Are you looking to add some houseplants to your living room or bedroom decor but want something brighter and more colorful than a typical plant with dark green leaves? If that’s the case, you’re in luck! The following houseplants bring a pop of interest into any space with their vibrant hues and attractive foliage.
With so many different houseplants to pick from, you don’t have to settle for the run-of-the-mill pothos, philodendron, or spider plant.
African Mask Plant (Alocasia amazonica ‘Polly’)
The African mask plant is a compact hybrid of the well-loved Alocasias known for their shield or arrow-shaped leaves. Its smaller size and shape make it one of the most popular varieties used as houseplants. Also commonly called a Polly alocasia or Amazonian Elephant’s Ear, the plant’s narrow dark-green leaves are adorned with white protruding veins and wavy, undulating leaf edges. When grown indoors, the African mask plant needs lots of humidity and bright, indirect light.
African Violet (Saintpaulia ionantha)
Want to hear a fun little secret? While most of us automatically think purple when we think of African violets, they surprisingly come in many other colors! Plants are available with flowers in shades of blues, reds, pinks, and white that may be fringed, ruffled, or double-blossomed. Some of the cultivars even have variegated fuzzy leaves!
These little beauties are some of the most common indoor flowering houseplants. Plants love sunny windowsills where they can get bright indirect light but will even bloom in low-light conditions.
Arrowhead Vine (Syngonium podophyllum)
Even though the arrowhead vine is closely related to the ever-popular philodendron, its large arrow-shaped leaves come in various hues to give the plant a subtle, understated color. Also known as the arrowhead plant or goosehead, the foliage ranges from light green to bronze to pale pink, with many shades of variegation or stripes. This vining plant prefers low light or indirect sunlight exposure, so it is fantastic in homes without abundant natural light.
Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae)
If you’re looking for a plant with unique flowers, look no further than a bird of paradise plant. This tropical houseplant is a sight to behold with its unique shape and bold, bright yellow, red, orange, and blue colors. The bird of paradise is related to the infamous banana plant, growing into a large, upright display of beauty. It is also symbolic of magnificence, optimism, anticipation, freedom, and overcoming life’s obstacles.
Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema sp.)
Sometimes called a red aglaonema, the Chinese evergreen is another popular choice if your home has lower light levels. Beautifully colored foliage comes in many colors ranging from dark green to silver or red; the coloration patterns across the broad leaves can be speckled, blotchy, or even variegated. The Chinese evergreen is a sturdy, easy-to-grow houseplant and is often recommended to beginners or homeowners who may forget to water plants regularly.
Coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides)
Coleus plants are known for their stunning foliage and leaves that seem to come in many sizes and shapes. The leaf edges can also be scalloped or ruffled for extra interest. With hundreds of different cultivars available, you can find foliage in green, cream, yellow, orange, red, maroon, and brown mixed in a surprising array of combinations and patterns. These plants are also easy to grow and propagate.
Croton (Codiaeum variegatum)
Even though the name of the croton plant comes from the Greek word for tick, there isn’t anything to be afraid of with these boldly colored houseplants. Also known as rushfoil, these exotic plants are loved for vivid markings on the foliage. The thick leathery leaves are adorned with yellow, orange, scarlet, pink, and purple, depending on the variety. Over time, the eye-catching foliage may deepen in color, so it almost looks black. Seeds on a croton plant look like a tick, hence its name.
Flamingo Flower (Anthurium scherzerianum)
The flamingo flower isn’t as well known as some of the other color houseplants on this list, and they can be a little temperamental to grow. But their intricate foliage and exotic blooms make them well worth the effort, especially since their “flowers” last for months with proper care. Instead of true flowers with petals, waxy heart-shaped bracts open in red, orangish-red, or pink with a finger-like projection that houses the tiny flowers. Since this spadix looks like a curlicue on a pig’s tail, these plants are also called Pigtail plants.
Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe sp.)
Kalanchoe are a popular type of succulents that are members of the jade family. Readily found for sale in supermarkets and big-box retailers, plants have dark-green fleshy leaves and small yellow, red, pink, or white flowers. Plants usually only bloom once a year—in masses—but like a poinsettia, you can force flowering by mimicking short day lengths. Give Kalanchoe plants 12 to 14 hours of total darkness daily for 6 to 8 weeks. You can extend the flowering period of these relatively problem-free plants by giving them cooler temperatures at night.
Madagascar Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata)
The Madagascar dragon tree or red-edge Dracaena is a highly popular houseplant with stiff, narrow green leaves banded in red or pink. It is easy to grow, becoming more tree-like as they mature, and the stems become woodier. Outdoors they can reach a stunning height of 8 to 15-feet tall and spread close to 8-feet wide! When grown as an indoor plant in bright light, they’ll slowly creep up to 6-feet tall, resembling a miniature palm tree.
Nerve Plant (Fittonia albivenis)
Nerve plants are great for terrariums or a shelf in the bathroom because of their love for high humidity. The low-growing, creeping plant grows to about 6 to 12-inches tall and spreads 12 to 18 inches across. Also known as a silver nerve plant or a mosaic plant, their strikingly variegated leaves open in pink and green, red and green, or silvery-white and green. The bright vein patterns on this compact little houseplant make it a knock-out.
