Hanging plants add vertical interest to a room, dress up high ceilings and dull corners, and make it easy to fit a little more greenery into a small space. Green isn’t all you’ll get, though. Many of the trailing plants that look good in baskets offer striking colors and forms, and a few will reward you with flowers, too.
Even if you don’t have the greenest thumb, there are plenty of hanging plants that can thrive in your home.
Some highly adaptable species are happy in most light conditions and will forgive watering mistakes.
Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
Named for its long, leg-like leaves and dangling offshoots, the spider plant is one of the easiest house plants to care for, so it’s great for beginners. All it really needs is moderate, indirect light and well-drained soil that doesn’t get soggy.
In fact, it prefers to dry out between watering, so it’s a good choice if remembering to water your plants isn’t your forte. As a plus, it’s one of the best species for improving indoor air quality.
In spring, mature spider plants can produce small, white flowers and shoots known as spiderettes. These, combined with the plant’s boisterous growth pattern, makes it an attractive solo planting. Want more spider plants? Just root the spiderettes in soil or water.
Heartleaf Philodendron (hederaceum var. oxycardium)
This plant earned its name, which means “love tree” in Greek, from the heart-shaped form of its shiny, dark green leaves. It’s an easy house plant to care for, tolerating most light conditions and the occasional missed watering. That said, it grows best in bright shade with damp soil in summer and dry surface soil between watering in winter.
Unfortunately, eating the leaves can cause nausea and vomiting, so you’ll need to keep the plant away from children and pets.
Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
This is another of the few house plants that will thrive nearly anywhere you put it, producing a cascade of green-and-white variegated leaves. It’s adaptable to a wide range of light conditions and temperatures, and needs watering only once every week to 10 days. Its combination of durability and beauty is why it’s often found in offices, trailing along shelves and filing cabinets.
While it dislikes bright, direct light, low light conditions can make it lose its variegation. If eaten, the leaves can make kids and pets ill, so keep your pothos out of their reach.
Chain of Hearts (Ceropegia woodii)
The slender trailing stems of this plant are graced with pairs of thick, succulent-like, heart-shaped leaves every 3 inches or so. The well-spaced foliage gives the plant a light and airy look. A popular house plant in the 1970s, chain of hearts in a macrame hanger will add a little extra authenticity to a retro-style home.
Let the soil dry between watering and water less in winter when the plant is dormant.
These elegant plants will never go out of style.
Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Bostoniensis’)
A classic house plant that looks good in every style of home, the Boston fern is perennially popular for its lush growth and stately appearance.
While not extremely demanding, the plant does need sufficient humidity, moist soil, and dappled sunlight. When the air is too dry, this fern develops yellow leaves. Dry soil can kill it. Misting once or twice a week or placing the fern in a tray of pebbles and water can help.
On the plus side, its love of moisture makes it the perfect bathroom plant. Like the spider plant, the Boston fern is highly effective at removing toxins from the air.
English Ivy (Hedera helix)
It’s a staple of the traditional English cottage garden, but ivy is equally at home indoors in a hanging basket. If you’re going for an English countryside ambiance in your home, this plant can help.
Bright light is critical for healthy ivy, and poor lighting will leave it sickly and prone to pest infestation, while making variegated cultivars lose their white patches. Ivy also needs fertilizer monthly in spring and summer.
Shamrock Plant (Oxalis spp.)
Oxalis regnelli’s triangular green leaves provide a verdant backdrop for the delicate white flowers it produces throughout the cooler months. Looking for a little more color? Try false shamrock (Oxalis triangularis), which has purple leaves and pale pink flowers.
Oxalis is ideal if you’re short on space because it rarely grows higher than 6 inches. As a woodland plant, it prefers partial sunlight, cooler temperatures, and loose, sandy soil. Let the top 2 inches of soil dry before you water and then water from the bottom to avoid damaging the plant’s thin stems.
Unlike most plants, Oxalis goes dormant in summer rather than winter, so it needs less watering and light, and cooler temperatures during this time.
Petunias (Petunia spp.)
With their compact growth and relatively small blossoms, Multiflora and Milliflora petunias bring a burst of color to a space without taking it over. You can find them in white, red, purple, yellow, and variegated varieties.
These flowers love full sun, warmth, and well-drained soil that’s kept slightly moist, but take care not to overwater them. They’ll tolerate light shade, but they’ll bloom less and might get spindly.
Avoid Grandiflora petunias, which are better suited to the garden. Multiflora and Milliflora types don’t ramble as much as Grandiflower, but will still flow beautifully over the edge of a hanging basket.
Just one of these plants will bring new personality to the whole room.
String of Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus)
If you have a taste for the unusual, this plant is for you. An eye-catching trailing succulent, it gets its name from its long, thin stems and spherical green foliage that resemble pearls on a necklace. Thanks to its unique looks and undemanding nature, it’s recently been gaining popularity with interior decor enthusiasts.
It thrives in bright sunlight and prefers well-drained soil that’s left to dry between watering.
Burro’s Tail (Sedum morganianum)
Although not hairy as the name implies, this succulent does produce long, draping stems with close-set, lobe-shaped leaves that give them a bushy appearance. Its light grey-green or blue-green tone adds another layer of interest.
Burro’s tail needs plenty of bright sunshine and well-drained, gritty soil that’s kept evenly moist. It will tolerate underwatering, but overwatering can kill it. The leaves fall off easily when brushed against, so while it’s not ideal for high-traffic areas, it’s fine when kept up out of the way in a hanging basket.
Creeping Fig (Ficus pumila)
This clingy vine can be found with green or variegated green-and-white leaves. Its lush, exuberantly spreading growth pattern gives it a somewhat messy look, but it’s easy to train on wire or twine or prune frequently if you want to keep it under control.
It appreciates bright, filtered sunlight and moist soil, so water it when the top of the soil feels dry.
White Jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum)
The very mention of this plant’s name evokes the magic of its heady fragrance and abundant white blossoms. Even a small plant can fill a room with unforgettable perfume. While most flowering plants don’t bloom well indoors, jasmine is the exception, so make sure you love the scent before you buy this plant.
It needs at least some bright, direct sun and soil that’s slightly moist at all times. It’s fine with summer heat, but should be moved to a cool part of the house in winter.
While most of the best hanging plants are fairly low maintenance, paying attention to the needs and growth habits of each will help you find the ones that will flourish in your home.
If you’re just getting started with house plants, try a laid-back species such as the spider plant, heartleaf philodendron or pothos, which will forgive a beginner’s mistakes.
To give your home an inviting, yet elegant touch, you can’t go wrong with the Boston fern or English Ivy.
For a striking specimen plant that can act as a conversation piece all by itself, string of pearls and white jasmine are good choices.