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2 Dozen Fantastic Foliage House Plants
Pothos

This low-maintenance vine is also commonly called pothos, and is often confused with heartleaf philodendron. Like philodendron, devil's ivy has heart-shape leaves and can be grown as a mounding tabletop plant, in a hanging basket, or trained upright on a pole. It's not fussy about how much light it gets, but the brighter the spot, the more variegation you'll see in the leaves.

Why We Love It: Devil's ivy is one of the more versatile houseplants you can grow. It looks great trailing out of a hanging basket, climbing up a pole or other structure, or just left to crawl over a tabletop or mantel.

Name: Epipremnum aureum 'Marble Queen'

Growing Conditions: Low to bright light; 60-75 degrees F.; keep the soil moderately dry

Size: Trailing plant 8 feet long

Note: All parts of this plant are poisonous and can cause severe irritation of the lips, tongue, and throat if eaten or chewed by pets or children.
Snake Plant

This carefree succulent plant tolerates neglect extremely well. If you've had no success with houseplants other than plastic ones, give snake plant a try. In addition to the tall form pictured here, shorter, bird's-nest forms are available. All types withstand low light but appreciate brighter conditions. The only problem likely to develop is root rot if you overwater the plant.

Why We Love It: It's nearly indestructible and has architectural, sword-shaped leaves

Name: Sansevieria trifasciata 'Laurentii'

Growing Conditions: Low to bright light; 60-85 degrees F.; allow the soil surface to dry between waterings

Size: To 4 feet tall and wide

Note: Piggyback plant can cause skin irritation to individuals with sensitive skin.
Philodendron

Heart-leaf philodendron is a durable foliage plant that has long been the backbone of indoor gardening. It has pretty, heart-shape leaves and adapts well to low-light spots. It is often grown with stems trailing over the edge of bookshelves or large pieces of furniture.

Why We Love It: The climbing stems can attach to a moss pole or bark slab making it easy to create an upright tower of green.

Name: Philodendron hederaceum oxycardium

Growing Conditions: Low to bright light; 60-80 degrees F.; allow the soil surface to dry between waterings

Size: Trailing or climbing to 8 feet or more

Note: All parts of this plant are poisonous and can cause severe irritation of the lips, tongue, and throat if eaten or chewed by pets or children.
English Ivy

In many areas, English ivy is commonly grown as an outdoor ground cover. But you can also use it indoors. Grow a pot of ivy on a mantel or shelf where its stems can trail down. For a more formal effect, train the stems onto a topiary form. It's also exceptionally easy to start new plants: Simply cut off a 5-inch-long section of stem, remove the bottom leaves, and pot it up in moist soil. If you keep it moist, the cutting should root in a couple of weeks.

Here's a tip: Spider mites love to attack ivy. Help prevent them by periodically washing your ivy in the shower or bathtub with room-temperature water.

Why We Love It: It's a versatile vine plant with deep green or variegated leaves. We especially love using it to create topiaries.

Name: Hedera helix

Growing Conditions: Medium to bright light; 55-70 degrees F.; keep evenly moist

Size: Climbs or trails to 6 feet or more

Note: All parts of this plant are poisonous if eaten or chewed by pets or children.
Zeezee Plant

Sometimes called eternity plant because it lasts so long, succulent zeezee plant tolerates low light and neglect. The thick, fleshy leafstalks are so durable that you might even think it's plastic. It is a slow grower, so purchase a large plant if you want a big specimen. Cut stems remain green and healthy in appearance for several weeks, even without water.

Why We Love It: This plant is so easy it's almost a challenge to kill it.

Name: Zamioculcas zamiifolia

Growing Conditions: Low to bright light; 60-75 degrees F.; allow the soil to dry between waterings

Size: 2-3 feet tall and wide

Note: This plant is poisonous if eaten or chewed on by children or pets.
Spider Plant

You may remember this from your grandmother's house; spider plants have been grown for years and are still popular today. Look for a number of varieties -- from types with plain green leaves to others that offer foliage marked with cream or white stripes. All make handsome hanging plants that develop plantlets at the ends of arching stems. These babies readily root in water or potting soil to start new plants.

