In this article, colourful indoor container leaf plants that are grown for their beautiful leaves will be discussed. Most indoor plants tend to have plain green leaves, with no patternation, making no real point of interest. Green leaves do not make a striking feature for an indoor plant, where you want something which makes a bold statement in the home.
You are looking for something that has some different features from interesting leaf shapes, deep and colourful veins, or some interesting patternation. The leaves may still be green but the bicolor or tricolours associated with it makes it more special. Let us face it some modern décor or paint schemes are not conjunctive to plain green plants.
We need plants of different leaf colours or beautiful intrinsic patternation, so that colour scheme can be matched or enhanced. It is also good to realize that green is not the only colour and that more doors are open to you. Coloured leaf plants are also brilliant for those who want something extraordinary, often not found in peoples homes.
You can be seen as a trendsetter. What follows are coloured leaf houseplants that I would recommend for people to use in their homes:
This spectacular flowering plant produces long bower-like catkins, which dangle down from leaf joints. These catkins are bright red and are produced occasionally through-out the year. The leaves themselves are a joy to look at, as it mixes green, copper and reds. It evokes a scene from the tropics, which is funnily enough from where it originates from.
The most unfortunate drawback concerning Acalphya is that the plant is difficult to look after. The plant prefers to be grown in a constant temperature of 18 degree Celsius and in light shade. In fact, this 2m tall plant prefers the conservatory to the inside of homes.
To do its best the plant needs to be kept moist at all times especially in summer, where a regular misting will not go unrewarded. You will need to keep the plant warm and in high humidity. Feed throughout summer months and prune back each spring.
These succulents are available in two forms that are distinct from each other. Aeonium arboreum and its cultivars have tall, thin branches, which are topped by rosettes of purple-black leaves.
Aeonium tabuliforme, on the other hand, has a low-lying rosette of leaves that are flat in natures and only grow up to 10cm in height The plant can, therefore, be between 10cm to 2m in height.
In spring, yellow flowers are produced in racemes. The best cultivar to grow is ‘Zwartkop’. The plant does best if it is placed in direct sunlight, making sure that it is fed several times over summer. It will need watering regularly during this period, but in winter cut back watering so that the compost is almost dry. Move to a cooler place in winter.
If you got a shady area of the house then this is a plant for you. They have attractive large leaves that are often variegated in shades of green, grey-green, silver or pale yellow. These colours will brighten any shady spot in the house, where many other houseplants will suffer.
This 1.2m tall plant required an average temperature in summer, but a warmer temperature in winter. It will require to be watered well in summer, sparingly in winter, allowing it to dry between watering. In summer, feed once a month with a liquid fertilizer.
ALOCASIA (Elephant’s Ear)
This 2m tall plant is a hugely impressive indoor foliage plant specimen that has large, dramatic, dark green leaves that are serrated. The shape of the leaf is quite dramatic, as it looks like a spearhead.
The best variation to use in the home is ‘Black Velvet’, as this plant produces yellow spathes throughout the year.
Grow this houseplant in bright filtered light at average to warm temperatures in summer. Water well in summer, reducing its frequency throughout the winter months. Every 3 weeks whilst in growth, feed with balanced liquid fertilizer.
Most people think of begonias as an outdoor summer bedding plant. They also make attractive indoor flowering plants. The flowering begonia has been discussed here.
What is less known are the foliage cultivars, which have beautiful colourful and uniquely shaped leaves. Most foliage begonias are descended from Begonia rex, which has been crossed to develop a number of begonias with leaf colours, shapes and even textures.
The leaves can comes in shades of red, green, purple, pink, silver, and yellow, which are often banded in circles from the edge of the leaves inwards. Some plants are subtly coloured, whilst others are bold and brash. Some varieties also have predominant leaf veins, which makes them look stunning. For houseplants lovers, there is a begonia to suit all home and tastes.
Apart from the colours available, leaf shapes are also interesting some are asymmetrical that have a spiral formed at the centre of the leaf. In others, the edge of the leaf can be coiled or fringed.