Palm Lily (Cordyline rubra)
When grown outdoors, the palm lily is typically grown as a specimen plant, where its shockingly pink variegated leaves put on a spectacular display instead of tucking it in a group planting. These small evergreen shrubs with long, arching, leathery leaves are native to Australia but grow well indoors if you have a bright spot that gets plenty of diffuse light.
Peperomia (Peperomia sp.)
Another staple plant in many homes, the semi-succulent peperomia, thrives in high humidity spots like your bathroom, above the kitchen sink, or in a terrarium. Dozens of peperomia species are grown as houseplants because of their compact stature and beautiful foliage. The foliage comes in many sizes, shapes, and colors, ranging from dark to light green with variegation in yellow to burgundy. Some of the more commonly grown peperomia species are baby rubber plant, creeping peperomia, cupid peperomia, emerald ripple peperomia, and watermelon peperomia,
Pinstripe Plant (Calathea ornata)
Pinstripe plants, also known as Calathea by some, aren’t as popular as houseplants compared to the more common philodendron, snake plant, or peace lily. Still, they have their own unique appeal making them desirable. Related to the prayer plant, the pinstripe plant sports beautiful bands of green and pink color on its elongated leaves with a purplish-red or burgundy underside. These plants benefit from regular watering, high humidity levels, and bright, indirect light.
Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya)
The eye-catching little polka dot plant has some of the cheeriest, most colorful foliage of the little, easy-to-grow houseplants. Also known as a freckle face plant, dark green foliage is marked with red, pink, or white splotches—different varieties are bred for their leaf coloration. Polka dot plants may bloom during the summer, putting up spikes of lilac or light pink flowers. Regular pruning helps keep them from getting leggy.
Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura)
Prayer plants have been a staple houseplant for decades because of their brightly patterned foliage. At night, the big oval leaves tend to fold together, appearing like a set of praying hands. The tricolor foliage comprises deep green velvety leaves, with yellow splotches along the midrib and arching red veins spreading out towards the leaf margins. These hardy indoor plants do bloom, but the flowers are small and not very showy.
Purple Shamrock (Oxalis triangularis)
The purple shamrock is a stunning, low-growing foliage plant with rich, vibrant triangular leaves in deep, bright purples with touches of green. The end of every stem (or petiole) has three evenly-spaced heart-shaped leaves, each with three sides, to create a shamrock shape. Some people also say the leaves look like a trio of butterflies joined together at their noses. Also called a false shamrock or love plant, the leaves fold up at night or during low-light conditions, reopening in the morning, or when exposed to bright sunlight again.
Purple Velvet Plant (Gynura aurantiaca)
With uniquely shaped, velvety leaves, the purple velvet plant (also known as the Purple passion plant or Gynura) is a one-of-a-kind plant sure to draw attention to itself. Native to Indonesia, the plant has bright to dark green leaves with thick, dark purple hairs, giving it a fuzzy appearance similar to the African violet yet different at the same time. The purple velvet plant may bloom, producing orange flowers, but most people remove them because of their unpleasant scent. Plants like temperatures a little on the cooler side, preferring 60 to 70°F.
Rex Begonia (Begonia rex-cultorum)
Rex begonias are one of the most beautiful and dramatic begonia varieties and may be called painted leaf begonias or king begonias. The plants look exotic but are one of the easiest houseplants to grow. Unlike other begonia types, this one is grown primarily for its foliage, not its flowers. Their large waxy leaves have various shades of green, red, silver, and some even have touches of purple. Plants thrive in bright indirect sunlight and under fluorescent lamps; rotate plants often for consistent growth.
Silver Vase Plant (Aechmea fasciata)
One of the most well-known Bromeliad species, the silver vase plant, is grown indoors as a houseplant more than any other type. Also known as the urn plant, its silvery-green, leathery leaves form an upright vase-shaped rosette resembling an urn; this central cup collects water and nutrients for the silver vase plant. The bold, exotic bright pink flowers are really bracts or modified leaves open, containing a bunch of tiny little blue blossoms. This flowering bract can last up to six months.
Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)
A staple houseplant in homes worldwide, the snake plant, or mother-in-law’s tongue, has swordlike leaves ranging in color from solid green to green-striped and cross-banded green with deep golden yellow leaf edges. Plants are easy to care for, reaching three or more feet in height. The leaves can be narrow and long, short and wide, or even curling into a cylindrical shape to look like spikes. Just be careful not to overwater a snake plant as they are susceptible to root rot.
Ti Plant (Cordyline fruticosa)
The ti plant is also commonly known as the good luck plant and has immense cultural importance in places following animism beliefs. These eye-catching evergreen plants come in various colors and variegations, including green, pink, orange, red, and chocolate brown. Plants form a tiered rosette as they grow, reaching upwards to about three feet tall when mature. Keep them in medium light or bright diffuse sunlight to keep the foliage brilliant and bold; a lack of light causes the colors to dull and fade.
Wandering Jew (Tradescantia zebrina)
The Wandering Jew, a type of spiderwort, is also known as an inch plant because of its easy-growing nature. This old-school houseplant grows on average an inch a week, and an inch is all you need to propagate a new plant. Put this beauty in a hanging basket or in a pot on top of a bookshelf to show off its trailing vines of green, white, and grey striped leaves with purple undersides. It needs lots of bright, indirect sunlight to maintain its bright colors, but too much direct sunlight can wash out the leaf’s color.