10 Must Have Tropical Houseplants

Although many of us will never travel to exotic jungles in tropical regions, we can bring parts of the rainforest into our homes. Plants like devil’s ivy or heartleaf philodendron can help you create a beautiful jungle atmosphere at home. In this article, we’ll look at 10 must-have tropical houseplants.

Why You Should Have Exotic Houseplants


By bringing exotic houseplants into your home, you can recreate a jungle environment to enjoy without journeying thousands of miles. Many tropical houseplants have large, lush foliage that creates an impressive ornamental display.


Several well-known tropical houseplants can also help purify the air in our homes. Modern homes are full of harmful unseen chemicals like benzene, formaldehyde, toluene, and xylene. According to NASA’s Clean Air Study, tropical plants like Chinese evergreens, peace lilies, and parlour palms are excellent at absorbing these nasty chemicals.


Tropical houseplants are well-suited to indoor conditions. Many of our homes tend to have consistent temperatures and humidity levels that are ideal for tropical plants.

10 Most Common Tropical Houseplants

1. Amazonian Elephant’s Ear





Scientific Name: Alocasia x amazonica

Other Names: N/A

Native to: Southeast Asia




Amazonian elephant’s ear has dramatic dark green, almost black leaves with lobed edges and prominent white veins. These striking plants are Alocasia hybrids that do well as houseplants. Amazonian elephant’s ear can reach up to 2 feet tall.


Care tips


  • Provide a spot with bright indirect light or partial shade
  • Water if the top inch or two of soil feels dry
  • Needs well-draining soil with lots of aeration
  • Keep between 18 and 22ºC
  • Fertilise once a month in spring and summer
  • Maintain humidity with misting or humidifiers


2. Chinese Evergreens





Scientific Name: Aglaonema spp.

Other Names: N/A

Native to: Asia – China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan etc




Chinese evergreens come in several varieties, but all have blade-shaped leaves with variegated patterns. Chinese evergreens grow best on the forest floor of tropical rainforests. Chinese evergreens are great at removing benzene and formaldehyde from the surrounding air.


Care tips


  • Situate in bright, indirect sunlight or partial shade
  • Water whenever the top two inches of soil are dry
  • Keep humidity at 60 to 70% by misting or using humidifiers
  • Maintain temperatures between 18 and 24ºC
  • Use a well-draining soil featuring perlite or sand


3. Devil’s Ivy





Scientific Name: Epipremnum aureum

Other Names: Golden pothos

Native to: French Polynesia




Devil’s ivy is a climbing or trailing vine with heart-shaped green leaves. Some cultivars have green or silver variegated patterns. Devil’s ivy is extremely easy to care for, making it an ideal tropical houseplant for beginners. These plants can be trained up moss poles or put in hanging baskets.


Care tips


  • Place in filtered bright, indirect light or partial shade
  • Water when the top two inches of soil are dry
  • Use a well-draining growing medium
  • Ideal temperature is between 18 and 24ºC


4. Dumb Canes





Scientific Name: Dieffenbachia spp.

Other Names: Leopard lily

Native to: Central and South America




Dumb canes are beautifully bushy tropical houseplants with green oval-shaped leaves. Many varieties also have cream or white variegated patterns. Dumb canes can reach 10 feet tall, while the leaves may grow as large as 20 inches.


Care tips


  • Grow in bright, indirect light or partial shade
  • Water about once a week if the top two inches of soil feel dry
  • Prefers moist, well-draining soil with good aeration
  • Provide temperatures ranging from 17 to 27ºC
  • Maintain humidity at approximately 60%


5. Dwarf Umbrella Tree





Scientific Name: Schefflera arboricola

Other Names: Umbrella plant

Native to: Australia, China, and Taiwan




Schefflera arboricola are evergreen shrubs often grown as indoor houseplants. Schefflera arboricola produce clusters of elliptical glossy green leaves. Schefflera arboricola are fairly easy to care for and can handle some neglect.


Care Tips


  • Provide bright, indirect light
  • Water thoroughly when the soil has nearly dried out
  • Maintain temperature between 18 and 32ºC
  • Keep humidity levels above 60% as much as possible
  • Use a well-draining growing medium that’s fairly loose
  • Keep away from cold or dry drafts


6. Heartleaf Philodendron





Scientific Name: Philodendron hederaceum

Other Names: Sweetheart plant

Native to: Central America and the Caribbean




Heartleaf philodendrons are exquisitely exotic climbing or trailing tropical vines. They have heart-shaped dark green leaves and can grow up to 20 feet tall in the wild. Heartleaf philodendrons are pretty hardy and easy to care for.


Care tips


  • Needs bright, indirect light or partial shade
  • Water once the top inch or two of soil is dry
  • Keep the temperature around 18 to 30ºC
  • Provide approximately 40% humidity
  • Fertilise every three months or so
  • Use light, well-draining soil


7. Peace Lily





Scientific Name: Spathiphyllum wallisii

Other Names: White sails

Native to: Central and South America




Peace lilies are one of the most well-known tropical houseplants. Peace lilies have slender, glossy dark green and prominent white spathes. This protects a creamy-white flowering spadix. Peace lilies are highly prized for their ability to purify the air.


Care Tips


  • Requires bright indirect light or partial shade
  • Water if the leaves are drooping or the top inch of soil is dry
  • Ideal temperatures range from 18 to 26ºC
  • Use a humidifier or misting to maintain humidity
  • Provide rich, well-draining soil


8. Parlour Palm





Scientific Name: Chamaedorea elegans

Other Names: Neanthe bella palm

Native to: Guatemala and Mexico




Parlour palms are a popular variety of indoor palm. Parlour palms grow up to 10 feet tall. These palms produce fronds of light green, slender pinnate leaves. In NASA’s Clean Air Study, parlour palms were found to remove several harmful compounds from the air.


Care Tips


  • Provide bright, indirect light or partial shade
  • Water if the top inch or two of soil feels dry
  • Does best in temperatures ranging from 18 to 26.5ºC
  • Protect from cold, hot, or dry drafts
  • Use well-draining soil to prevent overwatering


9. Swiss Cheese Plant





Scientific Name: Monstera deliciosa

Other Names: Monstera, Split-leaf philodendron

Native to: Central and South America




Swiss cheese plants have large, round fenestrated leaves, hence the common name. Swiss cheese plants use aerial roots to cling to neighbouring trees. Swiss cheese plants can reach up to 10 feet as houseplants.


Care Tips


  • Place in bright, direct light or partial shade
  • Maintain temperatures between 15 and 30ºC
  • Water thoroughly if the top inch or two of soil feels dry
  • Provide 60 to 70% humidity using a humidifier, pebble tray, or misting
  • Grow in a well-draining soil that still retains some water


10. Weeping Fig





Scientific Name: Ficus benjamina

Other Names: Ficus tree

Native to: Australia and Southeast Asia




Weeping figs are tropical evergreen trees that reach up to 6 feet tall as houseplants. Weeping figs produce cascades of oval-shaped glossy green leaves with tapered leaf tips. These trees have brownish bark. Weeping figs are adept at removing formaldehyde, toluene, and xylene from the air.


Care Tips


  • Place somewhere with bright, indirect light
  • Water when the top inch or so of soil feels dry to the touch
  • Provide temperatures ranging from 21 to 29.5ºC
  • Maintain high humidity levels and grow in well-draining soil


Tropical houseplants add an exotic, jungle feel to your home. The ten plants listed here are some of the most popular tropical houseplants. Most have fairly easy care requirements and provide lush, tropical foliage for any room.


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