Grow this 30cm tall foliage plant in average temperature away from direct sunlight. Begonias need to be watered moderately and misted during the growing season. Water less in winter.
These are some of the most impressive leaf plants you can buy. The leaves are almost completely pink, white, or red. Not only the colour but its vibrancy, which makes this is a striking plant. Some leaves will be speckled, others monochrome across the whole leaf. Yet again, other stained with colours along the leaf vein margins.
The colorful plant is beautiful to look at but is not an easy plant to look after.
This 40cm tall plant needs constant warm temperatures and high humidity. Water moderately in spring, increase watering in summer, and sparingly in winter. Grow in good, bright light and feed monthly with liquid fertilizer.
This plant which grows up to 3m has papery leaves that come in bold colours. The colours can be blob-shaped or in thin stripes in shades of green and white. The colours are not the only interesting thing about this plant, as the leave shaped is also a talking point. The leaves can be rounded or they can be long and stretched.
This attractive plant can be difficult to grow, as they need a warm temperature all year round, along with high humidity. Grow in light shade, where it will be required to be watered well from spring all the way to autumn. You need to water with soft, tepid water and feed once a month during the growing season with liquid fertilizer.
CHLOROPHYTUM (Spider Plant)
This familiar indoor plant grows up to 20cm in height with its attractive, variegated spiny leaves that are on show. Its popularity is due to its easy growing nature and speed of growth. Add to this its ease of propagation you can see why the plant is a winner.
Spider plants need to be grown in plenty of light in order to thrive, as shade will cause the variegation to disappear. The best place in the home is a sunny windowsill. To look after water well during the growing season and moderately in winter. Feed monthly with a liquid fertilizer during the summer months.
The leaves of Codiaeum plants can be said to be one of the most colorful houseplants that you can buy. The leaves emerge as one set of bright colours that matures to different shades of colours. They are a really stunning plant.
Saying this the plant is not easy to grow as it needs warm temperature and high humidity throughout the year. This 1.5m tall plant is best grown in bright, filtered light, where they need to be misted once a day.
The leaves of ctenanthe are elongated, often variegated, with brilliant coloured underneath. The leaves often look like a bird feather. Ctenanthe ‘Tricolor’ is often the most beautiful of the group. Grow this 1m tall plant in light shade in warm growing conditions.
Water well in spring to autumn, less so in winter. Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer once a month during the growing season.
This is a foliage plant that has large, variegated and bold leaves. They are often sold as a short leaf plant but this is misleading as they can reach up to 2m in height.
They prefer to grow in the shade in summer, whilst in winter they prefer to be moved to a spot that gets more light. Not an easy plant to look after, as it needs high temperatures all year round. Water well in summer sparsely in winter. Feed with liquid fertilizer once every month during the growing season.
FITTONIA (Painted Net Leaf, Nerve Plant or Snake Skin Plant)
This attractive plant is grown for their small, rounded and beautifully coloured leaves. The leaves themselves have colourful veins etched all over them.
Fittonia verschaffeltii has dark green leaves with pink veins and a pink coloration that covers the whole leaf. This intensifies the green so that it almost appears black. F. verschaffeltii var. argyroneura has bright green leaves with predominant white veins. This 15cm tall plant prefers to be grown in bright, filtered light in average temperature.
Not an easy plant to look after, as it needs warmth in winter and high humidity all year round. Needs to be misted at least once a day.
HYPOESTES (Polka Dot Plant or Freckle Face Plant)
Hypoestes has leaves that are splashed with vibrant colours, which give rise to their common names. The names are descriptive of the many dotted leaves. The base of the leaves are green but as it grows upwards the variegation occurs that colours the leaves from pale, pink-white through to pink, red or purple.
To grow this 30cm tall plant in bright, filtered light, where in summer to autumn, purple flowers on spikes appear.
This plant needs an average temperature to do well. Watered well but not excessively in summer and sparingly in winter. Increase humidity in hot weather and mist plants every day.
