The best house plants, with tips on watering and lighting needs from an expert
Freshen up and style out your home with our top selection of house plants, suitable for all indoor spaces and budgets. We also provide some top tips from a plant expert.
Adding house plants to your home is a great way to refresh your space and bring an element of nature inside. House plants are designed to grow indoors, requiring less light and water than other outdoor varieties, making them easy to look after and keep alive and thriving.
There are all sorts of different types of house plants, from peace lilies and snake plants to cacti and spider plants. Each plant variety varies in shape, size and care requirements, meaning there is something for every household and plant lover.
Here at The Recommended, we have put together a round-up of our top house plants available to buy online. Read on for our favourites, plus we answer some of your frequently asked questions with expert advice from an RHS plant specialist.
The best house plants at-a-glance:
- Best house plant set: Air Purifying Plant Collection
- Best house plant gift: Spathiphyllum Peace Lily
- Best tall house plant: Dracaena Marginata Plant
- Best medicinal house plant: Aloe Vera Plant
- Best decorative house plant: Ctenanthe Never Never Plant
- Best artificial house plant: Artificial Monstera Plant
- Best versatile house plant: Nephrolepis Boston Fern
- Best fuss-free house plant: Epipremnum Aureum Devil’s Ivy
The best house plants
Best house plant set: Air Purifying Plant Collection
Benefit your breathing
Light requirements: Indirect sunlight, shady spots | Watering needs: Minimal, when soil is dry
This trio set of house plants will bring a variety of textures and shapes into your home, and each has air-purifying properties to remove toxins from the air and create a clean and fresh environment.
This collection comprises a snake plant (sansevieria/dracaena), peace lily (spathiphyllum), and spider plant (chlorophytum comosum) to increase oxygen levels and moisture to the surrounding air, with specific care instructions for each included. The snake plant’s long vivid green build requires little attention, the spider plant’s curled leaves are easy to maintain, and the peace lily will look elegant without the fuss.
Best house plant gift: Spathiphyllum Peace Lily
A flowering tropical plant
Light requirements: Indirect light | Watering needs: Lightly water when the soil feels dry
The peace lily (spathiphyllum) is one of the most popular house plants, featuring deep green leaves with pretty white lily flowers for an attractive style. It makes a great gift for friends and family.
This plant has air-purifying properties, removing various pollutants from the air and creating a refreshed, calm aura in your home. Peace lilies come from exotic climates so, like humidity and warmth, and require little maintenance throughout their growth.
Best Tall House Plant: Dracaena Marginata Plant
Light requirements: Medium, indirect light | Watering needs: Only water when the soil feels dry
Our plant expert Duncan McLean recommends this house plant as ‘a very forgiving option, tolerant of a wide range of temperatures and light levels.’ This makes them easy to look after.
A dracaena marginata (dragon tree) is native to Madagascar and is best placed in bright or lightly shaded positions in your home. It looks spikey, with long thin leaves and red edges, and can grow quite tall. Be careful if you have pets, as the dragon tree can be toxic.
Best medicinal house plant: Aloe Vera Plant
A multifunctional plant
Light requirements: Bright light | Watering needs: Water sparingly
Aloe vera is a type of succulent plant which stores water in its leaves, making it pretty self-sufficient, and easy to grow and look after. It is best positioned in bright spots.
Aloe vera is known for its healing properties, making it a super useful plant to have in your home. Simply cut away one of the leaves and use the sap inside to soothe skin conditions such as burns and stings, including sunburn and insect bites. The gel-like liquid will provide a cooling sensation. It will also add a slick modern look to your living area.
Best Decorative House Plant: Ctenanthe Never Never Plant
For some natural style
Light requirements: Bright indirect light | Watering needs: Keep lightly moist
Our plant expert Duncan McLean suggests this plant type for your home as a ‘good choice in decent light levels and responds well to re-potting and regular watering’.
