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

updated Apr 16, 2024
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Houseplants are trendier than ever these days — and we’re not mad about it. Not only are they a great, inexpensive way to spruce up any kitchen, but they can be pretty beneficial too. The right plant can help purify your air, increase morale and productivity, or even step in when first aid is needed. Plants can also really brighten a space and add a needed pop of color, making them a quick and easy way to spruce up your decor.

If you’ve been wanting to transform your kitchen into a mini urban jungle, consider bringing one of these houseplants into your kitchen. All 13 are pretty easy to care for, which means you can’t really mess this up, whether or not you have a green thumb. Many of these plants can be purchased online so you don’t even have to leave the house to create your green oasis.

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1. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)

Peace lilies are beautiful plants that can help bring a sense of calm to any space (hence the name). Their long, elegant white flowers contrast against their large, dark green leaves. Peace lilies are easy to care for, can survive in low-light, and don’t need to be watered daily. They are native to the tropics and grow on the forest floor, so direct sunlight will cause them to dry out quickly. Plus, they’ll let you know when they need a drink because their leaves will droop.

Why it’s great for the kitchen: Peace lilies are great at cleaning the air, and they like humid conditions which makes the kitchen a perfect spot. They’re pretty hard to kill and very low-maintenance. Pop a pot on your kitchen counter, a great spot especially if you have kids or pets as their leaves are toxic to ingest.

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2. Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema)

These vibrant plants with bright, green leaves spotted with red, pink, yellow, or white will add instant joy to any kitchen. Nearly impossible to kill, Chinese evergreen can tolerate virtually any condition and go a long time without being watered, making them ideal for those who don’t have the greenest thumb.

Why it’s great for the kitchen: Chinese evergreen can survive in low light and even windowless rooms or just artificial light alone. So don’t worry if your kitchen doesn’t have a window (or a very small one at that). They are toxic to cats and dogs, so be sure to keep them out of reach of your furry friends.

3. ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas)

ZZ plants are perfect for first-time plant owners. They have gorgeous glossy, dark green leaves and do best in low-light areas. They aren’t needy so you can neglect them, and they’ll be just fine. ZZ plants thrive in drought-like conditions and prefer to be on the drier side. Water them sparingly, and you’re good to go.

Why it’s great for the kitchen: ZZ plants are extremely tough and resilient so they’ll handle anything your kitchen throws at them with ease. They also help to purify the air and will do well in a shady spot. Depending on how big the plant you choose is, you can set them on the floor or on your kitchen island. Be sure to keep them out of reach as they can be toxic to children and animals.

4. Heartleaf Philodendron (Philodendron hederaceum)

Also known as the sweetheart philodendron, these beautiful draping plants are hard to kill and come in a variety of shades. Similar to the plants above, they do great in low-light areas, so no worries if your kitchen doesn’t get a lot of natural light. In fact, they actually don’t do well in direct sunlight. Philodendrons also require good drainage and can either be grown in soil or water.

Why it’s great for the kitchen: Heartleaf philodendrons look great in a terrarium or hanging from a basket, leaving more room on your counter while you beautify your space. They are also known to grow fast so you’ll get a pretty trail of leaves in no time. Keep out of reach of dogs, cats, and horses (hopefully the latter aren’t normally in your kitchen).

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5. Coffee Plant (Coffea arabica)

Ever wanted to grow your own coffee? Well, now you can! While it’ll take a few years for them to flower and grow berries that can be roasted, you can still enjoy it’s shiny green leaves in the meantime. Coffee plants don’t need to be watered every day (once a week is typically fine), but make sure the soil is fully saturated.

Why it’s great for kitchens: Coffee plants grow best in hot and humid conditions (they are tropical plants, after all!) making them great for kitchens. They also don’t need a lot of light and will do well in a shady corner. Note: The leaves are toxic to humans and pets, and keep them away from any drafts.

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

6. 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 some time in direct sunlight), and adds a beautiful splash of color to the space. 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: English ivy 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, dogs and other four-legged friends.

(Image credit: Abbye Churchill)

7. Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis Mille)

Referred to as the “plant of immortality,” aloe vera is one of the most difficult plants to kill. Aloe vera is a beautiful and distinctive-looking plant filled with vitamins and minerals that are great for your skin, so it’s kind of 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 burn yourself cooking. 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)

8. Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra Elatior)

This hearty, hassle-free houseplant can tolerate a lot 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 hours of the oven being on). No matter what happens in your kitchen, this plant will survive it.

(Image credit: cocone)

9. Aluminum Plant (Pilea Cadierei)

If your kitchen is filled with stainless steel appliances, the aluminum plant’s green and metallic silver leaves will be a fitting addition. Keep it 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’s easy to care for, the aluminum plant’s main appeal in the kitchen is its coloring. Plus, the fact that it’s a good hanging plant means you’ll save valuable counter space.

(Image credit: Rachel Jacks)

10. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum Comosum)

Spider plants are capable of thriving under a variety of conditions and don’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, spider plants help remove odor, fumes, and pollutants from the environment.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

11. Basil (Ocimum Basilicum)

Basil is one of the easiest herbs you can grow in your kitchen, and there’s no shortage of uses for it in the kitchen. Make a delicious pesto or throw a few sprigs on top of your lasagna. Just know that it loves plenty of sun and moist soil but dislikes cold, drafty areas. 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.

12. Snake Plant (Dracaena Trifasciata) 

Snake plants thrive when you basically forget about them. They don’t need much water or light, making them a breeze to care for.

Why it’s great for the kitchen: If your kitchen (or life in general) is super busy, the last thing you need is a high-maintenance plant. 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

13. Pothos (Epipremmum aureum)

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

Why it’s great for the kitchen: These plants were basically designed to dangle from cabinets and shelving, making them a perfect way to add a bit of greenery.