little water and make sure to water him when the top inch of soil is dry.
The ZZ plant is a great present for anyone who loves plants but cannot seem to keep them in the family. This plant will also fit in with those who love succulent care and lifestyle.
10. Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera)
Last but not least, one of my all-time in the top 10 favorite houseplants is the Christmas Cactus. I have a Christmas cactus of my own that I bought a few years ago, and another that my grandmother passed down to me.
There are actually three different types of holiday cacti: Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. You can tell the difference by their leaf shape and flowers.
- Christmas cacti have flattened leaves with rounded teeth and tubular flowers.
- Thanksgiving cacti have flattened leaves with sharp teeth and tubular flowers.
- Easter cacti have flattened leaves with rounded teeth and daisy-like flowers.
Most of the Christmas cactus you see at the stores are actually Thanksgiving cacti. They tend to bloom at the perfect time of year around the holiday season. When you begin to see this Brazilian native bloom, its telling you “Winter is coming,” just like John Snow.
The blooms often are seen in pink or purple hues and will stick around for a week or so. If your cactus is healthy, it may bloom a few times a year!
This plant loves to be on a windowsill but likes a little humidity. Make sure to water when its soil begins to dry out.
Top 10 Favorite Houseplants
So, here are some of my top 10 favorite houseplants – at least for this week! I often find a new plant, and that one becomes the fav.
Maybe you’ll find one or several that you really love too!
You can find a lot of information about specific houseplants on The Old Farmer’s Almanac website.