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The Best Indoor Plants to Liven Up Your Space in 2021

Glamour logo Glamour 1/4/2021 Brionna Jimerson
a cup of coffee and a vase of flowers on a table © Getty Images

After a year spent within four walls, we all learned the best indoor plants can be the perfect home companions. Unlike unruly roommates and disaffected toddlers, houseplants won’t leave dirty dishes in the sink or have a full-blown meltdown mid-Zoom. Instead, they’ll (politely) add oxygen to the air and (quietly) reduce stress. With 2021 primed to be a year of growth and renewal, what better way to start than by joining the Green Thumb Gang? What's more, finding the best indoor plants online has never been easier—and we have all the tips and types to get you started.

Indoor Houseplant Tips for Beginners 

  • Know your lighting: Starting or growing your green family requires an understanding of the lighting in your home, so take some time to find out what direction your windows are facing. For the darkest nooks and crannies, consider low-maintenance options like air plants and dried flowers. Plants that bloom and those that are sturdy (hi, jade and aloe vera) love sunny windows.

  • Know your space: Are you working with a sprawling square footage or is “shoebox" more like it? Hanging plants are great for the latter, and for the former: Consider potted floor plants. Most of these “baby trees” have thick or long leaves that fan out into the open, creating an element of wilderness and unpredictability. Proceed with caution excitement.

  • Know your limits: If you're new to the whole plant-mom thing, you may want to try low-maintenance, high-impact plants first. Curb appeal? Check. Not too needy? Check. Gives off that “You could leave tomorrow and I’d continue to thrive in spite of you” energy? Definitely. A low-maintenance, showstopping houseplant can instantly add dimension to any space without much lift on your end.

  • Be pro-propagation: One of the joys of growing indoor plants is propagation: the act by which a new plant is born from the cutting of an existing plant. Propagating house plants is a genius way to add to your houseplant collection without subtracting from your wallet. Plus, they make great last-minute hostess gifts. Just pop a propagated stem or two of pothos into a narrow vase (or a reclaimed dark blue kombucha bottle), tie a silk ribbon around it, and rest assured that your gift will be the pride of place.

Now for the fun part: Read on to find and shop the best indoor plants for 2021. 

Best Low-Maintenance Houseplants

Ignore the tiny voice in your head that says, "I want to garden but I just can’t keep anything alive” because these damn-near indestructible picks are your saving grace. The below houseplants thrive on being left alone (which is very relatable) and require watering twice a month, maximum.

a vase of flowers on a tree © Provided by Glamour

ZZ Plant

$28.00, Target

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a vase filled with purple flowers © Provided by Glamour

Red Anthurium Flamingo Flower Plant

$25.00, Amazon

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a close up of a flower © Provided by Glamour

Ruby Rubber Tree

$30.00, Etsy

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a close up of a plant © Provided by Glamour

Calathea Orbifolia Plant

$20.00, Walmart

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Best Plants for Small Spaces

We’ve never met a tiny room that didn’t look just a touch more inviting with the addition of a strategically placed houseplant. Choose an indoor plant with an unexpected burst of color—like pink, purple, and neon yellow.

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Four-Inch Polka Dot Plant

$12.00, Etsy

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© Provided by Glamour

Nerve Plant

$30.00, Etsy

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Braided Money Tree

$74.00, Léon & George

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Ponytail Palm Plant

$62.00, The Sill

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Best Indoor Hanging Plants

Hanging plants can populate your house without taking up precious square footage, and you can position them without obstructions for optimal lighting. Not to mention that there's something undeniably chic about an unexpected burst of green above your head. Who needs a Balinese hotel lobby when you can have gorgeous hanging plants overhead at all times?

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Boston Fern Hanging Plant

$45.00, Plants.com

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Rhipsalis Baccifera Plant

$13.00, Low Cost Garden

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Raphidophora Hayi Plaque

$42.00, Pistils Nursery

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Philodendron Brasil Hanging Basket

$17.00, Etsy

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Best Plants to Propagate

A propagating houseplant is the gift that keeps on giving. Patience is the name of the propagation game, so choose a plant that you genuinely love—you’ll have its offspring all around you! Propagated houseplants will help create a natural flow throughout your space.

a vase of flowers on a plant © Provided by Glamour

Hanging Spider Plant

$20.00, Natty Garden

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a vase of flowers sitting on a table © Provided by Glamour

Potted Pothos Plants, Three Pack

$65.00, Bloomscape

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a vase of flowers on a table © Provided by Glamour

Maple Eclair Propagation Hanger

$54.00, The Sill

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a vase with a flower on a plant © Provided by Glamour

Grown Up InstaCollection Plants

$95.00, Isha Plants

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Best Floor Plants

If you’re dreaming of luxe palms nestled in slouchy straw baskets, you’re not alone. A massive houseplant lends gravitas to your room and helps anchor the textures in your home. If your space is stainless steel and gray everything, a smooth ceramic-based bush may be just your vibe. If controlled chaos is more your vibe, opt for palmy plant that’ll let it all hang out.

