Houseplants: Fabulous Foliage
Dress an interior space with the eye-catching beauty of colorful foliage plants. These houseplants command attention courtesy of patterned, variegated and color-splashed leaves. True showstoppers, these indoor plants look good no matter the season, unfurling leaves that paint rooms with living color.
While this group of foliage houseplants doesn't demand a green thumb, you'll be rewarded with healthy growth when you meet these plants' basic needs. Click here to learn secrets to houseplant success, including simple techniques to increase humidity.
Houseplant Shopping Tips
Always inspect any plants, including foliage plants before purchasing, looking closely at leaves for signs of insects or common houseplant diseases. Gently slip plants from pots to examine roots, which should appear white. The root ball should smell like moist soil. If you detect a rotten odor, choose another plant.
Here are a few of our favorite foliage plants:
Mosaic Plant (Fittonia albivenis)
Leaves feature a mosaic pattern etched by veins in a contrasting color, such as white, pink or red. These foliage plants prefer bright indirect sunlight; direct sun will burn leaves. Mosaic plants grow 6-12 inches tall, creating cascades of colorful foliage. Keep growth bushy and tidy by pinching out growing tips. Plants prefer consistent soil moisture. If leaves wilt, make sure soil is dry before watering. Low humidity can cause brown leaf tips.
Ripple-Leaf Peperomia (Peperomia caperata)
Shiny, deep-green leaves feature dramatic ripples, creating a quilted appearance. These foliage houseplants grow to 8 inches high and thrive in low-light conditions. Ripple-Leaf Peperomia is highly susceptible to crown rot because leaves form a thick canopy that easily traps stray drops of water. Apply water directly to soil, taking care not to splash into the crown of the plant. You can also bottom water plants, but be sure to leach fertilizer salts. Older plants tend to fall open, losing their compact shape. When this happens, start new plants from leaf cuttings.
Wandering Jew or Inch Plant (Tradescantia zebrina)
Leafy good looks abound in this easy-growing foliage houseplant. Stems trail and tumble out of pots, making Inch Plant an ideal choice for a hanging basket or tall plant stand. Variegated leaves maintain prettiest coloring in bright indirect light. If light is too low, markings will fade. This foliage plant doesn’t age well –stem bases become bare and unattractive unless they are cut back. Or, take tip cuttings of a few stems and stick into a pot with fresh soil to start a new, bushy plant.
Red-Veined Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura erythroneura)
This foliage houseplant embodies exotic beauty. Green leaves feature a herringbone pattern drawn by bright-red veins, which complement red leaf undersides. Prayer Plant earns its name from the daily floor show it stages. During daylight hours, leaves extend outward from stems; at dusk, they fold up, mimicking a pair of praying hands. Ten-inch-tall plants thrive in a humid environment with low or bright indirect light and consistently moist soil.
Strawberry Begonia, Strawberry Geranium, Roving Sailor (Saxifraga stolonifera)
This pretty foliage houseplant grows like a Strawberry, producing runners bearing miniature plants, which will root if placed on soil. A hanging basket or tall plant stand allows the dangling plantlets to steal the spotlight. Bristly leaves unfurl, revealing green etched with silver veins; undersides are pink. Strawberry geranium needs bright indirect light. Let soil dry out between watering. Too much fertilizer reduces leaf coloring. Crispy, dry leaves indicate low humidity.