This 30cm tall houseplant has broad, oval leaves that are velvety in texture. The leaves themselves are boldly patterned with stripes and blotches of many colours. This could be brown, yellow-green, bright red or even dark green.
Grow this plant in shade in summer, where the colours will be at the best. The colours will fade if even a small amount of sunlight hits the leaves. Saying this in winter they will need light but not direct sunlight. Average temperature will be sufficient, along with high humidity, where they should be misted frequently.
Peperomia are mainly grown for their patterned, puckered and variegated leaves and not for their white, erect flowers from spikes that are produced in summer.
The plants are neat slow-growing and have been extensively bred to produce a wide range of coloured, textured leaves. For once, a plant that is easy to care for.
The different species have different growing habits. Peperomia caperata and its varieties have a neat, rounded habit with heart-shaped leaves that emerge from a rounded mound. Often grown for its deeply corrugated leaves and its neat habit.
This species is also grown for its flowers that resemble rat tails (hence its common name). P. marmorata is a similar plant and growing habit of P. caperata. It has leaves that are pale silver, with dark, sunken leaves that emphasize the colours of the leaf.
P. griseoargentea also has silver leaves but has also coppery veins.
THERE ARE OTHER VARIETIES THAT CAN BE GROWN
The second commonly grown Peperomia is called P. obtusifolia that has an upright form, where the leaves are thicker and waxier than those of P. caperata. The upright growing habit prevents it from having a neat appearance. ‘Variegata’ has broad yellow edges to its mid-green leaves.
The final group includes P. rotundifolia and P. scandens which have a trailing habit. This is an interesting group as this contains unusual leaf textures and variegation. Not a difficult plant to look after as long as some requirements are met.
The leaves are like succulent leaves and so will not require much water. Always allow the compost to dry out between watering. Hardly water in winter and only do so if the compost is totally dry. The funny thing is that despite this, it will need to be misted once or twice a day during summer and hot weather. Grow it in average temperature in bright, filtered light.
Unusually for a houseplant, it needs an acidic based ericaceous compost in order to flourish. All watering should be done with rainwater to avoid decreasing the pH of the compost.
Peperomias do not like to be disturbed. So do not repot every year. Potting on should only occur when the roots start filling the existing pot, then it can be rehoused in the next available pot size.
This 90cm tall houseplant has similarities to ivy, as it has a trailing habit. The only difference is that plectranthus leaves are glossier and fleshier than ivy, so, therefore, will stand out more. The plant has variegated light green to dark green foliage.
It is an attractive plant, easy to care for sand will tolerate a range of growing conditions.
Swedish ivy originated from Australia and South Asian but it is widely grown as an indoor plant in Sweden and hence its common name.
Grow in bright, filtered light in average temperature, where all it needs is to be well watered in summer. It is a forgiving plant as it will not suffer if the compost is allowed to dry out a little.
Many Tradescantias are hardy, outdoor perennials that produce flowers in summer that are purple, blue or white. This is not the only group that can be grown, as many Tradescantias will do well indoors, as it is a useful plant that had variegated leaves and a trailing habit.
All varieties are easy to grow and will tolerate a little neglect.
Tradescantia fluminesis ‘Quicksilver’ is known as the Wandering Jew, where trailing stems of pale green and white leaves can be observed. Several other cultivars have different combinations of colours, but all have striped, rounded leaves and a vigorous, trailing habit.
T. zebrina colouring of its leaves are bolder and its leaves are larger. The colours are predominantly dark purple and silver, with the undersides of the leaves, are a deep purple. Do not water too much, as the other Tradescantia, as it would not like it, especially if the compost becomes waterlogged.
If you are looking for a truly remarkable species then T. pallida ‘Purpurea’ is your main plant. It is mainly different from other species, as the leaves are far more elongated than other species, but they are completely purple on both sides.
All varieties of Tradescantia can flower at any time of the year, which are usually pink, purple or white in colour. The flowers pale into insignificant compared to the leaves.
These plants are grown for their leaves and not for the blooms they produce. An added bonus is that they are easy to propagate from, so making it a popular houseplant.
