Houseplants are one of the easiest—and best—ways to update the look and feel of an interior space. In fact, where home decor is concerned, greenery is a major trend right now. There are lots of reasons why. More and more, people want to reconnect with nature, and bringing nature indoors is a great way to do that. Live plants give interior spaces a welcoming, fresh feeling, too. On top of that, houseplants add so much visual interest. Almost all of them are popular either because they produce beautiful flowers or because the foliage is beautiful even without the flowers.
If you’re furnishing a vacation rental, including plants in the decor is one great way to get guests talking about your rental. A common worry when adding houseplants is the longevity considering you may be in and out of the home. The following houseplants are great for Airbnbs and vacation rentals in particular because they are low light and low maintenance. So, don’t be scared to add that pop of color and life to your rental!
Want to learn about a few low-maintenance plants that you can grow? Below are some selections that are hardy enough to do well even in less than optimal growing conditions.
If you want to start small with a low-maintenance houseplant that grows quickly, the pothos is one of your best bets. It’s a trailing vine that is native to the South Pacific’s Solomon Islands. Featuring heart-shaped green leaves, it comes in several varieties with pale green, white, or yellow striations, which makes it an interesting looking plant.
This one is an easy keeper that will grow up to 12 and 18 inches in a month under the best conditions. Under the worst conditions—like if you forget to water it for a week or two—it’ll survive, even if it doesn’t grow all that much. That makes it a great choice for people new to houseplants or for vacation properties where you can’t expect tenants to water the plants.
Since this plant does trail, try placing it somewhere high so that the vines can cascade down—or train it up a log or some other bit of growth to keep it vertical. Also note that pothos is toxic to pets, so keep it where animals can’t chew the leaves and stems.
2. Sago Palm
Need a plant that offers a tropical vibe? The sago palm, while not a true palm, is just what you need to tie a tropical theme together. This plant is actually a cycad, which is an ancient group of tropical plants that are known for growing from the trunk without branching out—just like you’d imagine from a palm tree. The sago palm in particular is found growing wild in the warmest parts of Japan and southern China.
Sago palms are slow growers, which is perfect if you don’t want to worry about trimming back bushy plants that get big quickly. Purchase a small one, and it may grow to between two and three feet within a few years when grown indoors. To reach its maximum size, which is 10 feet, takes up to 50 years!
Care is easy. Just make sure your sago palm is well planted in sandy soil, acidic soil that drains well. Keep it moist by watering every few days, and this plant will reward you with green fronds sprouting from the pineapple-like trunk for years to come.
If you like lush, low-maintenance greenery, then much like the pothos, the philodendron is another great choice. To start, there are two broad philodendron categories to choose from: the upright growers, and the trailing philodendrons. Upright philodendrons will grow tall and full without intervention on your part. Trailing varieties can be a little more difficult to handle because you’ll need to pot them with a trellis or something else that they can climb—but the trellis will add more visual interest to the plant’s look.
Beyond that, you’ll have a choice between colors. All philodendrons feature glossy, dark green leaves, but lots of varieties are variegated, which means they have lighter colored striations throughout the leaves.
Philodendrons grow fast, which is perfect if you want to fill a space with foliage quickly. If kept watered well, it can grow up to 12 inches per month.
There are people who collect bromeliads just the same as there are those who are famed for collecting the prized orchid—and it’s not because bromeliads are rare or difficult to grow! Many of the most commonly found bromeliads are extremely easy to keep. It’s the sheer variety among these plants that makes them a collector’s item. You’ll find everything from tiny tillandsias that garden centers sell growing on small chunks of bark all the way up to guzmania bromeliads, which can grow up to 24 feet.
And then there are all the rest of the details. Bromeliads come in colors ranging from soft pastel green to dark leaf green—and there are plenty of variegated and striped varieties, too. Some varieties have matte leaves, while others have glossy. Some will feature center leaves in brilliant shades of yellow, orange, pink, or purple when they’re flowering, and others send up unusual flower spikes in bright colors.
As to care, there isn’t much to worry about with most bromeliads. Plant them in sandy, fast draining potting soil. When you water them, if your bromeliad’s rosette of leaves form a cup, be sure to fill that cup with water.
This is a low maintenance houseplant for people who love larger plants Dieffenbachias have long, oval shaped leaves that come to a point—and they come in lots of varieties featuring green, cream and white striations. Dieffenbachia growing in optimal conditions can reach up to 10 feet in size with 20-inch leaves, but such large ones are quite rare. Most dieffenbachia grown indoors will top out at around three to five feet.
