You don’t need to be a plant parent to know leafy greens are a great way to add a personal touch to your space. But while we love plants of all shapes and sizes, we can’t help but grow a bit tired of the latest crop of It greens.
Don’t get us wrong, we like fiddle-leaves and anthuriums as much as the next person. The problem is that they’re everywhere—literally, everywhere: your friend’s apartment, your corner café, that trendy boutique, Instagram…must we go on? When any trend—biophilic or not—becomes too ubiquitous, it runs the risk of seriously cramping your interior design game. Your home should be a direct reflection of your style, so why not fill it with plants that don’t feel so, well, mainstream.
That’s exactly why we turned to the pros for their favorite underrated greens. The five options below have the plant world’s seal of approval but have yet to hit it big. Go ahead, add ’em to your space and become your friend group’s go-to plant person overnight.
Instead of fiddle-leaf figs, try a ZZ plant
“When it comes to houseplants, one of my favorite picks is a ZZ plant. It’s full name is Zamioculcas zamiifolia, so you can see why the nickname is needed. It has dark green, glossy foliage that grows on eye-catching taller stalks. Placed in a gorgeous pot, it [can easily] dress up a space. The best part? It’s easy to care for, so you can skip a watering session (or two) in a pinch.”
—Christina Stembel, founder and CEO of Farmgirl Flowers
Instead of anthurium, try bird-of-paradise
“The bird-of-paradise is definitely making a splash in the plant community. As long as these plants get plenty of bright, indirect light, they are relatively low maintenance. Their foliage makes such an impact in any room. They have consistently been one of our best-sellers.”
—Joyce Mast, Bloomscape’s plant mom (yes, that’s her real title)
Instead of pothos, try calathea
“A calathea is a great way to add some unexpected color to your home. This plant is our absolute favorite—some species have pink striped leaves that look so beautiful you might assume they’re fake. A fun fact we choose to believe: Calatheas are said to remove toxins from the air.
This is a more fickle plant, though. It needs indirect sunlight and barely any water. After killing a few by trial and error, it seems the calathea prefers purified water. It’s worth the trouble; you will find guests inspecting your plant up close wondering if the multicolored hues are painted.”
— Alexandra Sourbis and Jessica Rose, cofounders of Stemme Fatale
Instead of a snake plant, try mangave
“I’ve really been enjoying the more sun-demanding plants. Mangave have been on my list lately. While we’re often aware of hybridized plants in our homes and on the plant market, these are rather unique, as they’re a cross between two different plant genera (Agave and Manfreda).
They have really intriguing forms, with their radial growth habit and leaves that can boast both color and texture. Their wide range of forms makes it easy to have a truly unique statement plant that your friends can wonder over. Allow some space for these, as they can grow fairly broad. For me, they make a perfect accent on the floor near a sunny window at the base of plants in taller pots.”
—Stephen Hill, manager of Sprout Home
Instead of English ivy, try oxalis
“My latest fixation is oxalis, or purple shamrock. It’s a low-maintenance houseplant that thrives with just minimal care but is also great in the garden. I am creating a garden that’s a mix of ferns and deep purple, almost black, flowers, and it works well with the purple spikes of Russian sage, euphorbia, and lady’s mantle.”
—Alex Bates, cofounder and creative director of Bloomist
See more cool plant ideas: