Regardless of whether you have a green thumb, keeping houseplants in your home can have significant mental and physical health benefits. Plant experts are weighing in about some of the most underrated houseplants that deserve more attention.
“This is one of my favorites for plant styling, as it comes in so many colors and varieties. If you need a plant that’s lush and bushy, Aglaonema (or Chinese evergreen) is the one! It also has become one of my favorites as it’s easy to tell when it needs to be watered, which is great for new plant parents.” —Julia Rago, TorontoPlantGirl
The Aglaonema, or Chinese Evergreen, is a tropical perennial with large, narrow, and glossy oval leaves and short stems. Their flowers bloom in the spring and summer months and range in color from silver to red to dark green. According to experts, the general rule for caring for these plants is that varieties with lighter-colored leaves will require more sunlight. It also prefers warm, humid environments and does not like cold drafts or temperatures below 70 degrees.
“The Aglaonema ‘silver queen’ is a beautiful larger plant that can easily fit in a smaller space, and is much easier to care for than a bird of paradise, which seems to be the large go-to plant. They can also thrive in a variety of different light conditions and occasionally handle neglect.” —Sanja Todorovic, Birdy’s Plants
2. Rhipsalis baccifera
This tropical epiphytic plant, also known as the ‘mistletoe cactus’, is native to tropical and subtropical regions of South America, Central America, and Africa. This plant naturally grows on tree branches beneath the forest canopy, pulling nutrients and moisture from the air around it. Similar to other plants like orchids and bromeliads, the mistletoe cactus has adapted well to indoor growing and generally prefers indirect sunlight and moist, humid conditions.
“The mistletoe cactus [Rhipsalis baccifera] doesn’t get nearly the amount of love it deserves. Unlike desert cactus, which require lots of sunlight to survive, the mistletoe cactus is native to tropical regions and can tolerate lower levels of light. Its thin and pencil-like foliage eventually begins to cascade as it grows, making it a great choice for a shelf or bookcase! Even better, it’s non-toxic to pets.” —Kenny and Eleanor Barnes, A Plant Project
The Dracaena is a genus of tropical broadleaf evergreen shrubs and trees, which include several species used as houseplants. In their native tropical environments, some can grow to 20 feet or more but, when grown indoors, most remain under 8 feet. These plants are typically characterized by grass or spear-shaped leaves which extend off thickened main stems. And, though this is rare for those grown as houseplants, Dracaena grown outdoors can also produce yellowish-white flowers followed by berries. Plant experts have listed the Dracaena among the most underrated houseplants as they’re easy to grow and come in a variety of options.
“There is a type of Dracaena for everyone! They are also low-light-tolerant and drought-tolerant, so they basically can live anywhere in most conditions. People associate them with being office plants, which they can be because of their low-light tolerance, but when they are styled well, they look very modern and beautiful. People often mistake them for palms. They can also get very tall!” —Anna Johnston, Jungle & Loom
4. Rhaphidophora decursiva
Otherwise known as the ‘dragon tail plant’, the Rhaphidophora is a close relative of the very popular “mini monstera” houseplant. This plant is known for its large, climbing growth habit and large, dark glossy leaves with fenestrations so deep that they resemble palm trees. Also called the “creeping philodendron” and “Monstera decursiva”, experts recommend ensuring to continually dust their leaves with microfibre cloths as they can accumulate dust easily. Dust-free leaves will allow the plant to both grow and photosynthesize properly.
“This is the lesser-known sister of the Instagram-famous Rhaphidophora tetrasperma, often dubbed the mini monstera. The underrated decursiva is a vining plant that develops glossy, deep green leaves, and—like a monstera—the leaves begin to split and fan out as they mature. They’re easy to care for, and even easier to propagate, which is why I now have five of them in my apartment!” —Ciara Benko, The Jungle Upstairs