One of the best low-maintenance ways to add freshness and charm to your living space is by adding indoor hanging plants. They are easy to manage, don’t take up much space, hang up away from pets, and have better access to light. As a bonus, they can also help purify the air and reduce stress.
However, finding the right combination of plants to suit your decor and level of green thumb can be tricky, especially if you are a first-time buyer. To help you find the right plants for your unique needs, we spoke with Leslie Halleck, a horticulturist and author of several books including “Gardening Under Lights: The Complete Guide for Indoor Growers.”
Along with some gorgeous and resilient varieties to choose from, you’ll also find maintenance tips and safety advice so you can best care for your new plant.
Should I worry about hardiness zones?
A hardiness zone is a geographical area or a temperature range in which plants of a particular variety are said to thrive. “Typically, an assigned USDA Hardiness Zone will give you guidance as to the coldest temperatures your plant can tolerate and survive in,” says Halleck.
“Indoors, where your environment is relatively mild and consistent, you don’t need to worry about the hardiness zone,” she says. But if you plan to hang your plants outside during the winter months, make sure you are picking plants that are hardy to the colder temperatures.
You can find the full list of hardiness zones here.
Spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum) are one of the most popular picks among hanging plant lovers for a multitude of reasons. It adjusts well to moderate light environments, needs little water to survive, and suits most modern home decor.
Tillandsia, commonly known as the air plant, is another popular indoor hanging plant because of its low maintenance nature. They don’t require soil to grow so you can place them anywhere. Hang them inside glass globes or mason jars for a pretty modern-boho look. About once a week, water them by soaking them in a bowl of water for 20 minutes to an hour.
This slow-growing trailing vine plant is often featured in stock photos because it’s so aesthetically pleasing. Satin pothos (Scindapsus pictus) thrives in a warm climate (65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit) and high humidity. But remember that satin pothos is not pet friendly as it contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals that, when consumed, can cause inflammation and vomiting, says Halleck.
Neon prayer plant
Neon prayer plants’ (Maranta leuconeura) multicolored leaves make them an eye-catching piece of decor. Plus, they’re easy to manage, thrive in low light conditions, and are pet-friendly, making them a great fit for most homes. For healthy growth, remember that prayer plants and their relatives need good drainage so make sure your hanging planter has holes with a catch tray, says Halleck.
Bird’s nest fern
While the bird’s nest fern (Asplenium nidus) is not a trailing or vining plant like most hanging plant options, “the bright green leaves grow outward in an arching form, creating a full and dramatic look in a hanging planter,” says Halleck. These rainforest natives thrive in warmth and humidity and would love an environment like a bathroom.
When thinking of vine plants, ivies often spring to mind first. Due to its bright light and frequent watering needs, English ivy (Hedera helix) often thrives best outdoors, but it makes for a great short-term indoor hanging plant, especially if you have a bright airy room, says Halleck.
Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera buckleyi) is a gorgeous variety of seasonal indoor plant. It is super easy to manage, needs infrequent watering, and adds a bright pop of color to your living space. The flowers — which, true to their name, tend to bloom in the winter — also add freshness and a pleasant scent to your room.
The arrowhead plant (Syngonium podophyllum) is a fast-growing plant that thrives in home temperatures. Its leaves change shape as it grows and matures, transforming from the appropriately-named arrowhead shape to a multi-lobed leaf, so you always have slightly new decor to look at. They also start to climb upwards as they grow and may latch onto your planter’s hanger.
The heartleaf philodendron (Philodendron hederaceum) has lovely deep green glossy leaves named for their heart shape. They are also easy to manage. “These plants can approach dry between waterings (meaning they don’t like to be overwatered or sit in standing water for too long) and are relatively fuss-free,” says Halleck.
Dischidia are a family of trailing succulents that are actually uncommon to find as houseplants. But their easy-to-grow nature makes them an underrated pick. “Most types of Dischidia trail and sport interesting fleshy or puffy leaves that help them hold extra water when soil is dry,” says Halleck. “That makes these plants perfect for forgetful waterers!”
Can any plant be a hanging plant?
“Trailing and vining plants are better for hanging,” says Halleck. “But you can place any plant in a hanger as long as it is getting the amount of light it needs to thrive.” Look for plants that will have at least some foliage that will grow over the edge of the pot, just to give it a fuller look in the hanger, she suggests.
Hanging plants are often lower maintenance than other houseplants because they can be placed with better access to light. Many are pet-friendly and even if they’re not, hanging them up high keeps them well out of reach of most pets to prevent accidental ingestion. Look for plants that trail and hang off the planter to create a dramatic effect or ones with full, lush foliage that adds volume and height.