9 Super-Chic Houseplants

Forget old-school spider plants. A new wave of unusual and dramatic indoor plants are as much decor as they are greenery. Striking shapes, sizes, and colors make them more spectacular than ever.

The starletThe starlet
Dracaena warneckii 'Jade Jewel'
Variegated leaves from compact rosettes that resemble starbursts.
Plant: Shapely and slender as a palm, it grows slowly to 8 feet tall with sturdy, upright canes.
Light: Moderate to bright.

The divaThe diva
Variegated Ficus decora
Foliage: Big leaves are simply spectacular.
Plant: Indoors, it reaches 10 feets tall. Leaves turn brown or drop if this finicky plant doesn't get what it wants (no drafts, no wet leaves).
Light: Bright.

The grand dameThe grand dame
Ficus lyrata 'Little Fiddle'
Foliage: Large, leather, nearly violin-shaped leaves.
Plant: This stately plant can reach 20 feet tall. To maintain its size and shape, prune branches in early spring. Feed the plant after pruning; rotate it every few weeks to keep it from leaning.
Light: Moderate to bright.

The climber (at left)The climber (at left)
Ficus triangularis
Triangle-shaped leaves nearly cover the stems.
Plants: Willowy stems can reach 20 feet tall and 2 feet wide, and need staking to stay upright. Prune to control size or let the branches grow for a weeping look.
Light: Moderate to bright, indirect.

The islanderThe islander
Black aralia (Polyscias guilfoylei)
Foliage: Ruffled, slightly coarse leaves on slim trunks, the most interesting texture of any houseplant we've seen.
Plant: A tender shrub from the tropics, it grows slowly to 12 feet. Water when soil has dried 2 to 3 inches below the surface.
Light: Moderate to bright.

The survivorThe survivor
Sanseveria 'Silver Queen'
Foliage: Silvery green leaves are stiff, slightly twisted, and lightly mottled.
Plant: A standout among snake plants, it reaches 4 to 5 feet tall and thrives on neglect.
Light: Moderate to bright.

The waifThe waif
Schefflera elegantissima
Foliage: Blackish green leaves are thin when young.
Plant: Eventually reached 8 to 10 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide. Tolerates drafts.
Light: Bright.

The jungle queenThe jungle queen
Spathiphyllum 'Sensation'
Foliage: Lush 2-foot-long leaves of deep green are dramatic all year; luxuriant white flowers in spring.
Plant: A peace lily, it can reach 4 feet tall.
Light: Low to medium.

The bombshellThe bombshell
Vriesia hieroglyphica hybrid
Foliage: Leaves are curvaceous, always dressed in skintight patterning.
Plant: This bromeliad reaches 3 feet tall and wide. Lives for 8 to 10 years before it blooms, then dies.
Light: Any.
Easy care tips for house plants

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