12 Large Indoor Plants to Make a Green Statement

Dracaena marginata or "Dragon Tree" in a classic interior
Dracaena marginata, commonly known as dragon tree.

 LarisaL / Getty Images

A large indoor plant can transform a room, which is why they've been so popular in design magazines, websites, and of course, Instagram, in recent years.A sizable houseplant not only brings a splash of color and organic form to a room, it can also improve indoor air quality and provide plenty of mental health benefits.

A larger plant isn't necessarily tougher to care for than a smaller one. They need the same things their more petite cousins do: light, water, and some kind of food or fertilizer — in larger quantities, of course. The only thing that is perhaps a little tougher with larger plants is repotting them when they have outgrown their pots.

Read on to discover 12 large indoor plants that can work perfectly in your home or workplace and the care they need to flourish in your space.

Some of the plants on this list are toxic for pets. For more information about the safety of specific plants, consult the ASPCA's searchable database.

1
of 12

Umbrella Plant (Schefflera)

Schefflera arboricola (dwarf umbrella tree)
Schefflera arboricola (dwarf umbrella tree). Adél Békefi / Getty Images

There are two varieties of umbrella plant, but both are popular and require similar care. The one with longer, droopier leaves is Schefflera actinophylla, and the one with a smaller, more circular set of leaves is Schefflera arboricola (pictured above). 

Both types of umbrella plants can have variegated (patterned) leaves and can grow a maximum of 8-10 feet. They'll do best in bright, indirect natural light, but they can also do well under indoor light like fluorescents, which is why you'll often see them in offices. Both types are also toxic to dogs and cats.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Bright, indirect light.
  • Water: Regular watering, but be sure to let dry out between waterings.
  • Soil: Regular potting mix with good drainage.
2
of 12

Fiddle-Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata)

small Ficus lyrata tree in a white planter

 skaman306 / Getty Images

The fact that this plant is so trendy belies a simple fact: These are not the easiest houseplants to keep alive. The edges of their leaves get brown, they drop leaves, and they never seem quite happy. But they do look amazing if you can get their conditions right. While they start out bushier, they generally get a long, tall trunk with a group of leaves on top that will make you feel like you're standing beneath a rainforest tree.

If you want to give the fiddle-leaf fig a try, give yourself the best chance of success by keeping its big leaves clean of dust, keeping it in as moist an environment as possible, fertilizing regularly, and giving it plenty of water (don't let it sit in water-filled basins though). Fiddle-leaf figs are toxic to cats and dogs if ingested.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Bright, indirect light.
  • Water: Regular watering, but be sure to let dry out between waterings.
  • Soil: Regular potting mix with good drainage.
3
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Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata)

Dracaena leaves close up on a blur background
Linjerry / Getty Images

This is one of two Dracaenas on this list, but they look different enough that unless you know the Latin name you probably wouldn't realize they're related. This one has slim, pointy leaves that fan out gracefully and can come in variegated red and white varieties, offering some color choices.

This plant can take plenty of neglect and come back to life when cared for again. The leaves may die towards the bottom, but this is normal, and you can just pull them off. Dragon tree plants are toxic to cats and dogs, and cats especially like to nibble on their slim leaves.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Lower to medium indirect light, filtered sun.
  • Water: Keep soil moist but not soggy.
  • Soil: Rich, well draining.
4
of 12

Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera deliciosa)

Monstera leaves, tropical plant.
Noemi Braña / Getty Images

Another one of the trendiest plants on this list, the Swiss cheese plant, also known as windowleaf, is technically a vine. It's native to the tropical forests of Central America, from southern Mexico down to Panama, but it has now spread as a mildly invasive plant to many other locations.

The Swiss cheese plant is very popular for its sizable leaves and how big it can get as a houseplant. It does well with plenty of space and, ideally, something to climb (this could be another sturdier plant, a trellis, or even a piece of furniture).

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Moderate indirect light.
  • Water: Regular watering, but let dry out between waterings.
  • Soil: Regular potting mix with good drainage.
5
of 12

Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla)

Christmas Tree And Gifts At Home

Lynn Hunt / Getty Images

This houseplant famously makes an excellent living Christmas tree, as it looks like a miniature pine tree in shape and can definitely take some ornaments and lights strung from its boughs. But it's not a pine tree or related to them. It actually doesn't like cold temperatures or even drafts, and its care needs are more similar to an orchid than an evergreen tree.

The Norfolk Island pine is a tropical plant, originally found on an island in the South Pacific, and it needs plenty of warmth and — more importantly — moisture (not dry heat). Try misting or placing a tray of pebbles with some water in them beneath the plant for a constant local flow of damp air. They can grow up to 6 feet tall.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Direct, bright light.
  • Water: Soak and let dry out between waterings.
  • Soil: Regular potting mix with good drainage.
6
of 12

Fishtail Palm (Caryota)

Fishtail palm, Caryota urens leaves
PisesTungittipokai / Getty Images

These palms can be tough to keep going in a typical house, unless you have a seriously sunny spot (which most of the other plants on this list won't tolerate). They want pretty warm, moist conditions, like a very sunny bathroom or kitchen. Or place the palm's pot on a gravel tray filled with water (and mist it, too).