Why We Love It: It offers tons of old-fashioned appeal and an easy-care nature.

Name: Chlorophytum comosum 'Vittatum'

Growing Conditions: Medium to bright light; 60-75 degrees F.; keep the soil evenly moist

Size: To 1 foot tall and 2 feet wide
Arrowhead Vine

One of the most common houseplants, arrowhead vine features distinctly arrow-shaped leaves (hence the moniker). Unlike a lot of plants, there are many different varieties from which to choose. Most have variegated foliage; depending on variety, the leaves may be green with white markings or bronzy-green with pink tones. Young plants form a mound about a foot high, but stems begin to vine as they mature, so you can grow them upright on a pole or let them trail in a hanging basket.

By the way, you may also see this plant sold as Nepthytis.

Why We Love It: The colorful leaves keep their variegation -- even in low-light spots, so this is a top pick for dressing up just about any corner of your home.

Name: Syngonium podophyllum

Growing Conditions: Low to medium light; 60-75 degrees F.; keep evenly moist

Size: To 3 feet tall and wide

Note: All parts of this plant can cause irritation of the lips, tongue, and throat if eaten or chewed by pets or children.
Grape Ivy

'Ellen Danica', the variety of grape ivy pictured here is often called oakleaf ivy because its leaves are more deeply cut than other types of grape ivy. Regardless of the variety, grape ivy is a vine with tendrils that readily cling to a trellis or stake. It offers shiny, deep green leaves that create a very nice texture.

Why We Love It: Even though it's a vine, grape ivy has more of a mounding habit -- so it's a perfect choice for lush, tidy-looking hanging baskets.

Name: Cissus rhombifolia

Growing Conditions: Medium light; 65-80 degrees F.; keep evenly moist

Size: To 6 feet as a vine
Hoya

Hoya, or wax plant, has waxy green leaves and waxy fragrant pink flowers. Golden wax plant (pictured) adds creamy leaf variegation to the plant's appeal. You can let the plant climb, train the stems onto a topiary, or allow them to trail in a hanging basket.

Why We Love It: Wax plant offers beautiful flowers (that are often powerfully fragrant). It's also a low-water plant, so it doesn't mind if you forget to water it from time to time.

Name: Hoya carnosa

Growing Conditions: Medium to bright light; 55-75 degrees F.; allow the soil surface to dry between waterings

Size: Can climb or trail to 4 feet or more
Corn Plant

Don't confuse this plant with the vegetable of the same name. This beautiful houseplant offers variegated leaves and a single upright stem -- so it resembles a decorative corn stalk without the ears. Plant several together in a large container for a fuller appearance.

Here's a tip: If your corn plant grows too tall, cut back the cane to a foot or two above the soil and new shoots to form below the cut.

Why We Love It: It bears colorful yellow-and-green-striped straplike leaves on an upright stem.

Name: Dracaena fragrans 'Massangeana'

Growing Conditions: Medium to bright light; 60-75 degrees F.; allow the soil surface to dry between waterings

Size: To 10 feet tall and 3 feet tall

Note: Corn plant is poisonous if eaten or chewed on by dogs.
Ponytail Palm

Despite its common name, this plant is a succulent rather than a true palm. Its graceful arching leaves are always attractive and its swollen trunk looks great, too. (The trunk holds moisture for the plant.) Keep your ponytail palm in a container only a couple of inches wider than its trunk base to control its size. It is sometimes sold as Nolina recurvata.

Why We Love It: Because the trunk actually stores moisture, ponytail palm can survive for long periods without watering.

Name: Beaucarnea recurvata

Growing Conditions: Bright light; 65-75 degrees F., 50-55 degrees F. in winter; allow the soil to dry between waterings

Size: To 10 feet tall and 4 feet wide
Rubber Tree

An old-fashioned classic, rubber tree gets its name from the sticky, milky sap it exudes if injured. It eventually grows into a large tree, but you can easily keep it shorter by pruning back long stems, causing it to branch into a multi-stemmed shrub.

