A plant that makes a statement has drama and presence in a room and can be a feature on its own in a corner or a stand out in a crowd of other plants. Some can attract a person by their sheer boldness, like those with giant leaves; others will be tall and big, turning a room into an exotic haven; and others may be smaller but pack such a punch that you cannot help but notice them.
These are statement plants that everyone will be eager to get their hands on. Let’s see how gorgeous they are and how they enhance an interior space.
Fiddle Leaf Fig
The fiddle leaf, a timeless plant from tropical Africa, abounds indoors with proper care.
One of the iconic plants of the last few years has to be the fiddle leaf fig (Ficus lyrata). What is interesting about this plant is that it’s been around for ages and can be found in many old gardens, standing up to 50 feet tall. Confine it to a pot, and you get the benefits of its large, dark green fiddle-shaped leaves on straight stems at only 10 feet tall. It’s perfect for an empty corner of a room in bright, indirect sunlight.
This Ficus has its origins in tropical western Africa, so it will need some attention in the form of an extra bit of humidity – a spritz now and again will do, and it likes a bit of water. Allow the top inch of soil to dry out before watering, and make sure the water drains away.
As a pricey and unique statement plant, a variegated Monstera boasts unpredictable leaf patterns.
This plant makes the list because it has all the hallmarks of an exceptional statement plant. It has a genetic chlorophyll mutation that inhibits the green pigments in the leaves, leaving parts of them white or cream. What is fascinating is that as leaves unfold, you will never be quite sure how the mutation is going to present itself. It’s very unpredictable, making every leaf a gift.
Choose a well-lit area for this plant out of direct sunlight and keep it out of cold drafts. Feed and water like any other Monstera, but don’t overwater or overfeed.
Polka Dot Begonia
A trendy newcomer with silver-dotted leaves, this begonia requires warmth, humidity, and bright indirect light.
Another new kid on the block makes the list because of its very trendy silver spotted leaves. Most begonias are known for their intricate, colorful leaves, but Begonia maculata takes it to a new level with its long heart-shaped leaves with dark burgundy undersides. It even has white or pink flowers in summer.
I must admit to having killed my first polka pot begonia because I didn’t note the origins of the plant. It hails from the tropical rainforests of Brazil, so mimicking these conditions is best for the plant. It needs a warm spot with plenty of humidity and bright light but no direct sun to scorch the leaves. Feed yours every month with a liquid fertilizer and reduce watering and feeding in winter.
Zamioculcas zamiifolia ‘Whipped Cream’
Known as ZZ plants, these low-maintenance beauties feature variegated leaves, even with neglect.
Commonly known as ZZ plants, Zamioculcas zamiifolia is one of those plants that prefers a bit of neglect. It produces tall curved stems with dark green leaves in its original form, but look out for ‘Whipped Cream’. It has the most glorious variations in the leaves, from full green to full creamy yellow, and accompanying combinations of the two. With a surprise every time a new leaf stalk grows from the base, this plant is special and super easy to care for.
Give it a watering only when the soil is dry. In fact, if the soil is dry, leave it a few more days before watering. Place it in a bright corner and make sure it’s planted in sandy soil with good drainage.
This standout philodendron features striking red stems and vibrant, varied new leaves.
Many philodendrons deserve a spot on the statement plant list, but one of my favorites is ‘Autumn’. It has burgundy red stems and dark green leaves tinged with brown, but it’s the new leaves that burst from the center that make it unusual. A new leaf could be red, orange, copper, brown, or dark pink, which is such a contrast to the dark, moody rest of the plant.
It grows well in bright light with careful watering only when the top soil is dry. Give it some space in a room, and you won’t be disappointed by its performance.
Though old-fashioned, bamboo palms love the indoors.
This may be a bit of an old-fashioned addition to the list, but it still has a place in the home. Bamboo palms (Chamaedorea seifrizii) in the wild will grow up to 20 feet tall. They do, however, make excellent indoor plants and grow as high as the container allows. The tropical leafy look of the palm is what attracts designers to use it often to fill a bare corner. Its height makes it a great statement plant in a grouping.
