picture of assorted trendy plants for 2021 including Monkey tail cactus, African milk tree, Alocasia Polly, Snake plant, Ficus altissima, Chinese money plant and MORE...

13 Trendy Indoor Plants for 2021

After spending so much time indoors over the past year, you’re probably ready to update your space with some new indoor plants. Living room or bathroom need a new stylish & trendy houseplant to shake things up a bit? Wondering which plants are going to be popular in 2021? Lucky for you, I’ve got this years trendiest “must-have” houseplants for your indoor garden.

The trendiest indoor plants for 2021 are as follows:

  • Monkey tail cactus
  • African milk tree
  • Alocasia Polly
  • Snake plant
  • Ficus altissima
  • Chinese money plant
  • Red prayer maranta plant
  • Happy bean plant
  • String of hearts
  • Velvet calathea
  • Mistletoe cactus
  • Bunny ears cactus
  • Fishbone cactus

There are certainly some plant species on this list that I have yet to explore on the blog, which is exciting. I’m sure you’re looking for more information on these hot plant species. But first, if you’re interested in the latest article that includes the trendy plants for the year of 2022 .

But for those of you looking back at what you missed in 2021, keep reading!

13 of the Trendiest Houseplants for 2021

To put together this list, I combed through our database, our indoor plants for beginners website search history and the most frequently asked questions we receive regarding houseplants people are looking for.

In addition to our combing through our own internal resources to find the next trends in houseplants, I also scoured the Internet for indoor plant trends ranging from well known experts like House Beautiful & Real Simple, to some of the most under appreciated groups of houseplant lovers in my favorite subreddits for houseplants.

The following species aren’t your everyday houseplants, but then again, we all went into 2021 expecting it not to be your everyday year, so it fits.

Last year, I published a post with 16 great indoor plant species that were on-trend for 2020. Without further ado, let’s dive deep into this fascinating list of trendy plants for 2021!

Monkey Tail Cactus

Regarded as one of the best plants to own if you want to make a statement, the monkey tail cactus is the first of a surprisingly long list of cactus species that are trending in 2021.

Why is this indoor plant called the monkey tail cactus? Instead of the tubular cactus arms with spines throughout, the monkey tail cactus grows long, thin, dangling arms with hair-like spikes covering them from top to bottom. Each arm looks like the fuzzy tail of a monkey!

If you care for your monkey tail cactus especially well, it can bloom stunning vivid red flowers, which is an incentive to get on a good care routine. Like with any cactus, you can water your monkey tail when its soil is dry.

African Milk Tree

The second indoor plant species making a splash this year is the African milk tree or Euphorbia trigona. This Central African plant is considered exotic, which certainly explains part of its appeal.

Much more so than that, indoor gardeners of all experience levels are going gaga over the African milk tree since it grows quickly and isn’t super finicky.

Blooming between the spring and summer, the African milk tree reaches a max size of six to eight feet, so do make sure you have the room for one.

As another succulent, you can put it in front of a southerly-facing window and water it occasionally. Maintain temperatures no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit and the African milk tree will be plenty happy.

Alocasia Polly

Do you consider your home, apartment, or office an urban jungle? Do you want to in 2021? If so, then make sure you have at least one alocasia Polly in your indoor garden.

The alocasia is an Araceae member with nearly 80 species native to Eastern Australia and subtropical Asia. Its large leaves make it a star, and the alocasia Polly cultivar especially is eye-catching.

The leaves of this cultivar feature a streamlined arrow shape. The color and texture are also Instagram-worthy, as the alocasia Polly has vivid dark green leaves with a smooth, shiny, glossy texture.

Some alocasias develop silver streaks on the leaves that are even more attention-grabbing. If you can find a healthy, young silver streaked alocasia, you’ll have a houseplant that many people are searching for.

When it comes to caring for a alocasia Polly:

Reduce direct sun exposure to keep the alocasia Polly in good shape, and use well-draining soil and a pot with sizable drainage holes as well. Its soil should be kept moist at all times, so depending on the season, you’ll water the alocasia Polly every other day to every few days.

Snake Plant

The only plant that’s recurring from 2020’s trendy houseplants list to 2021’s is the snake plant. The Dracaena trifasciata, or snake plant, is also referred to as viper’s bowstring hemp, mother-in-law’s tongue, and Saint George’s sword.

