Trendy Houseplants Worth the Hype

Trendy Houseplants Worth the Hype

Houseplants have seen a surge in popularity in recent years, with more and more people embracing the benefits of bringing nature indoors. And while there are plenty of beautiful tried-and-true options out there, nothing compares to that sudden thrill when you stumble across something new and exotic on an outing to the Nursery — you know, that one plant you've swiped past on social media thinking "I'll never be able to have that." In the influencer age, it's easier than ever for a plant to suddenly be catapulted into the spotlight, whether it's something newly discovered, new to cultivation, or simply experiencing a "full circle" moment after falling out of fashion for some time. Hobbyists and breeders are always hybridizing and selecting new clones of plants that feature unique growth forms, coloration, and variegation — or any number of other desirable traits that may tempt us on Instagram. But there's nothing worse than splurging on a trendy plant only to discover that it isn't all it's cracked up to be. That's why today we're excited to give you our recommendations for a few that we think are worth the hype.

 Philodendron erubescens 'White Princess'

Rarity vs. Popularity

Although you may hear the word "rare" thrown around when talking about the latest plants to take the internet by storm, this term can mean several different things. It's true that some plants are rare because they are endangered or found only in a small area in the wild. And others may be rare because are difficult for the average hobbyist to grow under the typical "house" conditions that we give our houseplants. But often, the biggest determining factor for a plant to be considered "rare" has more to do with the simple economics of supply and demand.

As new plants hit the market or enter the popular consciousness, there is almost always a lag between the sudden demand for these plants and the supply growers have on hand as they scramble to ramp up production. This disparity drives up the cost for these new and unusual plants until growers can catch up — and in most cases, they eventually will. With recent advances in propagation and distribution, few of these plants are outside the reach of the determined hobbyist. It's just a matter of how much you're willing to invest to have that plant now. So if you want to be an early-adopter, keep reading for a few of our top picks.

On-Trend Recommendations

Most plant people — ourselves included — are collectors at heart, and we know how hard it is to pass up the opportunity to bring home a rare find. The following plants are ones that we think deserve a place in your cart.

Monstera deliciosa 'Thai Constellation'

In rare cases, a sought-after plant may remain hard-to-find for some time because it proves to be particularly slow-growing or difficult to propagate at scale, and that is certainly the case for the gorgeously-variegated Monstera 'Thai Constellation.' This plant generated a lot of buzz when it went mainstream, but it was ultimately discovered to be a very poor candidate for tissue culture, which is the process that underpins virtually all mass-production of plants today. So if you want one, you have to wait for it to be propagated the old-fashioned way. We think this is one plant worth the price tag because its speckled, creamy variegation is just too good to pass up: Each leaf is stippled with dots like stars in the night sky, with the occasional bold creamy patch thrown in for extra oomph. Monstera 'Thai Constellation' also boasts a shorter inter-nodal distance than the straight species, which makes for an even denser display of showy leaves. And while this particular variety is relatively uncommon, it's pretty easy to care for, just like its ubiquitous green counterpart. As long as you have a decent bit of space in front of a bright window, you can grow this plant.

Zamioculcas zamiifolia 'Raven'

With its good looks and easy care, the Raven ZZ Plant is one trending houseplant that we can't get enough of. And while you may run into smaller plants in more garden centers these days, large specimens like the ones we often have in stock are still few and far between. We love this houseplant because it offers a dramatic foliage twist on a plant that was already one of our all-time favorites. Like the straight species, the Raven ZZ performs remarkably well in low light conditions and is a great pick for plant parents who may not be the most religious about watering, as it actually prefers to dry out a bit. The foliage of this particular cultivar is what really sets it apart, emerging a bright lime green that ages to a deep, glossy black. This is one plant that lives up to its name, and we think it's worth a spot in most everyone's collection.

Philodendron erubescens 'Painted Lady'

Although this isn't the only Philodendron erubescens hybrid that deserves a place on this list (see the Philodendron 'White Princess' we snuck into the top of this post as an honorable mention), we've limited ourselves to one. All other things being equal, we think the mark of a great houseplant as opposed to a good houseplant is its distinctiveness. And there is absolutely no mistaking a 'Painted Lady.' You're just not going to get the same combination of finely marbled chartreuse leaves and bright pink stems anywhere else — at least as far as we've seen. They're like something out of a Monet painting, flecked with impressionistic brushstrokes. This cultivar only improves upon the species, which already boasts large, glossy leaves and a semi-vining form. And while this plant would benefit from the support of a moss pole or similar structure over time, it isn't a requirement to get good-sized leaves as is often the case for true vining types.

Philodendron tortum 'Narrow Form'

Speaking of unmistakable foliage, Philodendron tortum — and particularly the 'Narrow Form' cultivar — is one plant that is instantly recognizable, which is why we think it deserves a place on this list. Their leaves are so deeply divided that they appear almost rib-like, although we've also heard them described as lacy or ferny. Whatever you might call it, if you're as entranced by this plant as we are, you should add it to your wishlist right away. But be prepared: This is a climbing species that will want a support and room to grow. And it's also bit more picky when it comes to humidity; this plant wants it high! So keep that in mind before bringing one home.

Ficus elastica 'Shivereana'

This handsomely variegated houseplant is a decidedly more colorful version of the popular rubber tree, and shares many of its parent's positive traits. In spite of its common name, this plant hasn't historically been used in the commercial production of rubber, but it has withstood the test of time as a houseplant because — and you may be sensing a theme — it's pretty easy to grow! Although there are a lot of color forms of this plant in the trade, 'Shivereana' stands out from the pack with intricately mottled patches of cream, yellow, green, and even pink. And good news for those who appreciate this color combination as much we do: The price has come down a lot on these plants in recent years — especially if you start with a smaller plant. Provided bright, indirect light and decent humidity, this plant can grow up to 10 feet tall in a pot and is relatively undemanding for its size, although in a suitable climate, this plant could grow much, much larger outdoors. Personally, we're happy that it tops out at a more reasonable size for the average room when grown in a container, meaning we get to keep that bright foliage close at hand.

Philodendron brandtianum 

Another philodendron, you say? Yes, we clearly have a type, but there's a reason so many people collect philodendrons! They're a large and diverse genus of plants comprised of more than 450 species alone. And that doesn't even account for the thousands of cultivars and hybrids that are out there. Philodendron brandtianum is one that stands out for its charming color and form, offering heart-shaped leaves brushed with painterly splotches of silver. It can either be grown spilling from a pot or hanging basket or allowed to climb a moss pole, in which case the mature leaves can take on quite some size. But we're perfectly fine with them remaining smaller, personally — they're cute as can be!

In Conclusion

Ultimately, you should grow the houseplants that speak to you and that suit the growing environment you can give them, regardless of how trendy (or un-trendy) they may be. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder! And clearly, we grow and love many more houseplants than just the ones that fit on this list. And the end of the day, trendiness doesn't necessarily equate to higher quality or better performance, and we just want everyone to be happy houseplant parents. We hope we've helped you make an informed decision, but the nice thing is that the decision is ultimately yours!

At Cornell Farm, we carry a wide variety of houseplants, from coveted collector varieties to tried-and-true classics. Our houseplant experts are always available to help you pick out the best one for you — and geek out with you whenever we get in any truly unusual specimens. Stop by our Houseplant Greenhouse today to see what new plants we've received this week.