Also known as the fishbone prayer plant, this plant has funky two-toned oval leaves (in a fishbone pattern), bringing a vibrant touch and fun style to your home. It also has air-purifying qualities to help remove toxins and add valuable oxygen to your surroundings.
Best artificial house plant: Artificial Monstera Plant
A cost-effective option
Light requirements: Anywhere! | Watering needs: Not needed!
The monstera plant (Swiss cheese plant) can be found growing in the tropical forests of southern Mexico. With their striking look, they will add instant character to your home.
Opt for this artificial version to bring the style without the hassle. It looks super realistic, is long-lasting and will be indestructible (and save you the pennies). The stems are each individually wired to be shaped to your taste, and the overall plant size is 100cm tall.
Best versatile house plant: Nephrolepis Boston Fern
Flourishes in humidity
Light requirements: Medium-bright, indirect sunlight | Watering needs: Water weekly
The Boston fern (Nephrolepis) features sword-like textured leaves and is very long-lasting if taken care of correctly. It is a super versatile option as it can be potted or used as a hanging plant.
With its full vivid green foliage, this plant will bring the outside in and create an instant natural feel to your home. It loves a humid environment, native to central and south American forests, so this one is a great option to pop in your bathroom to thrive and add some zen to your shower time.
Best fuss-free house plant: Epipremnum Aureum Devil’s Ivy
Simple to manage
Light requirements: Bright indirect light | Watering needs: Water when the soil is dry to touch
Another very popular house plant, devil’s ivy is easy to leave to its own devices and care for only occasionally. It’s a great option for newbie plant parents.
The ivy plant will bring a natural vibe into your living space as well as benefit the air you breathe in, thanks to its air-purifying properties. It is fast-growing, and its leaves have trailing features, ideal for popping on a top shelf and watching it cascade down.
House plant buyer’s guide: tips from an expert
Duncan McLean is a Senior Plant Buyer for the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). The RHS is the UK’s leading gardening charity, aiming to ‘inspire a passion for gardening and growing plants, promote the value of gardens, demonstrate how gardening is good for us and explain the vital role that plants play.’
Duncan has been working for the RHS for more than four years now and previously worked at Wyevale Garden Centres and Country Gardens for over 15 years after studying at Oatridge Agricultural College, achieving distinctions in both Horticulture and Landscape Planning. We spoke to Duncan to help us answer some of the most frequently asked questions and outline just what you should consider when choosing the perfect house plant.
Factors to consider when choosing a house plant
Light Requirements: From bright spots to shaded areas, different house plants will require varied lighting conditions for optimum growth. Always read their care guidelines!
Temperature: Some house plants prefer more humid conditions, whereas some will need to be positioned in a cool place. This often is a reflection of their place of origin, for instance, a plant native to a tropical forest will want these conditions replicated as close as possible.
Watering needs: Read up on how much watering your plant needs, and be sure not to overwater too (a common mistake).
Space: Make sure you have chosen a suitable place to position your plant in, with enough space for it to grow. Remember some plants can grow quite tall and wide so need adequate room to do this.
Pets/children: Some house plants can be toxic – avoid these if you have cats and dogs as these can be very harmful to them. It is best to steer clear from these too if you have kids in the house.
What should you look for when buying house plants?
When buying a house plant, ensure you look at its different features and think wisely about your home space and where it will go. Our expert Duncan McLean suggests focusing on plants that ‘look healthy.’ He also recommends that ‘as a rule, and with exceptions, soil should not be too wet or too dry, and pests should not be present. If flowering, you should look for flower buds that have yet to open.’
What should you avoid when looking for house plants?
Our expert Duncan McLean recommends avoiding plants that look ‘sad’. This includes ‘brown leaf tips, wilting, waterlogging, infestations of pests or flowering plants that have exhausted their buds.’
He does, however, give a useful tip to save you some money and rescue unwanted plants, suggesting that ‘if you are prepared to give a bit more care and attention then don’t discount some of the sadder specimens on the discount shelf as they can be brought back to optimal health with a little bit of know-how and patience.’ That will save you some cash and give the plants a second chance!