15 Fantastic Tropical Plants to Grow Indoors

Close-Up Of Pink Orchids Flowers In Pot. Care Of Potted Plants At Home. Phalaenopsis. Orchidaceae.
Jakub Rutkiewicz / EyeEm / Getty Images

Bring the rainforest to your living room, office, or kitchen by exploring your indoor tropical plant options. While it can be challenging to get tropical plants to thrive outside in your garden, bringing certain varieties inside can be a wonderful (and surprising) alternative. There are a lot of unique houseplants native to the tropics that are easy to care and can flourish in your home for years. Here are 15 indoor tropical plants and the information you need to know to maintain them.

Warning

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

1
of 15

Amazon Elephant's Ear (Alocasia x amazonica)

Alocasia x amazonica (Amazonian Elephant Ear) is a robust rhizomatous evergreen perennial with dark green color
Andrey Zhuravlev / Getty Images

Amazon elephant's ear thrives in large pots, both inside and out. It has giant leaves, which can reach several feet wide and long, depending on the specific variety. There are a lot of different and unique foliage types to choose from, so be sure to read the fine print to know what specifically you’re getting. These plants make a bold statement in a small space, definitely giving you a feel for the tropics.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Filtered sun.
  • Water: Medium to high.
  • Soil: Well-draining, organic potting soil.
  • Pet Safety: Toxic to dogs and cats.
2
of 15

Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae)

Bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae)
Eduardo Ramos Castaneda / Getty Images

Grown as a perennial in warm places, bird of paradise works nicely as a houseplant, as well. Its striking orange and blue blooms give it its tropical look. This plant is popular in public gardens and spaces, so be on the lookout for it when you’re traveling to Florida, California, Hawaii, and other sunny places. Like many tropical houseplants, bird of paradise plants benefit from a good fertilizer from time to time, so read up on what your specific plant might need.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Part shade to full sun.
  • Water: Medium.
  • Soil: Well-draining, add fertilizer as needed.
  • Pet Safety: Toxic to dogs and cats.
3
of 15

Bromeliads (Bromeliaceae)

Bromeliad Indoors
Daniela Duncan / Getty Images

These are classic and colorful houseplants. Bromeliads can come in shades of pink, orange, yellow, and red, with the most famous variety being the pineapple. Bromeliads love humid conditions, so consider spritzing your bromeliads with a spray bottle regularly. To help them get established, try an orchid soil mix.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Bright, indirect light 
  • Water: Medium 
  • Soil: Well-draining 
  • Pet Safety: Nontoxic to dogs and cats.
4
of 15

Kentia Palm (Howea forsteriana)

Palm tree decorating the living room
La Bicicleta Vermella / Getty Images

Love palm trees? This is one you’ll want to add to your collection. The Kentia palm is a resilient plant that can thrive in a lot of different conditions. For best results, give it a larger pot and plenty of space to grow into. It could make a perfect centerpiece for an indoor tropical plant area with many other potted options around it.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Part shade to part sun.
  • Water: Medium.
  • Soil: Organic, loamy soil.
  • Pet Safety: Nontoxic dogs and cats.
5
of 15

Air Plants (Tillandsia)

High angle close up of woman holding plant pot with a selection of air plants.
Mint Images / Getty Images

A lot of people think air plants aren't real because they just seem to be floating within their pot. They’re not — they just don’t require any soil! This gives you a lot of flexibility for adding plants on shelves or other places in a house to add interest and color. Air plants are perfect for adding a little bit of tropical flair into any room; interior designers love them for this reason, too.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Bright, indirect light 
  • Water: Medium 
  • Soil: None 
  • Pet Safety: Nontoxic to dogs and cats.
6
of 15

Jade Plant (Crassula Ovata)

Jade plant, lucky plant, money plant or money tree, (Crassula ovata)
mikroman6 / Getty Images

Jade plants are associated with luck and money, so it’s a nice housewarming gift to give to a friend. Similar to a cacti, the jade plant holds water in its thick leaves. So water with care, making sure the soil dries out completely before giving it more. For best results, establish a regular feeding schedule, giving it fertilizer every few weeks. 

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: High to medium.
  • Water: Medium.
  • Soil: Well-draining, even gritty soil.
  • Pet Safety: Toxic to dogs and cats.
7
of 15

Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

Devils ivy golden pothos indoor plant vine in a hanging pot near doorway
Brendan Maher / Getty Images

Golden pothos features large, heart-shaped leaves and can grow it in a regular pot. However, if you put it in a hanging basket, you’ll encourage it to spill over the edges and grow as much as 40 feet if you have the space. It doesn’t like direct sunlight, so you don’t have to worry about placing it near a window. Keep it watered regularly, and you’ll have this one for years.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Low to medium indirect light.
  • Water: Medium, plus regular misting.
  • Soil: Loamy, well-draining.
  • Pet Safety: Toxic to dogs and cats.
8
of 15

Wax Plant (Hoya carnosa)

Hoya Carnosa or Waxplant Flower
jopstock / Getty Images

Wax plants are a fan favorite because they're easy to grow in most conditions. Native to India, these plants are actually part of the milkweed family. If you take a cutting, you can usually start a new plant easily; just use a rooting hormone powder and a soil mix specifically for indoor plants. Don’t water this plant until the first few inches have completely dried out, but keep it misted to help it thrive. If you like a challenge, try to get it to bloom — it has cool white or pink star-shaped flowers.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Low to medium indirect light.
  • Water: Medium with regular misting.
  • Soil: Well-draining.
  • Pet Safety: Nontoxic to dogs and cats.
9
of 15