Dieffenbachia grows rather quickly—though not as fast as some on this list. With enough water and the right light, expect it to gain about two feet in height during its first year. After that, growth may slow down a bit. To ensure it grows well, pot it in peat-heavy soil that drains well, water it weekly, and keep it in part shade or bright, indirect lighting.
6. Spider Plant
The spider plant is iconic for being a low-maintenance option that seems to thrive on neglect and less than perfect conditions—though of course, they’ll do their best with regular watering, loamy potting mix, and partial shade. With their long green and cream leaves and all the tiny plantlets they form, they offer a lot of visual interest, too. Plus they’re easy to propagate! If you want a lot of plants or you need to supply several vacation homes with some greenery, it’s easy to pot the plantlets from one spider plant to create several new ones. They’ll grow quickly to a maximum one or two feet tall.
This is one plant that works best in high places—and that makes them a good choice in small spaces where you may not have the floor space for large planters. Plan on hanging baskets to let the plantlets cascade from the pot or grow spider plants on a shelf so that the plantlets can hang from the shelf. The one bit of maintenance you’ll need to do is periodically trim away the plantlets when there are more than you’d like to see.
Want a plant that makes a bold statement? Then you need a calathea! This is one of the most beautiful houseplants available. There are lots of varieties to choose from. All have one thing in common, which is the dark green base color on the leaves. From one variety to the next, however, you’ll find leaves striated in colors ranging from silver to yellow or even shades of red and pink. What sets the calathea apart from other plants with variegated leaves is that the colors that the calathea displays almost look like the brush strokes you’d expect to see in a painting.
The calathea has a reputation for being fussy, but if you can mimic the right conditions, these plants will thrive. They’re used to growing on the jungle floor, so they need bright indirect or filtered light. Keep them out of direct sunlight to avoid burning the leaves. They also need a lush, peat-heavy soil that retains water well. Potting soil made for African violets is ideal. Keep these beauties watered regularly so that the soil is consistently moist without being soggy, and they’ll reward you with their beautiful colors.
8. Snake Plant
The snake plant is one plant that is practically bomb proof. You’ll recognize it by the iconic leaves, which are stiff and sword-like, featuring banded shades of green edged in yellow. The snake plants that most everyone is familiar with are the taller growing varieties, which can reach up to eight feet tall—though plants between two and three feet are much more common. There are also dwarf snake plants, which are perfect for smaller spaces because some of the dwarf varieties grow to a maximum of six inches tall.
Snake plants typically grow slowly when given indoor lighting—but they’ll still grow, and most importantly, they’ll look nice while they do it. If you want yours to grow faster, put it in a window where it can get a few hours of direct sunlight daily. This plant has low water needs. Keep it in sandy, well-drained soil, and water it weekly—but don’t fret if you forget to water it. Snake plants are a great addition to homes in arid climates with lots of sunshine.
9. African Violets
African violets are the most popular house plants in the world—and there are many reasons why. They’re not fussy, they bloom easily and in all kinds of colors, they don’t require a lot of light, and they’re compact, which makes them great in small spaces like a cozy little vacation bungalow.
The key to growing these lovely little flowers is to pot them in a well-drained potting soil. When you do the weekly watering, don’t let the soil get soggy, which can cause root rot, and don’t let water lay on the leaves, which can damage them. Push the spout of your watering can beneath the leaves to moisten the soil. Beyond that, so long as African violets are kept in bright, indirect sunlight, they’ll bloom all year long!
10. Bird’s Nest Fern
Bird’s nest ferns are for the plant lover who wants something unique. They can grow with fronds up to five feet long in the wild, but most houseplants will grow fronds to a maximum of two feet. They grow pretty slowly, too. But that’s not the unique part! What sets the bird’s nest fern apart from other plants is the unique shape of the leaves. They don’t resemble a fern in a traditional sense. Rather, each frond is blade shaped—and it features scalloped edges that gives it a really interesting ruffled look. Mature plants resemble beautifully ruffled rosettes.
Caring for a bird’s nest fern is easy. Like most ferns, it prefers partial shade, and loamy soil that drains well is best. Water it weekly to keep it happy—and if you can keep it near a shower or bathtub, it will appreciate the extra humidity and warmth. One word of caution with this plant is to handle the new leaves that emerge at the center of the rosette with extreme care. They’re quite fragile and can deform easily. When you’re repotting or otherwise handling the plant, take care to grab it around the base and handle only the outer leaves.
Whether you’re decorating your home or sprucing up a vacation rental, houseplants are a wonderful addition. Greenery always makes interior spaces feel fresher and more welcoming. Choose any of the plants listed above for low maintenance options that don’t require a lot of light—and thus, won’t become a chore to maintain.