This “trendy for 2021 houseplant” is also recommended by Real Simple, House Beautiful and many others. So if you’ve hesitated on buying a snake plant to include in your indoor garden collection, I don’t think you should wait any longer.

Indoor Plants for Beginners is a great resource for all things snake plants, so take the time to acquaint yourself with your snake plant, especially if you’ve just brought one home. If your snake plant’s roots aren’t in great shape, or you suspect the roots of your snake plant are struggling, then you’ll want to read Why Your Snake Plant Has No Roots.

For everything else related to the snake plant–and I do mean everything–this snake plant care 101 guide will be your new best friend.

Why does the snake plant remain so trendy? I can think of a few reasons. The Sansevieria trifasciata has a distinct look you don’t see in a lot of houseplant species, what with its tall, erect, blade-like leaves. The patterns across the leaves can vary in a lot of beautiful ways depending on the cultivar.

Most pretty plants are rather picky about their care, but not the snake plant. It can grow in low-light conditions and is otherwise hard to kill. 2021 has already brought over a lot of baggage from the year prior. If you need a stunning indoor plant that’s not very demanding, the snake plant is certainly it.

Ficus Altissima

Having been declared one of the top indoor tree species of 2021, the Ficus altissima should definitely be on your radar. Often referred to as the council tree, this Moraceae family member has a simple, cheery look that ought to put a smile on anyone’s face.

To get your Ficus altissima growing healthy and strong, set your temperature to around 70 degrees, which is about room temperature anyway. Position the tree so it’s removed from any sources of drafts too, be that from your air conditioner, heater, or an open window.

If your Ficus altissima is variegated–meaning its leaves are patterned–then provide medium light. Unvariegated plants can withstand filtered or indirect bright light, but never direct sun. That will burn the plant’s lovely leaves! 

Chinese Money Plant

Last year, the Stephania Erecta Potato Caudexshowed up on my trendy plants list, which resembles the Chinese money plant but isn’t quite it. In 2021, the Chinese money plant is highly-ranked in its own right, as it well should be.

First, there’s the lure of this houseplant, which runs deep. The Chinese money plant is lucky, and it’s supposed to provide vitality and wealth, two things I’m sure a lot of us can use as 2021 gets underway. Whether you get one as a present or you decide to gift it to yourself, it’s a touching gesture on the part of the gift giver.

The plant itself is quite appealing thanks to its circular-shaped leaves that have also earned the Chinese money plant the nickname pancake plant. Its woody stems can braid delicately, adding more intricacy and beauty to this lovely houseplant.

As if all that wasn’t great enough, the Chinese money plant is difficult to kill despite that it looks so dainty. If you’re new to houseplants, this should be one species you can easily manage.

Red Prayer Maranta Plant

Do you want more peace in your life in 2021? I mean, at this point, that’s almost a rhetorical question. Of course you do. If so, then with the red prayer maranta plant in your home or office, you might feel calmer every day.

The Maranta leuconeura or prayer plant in the Marantaceae family is typically green, but its cultivar called the red prayer maranta plant is not. Some leaves of the red prayer maranta plant are fully red or maroon while others only have red veins. Either way, the the red prayer maranta plant plant is an incredibly striking addition to your indoor garden.

Bartolomeo Maranta, a 16th-century botanist and physician, is this cultivar’s namesake. Preferring well-draining soil, indirect but bright sun, and temperatures of 60 to 80 degrees, the red prayer maranta plant isn’t overly difficult to care for.

When it begins growing in the spring, increase how much water you give this prayer plant cultivar. Underwatering can prematurely kill your red prayer maranta plant, as it can reach drought conditions very easily.

Happy Bean Plant

We can all use a bit more happy in 2021, don’t you think? That’s only one reason of many to consider the happy bean plant for your indoor garden.

The Peperomia ferreyrae is a tidy little plant that, despite its name, grows blade-like appendages, no beans here.

Although it’s not a full succulent, the happy bean plant does have some succulent in it, enough so that its care routine can be more hands-off. Its ability to retain fluid will have you grabbing your watering can less frequently for that little corner of your indoor garden.

You don’t even necessarily have to jack up the humidity for the happy bean plant as you so often must for other succulents. If your home or office is at room temperature, then this plant will be warm enough.

