If you love using live plants in your interior décor, check out these eye-catching houseplants. Each one blends good looks with an easy-care personality. Choose one or more to add to your home.
Earth Star (Cryptanthus)
- Why we love it:Leaves have striking zigzag patterns, and the plant is pretty indestructible –unless you forget to water it. Aim for consistently moist soil.
- Good to know:Leave edges often have sharp-looking teeth, but the texture is actually soft and harmless.
- Secret to success:Light develops leaf color. Too much light, and leaves bleach, turning white. Too little, and color fades. Aim for a few hours of bright indirect light –on a table near a bright window.
Corkscrew Rush (Juncus effusus spiralis 'Curly Wurly')
- Why we love it:The name is enough –Curly Wurly –but the quirky, corkscrew leaves are just plain fun.
- Good to know:In the wild, Corkscrew Rush grows in marshes or bogs where there's standing water.
- Secret to success:Replicate soggy conditions by planting this curly character in a pot with no drainage holes. Or use a pot with drainage holes but slip it into another container without holes, and keep it filled with an inch or two of water. Bright indirect light is ideal.
Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa)
- Why we love it:This Palm is easy to grow and does so slowly, which means it won't quickly outgrow a pot or room (like many palms). It's exceptionally long-lived; keep it healthy, and you'll need to bequeath it to a fellow plant lover.
- Good to know:Brown leaf tips signal exposure to high temperatures, overwatering, low humidity, or fluoride. Use distilled or rain water to keep fluoride out of your plant's diet.
- Secret to success:Let soil dry out between waterings. Give plants low to bright indirect light –they're not fussy.
Stromanthe Sanguinea 'Tricolor'
- Why we love it:Exotically colored leaves make this plant a looker. Each leaf has shades of pink, cream and green.
- Good to know:Plants adapt easily to hydroculture –growing in a container filled with water and clay pellets.
- Secret to success:High humidity is a must or else leaf tips turn brown. Learn ways to increase humidity. Bright indirect light fosters best leaf color.
Jungle Drum or Peruvian Fan (Carludovica'Jungle Drum')
- Why we love it:Pleated, seersucker leaves divided into twin lobes are real conversation starters.
- Good to know:This is an understory plant in tropical forests. It withstands low light (placed where other plants usually fail), but does best with bright indirect light. Avoid full sun, which bleaches leaves.
- Secret to success:Allow soil to dry about an inch deep before watering. Overwater, and lower leaves will quickly yellow and die. Underwater and you'll get similar results –just more slowly.
Blue Chalksticks (Senecio serpens)
- Why we love it:Thick, fleshy, blue-toned leaves extend up from soil like fingers. Plus, it's a low-maintenance succulent.
- Good to know:In frost-free regions, this blue beauty thrives in outdoor gardens as a ground cover. Give it a shallow pot indoors. Water when soil is dry. Provide bright light.
- Secret to success:Succulents need sharply draining soil. Try a bagged cacti soil mix, but if the bag is light, it probably contains wood particles, which spell trouble for succulents. Instead, mix your own soil by blending equal parts regular potting soil with sharp sand.