10 Tropical Houseplants: Popular Tropical Houseplants To Grow Indoors

(Image credit: Nataliia Tymofieieva)

Tropical houseplants are popular for many reasons. Most of us can’t grow them outdoors, and they provide color and cheer to indoor spaces year-round. If you’re looking to brighten up your home, try these ten gorgeous tropical indoor plants

Small and Medium Types of Tropical Plants

Smaller tropical plants are great for windowsills, tabletops, and shelving units. Get more than one to create a tropical landscape: 

  1. Croton. These are the ideal tropical foliage houseplants if you’re looking for color. Codiaeum variegatum is a tropical shrub with variegated leaves in striped in green, yellow, orange, and deep red. It grows small in containers. 
  2. ZZ plant. Zamioculcas zamiifolia is a low-maintenance houseplant, perfect for those who tend to neglect their indoor gardens. The leaves are usually deep green and waxy, but you can find unique cultivars as well. 
  3. Peperomia. Peperomia is a large group of small tropical plants. They are low maintenance and come in a range of species with ornamental foliage, from textured and red to smooth and silver. 
  4. Chinese evergreen. This isn’t an evergreen like a pine or spruce. Aglaonema commutatum is native to Asia, grows up to two feet (61 cm) tall and has large, oval leaves and spring and summer blooms. 
  5. Philodendron. This is the ultimate hands-off houseplant. Choose from climbing or non-climbing plants, all with pretty, heart-shaped leaves. 
  6. Amazonian elephant ear. The leaves are large, but this tropical plant doesn’t grow more than about two feet (61 cm) tall and wide. Elephant ear is tough to beat if you want spectacular foliage. The leaves of this species are large and dark green with white veins. 
  7. Anthurium. There are about 1,000 plants in this genus that grow small but produce large, striking flowers. Anthurium can be difficult to grow, so it may not be best for beginners. 

Large Tropical Indoor Plants

To anchor a larger space and to enjoy a jungle-like atmosphere inside your house, try these big, tree-like tropical houseplants: 

  1. Schefflera. This pretty houseplant lives for years, growing up to eight feet (2.4 m) or even taller. The leaves are small and form larger, umbrella-like clusters. They can be green, variegated, or even splashed with gold. 
  2. Palms. You can find a wide variety of tropical palms suited for indoor growing. The foliage provides an interesting, feathered texture. Try parlor palms, lady palms, or European fan palms for easy-to-grow varieties. 
  3. Bird of paradise. For one of the most striking of tropical flowers, try this beauty. Bird of paradise grows up to about six feet (1.8 m) tall, and you’ll need patience to wait a few years for the flowers.
Mary Ellen Ellis

Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.