String of Hearts

You may be familiar with the string of pearls (which is one of the easiest vines to grow), but what about the string of hearts? It’s a different indoor plant species called the Ceropegia. This Apocynaceae family member has existed since the mid-1700s. Now it’s the string of hearts’ time to shine.

The heart-shaped leaves that grow long on the string of hearts’ vine are utterly adorable and completely natural. Some cultivars produce darker green leaves, others lighter, and more still have traces of red or pink across the leaves.

Like many vines, the string of hearts looks amazing when dangling out of a hanging basket or trailing up a wall. This plant is going to start appearing in everyone’s indoor gardens in 2021, so get your hands on one now so you can be an early trendsetter!

Velvet Calathea

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you should be familiar with the calathea. As you may recall, it’s one of the best indoor plants for purifying the air. As nice as a calathea is, the velvet calathea is even better, so it deservedly has a spot on this trends list.

With its super-dark colors, often a combination of deep green and blackish maroon, the velvet calathea looks like its leaves are made of actual velvet. You’ll feel so inclined to reach out and touch the plant.

Like other calatheas, this cultivar needs temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees with plenty of humidity. You don’t need to water your velvet calathea all that often, maybe once a week, perhaps double that. If the soil is dry down to a few inches deep, then it’s time for more water.

The calathea isn’t overly picky about its lighting conditions, doing well in everything from low indirect light to bright indirect light. With darker cultivars like the velvet calathea, I’d encourage you to avoid bright sun whenever possible, as it could burn the leaves.

Mistletoe Cactus

You might not be thinking of mistletoe much post-Christmas, but the Rhipsalis baccifera or mistletoe cactus is only named that because it hangs like a sprig of mistletoe would.

Wait, a cactus that hangs? Yes, that’s right.

Now you can see why the mistletoe cactus is gaining traction in 2021.

Sure, its arms are very thin and dangly, and it lacks no spines, but a cactus it is. As such, the mistletoe cactus counts as a succulent, so you can water it infrequently.

A well-loved mistletoe cactus will bloom small but attractive white flowers throughout. If your cactus has grown lush and full in a hanging basket, the flowers really take this houseplant’s appearance over the top!

Bunny Ears Cactus

Considering that cute plants are in for 2021, it makes sense to see the bunny ears cactus or Opuntia microdasys getting so much attention. This houseplant resembles your regular cactus with thick, flat arms. Smaller arms branch off the bigger ones, growing what looks like bunny ears.

This Mexican houseplant species might only reach heights of two feet tall, so it doesn’t take up a lot of room at home or the office. Instead of the spikes you see in most cacti species, the bunny ears cactus has glochids. These are prickles, not spikes. I still wouldn’t recommend you touch them though!

The few times I’ve accidentally touched a bunny ear cactus with my bare hands I’ve immediately regretted it. After having my hand on or up against an Opuntia microdasys has always reminded me of the way your hand feels after you accidentally touch old insulation that’s filled with fiberglass.

Because bunny ears don’t have the typical spikes or thorns that other varieties have, they can be a bit misleading when it comes to touching them without gloves. It might appear to be ok to touch them without wearing gloves but I can assure you that it is NOT OK.

If your cactus ever loses a pad or arm, you can grow a new cactus from the clipping. I wrote a great post about why cactus arms fall off that you might want to check out now that you’re the proud new owner of a bunny ears cactus!

Fishbone Cactus

I told you that cacti are having a moment in 2021, and the last one that’s going to be the talk of the town is the fishbone cactus. House Beautiful ranked it as its top houseplant of the year, which is saying something.

I know, the fishbone cactus looks like anything but a cactus, even less so than the mistletoe cactus. The Disocactus anguliger has long fronds in a wavy shape that resemble seaweed deep in the ocean.

A hanging basket is the best home for a fishbone cactus, as this houseplant likes to have lots of room for its fronds to grow long and without having to fight with gravity.

Despite its appearance, the fishbone cactus is a succulent, so its care is about as uncomplicated as any houseplant. Having an attention-grabbing plant that’s easy to take care of and won’t die on you in two weeks? It’s no wonder the fishbone cactus is so big this year!

2021 Trendiest Houseplants Roundup

I hope you’ve enjoyed this years list of the “2021 trendiest indoor plants”. Please consider sharing it with others who love plants or better yet, with people who haven’t been exposed to the happiness that houseplants can bring into a person’s life. Either way, thanks for reading!

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