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Potted Date Palm Plant

$150.00, Bloomscape

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a vase of flowers sits in front of a mirror © Provided by Glamour

Potted Fiddle Leaf Fig Bush

$279.00, Léon & George

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Potted Bird of Paradise Plant

$138.00, Joss & Main

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Benjamin Money Tree

$20.00, Rooted

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Dried Flowers

Dried flowers are quite literally frozen between life and death, but that’s precisely what makes them an invaluable part of your indoor landscape. They're often overlooked when it comes to indoor plants, but since they won't die in the dark, you can rotate them throughout your space as you see fit. 

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Dried Pampas Grass

$35.00, UrbanStems

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Dried Natural Yarrow Bouquet

$18.00, Bloomist

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a group of pink flowers © Provided by Glamour

Preserved Floral Bunches, Set of Three

$48.00, Terrain

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© Provided by Glamour

Dried Star Flowers

$22.00, Afloral

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Flower Arrangements

Fresh-picked flowers are an easy way to brighten up a countertop, and local farmers markets tend to have plenty of prearranged, seasonal bouquets. But if you're not comfortable poking around market stands right now, a bimonthly (or monthly) flower delivery service can be a convenient alternative. You'll be sent in-season blooms, and the fixed drop-off date will give you something to look forward to on the day it arrives.

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Farmer's Choice Bouquet

$39.00, The Bouqs

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Shus Flower Peony Lover Bouquet

$100.00, Floom

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Designer's Choice Floral Arrangement

$50.00, Plantshed

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The Meringue Bouquet

$75.00, UrbanStems

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Air Plants

Have a cold tile or steel appliance-overload situation in your place? Air plants crave stable, humidity-filled environments and can warm up any space—so we’re looking at you, bathrooms and kitchens.

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Geometric Ball Air Plant

$30.00, Plants.com

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© Provided by Glamour

The Cathy Succulent

$50.00, UrbanStems

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a close up of a flower © Provided by Glamour

Tillandsia Xerographica Air Plant

$12.00, Etsy

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The Rex Air Plant

$55.00, UrbanStems

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Best Air-Cleaning Plants

Thanks to their ability to purify the air you breathe, these indoor plants will bring you one step closer to the oasis of your dreams. Depending on their size, they can live anywhere you want. But if you want to home in on their full benefits, place them in areas you spend the most time—of course, that's basically all corners of your house right now, but once things go back to normal, look to bedrooms, home offices, and living rooms.

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Red Prayer Plant

$35.00, Bloomscape

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© Provided by Glamour

LiveTrends Air Plants in Teak Planters, Set of Two

$25.00, Lowe's

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a vase of flowers on a tree © Provided by Glamour

Golden Gate Ficus Bonsai

$45.00, Plants.com

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a close up of a plant © Provided by Glamour

Nepenthes Pitcher Plant

$65.00, Bloomscape

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Best Low-Light Plants

Finding a houseplant for a space that gets limited natural light doesn't have to be filled with trial and error (a.k.a. yellowing leaves). Peace lilies, snake plants, and monstera deliciosas are all durable picks that can spruce up even the most cobwebbed corners of your home. 

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Preserved Fern Kokedama

$75.00, The Sill

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a vase of flowers on a plant © Provided by Glamour

Peace Lily Plant

$24.00, Etsy

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a vase filled with purple flowers © Provided by Glamour

Monstera Deliciosa Plant

$59.00, The Sill

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a plant in a vase on a table © Provided by Glamour

Potted Snake Plant

$20.00, Plantvine

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Best Trailing Plants

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your living green wallscape won't be either. But with time and some creativity, you can set your plants trailing, vining, and climbing up a storm. Set them in a wicker basket or a hanging planter, and watch the long, droopy stems bring greenery into neglected spaces, like empty window sills, dressers, or showers.

a close up of a plant © Provided by Glamour

English Ivy Plant

$7.00, Amazon

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a vase of flowers on a plant © Provided by Glamour

String of Succulents Collection, Set of Three

$65.00, Bloomscape

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a vase filled with purple flowers © Provided by Glamour

Tradescantia Tricolor Plant in Striped Pot

$68.00, Terrain

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Scindapsus Picta Satin Plant

$48.00, Terrain

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Best Succulents and Cactuses

Blame it on their low profiles (literally) or prickly edges, but succulents and cactuses don’t always get the shine they deserve. As unassuming as they are alone, when clustered together, they can dress up a narrow window sill or a barren kitchen countertop. And since they're so “smol,” you can pot them in all kinds of quirky planters.

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Echeveria

$26.00, The Sill

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Sahara Succulent

$110.00, Plantshed

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a vase filled with flowers sitting on top of a green plant © Provided by Glamour

Pink Christmas Cactus

$9.00, Etsy

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© Provided by Glamour

Mother of Thousands Succulent

$30.00, Amazon

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Best Pet-Friendly Plants

Pets love sniffing, licking, and snacking, but the last thing you want is for them to be ingesting poisonous leaves. You can rest easy with the picks below, knowing they’re safe for the furry friends in your life.

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Variegated African Violet Plant

$13.00, Etsy

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Friendship Plant

$7.00, Etsy

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a vase of flowers on a plant © Provided by Glamour

Victoria Birds Nest Fern in Grower Pot

$30.00, Home Depot

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a vase of flowers on a plant © Provided by Glamour

Areca Palm Plant

$45.00, Home Depot

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Brionna Jimerson is Glamour's social media manager. You can follow her journey to turn her apartment into a botanical garden here.

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