Whether you’re living in the suburbs, a city high rise apartment complex, or rural America, these tropical and exotic houseplants will transport your home to a lush island or vibrant rainforest and bring your decor up a notch. Many of these intriguing plants are deceptively easy to grow and will reward you with spectacular color for years to come. Check out our list of 22 tropical plants you should add to your houseplant collection today.
1. Rubber tree
This plant is incredibly hardy and adds a truly exciting flare to any decor. The leaves are large and often variegated in color, making it a no brainer way to bring the tropics indoors. Be sure to dust the large leaves often with a wet cloth to keep them shiny.
2. Amazon Elephant’s Ear
With its distinctive leaf shape and slivery tint, the Amazon Elephant’s Ear is a fairly easy plant to keep alive and can amp up your houseplant game. It can fill in an empty corner or serve as a focal piece in the center of the room. Be sure to keep it away from children and pets as it is toxic if ingested.
3. Swallowtail Or Butterfly Plant
This plant is wonderful to add to your collection if you are looking for an exotic, unusual twist on the typical tropical greenery. It has triangular-shaped leaves with naturally occurring pink and green stripes. Forget seasonal flowers that only bloom for a time, swallowtail will keep its color all year long. Be sure to place it in an area of indirect sunlight to avoid burning.
4. Fairy Duster
The name conjures up images of delicate, bright flowers, that are sure to make a statement, and the plant doesn’t disappoint. The pink flowers are incredibly vibrant and bring color to your home. Plus, if grown outside on a patio or front stoop in the summer, this plant attracts tons of butterflies and birds which can make it an even better viewing opportunity.
5. Adiantum Venustum
A unique twist on the typical fern, this plant is a little more high maintenance than your typical greenery. However, the delicate fronds and lovely pale green hue make growing this plant indoors more than worth it. It requires frequent watering to stay moist and the old, brown fronds will need to be trimmed in the spring to make room for more growth.
Bromeliads are often considered the least finicky tropical plant. They still produce a gorgeous flower and can be found in many colors, but aren’t nearly as high-maintenance as other flowering plants. Just be sure not to overwater.
Anthurium is a fairly well-known cultivar with many different varieties and colors available. Though it requires a green thumb, it is a great way to take your topical houseplant game to the next level.
8. Madagascan Palm
This drought-tolerant plant will produce bright yellow flowers and a striking, almost tree-like stem with thick waxy leaves. Be sure to keep it in well-draining soil as it doesn’t do well in wet environments.
The leaves of the Schefflera plant (or umbrella plant) are broad, drooping and full. This is a great choice to fill in a bare area as it creates a lovely canopy effect in the home.
10. Bird Of Paradise
If you are willing to put in the effort, you will be well rewarded by this incredible plant that exemplifies the tropics at their most showy. It may take a few years of diligent care and regular fertilization for the bird of paradise to bloom, but once it does, it lives up to its name with a spectacular display of blue and orange plumage.
11. Kaffir Lily
Kaffir Lily has bright orange blossoms that only come out to play when the plant is given the perfect conditions. With a little trial and error, you can enjoy the gorgeous flowers and strappy green leaves. This plant grows well in indirect sunlight in a hotter climate and direct sunlight in cooler climates so you may have to move it around in your home as the seasons change. It also needs good ventilation and medium air humidity.
12. Aechmea ‘Blue Rain’
Part of the pineapple family, this plant has similar hard, spiky foliage with an interesting twist of purple color. Keep achemas happy with regular misting to maintain humidity and frequent doses of foliar feed.
If you’re still new to the tropical plant game and want to grow something different but not quite as high-maintenance, croton is for you. This plant is distinguished by striking foliage in orange, amber, yellow, and green to bring color and intrigue to your home decor. Keep it in an area of indirect sunlight and water when the soil is completely dry.
It can be difficult to find houseplants that do well in low-light apartments or homes, but calathea fits the bill. With many varieties available encompassing a wide range of patterns and colors, as long as it is kept warm, this plant will thrive for years come
15. African Violet
African violets produce pretty little purple flowers without much coddling and are a great choice if you want a flowering plant without having to put in a ton of work. There are a few color variations as well, so chose one that best matches your decor.
Though “thrives on neglect” doesn’t exactly sound like an accurate way to describe a houseplant, this hard-to-kill plant certainly is. Thick, stiff leaves bring a modern, stark feel to your home and can balance out softer, more delicate greenery.
A certain way to bring the tropics into your home, cordyline epitomizes island living and the laid back lifestyle of beach dwellers. Cordyline can be found in a number of colors to match any decor style and is a great way to get a little taste of paradise.
18. Elephant’s Ear
Depending on the variety and the growing conditions, this tropical, Southeast Asia native can produce leaves up to 3’ wide. Be sure to plant elephant’s ear in a large pot with lots of room to grow. Keep the soil moist all the time and grow the plant in a warm environment. This is a houseplant that is perfect for the bathroom.
19. Dumb Cane
Dumb cane is often shied away from because of its poisonous sap that can burn if it comes into contact with your skin. As long as you don’t handle this plant directly without gloves on, it is an excellent choice to grow indoors. Bold pattern leaves and tolerance of the forgetful gardener make it a great starter plant when you decide to branch out from your nearly impossible-to-kill succulents.
20. Monstera Deliciosa
Another quintessential “tropical” plant monstera deliciosa produces massive, dark green leaves that go with virtually any decor style and make a modern botanical statement. Keep it near a window where it can receive indirect sunlight.
21. Peace Lily
This plant is famous for its air-cleansing capabilities and its lovely, white flowers and waxy deep green leaves. It is fairly easy to grow as long as it is kept in a moist, partially shady environment. A bathroom with a window would be best since it can bask in the warm steam from the shower.
22. Brazilian Fireworks
More of a selection for the intermediate to expert houseplant enthusiast, Brazilian fireworks live up to their name with a spectacular demonstration of red blooms during the warmer season and beautiful, variegated foliage throughout the year. Finding the proper water balance for this plant can be hard so it is important to keep a close eye on the moisture levels in the soil. Keep in bright, indirect sunlight.
23. Bird’s Nest Fern
Ferns are hard to resist and these bright green, wavy fronds are even more intriguing. Keep it in bright indirect light in a warm place with lots of humidity and this Southeast Asia native will flourish.
When you think of a topical plant, you almost inevitably picture palm trees. Many varieties grow well in the home and can make you feel like you’re on vacation all year long.
Though there are many types of orchids from varying environments, tropical orchids are the most popular. Many people struggle to keep this delicate plant alive, but once you’ve mastered the art of growing orchids (keyword: humidity!) they will reward you with intricate drooping flowers and a delicate perfume.
26. Rex Begonia
If you’re looking for an explosion of color that doesn’t involve fragile blooms that only come for a season, rex begonia is a great choice. The pale green and red leaves bring a unique look to your home and can spice up a bland surface.
27. Money Tree
Money tree, or Pachira Aquatica, is a wonderful, low maintenance houseplant with a cool twisted trunk that can grow 3-6 feet indoors. The large leaves are incredibly glossy and a beautiful dark green color that can keep your living room ultra classy.
Good luck trying to pick your favorite tropical treasures from this list and not simply buying them all! These plants are also great conversation starters as your dinner guests are sure to admire your exotic taste. Happy planting!