Grow this 90cm plant in bright, filtered light in an average to cool temperature. Do not overwater in summer as this can kill the plant. Reduce watering in winter, barely keeping the soil moist. Mist daily in summer where the humidity should be high.
In this article, colourful indoor container leaf plants have been discussed. As you can see there are many houseplants that can be used to give more brightly coloured leaves than plain, standard green leaves.
The houseplants that I have selected not only are brightly coloured but are also interesting in shape and texture. No matter your indoor décor or colour schemes, there is a houseplant for you. Some will take a lot of looking after, whilst others are easier to look after.
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Broaden your rainbow today.
12 thoughts on “Colourful Indoor Container Leaf Plants (Grow More than Plain Green Leaves)”
Hi Antonio, this article really shows your passion and love for the indoor plants. Indirectly, you are contributing to a great cause and our earth needs best buddies like you who can educate people to plant more trees to release the carbon dioxide burden that our earth currently has. I really love your idea and I wished that I had knowledge about the plants, so that I could also join you for this amazing cause. Keep up the good work mate.
We only have one world to live in and we must all do our bit to save it. Houseplants are some of the best plants to grow and purify your home.
The older I get the more I appreciate beautiful flowers and vegetation. I am partial to reds and blue for some reason. Looking through the various flowers you have listed, I think I like Begonia. I like flowers that can have red leaves but this plant has so much variety. It seems this plant can be adapted to fit in with a variety of house decor.
Thank you for your kind words and I hope you go for a plant or two.
These are some beautiful plants I actually have the ALOCASIA (Elephant’s Ear) in my garden. When I was a kid growing up my parents had the ALOCASIA (Elephant’s Ear) inside and I must say I actually think it grows better indoors than outside. I must say the Purpurea is stunning. How often would you recommend watering this plant to prevent root rot?
All of the plants I suggest are beautiful because you may say that I have an eye for the ladies. Alocasia needs to be watered well whilst it is in active growth, not allowing the compost to dry. In winter water less and do no let the compost dry. It is hard to cause root rot in this plant, but my article on Indoor Container Gardening (How to Get the Best from Your Indoor Plants) will help you mm
Thanks, Antonio, for a great page with great descriptions and images. Even though I have a “black thumb” I feel like I can be successful adding some of these to my home. The varieties of plants are well described, and everything is an easy read. Consider enlarging the images, they are lovely, but so small, especially if someone is reading on a smart phone. I shared your site with social media, I believe a few of my friends will love your site.
Thank you for the visit and the share, as my wish is to make container gardening easier and accessible for all, no matter your ability or not. I keep my imagine small to keep site speed to a manageable level and hope you understand.
Interesting ideas I always get from your posts everytime concerning container gardening and it has helped both me and my cousin in our gardening projects immensely. However, I would like to seek your knowledge concerning one thing. The plants you’ve suggested here are excellent and I might consider planting some but I wish to know if they can be planted using the aquaponic form of gardening please?
You are quickly becoming part of the family and look forward to your insights. Aquaponics is becoming big in America but not much so in the UK, and yes most houseplants can be grown using this system. The only exception would be houseplants that do not like too much moisture. I will be writing an article on the subject very soon and if you sign up to my email list you will know when it is published.
I’m one of those people who love indoor houseplants.
Your post has enlighted me on a lot of things. All my houseplants are green and the thought of exploring coloured leaf plants never crossed my mind. I’m the type of person who looks for something extraordinary.
I appreciate the fact that you have already done the homework for me by recommending coloured leaf houseplants.
So, I dont have to scratch my head trying to figure out the best plant to choose.
I will start with the Wandering Jew since it makes an excellent houseplant. I have a question. I have heard that some houseplants can be poisonous if swallowed by kids. Is the Wandering Jew something to worry about?
Thank you for your visit and your kind words. Colorful houseplants will look stunning in anybody’s home and not missed by people looking for such plants. Yes, some indoor plants will be toxic but hhd best way is not to grow them in he first place or out of reach, so they will not be tempted to touch them.