14 Best Indoor Tropical Plants to Make Your Home Cozy and Inviting

Every room feels more welcoming with a houseplant to add a splash of greenery and style. Even if you can’t take a trip to your fantasy tropical destination, you can make your home feel more like an exotic retreat. That’s because many houseplants originate in the tropics around the world. Many of these houseplants are easy to grow, too, so both new and experienced plant parents can enjoy their beauty without a lot of fussing.

Because these plants originate in the tropics, they don’t like being cold any more than you do! The average home with temperatures in the 60 to 75 range is fine. They also require lots of bright light; otherwise, they become leggy and unattractive. An east- or south-facing window is best. A west window, where the light typically is most intense, might be okay if shaded by a sheer curtain. North-facing windows usually are too dark. If you don’t have the right conditions, consider getting an inexpensive LED to grow light. Finally, just because they’re tropical doesn’t mean they want to stay sopping wet. Many tropical houseplants die from overwatering than under watering, so err on the side of caution and poke your finger in the soil to check moisture before giving your plant a drink.

Here are our favorite tropical houseplants to make your home more inviting.

1 Bird of paradise

In warm climates, this eye-catching plant has gorgeous flowers that look like tropical birds. Although birds of paradise plants rarely flower when grown indoors, these plants have long, strappy leaves with a big impact. Give them bright light, and water only when the pot feels about halfway dry. Because these are usually sold in large pots and aren’t really tabletop plants, you can’t poke your finger into the soil. But typically, it needs to be watered every 10 days to 2 weeks.

2 Jade plant

This easy-care succulent looks like a little tree with shiny round or oval leaves. Originally from South Africa, they were one of the earliest houseplants introduced to Europe. Give jade plant bright filtered light. Their thick leaves act as water reservoirs, so water every 2 weeks or so.

3 Rubber tree

These sturdy houseplants are an old favorite with glossy dark green or variegated leaves and a strong upright form. Native to the jungles of India and Malaysia, the rubber tree can top out at 6 to 10 feet tall indoors. Give it bright light, keep it out of drafts, and water when the soil is dry to the touch.

4 Lucky bamboo

This adorable plant is one you almost can’t kill. Native to tropical Africa, the lucky bamboo plant actually is a cutting of Dracaena sanderiana, a foliage plant. The bottom leaves have been stripped off so that it resembles bamboo (and it’s actually in the asparagus family). It will tolerate low or medium light. If planted in soil, keep it slightly moist. If displayed in a vase of water, change the water weekly so that the roots are covered.

5 Snake plant

If you’re not the most attentive plant parent, this is the best choice for you. Snake plants basically thrive on neglect and can go for several weeks without water. Native to Africa, there are many different varieties now available. Give it bright light, though it will tolerate low light levels. Water when the top few inches of soil are dry. Snake plants don’t tolerate overwatering, so, if in doubt, wait a few days and poke your finger in the soil again.

6 Aloe vera

This succulent probably is native to the Arabian peninsula, but it now grows all over the world. Aloe vera likes bright light, and you can take it outdoors in the summer months if you’d like (but gradually acclimate to the full sun so it doesn’t burn). Water only when the pot feels dry, about every 2 to 3 weeks. The plant is handy because it’s been studied to treat minor burns; snap off an outer leaf and apply the gel-like substance to aid healing.

7 Dracaena

The strong upright form of this native South and Central American plant makes a statement, so it’s a great floor plant. The two most popular types are Dracaena fragrans, called corn plants, and Dracaena marginata, called dragon trees. Both like moderate to bright light and constant light moisture.

8 Parlor Palm

Palms definitely give a feeling of the tropics with their bold foliage and texture. This is one of the easier types to grow with long stems and feathery fronds. They will tolerate lower light levels, but keep them lightly moist.

9 Pothos

Quite possibly the easiest tropical to grow (besides snake plant), this vining plant looks amazing on a bookshelf, end table, or nightstand. Originally from the Solomon Islands, northeast of Australia, pothos will tolerate low light but grow faster in bright indirect light. It also may lose its variegated color in low light conditions. Let the soil dry out between waterings because it will not tolerate being soggy.

10 Swiss Chess plant

Several different species of Monstera go by this common name, but the one you’ll see most often is Monstera deliciosa. It grows in the tropics of North and South America. Give it bright indirect light, and wait to water until the top few inches of soil feel dry.

11 Money plant

Legend has it that the money tree brings good luck! Whether or not you believe it, this handsome little tree, often sold with a central braided stem or as a bonsai tree, is native to Central and South America. It needs bright light, but rotate the pot weekly so it doesn’t start to lean toward the light. Water when the soil feels dry to the touch.

12 Philodendron

There are many different types of philodendrons, and they’re generally easy-care and long-lived plants. Two handsome types to look for include Philodendron bipinnatifidum and Philodendron selloum. Most philodendrons like moderate to bright light and water only when the top of the soil feels dry.

13 Bromeliad

These exotic-looking plants are native to many different tropical regions of the world, and they need lots of bright light. The most common types of bromeliads have upright water-holding cups, called urns, so they can store rainwater in their natural environments. Add a few tablespoons of water to the cup, near the base of the plant, and fill it occasionally.

14 African Violet

These old-fashioned favorites bloom year-round under the right growing conditions. Originally from East Africa, they grow under a forest canopy so they don’t like direct sunlight. Keep African violets about a foot away from a bright window. Water from the bottom (place the pot in water and let it soak up moisture for 30 minutes), or the top. But keep water off the fuzzy leaves so they don’t rot.

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