Jade plant
Rob D. Brodman

Jade Plant

What It Looks Like

A succulent (Crassula argentea) with thick, rounded leaves, stout trunk, and an upright, bushy form. Most varieties have green foliage, though leaves of some are outlined in red. Clusters of pink, star-shaped flowers from fall into spring.

What It Needs

Bright, indirect light all year and little water. As a general rule for all houseplants, water when the top 20 percent of soil is dry.

How to Use

Slip plants from 4- or 6-inch nursery pots into decorative containers to display on a desk or countertop. Plants can eventually reach several feet tall but stay compact in small pots.


Pothos
Rob D. Brodman

Pothos

What It Looks Like

A trailing plant with leathery, glossy, heart-shaped leaves of bright green splashed with yellow. Related to philodendron, pothos can also be trained to climb.

What It Needs

Bright, filtered light (such as through a sheer curtain) and typical household temperature and humidity. Give it low water during winter, regular water and feeding during the growing season. Keep leaves clean by wiping with a damp cloth.

How to Use

Grow it as a hanging plant to cascade over the top of a tall bookcase or the side of a mantel. Pinch off growing tips to induce bushiness.


Rubber tree
Rob D. Brodman

Rubber Tree

What It Looks Like

Large, oval leaves give a rubber tree (Ficus elastica) a decidedly tropical look. Indoors, some varieties grow to about 4 feet tall. Foliage comes in several colors, from deep green to burgundy.

What It Needs

Takes any but the lowest level of light. Let the soil get fairly dry between waterings.

How to Use

Large plants in 10-inch containers look good on the floor next to a sofa or as a focal point in a corner. Set pots on glazed or plastic saucers to protect flooring or carpet.


Ponytail Palm
Rob D. Brodman

Ponytail Palm

What It Looks Like

Tough, grasslike, bright green leaves arching out from a thick, trunklike base resemble a head of hair, giving ponytail palm (Nolina recurvata) its common name. Over many years, the plants can reach 4 feet tall.

What It Needs

Bright, indirect light all year; little water (let soil dry out between waterings – a mature plant can store water in its bulbous base). Flourishes in a warm, dry place.

How to Use

Looks best in a spot that shows off its graceful silhouette. Small plants (4-in. pot size) are perfect for console tables. Given the right conditions, can eventually exceed houseplant size.


ZZ Plant
Rob D. Brodman

ZZ Plant

What It Looks Like

Fleshy stems and glossy, deep green leaves make ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) look almost artificial. This Tanzanian native grows very slowly to 3 feet tall and about as wide.

What It Needs

Plant does best in moderate and low light. It doesn’t need much water; let soil dry out between waterings.

How to Use

Small plants look good on tabletops or low bookcases; set larger ones on the floor next to chairs and end tables.

More Garden Inspiration

Guide to Houseplants
Plants for the Lazy Gardener
Indoor Holiday Plants

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