This is a very forgiving plant with just the minimum care needed to keep it going. Water when the soil is dry, feed in the spring and summer, and give it space to spread.
Alocasia ‘Dragon Scale Black’
For a dramatic statement, choose Alocasia baginda, with mystical black heart-shaped leaves.
If drama is on your list of requirements in a statement plant, Alocasia baginda, will provide it in spades. The dark, moody, heart-shaped leaves on long stems seem to float on the air, giving this plant a mystical vibe. This one against a colored wall, even black, will make a striking display.
Give these a little water every couple of days to keep them evenly moist. Provide extra humidity with saucers of pebbles on water, and make sure they have good airflow around them, and you will have happy plants.
This resilient succulent thrives in narrow spaces, tolerating drought and direct sunlight.
If you want tough succulents that have a strong showing, you have to choose Sansevieria cylindrica, also known as elephant’s toothpick. The cylindrical rigid leaves can reach 7 feet high, and each grouping stands straight upwards from the container to fill a narrow space just perfectly.
It’s a drought-tolerant plant that can also take a bit of direct sunlight. Water sparingly, reduce water during winter, and make sure the soil is quick-draining. The only problems you experience with these are due to improper growing conditions. Give them what they need, and they’ll do very well.
Bird’s Nest Fern
This fern lives well on neglect, with arching leaves and adaptability to low light.
This fern prefers to be left alone to grow and sprout new leaves from the ‘nest’ in the center of the plant. I ignored mine for 20 years, and it’s still going strong. Like many ferns, the bird’s nest fern (Asplenium spp.) likes warm weather, humidity, and plenty of water. These do okay in low-light areas.
This plant has long arching leaves forming from the base that curve outwards. It can get quite big in the right container, making a bold display. Some new hybrids have really crinkly leaves, which make this old-fashioned plant more up-to-date and trendy.
This rare hybrid boasts bold, dark green leaves and prefers high humidity.
Anthurium plants are very popular houseplants with their waxy colorful bracts and spathes, but on the rare side is the hybrid Anthurium luxurians, with its dark green deeply veined leaves with a lighter green underside. This stunning plant is grown more for its leaves that are big and bold, but it does produce flowers with cream-colored spathes and a green spadix.
This plant likes high humidity and high temperatures in a location that receives plenty of indirect sunlight. Water every two weeks or so to avoid the soil drying out.
The watermelon peperomia stands out with succulent leaves perfect for hanging baskets.
One of my favorite peperomias has to be the ‘Watermelon’ with its stripy silver and green leaves that form little replicas of a type of watermelon. Although the plants grow around eight inches depending on the pot size, this one is part of the statement plants list mainly due to the roundness of the succulent leaves and the variegation that makes it stand out in a crowd. It is also fantastic in hanging baskets, so it becomes a designer’s dream to add the illusion of height in a room.
Water when the top soil layer is dry and give it bright indirect light with normal humidity and add some liquid plant food every two to four weeks during spring and summer. Be careful not to over- or underwater, and it will grow beautifully.
Tropical Pitcher Plants
These captivating carnivorous plants thrive indoors with high temperature, humidity, and bright light.
We are all fascinated with carnivorous plants, so it stands to reason that these hanging Nepenthes spp would be on this list. The occasional insect that flies into the pitcher will feed it, but that is not to say you have to invite insects into your home or catch flies to feed it; it will also suck nutrients from the soil too.
It’s a vining plant that will become a feature trailing from a high shelf or in a hanging basket. It also does well in large terrariums. It prefers a constant temperature on the high side (68-85°F or 20-30°C), high humidity of at least 60%, and an area with bright light but not direct sunlight.
Caladium ‘Heart to Heart White Wonder’
This plant features stunning white leaves and prefers bright, humid conditions.
The caladium of the year for 2021 (one of the Proven Winners) was this stunning white-leaved caladium with the reddest little spot at the stem point. This mostly white caladium brings a touch of the exotic tropics to a room, but it can also be light and airy in an all-white environment. The white color will also glow in the moonlight. It’s a standout amongst other green-leaved plants as it’s striking on its own.
