Houseplants are the perfect low-maintenance way to liven up a room. Inviting nature into the home brings with it a range of benefits; research has shown that houseplants can boost mood, improve productivity and creativity, reduce stress and some even have air-purifying properties.
In this article, we explore the 10 best trailing indoor houseplants for the different rooms in your home, the benefits of house plant ownership and even some tips on taking care of your new houseguests.
Why choose trailing houseplants?
One of the biggest benefits of houseplants in the home is the benefits to air quality. Not only do some plants remove toxins such as benzene, carbon monoxide and even formaldehyde from the air, cleaner air means a healthier home and happier occupants! Some plants also have allergy-relieving benefits, making them perfect for those summer days with the windows open.
Beyond the health benefits, adding greenery to a bathroom, lounge or bedroom can add a pop of sophisticated colour and decor, while reducing stress and providing a natural self-esteem boost.
Generally, trailing houseplants are very low-maintenance to take care of once you’ve found the perfect spot for them within your home. Although requirements vary by species and plant size, generally the plants in this article are relatively wilt-proof; with the ‘trailing’ aspect forming part of the look!
Best houseplants for bathrooms
The bathroom is the most humid room in the house. Regardless of sunlight levels in the room, the environment works perfectly for many types of tropical plants which thrive in the heat. Next up, we’ll guide you through some of the best houseplants for bathrooms with options for sunlight-filled and windowless rooms alike.
Considered by experts as the easiest and most adaptable of houseplants to take care of, the Spider Plant or Chlorophytum conosum is the perfect addition to your bathroom shelves. Low-maintenace in its nature, the plant comes in a range of green and yellow hues and grows up to 3 feet long in the right conditions. They can be used as trailing potted plants, or hung in a hanging basket depending on the space available and your decor preferences.
Although they tend to prefer bright light, they can handle life in low light conditions with less humidity, if required.
One of the best parts of raising a Spider Plant is the creation of baby Spider Plants! These can be re-potted and used throughout the home, or given as gifts to others. So, if you’re looking for a plant that doesn’t need hand-holding to grow big and strong, a Spider Plant could be perfect for your home.
Another plant that thrives in humid environments is the Begonia. Native to the tropical climates of South and Central America, Africa and south Asia, Begonias have over 1,800 different species ranging from small houseplants to five-foot tall bushy plants. As a result, begonias are naturally pest-resistant, giving you one less thing to worry about.
Of the three main types of begonia (fibrous, rhizomatous and tuberous), the most appropriate for the bathroom are the fibrous and rhizomatous types. Unfortunately, the tuberous begonia will struggle in UK households as it requires more humidity and light than is available in the average bathroom. Begonias come with a more delicate balancing act than most indoor plants, where humidity is important, but too much water can water-log the plants and cause problems such as root rot – so don’t be overzealous with the watering can!
If you’ve chosen a floral begonia, a sunny spot in the bathroom is perfect, with some direct sunlight. However, begonias with foliage will need a sunny location away from direct sunlight to grow.
Bird’s nest fern
Although there are plenty of species of fern to choose from, the bird’s nest fern or Asplenium nidus is particularly suited to bathroom environments. As some of the oldest plants in the world, ferns have made their way into homes for decades now, having adapted to cooler climates – in contrast with their native environments of tropical Africa and tropical Asia.
The bird’s nest fern is a delightful green leafy plant that enjoys moderate, indirect sunlight as long as it’s in a warm and moist environment. Its large fronds can grow quite quickly, with the newer leaves growing from the centerpoint of the plant. The fronds of this particular fern can grow as large as 59 inches long and 8 inches wide, making them the perfect plant for lower bathroom shelves.
Again, due to their native home, there’s a delicate balancing act in place when growing and taking care of a fern; be sure to provide moist compost without overwatering, and stay away from watering the plant itself.
Great for bathroom counters, the pothos is ideal for bathrooms with less natural light – thriving in low and indirect light environments. A hardy plant, pothos plants are tough and easy to care for, with fast growth rates that flourish and trail to lengths of up to 30 feet! Realistically for bathroom space and as an indoor plant, they are kept much shorter than this with semi-regular pruning.
Leafy and green in appearance, the plant (also known as ‘Devil’s Ivy’) has heart-shaped leaves with touches of light green, yellow and white hues. The colour of their leaves are also a good indicator of plant health; they may turn all green with a distinct lack of sunlight, or suddenly turn pale if they’re getting too much sun.
These plants are also adaptable in other rooms throughout the house with a lack of sunlight and, again, are another easy plant that doesn’t like regular watering. Leave the soil to dry out entirely to avoid root rot and accidental overwatering, with droopy leaves working as a good indicator of this.
Best houseplants for bright spots
While bathrooms aren’t always the brightest areas of the home, there are a number of beautiful trailing houseplants with easy-maintenance that bask in regular or direct sunlight to grow.
Another plant that doesn’t need regular watering and possibly the most well-known house plant out there, it wouldn’t be a list about indoor houseplants without an aloe plant! Green and spiky in appearance, aloe plants in the wild can grow up to heights of 40 inches tall, although the varieties for indoor use generally max out at heights much shorter than this.
