Skip to main content
Flowers, Fruits, and Frass

Horticulturists' Favorite Houseplants

jade plant. photo:pixabay

In 2020, there was an uptick in greening the home office with tropical houseplants and succulents, stimulated by how different some people's jobs have become. However, the houseplant craze has been building momentum for several years much to the delight of horticulturists, watching new offerings of different varieties come to market.

Whether the craze is fueled by the barrage of beautifully posed pictures on Instagram, the actual health benefits of having houseplants in your home, or the rise in home offices, they are a great addition to any room to those with or without green thumbs. Scientifically, houseplants have been proven to improve your health, from purifying the air to easing stress.

My Instagram feed has been inundated with images of the trendy Jungle cacti, Black Raven ZZ plant, variegated monsteras, string of hearts, fiddle leaf ficus, rubber trees in every size and color—so many succulent varieties that don’t even look like real plants—and my personal favorite, Chinese money plant.

Chinese money plant (Pilea peperomioides) is not only an Instagram star but it is amazingly easy to grow—its shiny round leaves perched perfectly above the pot as if the leaves are floating in the air. The stems are attached the center of the leaf. In botanical terms we say the leaves are peltate. I have it growing right next to me on my desk, in indirect light, about three feet from a south window. Rotating the plant helps keep it from growing to one side reaching for the sun. The plant enjoys high quality soilless mixes, regular watering and monthly fertilization while actively growing. Another perk, is that it is consistently producing babies (daughters) from the mother plant that are easily removed with a knife and started in their own pot.

fiddle leaf fig. image by candace hart

Candice Hart's favorite houseplant trend is Fiddle leaf fig (Ficus lyrata). She says it is the star of her home décor. “Its gorgeous, architectural shape makes a statement in any room." Coveted for its shiny, violin-shaped leaves, you can see why it is so loved. Rather easy to grow, this beautiful houseplant can be finicky if it’s in the wrong spot. Choose a location with very bright indirect light, avoiding a spot with hot or cold drafts, and be sure to avoid overwatering. A pot with sufficient drainage is essential.

Don’t have space for a large houseplant? Try ‘Little Fiddle’ which is perfect for desks and tabletops. Or consider Ficus benghalensis, a relative of the fiddle leaf fig tree. Known as Ficus Audrey, it is more tolerant of environmental shifts than the fiddle leaf fig tree and can quickly bounce back from a period of under or overwatering. Whichever you choose, your houseplant home décor will be taken up a notch.”

Ryan’s latest houseplant passion is Jade. Crassula argentea is a long lived succulent that looks like a miniature tree with glossy round leaves. Being a succulent, they like warm dry conditions. During the winter, small star shaped flowers appear on mature plants. Ideal for a location in your home that is full sun or bright light from a south window. Never let roots sit in standing water but do not let the plant go bone dry for too long. Jades with miniature leaves, wavy leaves, contorted leaves and colored leaves are trending. ‘Golum’ jade plants with finger-like leaves and a red indented tip is a particular star.

In their Feb. 25 LIVE with the Horticulturists Facebook video, Candice, Ryan, and Kelly discuss the houseplant trend, potting up houseplants, and houseplant propagation and care.