Fishtail palms can grow 12-15 feet, so this is also a great choice if you have some height to fill. And they grow slowly enough that you'll have plenty of years of good growth before it might get too tall for your space.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Very bright, direct light.
  • Water: Light watering on a regular basis.
  • Soil: Peat-based potting soil.
7
of 12

Jade Plant (Crassula ovata)

Jade Plant Succulent houseplant Crassula in a pot on a wooden blue background

Andrey Nikitin / Getty Images 

This succulent has fat, oval leaves and a woody stem that, over time, can look like a miniature tree. Like all succulents, the possible harm here is overwatering. While you want to regularly water this plant, especially in the spring, give it a few days of dry soil between watering sessions.

Jade plants are mildly toxic to dogs and cats, as well as humans. They are slow-growing and can reach a height of about 5 feet, but they will have to be trimmed and shaped to allow this to happen, as their fleshy leaves will weigh them down. Trimming also reveals the pretty trunk of a jade, which is the reason why most owners trim it. Jade plants can grow for decades if properly cared for.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Bright, indirect light.
  • Water: Regular watering, but let top of soil dry completely between waterings.
  • Soil: Regular potting soil mixed with some sand.
8
of 12

ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)

Zamioculcas
Dugwy / Getty Images

The ZZ plant, also known as Zanzibar gem, is possibly the hardest plant to kill on this list. It stores water, so it can go for long stretches of time without being watered. Though they thrive in bright, indirect light, ZZ plants can survive in a variety of light conditions. They'll grow to a maximum of about 4 feet tall if treated well. ZZ plants are mildly toxic to humans as well as pets if ingested.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Bright, indirect light.
  • Water: Regularly, but err on the side of underwatering, and let dry out in between waterings.
  • Soil: Regular potting mix with good drainage.
9
of 12

Mother-in-Law's Tongue (Dracaena trifasciata)

Three pots filled with variously sized Mother in Law's Tongue plants in front of a window

GrumpyCow Studios / Getty Images 

This strangely named plant is also a very popular one, and for good reason. Its long, spear-shaped leaves make a strong decorative statement and they are easy to care for, thriving in a variety of light conditions and levels of watering. Native to West Africa, these plants do like to be kept very warm and don't do well with cold drafts (like near a door that opens to chilly winter weather).

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Variable from bright, direct sun, to filtered, indirect light.
  • Water: Let dry thoroughly between waterings, with shorter intervals during spring and summer, and longer in winter.
  • Soil: Sandy well-draining potting mix.
10
of 12

Arrow Bamboo (Pseudosasa japonica)

A cat naps next to bamboo houseplants

brankokosteski / Getty Images

Bamboo is normally considered an outdoor plant, but some varieties, like the arrow bamboo, can thrive indoors in a big pot. This variety is an understory plant in Japan, so it can handle lower light conditions as well as brighter light. Inside, it can grow to 10-12 feet tall.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Variable, from low light to bright, indirect light.
  • Water: Keep well watered with good drainage.
  • Soil: Regular potting mix.
11
of 12

Croton Plants (Codiaeum variegatum)

Close up Croton plant in pot.(Codiaeum variegatum,Variegated Laurel,Garden Croton,)
Alohapatty / Getty Images

You might recognize this one from tropical gardens in Florida or the Caribbean, where it's used as a hardy decorative plant. Native to the tropical forests of Southeast Asia, croton plants grow to be giant shrubs about 10 feet tall. At home they are a colorful and festive plant with tough leaves of a variety of colors and patterns that can add verve to any room.

Croton plants don't like to be moved, so don't be surprised if you get it home from the store and it drops its leaves; just keep it watered and in a warm, humid spot (or mist regularly) and it will bounce back.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Bright, indirect light.
  • Water: Regular watering, but let top soil dry out between waterings.
  • Soil: Rich, well-drained potting soil.
12
of 12

Corn Plant (Dracaena fragrans)

Dracaena fragrans
Emilian Danaila / Getty Images

The corn plant has a long history as a houseplant — it was popular as early as the 1800s in Europe, after it was brought there from its native Africa.

It is very hardy and does well in shadier spots in your house, though it does need a couple of hours of indirect light per day. Corn plants tolerate benign neglect fairly well and are easy to monitor, as their leaf tips can start to brown if they don't get enough water. The plant grows slowly from cane-like stalks that can be cut back to create various shapes (long and tall or wider and rounder), and can reach a height of about 4-6 feet. Corn plants are toxic to dogs and cats.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Lower to medium indirect light, filtered sun.
  • Water: Keep soil moist but not soggy.
  • Soil: Rich, well draining.
View Article Sources
  1. Hall, Charles, and Melinda Knuth. “An Update of the Literature Supporting the Well-Being Benefits of Plants: A Review of the Emotional and Mental Health Benefits of Plants.” Journal of Environmental Horticulture, vol. 37, 2019, pp. 30–38., doi:10.24266/0738-2898-37.1.30