The Best Plants for Every Unique Space, From Low-Light to High-Humidity
Whether you’re new to the whole plant thing or you’re a seasoned green thumb, if you’re hankering for some more color and texture in your home, indoor plants are a great way to accomplish that. Of all the spaces in your home, your kitchen can specifically make for an ideal home for a few plant babies — but which ones you choose ultimately depends on your space and how you use it.
Best Plants for Hanging or High Shelves
If your kitchen is short on counter and floor space, take advantage of up-high shelves, or hang a planter on the ceiling to enjoy foliage without hogging valuable storage real estate. Ashley Nussman-Berry, founder of Black Planters, recommends the hardy pothos, which she says grow “lush leaves that cascade down over your kitchen.”
A bonus? These trailing beauties don’t require much maintenance, which is perfect, as you probably won’t want to constantly grab a step stool to tend to it.
3. String of pearls
However, you don’t want to skimp on sunlight. “String of pearls love a bit of morning sun if you have an east-facing window,” says Schutter.
4. Spider plant
Another low-maintenance option is the spider plant, which grows long, spider leg-like leaves. Compared to other trailing plants, this one remains relatively small when thriving, so it’s a great pick for smaller shelves or tight ceiling corners. “Plus, I find that the spider plant is almost impossible to kill,” says Tina Ho of Good Plant Care.
Best Plants for a Sunny Kitchen Window
Lucky enough to have a sunny window in your kitchen? Nussman-Berry says cacti thrive in direct light — plus, they aren’t too expensive and can often be found in local stores. Just be aware that you may need a spacious kitchen (or the option to relocate your plant). “Buy a small one and it has the potential to grow large in a bright spot,” she says.
3. Jade plant
Another succulent recommendation: the Jade Plant, Schutter says, loves bright light and can tolerate inconsistent watering patterns, so it’s great for beginners. Also, its thick, waxy leaves make it really pest-resistant, which is important for plants that might be in the kitchen or around varying amounts of humidity and heat.
4. Aloe vera
Best Plants for a Dark Kitchen Without Many Windows
Although all plants love, benefit from, and need light to survive, some plants can handle low light more than others, such as bamboo. “This plant is fun to look at and only requires some indirect light, so it would have no problem sitting in the corner of your counter to add a touch of green,” says Nussman-Berry. If you’d rather not keep yours in soil, you can also grow it in a vase of water!
2. Money trees
3. Snake plant
Looking for a nearly indestructible plant that can handle inconsistent watering and low-light conditions? Schutter recommends the vertical-growing, super-resilient snake plant for a fun statement on a corner counter, or in a pot on the floor.
Best Plants for a Humid Kitchen
1. Peace lilies
If you use your stove to cook a lot, or don’t have much ventilation in your kitchen, you have lots of options. Most indoor plants love humidity, as they’re often native to humid tropical forest understories, and Schutter says the flowering peace lily is no exception. Pro tip: Peace lilies can be finicky if under-watered. If yours becomes droopy, giving it a good bath in the nearby sink may help it perk up ASAP!
2. Boston ferns
While they have delicate, feathery fronds that soften a space, Boston ferns are quite resilient and grow lush in high humidity. “They’re also some of the best air-filtering plants,” says Schutter. FYI, Boston ferns do need a bit more care than some plants — they prefer indirect light and require regular watering, ensuring the soil remains damp but not soggy.
3. Areca palm
Another lush, tropical option for your kitchen: the areca palm, aka the bamboo palm. “Tropical plants absolutely love humidity, which means you could go for a real statement piece like this one,” Ho says.
Best Edible Plants for the Kitchen
2. “Micro Tom” tomatoes
This is a dwarf tomato plant variety that’s perfect for growing indoors with a limited amount of space. “They grow less than a foot tall, have a pretty decent fruit yield, and usually take 90 to 100 days to produce fruit, so the wait isn’t that long,” says Schutter. Just in time for a perfect summer BLT!
Keeping Kitchen Plants Happy
Once you find the perfect plants for your kitchen, keep in mind they may need some TLC to stay happy and healthy. Kitchens can experience major temperature fluctuations when you’re cooking, and some plants are sensitive to those sudden changes. “Keep them away from the oven if you notice a lot of dropping leaves,” says Schutter.
Be wary of overwatering, too. While it’s convenient to have the sink nearby, overwatering is one of the most common plant care mistakes. Schutter recommends watering when the top few inches of your soil is dry (and a lot longer for succulents).
Lastly, cooking can lead to a buildup of grease and grime that may end up settling on your plants. Regularly wipe down your plants’ leaves with a damp cloth to keep them clean so they can absorb light correctly. “This will also help prevent pests like spider mites, who really dislike moisture,” says Schutter.
Get the Kitchn Daily in your inbox.