Caladiums like bright light with no direct sunlight and lots of humidity. For this reason, they do well in bright bathrooms or with lots of spritzing in the heat of summer. They like the heat but also need regular watering to keep them thriving. There are so many special leaf colors in this group that at least one should be part of this collection.
Tradescantia ‘Leafjoy Feeling Flirty’
This trailing plant boasts vibrant striped leaves in various shades.
For interesting leaf color, this Tradescantia takes the cake. It has stripy leaves that feature mint green and light pink and then the brightest pink to purple underneath that peaks through. The coloration is what makes this one a joy to grow. It’s a good trailing plant in a bright spot and will do well in high humidity and warm temperatures.
Its captivating leaf color and growth have made it Proven Winners’ Houseplant of the Year for 2023. If an expert grower chooses a plant, you know it’s a good one. It likes regular water and feeding during Spring and Summer.
This plant, with striking foliage and unique patterns, thrives in warmth, ample water, and humidity.
Another leafy plant that comes out of a rainforest is the rattlesnake plant (Goeppertia insignis), known for its crazy dark and light green splotchy long leaves and its crazy name. Water this plant well and find a nice light position, and you will be rewarded with striking foliage with interesting patterns all year round. You may even see some spikes of yellow flowers in spring and early summer.
These plants like warm temperatures, plenty of water (but not so that it becomes waterlogged), and high humidity.
Phalaenopsis orchids, known for their beauty and long-lasting flowers, do best with regular watering and feeding.
At least one orchid needs to be on a statement plant list just because it is truly beautiful. These will flower for months on end, making them the perfect alternative to fresh flowers you can get. I chose the Phalaenopsis orchid because of its popularity and the variety of flower colors available. However, I must confess to having a penchant for the one that has pure white flowers with tiny touches of yellow and purple in the centers.
I do find it difficult to make it rebloom, and maybe some just have a knack for it. When the flowers are finished, they go into the garden under the trees. I have sometimes been lucky, and new flowers bloom again without me even trying. They love a good watering every three to four days. Make sure to drain them well and give them a good dose of orchid food or organic plant food for flowers.
This succulent, with delicate, trailing stems, enjoys well-lit, dry conditions.
Also known as Donkey’s Tail, this Sedum morganianum makes a spectacular display in a hanging basket or a pot set on high. The soft, light green succulent blobs attached all along the long stems are what it’s known for. This is also how it gets its name.
As a succulent, it likes a bit more dryness than other houseplants and a very well-lit position to flourish. Just be aware that the long strands of fleshy leaves are very delicate, so it shouldn’t be placed where it can be bumped.
This corn plant thrives in low-maintenance, filtered light conditions.
Dracaenas are very forgiving plants and can be very useful in a group of plants in a room’s design. Also known as corn plant, Dracaena massangeana has great thick stems and tufts of variegated leaves that sprout from the top like a bad hair day.
You can get different heights of these plants, which makes them easy to add to a layout. Once you have them, they just continue to grow taller with the wild leaves on the top – like a miniature palm tree.
They are good for areas that have low light but prefer relatively substantial filtered light. Water occasionally and that’s it; they are very low maintenance.
This vibrant perennial boasts warm-toned, multicolored leaves, doing best with light and humidity.
The broadleaf perennial Codiaeum variegatum has to be included in this list because of its fantastical leaf colors and combinations of warm tones of red, orange, yellow, green, burgundy, and all shades in between. Sometimes, all of these colors are present on one leaf. They are undoubtedly the most colorful indoor plants you can get and will make an impressive statement.
Give yours plenty of space as it will grow around six to eight feet indoors and branch out to three to six feet. The more light you can give it, the brighter the leaf colors. Remember, it’s a tropical plant that likes humidity and high temperatures.
Bird of Paradise
This is a popular large houseplant that thrives in a warm, bright space with regular watering.
Strelitzia reginae has become popular in recent years as a large houseplant with the iconic bird of paradise flowers in orange and bright blue. Originating from southern Africa, this plant prefers a warmer atmosphere and temperatures between 65-80°F (18-27°C).
