Best tropical indoor plants — 8 easy-to-grow exotic beauties

The best tropical indoor plants to add a vacay vibe to your home

Two images side by side. Image on left is close up of elephant ear plant in gray ridged plant pot and the other is a tall Kentia palm against a brown textured wall and leather sofa
(Image credit: Alamy/ Getty)

Our eight best tropical indoor plants add a lush look to your interior, bring texture (some have gorgeous blooms, too), and even offer wellbeing benefits. 

Not only can a vibrant selection of tropical plants in your living space purify the air, but boost your aesthetic, too. Our panel of plant experts share the best tropical plants for their striking good looks and ease of care.

To help you confidently create an indoor jungle with the best indoor plants, our experts have picked the ones with all the vacay vibes and shared top tips for looking after them.

Best tropical indoor plants

Before you bring any tropical plants home, consider going for more than one to create a tropical microclimate to help them thrive.

Plant expert, Kamili Bell Hill says, "Group plants together to create humidity through their transpiration. The moisture in the room won't change, but the humidity around the plants will increase as they each release vapor."

Kamili Bell Hill
Kamili Bell Hill

Kamili Bell Hill combined her love of plants and design to curate online community PlantBlerd, where she pairs beautiful houseplants with simple styling, care and growing guides. After noticing a lack of social media platforms highlighting houseplant collectors that look like her, Kamili also established Instagram community @BlackPeople.WPlants featuring Black houseplant collectors from around the world. 

1. Bird of paradise

Orange and blue flowered bird of paradise plant in plant pot

(Image credit: Sigena Semmling/Getty Images)

The bird of paradise (also known as strelitzia) is a beautiful tropical plant with eye-popping flowers in electric blue and flame orange. These tropical plants usually max out around six feet tall, whilst their large leaves add real jungle vibes to your interior.

These low-maintenance beauties will thrive in bright light with some direct sun. They should be kept moist, fertilised weekly, and kept in a humid environment. Arming yourself with everything you need to know about your houseplant is the key to successful indoor growing.

A sunny bathroom or conservatory is the ideal spot for the bird of paradise, and you can add a pebble dish (this eight-inch humidity tray with decorative rocks from Amazon would work well)  for extra environmental moisture.

The bird of paradise also makes it on to our best low-maintenance plants for living rooms list, and brings extra versatility by surviving well on terraces, balconies or patios in summer.

If you're not minded to do the growing at home, don't miss these bird of paradise plants from Walmart, which are already one to two feet tall when you get them.

2. Elephant's ear (Alocasia)

Small Alocasia baginda Dragon Scale indoor plant in grey ribbed pot


(Image credit: Firn/Alamy Stock Photo)

It's easy to see how these tropical plants get their common name with heart-shaped leaves that grow to be huge and flappy. They prefer rich, fast-draining potting soil that's kept moist, regular feeding with a houseplant fertiliser and can also be moved outside in summer, especially if you live in a warm and humid climate.

The lush green leaves of this tropical beauty are really striking but will suffer pigmentation if exposed to strong sunlight for more than a couple of hours a day. Keep these in a bright location such as a windowsill, wash or dust foliage regularly to keep your plant healthy, and give its photosynthesis efforts a boost. 

Kamili, who is also author of Happy Plants, Happy You, has another top tip for elephant's ear plants. "Don't forget to rotate them," she says. "It’s quite fascinating how plants stretch and lean toward the light. My Alocasia practically knocks the planter over stretching toward the window. Without rotating it, all I see is the underside of the leaf."

You can have elephant ear plants delivered from Amazon straight to your door for ease.

3. Orchid

Pink orchid in glass pot and mister on bedside table

(Image credit: Love Orchids)

Exotic looking orchids flower for months and are one of the best tropical indoor plants if you're looking for flamboyant blooms with a luxe look. 

"Orchids make excellent houseplants," says Virginia Hayes, indoor plant pro at Westerlay Orchids, Santa Barbara, California. "Since orchids come in many varieties, picking one that flowers well is easy. One of the best choices is the Phalaenopsis orchid, which can flower for months.' 

Find out how to care for orchids to give yours the next level of TLC with light and humidity, frequent fertilisation with a plant food product like this one from Nature Hills, and the right amount of water, says Virginia. "Orchids can flower for many years if they are given the right attention and management. With proper care, your orchid can last a lifetime.'

Avoid dry air, direct heat or drafts, and direct sunlight. Instead, provide a warm humid environment. Water once a week, but always check the soil first as over-watering is the easiest way to kill your orchid. Snipping whole flowering stems back to soil level will encourage the production of new blooms. 

Virginia Hayes of Westerhay Orchids
Virginia Hayes

With 24 years of experience, Virginia is widely respected in the floral industry for both her design skills and business knowledge. With a natural green thumb for all indoor plants, Virginia contributes to media outlets including Martha Stewart.

4. Fiddle leaf fig

A close up of the leafy part of the fiddle leaf fig in a bathroom, positioned on a vanity next to white bathtub

(Image credit: Alla Tsyganova/Getty-Images)

The fiddle leaf fig has been an Instagram darling for a while now and we will never tire of this beauty. It can grow up to an impressive six feet tall, adding visual interest to your room, whilst its lush leaves make it a stunning statement tropical plant.