Aloe plants grow well in areas with bright, direct sunlight – so although they can thrive in bathrooms, any area in your house that’s close to a window will keep your aloe plant happy. With over 300 types to choose from, the Aloe barbadensis is one of the most common choices for houseplants.
With probably the best free benefit of any plant in this list, it’s well-known that the insides of an aloe leaf have a range of beauty and health benefits. The clear gel inside the leaves can be applied topically to minor burns as well as itchy or allergic spots to help soothe the skin.
The Dracaena or ‘Dragon Tree’ is a beautifully tall addition to any house. With stiff, tall leaves, they’re notoriously easy to grow indoors and perfect for green-thumbed beginners.
When grown in their native areas of Madagascar and Mauritius, the Dragon Tree grows up to 20 feet in height! As an indoor houseplant, they generally reach heights of 6 feet or so, tolerating a wide range of temperatures and climates.
This is another plant that enjoys indirect light, and needs watering every 2-3 weeks or so, once the top half of the soil is dry. Brown leaves are a sign of overwatering the dragon tree, and yellow leaves can be an indicator of thirst.
One big consideration when thinking about buying a Dracaena is that, although safe for humans, this plant is especially toxic and poisonous for dogs and cats. If the leaves are chewed by animals, symptoms of dracaena poisoning include vomiting and excess salivation – so be sure to keep the plant away from any households with wandering and curious animals!
Tradescantia or Spiderwort
Native to southern Canada and northern Argentina, the Tradescantia is a house plant with colourful leaves ranging in appearance from silver and purple to green. Perfect as a hanging plant or trailing potted plant indoors, there are over 70 species of Tradescantia to choose from to brighten up your home.
Depending on the variety you choose, this plant generally thrives in bright spots indoors and outdoors alike. For example, the ‘Green Hill’ species simply needs some frequent indirect sunlight, whereas the ‘Purple Spiderwort’ is a durable choice of indoor plant that can survive in temperatures as low as 25F or -4°C – perfect for colder rooms in the house and the winter months.
Interestingly, studies showed that the Purple Spiderwort in particular was especially skilled at removing indoor toxins and harmful volatile organic compounds (or VOCs) from the household air, which leads us on nicely to our next section: the best houseplants for air purifying.
Best houseplants for air purifying
On the topic of air purifying qualities, if you’re looking for some extra benefits from your trailing indoor houseplants, you can’t go far wrong with any of the following varieties:
One of the more classic and well-known trailing houseplants, the English Ivy or Hedera helix is a common species of Ivy that thrives in a range of lighting and soil conditions. Native to Europe and western Asia, the English ivy is often seen on the sides of British pavements, brick walls and on the fronts of older houses!
The English ivy is an easy-growing and robust plant with a range of cultivars such as the ‘Fluffy Ruffles’ with ruffled leaves, the ‘Gold Baby’ which has a beautiful golden edge to its leaves or the ‘Midas Touch’ with reddish stems and climbing attributes.
Grow your English ivy in a plant pot or up in a couple of hanging baskets to really feel the purifying benefits. If you can, give your plant four hours of direct sunlight each day to enhance the air detoxifying benefits. Interestingly, the plant has also been proved to reduce airborne faecal particles – which make them perfect for bathrooms, en-suites or other particularly mucky spots.
The Chinese Evergreen is another striking house plant to add to a modern home. The Evergreen thrives in low-lit and humid conditions, so would work well in a bathroom. However, the durable plant can be kept elsewhere in the house with occasional misting to the leaves to keep them their striking green and yellow colour, while keeping away the dust.
An effective cleanser, the plant has been scientifically proven to break down formaldehyde and benzene from the air, which can make their way into the household from detergents, cosmetics and even wooden furniture!
Finally, the Peace Lily is probably one of the most striking indoor plants with air-purifying properties. Perfect for livening up any room, they appear with dark green leaves, a white leaf bract and a beautiful yellow flower. So not only do they look great, they also neutralise toxic gases such as benzene, formaldehyde and carbon monoxide, contributing to cleaner air.
As with many indoor houseplants, peace lilies thrive in medium to low-light conditions. However, the plants and its flowers will vary in appearance depending on how much light they get; more light usually means more flowers, and less light will lead to fewer blooms, and more of a foliage look.
The most common reason for a peace lily to die is overwatering – so keep your watering can at bay until the leaves begin to droop!
Introducing trailing plants to your home
To finish, there are a range of beautiful trailing indoor houseplants available. The ones we’ve mentioned in this article are generally quite low-maintenance, and provide a range of benefits from brightening the home to cleaning the air around you.
Some top tips to be mindful of include:
- Whether the plant needs direct sunlight, indirect sunlight or mostly shade
- Water schedules: including whether to water or mist the leaves, or the roots and soil themselves to encourage growth
- The temperature and humidity of the room in which they’re kept
- The rooms and placements in your home which would benefit the most from air-purifying qualities.
Happy plant growing!