Give it a good deal of space so that the big dark green leaves can arch outwards. Bright light is essential to make it flower, but even the green leaves are a lovely statement.
Once you have a good position, try not to move it. These plants are fickle, and may respond negatively to sudden changes. Water them regularly.
This ideal statement plant needs warmth, regular watering, and ample light.
We can often find olive tree standards (Olea europaea) that are specifically grown as indoor plants. These are the perfect statement plants. The iconic grey-green leaves make them a good color contrast to other green-leaved plants, and even if they don’t produce any olives for you, they are funky plants to have in an indoor garden.
Keep them away from drafts and cold temperatures, water often, and keep the soil moist. Don’t overwater, and give them as much light as you can. An olive will let you know that it’s not happy by dropping its leaves, so watch out for that and adjust its care accordingly.
Peace Lily ‘Sensation’
This exotic and robust peace lily prefers consistent watering and bright light.
The peace lily is a very popular houseplant mainly because it’s indestructible, and as long as it has water, it’s good to go. Now we have the most exotic and massive-leaved Spathiphyllum ‘Sensation’, which is big and bold and beautiful. The large glossy leaves just scream ‘exotic tropics’, and the bonus is the white sail flowers that appear between the flowing leaves.
This plant, like all other peace lilies, needs to be constantly monitored for water – the leaves will droop if it’s not getting enough. It will also tolerate a lot of different light, but not low light.
This tropical specimen needs space, light, warmth, and regular watering.
Grown more and more as an indoor plant, the banana plant (Musa acuminata) is the ultimate tropical plant with its large green and sometimes burgundy-mottled leaves. There are dwarf varieties that will fit in smaller spaces. Otherwise, it needs a good deal of space and lots of light to grow well. It’s unlikely that you will get a hand of bananas from one grown indoors, but the long, large leaves have enough impact to be part of a bold plant.
A banana tree prefers warm and humid environments and needs plenty of water. Give yours a good dose of liquid plant food every few weeks in the growing season.
Cast Iron Plant
This hardy and beginner-friendly plant lives in various light conditions with minimal watering.
As the name suggests, a cast iron plant (Aspidistra elatior) is as tough as nails and deserves a place as a specimen plant for its large dark green leaves and ability to survive under just about any circumstances. This is a good plant for a beginner.
This one will grow in any light, from a dark corner to a well-lit room, except for direct sunlight. Water now and again, but don’t overwater.
This large trailing vine makes an impact with glossy variegated leaves.
This large trailing plant (Epipremnum aureum) can be grown upright with support like a moss pole, or trailing from a pot or hanging basket. It has merit as a statement plant because of its mass of variegated glossy heart-shaped leaves. The more light (not direct sunlight) it gets, the brighter the variegation on the green and yellow leaves.
These plants are easy to care for and get up to 10 feet long. Provide them with a bit of water when the soil is dry and a monthly feeding in summer.
Grow a lemon tree indoors for its fragrant leaves and blooms.
Everyone should have a lemon tree, and if a garden is not available, grow one indoors. Just the fragrance of the leaves is enough to fill a home with a fresh bouquet. It’s not particularly normal to grow a lemon indoors, as they prefer a good deal of sunlight to set fruit. However, there are some dwarf varieties in the making, and ornamental citrus trees like the calamondin are also an option.
Place it where it gets the most direct sunlight, and supplement with grow lights if you are dead set on fruit. Water well and feed your tree an organic citrus fertilizer for fruit and flowers in the growing season. Keep these away from fluctuating temperatures.
This frilly fern, with flowing foliage, appreciates indirect light, high humidity, and moist soil.
The Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) is native to Florida and tropical America and is part of this list because of its extreme foliage that flows like a fountain from a pot or hanging basket. This fern has been around for some time and will be considered by some as old-fashioned. And yet, the lush foliage it sports makes it a timeless statement plant for a house or patio.
Indirect light and high humidity with moist soil will keep this plant going for many years.
Impactful plants are the ones you want in your collection. Whether they are rare or common, they have a special space in my house and will in yours, too. Besides, beautiful, bold plants just make a gardener happy.