Note: In frost-free areas, you may see rubber trees as a full-size shade trees outdoors.

Why We Love It: Its big, dark green shiny leaves definitely make a statement. The older plants get, the larger they become -- a good-sized rubber tree makes a big, dramatic accent in any room.

Name: Ficus elastica

Growing Conditions: Medium to bright light; 60-80 degrees F.; allow the soil surface to dry between waterings

Size: To 8 feet tall and 4 feet wide

Note: The milky white sap may cause irritation to people with sensitive skin.
Schefflera

Also commonly called umbrella tree, this plant offers glossy foliage with leaflets that radiate out from a central spoke, similar to the ribs of an umbrella. A close relative, dwarf schefflera (Schefflera arboricola) has smaller, thicker leaflets and shorter stems. Both are sometimes classified in the genus Brassaia.

Why We Love It: Its large glossy green leaves create instant tropical flair.

Name: Schefflera actinophylla

Growing Conditions: Medium to bright light; 60-75 degrees F.; keep the soil evenly moist

Size: To 8 feet tall and 6 feet wide
Fiddleleaf Fig

Fiddleleaf fig is a beautiful tree that gets its common name comes from the violin-shape outline of its leathery, deep green leaves. It tolerates low light well, though it may lose its lower leaves in dim spots. If your fiddleleaf fig grows too tall, prune stems back to the desired height, or start a new plant by air layering elongated shoots.

Why We Love It: This is one of the classiest-looking indoor trees thanks to its big leaves and the shape it forms as it grows.

Name: Ficus lyrata

Growing Conditions: Medium to bright light; 65-75 degrees F.; allow the soil surface to dry between waterings

Size: To 15 feet tall and 5 feet wide
Green Dracaena

Some varieties of green dracaena, such as 'Janet Craig' have solid green leaves. Others such as 'Warneckii' (pictured), bear white, cream, gold or chartreuse stripes on their foliage. All form compact rosettes when young, but eventually become striking upright foliage plants. They tolerate low light, but produce better color in medium to bright light.

Why We Love It: It's a durable, upright plant with good-looking leaves.

Name: Dracaena deremensis

Growing Conditions: Medium to bright light; 65-75 degrees F.; allow the soil surface to dry between waterings

Size: To 10 feet tall and 3 feet wide

Note: This plant is poisonous if eaten or chewed on by dogs.
Boston Fern

Boston fern's arching, lacy fronds make it well suited to hanging baskets or for display on a pedestal. Don't let its delicate appearance mislead you, though: This tough plant that will live for decades if you keep it moist and give it moderate light and enough humidity. The variety 'Dallas' is more compact and more tolerant of dry air.

Why We Love It: Boston ferns create a classic feel in any room. Their beautiful, arching fronds work well with any decorating style -- but especially cottage and country.

Name: Nephrolepis exaltata

Growing Conditions: Medium to bright light; 60-75 degrees F.; keep evenly moist

Size: To 4 feet tall and wide
Cast-Iron Plant

One of the toughest you can grow, cast-iron plant withstands neglect, low light, low humidity, and a wide range of temperatures. It grows slowly so purchase a plant that is large enough for the space in which you intend to use it. Several varieties have white or yellow variegation on their leaves.

Why We Love It: This plant really lives up to its name: It's nearly indestructible.

Name: Aspidistra elatior

Growing Conditions: Low light; 45-85 degrees F.; keep evenly moist during active growth, barely moist in fall and winter

Size: To 2 feet tall and wide
Chinese Evergreen

This plant has great foliage; the leaves are punctuated with shades of silver, gray, or shades of green making Chinese evergreen an attractive choice to brighten low-light areas of your home. Take a cue from shopping mall plantings and use Chinese evergreen as a ground cover around an upright, treelike houseplant. Or showcase it alone as a specimen plant.

Why We Love It: It's extra tough and has attractive leaves that brighten low light spots.

