5 Sculptural Houseplants for the Design Enthusiast

lucky bamboo photo

Photo: Nostaw21/Creative Commons

Bringing an array of plants into your house has plenty of benefits -- they can brighten up dark spaces, filter the air to keep you healthy, and give you a deeper appreciation for the beauty of nature.

But if fluffy ferns and roving ivys aren't your style, check out one of these sleek, stylish plants instead: From colorful, spiky bromeliads to tall, subtle snake plants, these greens add an effortless elegance to any room.

1. Lucky Bamboo

The twisty, sculptural "lucky bamboo" imported from China grows most successfully with indirect light -- but since the plant will move toward the sun, you can adjust it and slowly turn it to achieve the coiled look that makes this plant so popular.

Another bamboo benefit: The stalks will grow with roots surrounded by rocks or pebbles -- dirt isn't required, although it is a better option -- so you can choose a base color that complements your decor

2. Peace Lily

peace lily plant photo
Photo: audreyjm529/Creative Commons

The rich, glossy green leaves of the Peace Lily are eye-catching enough on their own, but when you add in the blooms -- crisp white leaves that provide a contrasting background for the dark center flowers -- the effect is undeniably gorgeous.

The plant will thrive in low light or bright light -- although you get more flowers if you give it more sunshine -- and does best in a house with average temperature and humidity.

3. Snake Plant

snake plant photo
Photo: woodleywonderworks/Creative Commons Sansevieria trifasciata -- also known as snake plants or mother-in-law's tongue, depending on the coloration -- are ideal indoor houseplants for beginners, since they're sturdy enough to withstand just about any amount of light and varyingly forgetful waterers (they're more at risk of being overwatered than underwater) .

They also look impressive, with tall, wide leaves in shades of green and yellow, growing as high as four feet. Put one in a pot for a striking display or arrange several in different height containers for more variety.

4. Begonia Escargot

begonia escargot photo
Photo: scott.zona/Creative Commons

It's not hard to figure out where begonia escargot gets its name: Check out those spiral leaves, which bear an uncommon resemblance to the snails that share the French nomenclature.

The plant survives best with plenty of drainage and not too much water, and does well in part or full shade -- which means it's a beautiful addition to your study, living room, or even your kitchen.

5. Bromeliads

bromeliads sculpture photo
Photo: mezuni/Creative Commons

Even if you've never heard the word, you're more familiar with bromeliads than you think: the most famous is the pineapple.

The Bromeliad Society International promises that the plants will do well inside or out (as long as the temperatures don't get too low) and require little maintenance and upkeep. The flat leaves and trichomes, or small scales, help the plants capture and absorb water, which is why they can also do well in hot, dry climates.

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