8 of the Best Houseplants That’ll Thrive in Any Kitchen

updated Aug 17, 2022
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Houseplants couldn’t be trendier these days. And we’re not mad about it. Because not only are they a great, inexpensive way to spruce up any kitchen, but they can also be pretty useful in the kitchen. The right plant can help purify your air, increase morale and productivity, or even step in when first aid is needed.

Consider bringing one of these houseplants into your kitchen. They’re all pretty easy to care for, which means you can’t really mess this up.

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

1. English Ivy (Hedera Helix)

A lush, green plant that’s perfect for hanging over your sink or by a window, English ivy is easy to grow indoors (as long as it gets time in direct sunlight) and adds a beautiful splash of color to any kitchen. Its pointy leaves come in a variety of shades of green with accents of whites, yellows, and blacks, so you can be sure to find a variety to match your kitchen.

Why it’s great for the kitchen: The ivy plant can help purify the air, as it’s one of the top reducers of indoor air pollutants such as formaldehyde, benzene, mold, and bacteria. Just be sure to keep this guy out of reach of cats and dogs and other four-legged friends, because English ivy is toxic to them.

(Image credit: Abbye Churchill)

2. Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis Mille)

Referred to as the “plant of immortality,” aloe vera is one of the most difficult plants to kill, even if you keep it in your kitchen. A beautiful and distinctive-looking plant filled with vitamins and minerals that are great for your skin, having a potted aloe vera is like having 24/7 access to a pharmacy.

Why it’s great for the kitchen: Keep it next to the stove and it’ll come in handy the next time you inevitably burn yourself. Just cut off a lower leaf near the stalk, remove any spines along the edge, split the leaf lengthwise, and score the gel-filled interior. Rub the gel right on the burn and you’ll feel almost instant cooling effects.

(Image credit: Kim Lucian)

3. Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra Elatior)

Add an unusual cast iron piece to your kitchen in the form of this hearty, hassle-free houseplant. Bright green and leafy, the cast iron plant can tolerate much more than your average houseplant, including extremely low light, extreme and fluctuating heat, and infrequent watering. No matter how bad you think you are at keeping things alive, you’d be hard-pressed to kill this evergreen. Put it in the corner of your kitchen, breakfast nook, or dining room.

Why it’s great for the kitchen: Its cute and fitting name isn’t the only reason to add this plant to your kitchen decor. You never know what climate your kitchen will be (one day, it’s sticky and humid from the simmering stovetop; another day, it’s dry and hot from the hours of the oven being on). No matter what happens in your kitchen, though, this plant will survive it.

(Image credit: cocone)

4. Aluminum Plant (Pilea Cadierei)

Have all stainless steel appliances? The aluminum plant’s green and metallic silver leaves will be a fitting addition. Keep this in a hanging basket and away from hot or cold drafts (like your heater or air conditioner).

Why it’s great for the kitchen: Another plant that is easy to care for, the aluminum plant’s main appeal in the kitchen is its coloring. And the fact that it’s a good hanging plant means you’ll save valuable counter space.

(Image credit: Rachel Jacks)

5. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum Comosum)

Also easy to care for, the spider plant is capable of thriving under a variety of conditions, and doesn’t require much care at all. Keep this plant anywhere in your kitchen — by the window in the sun, on the countertop underneath overhead cabinets — and watch it grow with the help of occasional waterings and infrequent pruning.

Why it’s great for the kitchen: A great natural air purifier, the spider plant helps remove odor, fumes, and pollutants from the environment.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

6. Basil (Ocimum Basilicum)

Basil really is one of the easiest herbs you can grow in your kitchen. Just know that it loves plenty of sun, dislikes cold, drafty areas, and likes a moist soil. If you have a south-facing kitchen window, this is the plant for you.

Why it’s great for the kitchen: Why pay $2 a pop for just a few sprigs of basil at the grocery store when you can grow your own? The best news: The plant does best when you harvest fairly frequently.

7. Snake plant (Dracaena Trifasciata) 

Snake plants do their best when you basically forget about them. They don’t need much water and they definitely don’t need much light.

Why it’s great for the kitchen: If yours is the kind of kitchen that’s just way too busy, with say, the phone ringing and kids running in and out, the last thing you need is a high-maintenance plant that needs your attention. Stick this in a corner (it’s taller than it is wide, so it won’t take up a ton of space) and water it every other week or just once a month, depending on how dry the soil gets.

Credit: Anna Spaller Photography

8. Pothos

When we see plants in a kitchen, nearly nine out of 10 times, it’s going to be some form of  pothos plants. They’re hardy trailing vines that can handle all sorts of light conditions.

Why it’s great for the kitchen: These things were basically designed to dangle from cabinets and shelving.