"I started my indoor plant journey with a fiddle-leaf fig," says Kamili. "This plant with the oversized reputation for drama thrived in my care. Watching it push out new leaves week after week is a thrill like no other."

If you've only got space for one or two large plants, put this beauty at the top of your list. Choose a tall fiddle leaf fig plant such as this one from Walmart and pop it in a boho chic planter like this one, also from Walmart.

As you would expect this tropical plant loves humidity, and bright light and it will even put up with some direct sun. Just make sure you use well-draining compost for adequate aeration and drainage and know how to care for a fiddle leaf fig properly to keep it bright and beautiful. 

5. Stromanthe (Triostar)

Pink, cream, and green leaved Stromanthe 'Triostar' plant with other plants in soft focus in the background

(Image credit: Doleesi/Alamy Stock Photo)

This stunning plant has variegated leaves in shades of pink, green, and cream. A real beauty that will add a vibrant new color mix to your plant collection, its star qualities are reflected in the name. We think you should be snapping one up now.

"With its beautiful painterly leaves, this plant does well in north-facing light," says Kamili. "Too much light and this beauty will lose some of the gorgeous color that caught your eye in the first place." 

Help its variegation stay vibrant by placing it in a spot that receives bright indirect light. 

Another plus is that the stromanthe is one of the best air purifying plants, making it a great for bedrooms.

If you would love to add one to your tropical plant collection, snap up an elegant Stromanthe Triostar plant from The Sill. It has striking leaves that are dark magenta on the underside. When you buy from this brand, you can opt for an upcycled plant pot which is a big yes from us.

6. Kentia palm

Kentia palm in planter with leather sofa and turquoise cushion

(Image credit: Vlad Deep/Alamy Stock Photo)

If you're looking to add a tropical vibe, make a palm plant your go-to. Surprisingly,  many palm varieties are very easy to grow indoors. 

If you only have space for one or two plants, a large Kentia palm creates a striking focal point in any room and is pet friendly, too.

Plant your palm in fast-draining potting mix (Miracle-Gro fast draining potting mix for palms from Amazon would work well), feed it on a monthly basis, and put it in a warm location. Water weekly in summer and be sure to let the soil dry out between waterings as your palm won't like being waterlogged.

If you have room for three of these plants, snap up this Kentia palm deal from Walmart and style them in large balboa planters from The Sill.

7. Hoya carnosa

Hoya carnosa indoor plant on shelf

(Image credit: Helin Loik Tomson/Getty Images)

Featuring clusters of waxy, star-shaped cream flowers, and dark green leaves on vigorous twining stems, trailing Hoya carnosa plant is easy to grow and take care of. It's one of the best trailing houseplants, and looks good cascading down from shelves or hanging planters, making them a great choice for small apartments.

"Once you add any single plant from the Hoya genus, you will be hooked," says Kamili. "You will not be able to stop at one, because they are just delightful. Of all the plant discoveries I have made, this is probably my favorite. You’ll add them for their foliage and obsess over them because of their otherworldly blooms."

Kamili likens the fantastic blooms to delicate confectionery flowers, crafted from marzipan or fondant frosting, something you might find on a tiered wedding cake.  This tri-color Hoya carnosa from The Sill has vines of playful leaves with green, white and pink variegation to brighten up any room.

Hoya plants love a spot with bright, indirect light and humidity such as your bathroom or kitchen. Give them the right conditions and they will quickly develop into a large vining statement plant. 

The little-known Hoya is one of best tropical indoor plants you can choose and you won't be disappointed.

8. Bromeliad

Bromeliad plant with orange bloom

(Image credit: Daniela Duncan Getty Images)

One of the easiest indoor tropical plants to grow is the bromeliad. Despite its exotic appearance, this plant is super-resilient. It will thrive in a wide range of light conditions, making it suitable for different parts of your home, where it will add a touch of tropical elegance to any space.

Cherished for its stunning foliage and unique exotic blooms, these plants come in a range of colors, patterns, and sizes, so there are plenty to choose from. It doesn't matter if you forget to water them too, as they have relatively low water requirements, and gather moisture in their central, cup-like structure.

Bromeliads are also superheroes at filtering indoor air and improving air quality by removing toxins to enhance your living environment. However, if you do encounter a pest problem, common in humid soil conditions, learn how to get rid of gnats in houseplants.

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Adding tropical plants to your indoor space bring big impact for little effort. To keep them happy and flourishing for years to come, avoid house plant mistakes, and check for yellow or brown leaves, excessive leaf fall and any signs of pests.

Sarah Wilson
Freelance writer

Lifestyle journalist Sarah Wilson has been writing about flowers, plants, and garden design and trends since 2015. Having already studied introductory garden and landscape design as well as a course in floristry she is currently adding to her list of qualifications with an RHS Level 2 course in the Principles of Plant Growth and Development. In addition to homesandgardens.com and livingetc.com, she's written for gardeningetc.com, Modern Gardens and Country Homes & Interiors magazines. Her first job was at Elle magazine, during which time a trip to the beautiful La Colombe d'Or in St-Paul-de-Vence led to an interest in writing about all things botanical. Later as lifestyle editor at Country Homes & Interiors magazine the real pull was the run of captivating country gardens that were featured. 

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