8 spooky houseplants to get you in the Halloween spirit

Make a 'super-natural' centerpiece with some freaky foliage

A selection of potted indoor houseplants on black background
(Image credit: Bloomscape)

Halloween is creeping around the corner, and we're predicting a spooky houseplant trend as plant lovers show off more unusual varieties. While most people might pick up some pumpkins and other frightening Halloween decorations to make a seasonal display, we are looking to something with a little more life...

Some of the best indoor plants could be your secret weapon for making dramatic and original Halloween looks – that also happen to be eco-friendly. From red-tipped leaves, freaky fungi, and a cactus that looks like a human brain, there are all kinds of options to sow into your scheme.

So ditch tacky dollar store decor for these eight unusual houseplants that will live on past Hallow's Eve... we're all over it!

The spooky houseplant trend that's scarily easy to adopt

Group your houseplants together with some skulls and candles and you've got yourself a scary but sustainable arrangement for the spooky season.

Gardening Express (opens in new tab) conducted some research to find out the most spine-chilling plants on the planet. The list included bleeding tooth fungi – which looks absolutely vile (warning, it's pictured below) – plus devil's claw. We have rounded these up with a few of our teams favourites for a spooky display shopping list.

As for the scary plants that are also straightforward to grow, there's the brain cactus, the Chinese lantern plant, and witch hazel. 'These plants certainly aren’t for every gardener,' says Chris Bonnett, founder of the online garden center. But while they may be too gruesome for some, they are nice and easy to look after.

The Royal Horticultural Society (opens in new tab)  also says that as well as being both bold and beautiful, the use of houseplants as part of your fall décor is a great way to cut down on the single-use plastics found in many seasonal decorations.

Though looking after houseplants may seem scary if you're new to indoor gardening, it doesn’t have to be. Google low-maintenance or easy house plants like spider plants, snake plants, and cacti that don't need much watering for your Halloween display and year-round greenery.

8 of the best spooky houseplants

Proud plant parents may know some of these indoor favourites, but we have selected some of the most weird and wonderful flora for your home this spooky season.

1. Brain cactus

brain cactus in skull pot

Brain cactus

(Image credit: Alamy)

The Cristata, aka the brain cactus is a cranium-shaped succulent that can add instant spook appeal! We think it would look great on your windowsill, or in a south-facing position of the home. Unlike Dracula, cacti love sunlight, so display them where the sun is shining, and better still house them in a skeleton/skull planter (opens in new tab) for extra scare factor.

Alternatively try placing them in bell jars or cloches, from Amazon (opens in new tab). We think this would work brilliantly as a table centerpiece to impress guests as well as making a great conversation starter.

2. 'Re-vamp' your room with a red Chinese evergreen

Red Chinese evergreen houseplant in black pot

Red Chinese evergreen

(Image credit: Getty)

That blood red leaf edge is giving us the spooks. 

If climate allows (they like medium light, humidity and warm temperatures) plant red-tipped varieties in your front yard to terrify trick-or-treaters. You could even elevate this idea with garden lighting design to add a dramatic feel for cheap. 

Alternatively, they are great houseplants and as we mentioned, incorporating plants into your decor is a great way to go if you're looking for ways to have a more environmentally holiday season.

Get your hands on Aglaonema from Costa Farms, available on Amazon (opens in new tab).

3. Go for gore with a bleeding tooth fungi

bleeding tooth fungi

Bleeding tooth fungi

(Image credit: Alamy)

This mushroom is 'bloody' brilliant if you want to go for gore when decorating for Hallow's eve. No need for fake blood in plastic pouches when the Hydnellum peckii is in sight, as it purges a crimson red sap when young. 

Despite also being known as 'Strawberries and Cream' it's not edible. But rest assured it's not poisonous if your child decides it looks like a gross gummy candy.

4. Make begonia plants your boo

polka dot begonia plant

Polka dot begonia from The Stem (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: The Stem)

Forget sugar and spice and all things nice, it's all about spots and dots when it comes to your plant pots. And, one of the most beautiful examples of this is the polka dot begonia plant (opens in new tab). The trio of green leaves, red edges, and silver dots is a dreamy combination that adds an almost astrological aesthetic if you're into stars, moons and horoscopes.

5. Get yourself some living stones

A person holding potted living stone plants (Lithops)

(Image credit: Getty/Nutsara Rukbangboon)

If you prefer succulents over blousy blooms, look to lithops (opens in new tab). These stemless, stone-like plants look like mini brains and are a spooktacular alternative to that weird bowl of rattan balls in your hallway. They also make a great talking point placed in a dining room, as part of a low-maintenance tablescape idea.

Anna Waterfield, founder of Plant Pet Club (opens in new tab) also suggests gluing some googly eyes to living stones or lining up carnivorous plants like Venus Fly Traps to create a display of little monsters. A spell of genius if you're looking to get rid of flies without resorting to more explicit pest control measures.

6. Get off to a flying start with bat flowers

A white and dark purple bat plant (Tacca chantrieri)

(Image credit: Getty/Francisco Herrera)

Looking to wow with witchcore? Then Tacca chantrieri (opens in new tab)better be placed in your Amazon cauldron – we mean basket. While some think they look like bats (hence being referred to as 'bat flowers'), others love the look of their black 'cat's whiskers'.

Whichever aesthetic you're brewing up, these dark flowers are sure to make a striking statement.

7. Go Black Swan chic with Bleeding hearts

Black bleeding heart perennial plant

(Image credit: Etsy)

And, if you are looking for something more familiar, get yourself some black bleeding hearts from Etsy (opens in new tab). These perennial plants ooze romantic gothic charm... Without the grossness. While you'll need to grow this plant variety outside, the cut flowers look great inside a DIY pumpkin vase design. Choose a ghost pumpkin for uber-chic monochrome vibes or stick to a traditional gourd for that quintessential black and orange scheme.

8. Hang out with a not-so-spooky spider plant

Spider plant in white pot on table


(Image credit: Crocus )
(opens in new tab)

Spookier in name than nature, spider plants are an easy house plant for beginners, and will fill a space rather quickly. They self-propogate too, so if you want to make the most of your purchase, you can repot all the little spider babies that grow in late summer. 

The classic spider plant we all know and love is this common variegated variety we have found on Crocus (opens in new tab) (it comes with the pot!). It likes bright but indirect sunlight, so is perfect for popping in a room that gets plenty of fall sun, for Halloween vibes both day and night.

Waterfield recommends using stripy spider plants and or ferns for a Halloween display. She says these are 'perfect for covering up with some webs and spiders.' 

Christina joined the Real Homes team as a digital writer in June 2021. Prior to this, she worked for Good Homes magazine and home interest events including the Ideal Home Show and Grand Designs Live. She lives close to Epping Forest and is spoiled for choice with lush green spaces, but loves her own English garden that adjoins her ground-floor maisonette, complete with a floral melange of roses, lavender, jasmine, and an apple tree.


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