Name: Aglaonema commutatum

Growing Conditions: Low to medium light; 60-75 degrees F.; keep evenly moist

Size: To 3 feet tall and wide

Note: All parts of this plant are poisonous and can cause severe irritation of the lips, tongue, and throat if eaten or chewed by pets or children.
Croton

While this showy shrub survives in low light levels, its foliage shows the best color in bright spots. Its gold, pink, and orange tones glow when backlit from a sunny window. Wash the leaves occasionally to maintain their shine and keep it looking dramatic.

Why We Love It: It has beautiful, leathery leaves with exotic and colorful markings.

Name: Codiaeum variegatum pictum

Growing Conditions: Bright light; 60-75 degrees F.; allow the soil surface to dry between waterings

Size: To 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide

Note: This plant is poisonous and can make children or pets sick if they chew on it or eat it.
Dieffenbachia

Several closely related species share the common name of dieffenbachia. All produce canelike stems with lush foliage variegated in green and white. Grow one by itself to for a tree appearance or several together in a single container for a shrubby look. One of the plant's common names, dumb cane, comes from the effect of the toxic sap that if eaten causes swelling and numbness in the mouth and throat.

Why We Love It: Its large, green-and-white leaves create a decidedly tropical look to any room of your home (and it's great for decorating decks and patios in the summer).

Name: Dieffenbachia spp.

Growing Conditions: Low to medium light; 60-80 degrees F.; keep evenly moist

Size: To 6 feet tall and 3 feet wide

Note: All parts of this plant are poisonous and can cause severe irritation of the lips, tongue, and throat if eaten or chewed by pets or children.
Dracaena

This plant is as impressive as its name. It bears tufts of long, narrow, deep green leaves edged in red at the tips of woody gray stems. Young plants are shrubbier, but soon grow more upright. The variety 'Tricolor' has pink-and-cream leaf margins, and is sometimes known as rainbow plant.

Why We Love It: Its grassy leaves on tall stems give it a festive appearance.

Name: Dracaena marginata

Growing Conditions: Medium to bright light; 65-75 degrees F.; allow the soil surface to dry between waterings

Size: To 10 feet tall and 2 feet wide

Note: This tree is poisonous if eaten or chewed on by dogs.
Jade Plant

If watering is an issue, jade plant may be for you. This slow grower can survive for decades if it has bright light and stays dry. It combines well with cacti and other succulents. It appreciates normal room temperatures during the growing season, but grows best if you keep it on the cool side and just moist enough to prevent leaves from shriveling through winter.

Why We Love It: It's a low-water, treelike plant with interesting, gnarly branches and succulent, fleshy leaves.

Name: Crassula ovata

Growing Conditions: Bright light; 65-75 degrees F., 55 degrees F. in winter; keep moderately dry

Size: To 6 feet tall and 3 feet tall
Peperomia

Peperomias are a diverse group of small houseplants with waxy and often highly textured leaves. Red-edge peperomia (pictured) has a narrow band of red surrounding a wide creamy leaf margin. Other peperomias we love include ripple peperomia, watermelon peperomia, baby rubber plant, and silverleaf peperomia.

Why We Love It: Its waxy, colorful foliage adds a splash of color in any room -- without taking up a lot of space.

Name: Peperomia spp.

Growing Conditions: Low to medium light; 60-75 degrees F.; allow the soil surface to dry between waterings

Size: To 1 foot tall and wide

Note: This plant is poisonous if eaten or chewed on by dogs or cats.
Norfolk Island Pine

The secret to keeping Norfolk Island pine healthy is to give it ample light and humidity. In low light, the lower branches may turn brown and fall off. If the air is too dry, it becomes a prime target for spider mites, a common houseplant pest. In its native habitat, Norfolk Island pine can reach 200 feet tall, but don't worry -- indoors, it seldom grows taller than 10 feet.

Why We Love It: This tree is perfect for decorating for Christmas -- or giving as a holiday gift. Outside the holidays, its soft texture adds a cozy feeling to any room.

Name: Araucaria heterophylla

Growing Conditions: Bright light; 60-75 degrees F.; allow the soil surface to dry between waterings

Size: To 10 feet tall and 5 feet wide
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