Unsurprisingly, one of the reasons millennials are suddenly so obsessed with houseplants is because they make for good #Content. “[Customers] come in with their camera and phone and show me pictures of their whole entire place, wanting to make sure that it is the perfect accent to what they're doing with their furniture," Tara Hebel, founder of Sprout Home, told us back in March. “They consider it a part of the architecture of the space. So it is a priority to them, it's not just like getting a little plant to put on their table. They are making room in their design agenda to make sure that plants are included, and considering that part of the whole aesthetic package."
We're vain, we know it, and we're here to help you own it like we did. Ahead, we gathered what we think are the most Instagram-friendly houseplants on the market. You won't find your typical succulents on the list because we need you to be confident in your care and influencing abilities. You're better than a cactus placed alongside an issue of Zadie Smith's Swing Time. Trade it in for a bespeckled Fittonia or a brightly colored pot overflowing with a String of Pearl. You can do this.
After scrolling through our picks, make sure to also watch the below video with Robyn Moore, director of client services and commercial design for The Sill, in which she reveals which plants work for small, large, sunny, and dark or low-light rooms. Plants for all, y'all.
These quaint swiss cheese-leafed babies are present in many "outfit of the day" snaps (peeking out from the corner, usually) and in stills where one gigantic leaf is propped in a vase full of water. They’re multifunctional, and you can grow them either way.
Keep in mind, if you choose the soil option, the Monstera can be a bit of a wild child. “Expect that it’ll kind of grow out, and you’ll want to accommodate it,” Moore tells us. So, if you occupy a smaller space, this might not be the plant for you. If you have some room, know that it requires medium to bright light (a good indication that it’s getting enough sun is the number of holes in the leaves. If yours doesn’t have many, it likely needs more light) and watering once a week.
Plop a Monstera leaf into some water, though, and it’ll last up to a couple of weeks. The likes, though, are forever.
This is the hardest plant to keep alive on the list, Moore says. “They’re the most fickle and so hard to take care of,” she tells us. They require a Goldilocks-type environment. Meaning, not too bright but not too dark, either. They’re also sensitive to climate change—it can’t be too hot or too cold or else they’ll start losing leaves. They also love a good amount of water, but you have to make sure the pot you place it in has proper drainage. If you can manage to find that sweet spot, once it starts to grow, it’s one of those plants that can command a room.
I’m partial to the Laurentii version of Snake Plants (the ones with a yellow trim), but there are many to choose from. They’re all pretty low-maintenance, so they're great for someone interested in being a passive plant parent. “It loves low light,” Moore says. “It’s kind of our best-seller because every New York apartment is so dark.”
They also take their time growing, so you don’t need to worry about it taking over like a Monstera. You should be watering it once a week.
A Pothos plant will definitely take over, but it’ll be the most romantic takeover ever. It’s a trailing plant, so you can, and probably should, hang it from a ceiling or prop it on a ledge or bookshelf so you can really appreciate its progress.
Pothos’ are also in the easy-to-care-for category. They can tolerate low light and infrequent watering (once every week is fine, but it can deal with a little neglect if it must). You’ll know you’re doing a good job taking care of it because these plants are one of the speediest growers around. If it slows down, check in on your parenting skills.
The aesthetic of this plant is in its name: It grows upward like a tree and its leaves resemble rubber. It’s also a beauty. It thrives in bright, indirect light, Moore says, and, ideally, should be watered once a week. One bit of advice: The leaves and stem produce sap if scratched or cut, which can be a skin and eye irritant.
To add a pop of color to your ‘gram, reach for a Fittonia plant. Its pink-and-green speckled leaves are a great addition to any flat lay and, more than often, their growth is pretty compact, so it won't overwhelm a small space.
It enjoys low to medium light, but if you notice the color starting to fade, move it to a location that gets more sun. It’s a tropical plant, so it also enjoys moist soil. “You wouldn’t want it to dry out too much in between waterings,” Moore warns.
Croton is another tropical plant with some color. Moore notes that she doesn’t see them too often in New York City, and that’s probably because they lend themselves better to warmer settings. If you’re below the Mason-Dixon line or want to take a chance on growing one up north, the results are more than worth the maintenance. It needs “high, high, high [amount of] light” Moore says and water once a week.
I once read that Maidenhair Ferns are the Mariah Carey of houseplants. Meaning, they have some diva qualities. “We have a lot of Maidenhair Ferns in stock right now, and we can only sell them in the shop because they’re just so fragile,” Moore says. “We’re too scared to ship them.”
Part of the reason is that they require misting every other day and should be watered at least twice a week. You don’t want to let the soil dry out on this one—you’ll pay for it with brown leaves.
This otherworldly looking plant is also known as a Chinese Money plant or Pancake plant because of its flat, coin-shaped foliage. It’s a tropical plant, so it loves medium light and should be watered once a week.
String of Pearls
These are a rare sight in the wonderful tangled corners of the Instagram plant community, but they never fail to stop me mid-scroll. It’s likely because not many plant stores stock them (though I learned recently that you can buy cuttings from Etsy that are very easy to propagate).
Anyway, like the Pothos, it’s a trailing plant, but it doesn’t grow nearly as fast. It enjoys dry conditions and bright light, so watering every two weeks is sufficient.