Aloe (Aloe vera)

Aloe vera plant on a beautiful wood table
Carlina Teteris / Getty Images

Love the idea of having a healing plant right at your fingertips? Aloe is an awesome indoor plant once you figure out a couple of maintenance basics. First, avoid direct sunlight and instead stick to a bright area. Then, use the deep-but-infrequent water system: Let it dry out between waterings (sometimes a week or more) with the top few inches of soil being dry. As your plant matures, feel free to break a piece off to see — and use — the aloe inside.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Part sun to full sun.
  • Water: Deeply but infrequently.
  • Soil: Succulent mix, well-draining.
  • Pet Safety: Toxic to dogs and cats.
10
of 15

Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta)

Close-Up Of Palm Leaves
Suprabhat Dutta / EyeEm / Getty Images

Here’s another palm plant that can make a big (and cool) impact inside. The plant grows very slowly but can last a long time, reaching a few feet tall in a container. It has long glossy green leaves that make a clear tropical statement.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Medium to bright indirect light.
  • Water: Medium.
  • Soil: Well-drained indoor mix.
  • Pet Safety: Toxic to dogs and cats.
11
of 15

Ficus Tree (Ficus benjamina)

Ficus tree
Photo by Alex Tihonov / Getty Images

A ficus is one of the most popular options for an indoor tree. You can find both regular (up to 10 feet tall) and miniature options (up to 3 feet tall) to choose from. It’s fairly easy to grow, but it doesn’t like to be moved. So find it a good home with indirect sunlight, and you’ll have a happy plant for quite some time!

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Part shade to part sun.
  • Water: Medium, let it completely dry out between waterings.
  • Soil: Well-draining.
  • Pet Safety: Toxic to dogs and cats.
12
of 15

Orchids (Orchidaceae)

Close-Up Of Orchids Growing In Plant
Leslie Banks / EyeEm / Getty Images

Orchids are classic, tropical blooms. The flowers are pristinely elegant, so much so that they can be mistaken as fake. Though orchids can be a bit challenging to keep blooming, don’t be afraid to try. You can often pick up an orchid at your local garden center or even a grocery store.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Bright, indirect light. 
  • Water: Medium but let it dry out between waterings.
  • Soil: Orchid soil mix.
  • Pet Safety: Nontoxic to dogs and cats.
13
of 15

Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata)

Madagascar dragon tree
Elizabeth Fernandez / Getty Images

The dragon tree is a good option for beginners because it’s very forgiving if you don’t get the lighting or watering perfect right away. This popular houseplant can grow to six feet tall or higher. The wispy, sword-shaped leaves have a palmy feel to them, and lower leaves may fall off with age, leaving behind diamond-shaped leaf scars on the remaining stems.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Bright, indirect light.
  • Water: Dry to medium.
  • Soil: Loamy and well-draining.
  • Pet Safety: Toxic to dogs and cats.
14
of 15

Meyer Lemon (Citrus x meyeri)

Meyer lemons
Ryan Whyte / Getty Images

Grow your own lemon tree indoors with the Meyer lemon. There are a few lemon trees that are popular for growing inside, but this is probably the easiest and more versatile. Move it outside in summer, and then give it bright, indirect light when it’s inside. If all goes well, you should see some fruit in spring. Plus, chefs love the Meyer lemon for its flavor.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Full sun to part shade.
  • Water: Medium.
  • Soil: Sandy, well-drained.
  • Pet Safety: Toxic to dogs and cats.
15
of 15

Anthurium (Anthurium)

Red Anthurium Tropical Plant
Tim Graham / Getty Images

Anthuriums are bright, colorful, tropical, and easy to grow. In fact, they’re probably one of the easiest to grow on this list. You can fertilize it every few months for best results and beautiful colors. Otherwise, simply find it a place to grow with indirect sunlight, and only water it when the soil is dry.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Bright, indirect.
  • Water: Medium, only when dry to the touch.
  • Soil: Well draining, mix of orchid soil and potting soil.
  • Pet Safety: Toxic to dogs and cats.
View Article Sources
  1. "Alocasia × amazonica 'Polly'." Missouri Botanical Garden.

  2. "Alocasia." ASPCA.

  3. "Bird of Paradise Flower." ASPCA.

  4. "Bromeliad Care and Culture." Missouri Botanical Garden.

  5. Tina Wismer, DVM, Senior Director, ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. Email interview. 29 September 2021.

  6. "Kentia Palm." ASPCA.

  7. "Air Plants — Tillandsia." UF | IFAS Gardening Solutions.

  8. "Jade Plant." ASPCA.

  9. "Epipremnum aureum." NC State Extension.

  10. "Golden Pathos." ASPCA.

  11. "Wax Plant." ASPCA.

  12. "Aloe vera." Missouri Botanical Garden.

  13. "Aloe." ASPCA.

  14. "Cycas revoluta." Missouri Botanical Garden.

  15. "Sago Palm." ASPCA.

  16. "Ficus benjamina." Missouri Botanical Garden.

  17. "Fig." ASPCA.

  18. "Phalaenopsis Orchid." ASPCA.

  19. "Dracaena marginata." Missouri Botanical Garden.

  20. "Red-Marginated Dracaena." ASPCA.

  21. "Citrus × meyeri." Missouri Botanical Garden.

  22. "Lemon." ASPCA.

  23. "Flamingo Flower." ASPCA.