14 Colorful Indoor Houseplants That Will Brighten Up Your Home

colorful houseplants
Photo by Amy Chen on Unsplash

Fresh blooms and colorful cuttings are beautiful additions to your space, but despite the many tips to make flowers last longer, sooner or later, they fade. Instead of chasing petals and adding different species that bloom in various seasons, there's a better way to keep the color in your home: With plants that bear vibrant tones on their leaves year-round.

These bright, beautiful houseplants range from compact, low-light lovers to large, sun-soaking tropical species. Their eye-catching shades can liven up your indoor garden—with no vase needed.

Read on for 14 of our favorite colorful houseplants to brighten up your home.

Meet the Expert

Alexandra Jones is a certified Master Gardener in Philadelphia. As an indoor and outdoor gardener, Jones is an author in topics covering gardening, climate, urban farming, and sustainability.

01 of 14

Croton

GETTY IMAGES/MATTHEW LLOYD

MATTHEW LLOYD/ GETTY IMAGES

  • Botanical Name: Codiaeum variegatum
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, direct light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting soil
  • Soil pH: 4.5 to 6.5

The leaves of these vivid, easygoing plants are speckled, striped, or veined with a rainbow of color. Some variants stay true to the classic two-toned look, while others marble together in a blend of several colors. Depending on the variety you choose, your croton’s leaves can range from shades of red and green to yellow, orange, pink, purple, and more.

To grow croton in your home, choose a place near a south-facing window that receives lots of direct sunlight. Unlike many flowering plants (which can lose their colors in too much light), this hardy species tolerates the strongest rays of sun to stay bright. Without enough exposure, your croton's leaves can lose their signature color and fade to green—so be sure its place in your home sees plenty of direct sun.

02 of 14

Fittonia

GETTY IMAGES/YIPPA

YIPPA / GETTY IMAGES

  • Botanical Name: Fittonia albivenis
  • Sun Exposure: Medium indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting soil
  • Soil pH: 6.5

Also known as nerve plant or mosaic plant, fittonia gets its name for its precise, intricate leaf patterns. This compact, low-growing plant can be found in shades of green, but it's also known for its bright variants with white, pink, and red colors.

To keep the oval-shaped leaves of your fittonia healthy, find a place with indirect light to maintain its tones. You'll also want to ensure this plant receives plenty of humidity and lives in a space with temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees. While fittonia can survive in low-light conditions, sun exposure is essential to make its colorful veining pop. 

03 of 14

Prayer Plants

GETTY IMAGES/FIRN

FIRN / GETTY IMAGES

  • Botanical Name: Maranta leuconeura
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting soil
  • Soil pH: 5.5 to 6.0

These plants in the maranta and calathea families are known for more than uplifting their leaves like praying hands at night: Marked with plenty of colors, the prayer plant's foliage can easily bring a pop of color to your space.

With shades of pink, red, cream, and green, prayer plant leaves can resemble stained glass windows or animal markings. These humidity-loving plants are great for north- or east-facing bathroom windows. If you display your prayer plant in less humid areas of your home, be sure to mist its leaves with water regularly or set it atop a humidity tray.

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Bloomscape Red Prayer Plant $35
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04 of 14

Madagascar Dragon Tree

GETTY IMAGES/LINJERRY

LINJERRY / GETTY IMAGES

  • Botanical Name: Dracaena draco
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Loamy, well-draining soil with peat moss
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 6.5

Seeking a plant with a tropical look and eye-catching color? Look no further than the dragon tree (Dracaena marginata), which is known for its long, thin green leaves edged in bright red or pink colors. While this tree can reach heights of nearly eight feet indoors, this tall plant is slow-growing with thin trunk spears and its leaves gathered at the top—so it won't overtake your space.

Dragon trees can bear deep, rich reds on their pointed leaves, or have a blend of pale green and pink colors. While dragon trees can adapt to high- or low-light conditions, keep yours near a window with bright, indirect light to maintain its red coloring. If you're looking for a specific shade, check your local plant nurseries or greenhouses to find a mature dragon tree with prominent colors.

05 of 14

Triostar Stromanthe

GETTY IMAGES/CRYSTAL BOLIN PHOTOGRAPHY

CRYSTAL BOLIN PHOTOGRAPHY / GETTY IMAGES

  • Botanical Name: Stromanthe sanguinea Triostar
  • Sun Exposure: Medium indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 8.0

While you may not recognize it by name, you've probably come across triostar stromanthe in your favorite interior design or plant blogs. This unique houseplant bears pastel pink, magenta, and green colors on its candylike-striped leaves.

Triostar stromanthe is a tropical plant native to the jungle. As a relative of prayer plants, this species grows best in plenty of humidity to mimick its natural habitat. Ensure your plant receives plenty of moisture with regular mistings, and place it in an area with indirect light.

06 of 14

Purple Passion Plant

GETTY IMAGES/FOTOSEARCH

FOTOSEARCH / GETTY IMAGES

  • Botanical Name: Gynura aurantiaca
  • Sun Exposure: Gynura aurantiaca
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting soil
  • Soil pH: 6.5 to 7.5

Purple passion plant is a common favorite of plant parents looking for bold colors in their indoor gardens. Technically, this plant has green leaves—but they’re covered in fine, velvety hairs which give the plant a bright purple sheen that almost glows.

To keep yours looking its best, pinch back growth regularly. This keeps your plant from getting leggy (losing leaves on its lower stems) and encourages new, purple-toned growth. For even more color, look out for the variegated purple passion plant, which features leaves swirled with cream, pink, and light green.

07 of 14

Inch Plant

GETTY IMAGES/UNDEFINED UNDEFINED

UNDEFINED UNDEFINED / GETTY IMAGES

  • Botanical Name: Tradescantia zebrina and Tradescantia pallida
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting soil with peat moss
  • Soil pH: 5.0 to 6.0

This common name covers plants in the Tradescantia and Zebrina families, also known as spiderwort plants. Inch plant is grown very commonly in many homes, and even works great as a groundcover in outdoor gardens.

These vigorous growers are known for lush, trailing green foliage covered in elegant stripes of white, cream, pink, or purple. They’re one of the easiest plants to propagate in water or soil, so you’ll be able to multiply your collection easily once your plant reaches maturity.

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Bloomscape Tradescantia Zebrina $35
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08 of 14

Bromeliad

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SIMA_HA / GETTY IMAGES

  • Botanical Name: Bromeliaceae
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting soil
  • Soil pH: 4.0 to 7.0

If you want year-round color but don't want to leave the blooming look of flowers behind, a bromeliad plant is for you. Growing its leaves in a flower-like shape, bromeliads elegantly arch their green foliage beneath the plant's central rosette. This type of plant is known for its shades of red, orange, pink, and yellow.

Be sure to keep your bromeliad's central cup full of water, and place it in an environment with plenty of warmth and humidity. When a mature bromeliad is healthy, the plant will put out even more brilliant colors before growing pups that can be propagated into new plants.

09 of 14

Chinese Evergreen

GETTY IMAGES/NAKORN TANNONGIW

NAKORN TANNONGIW / GETTY IMAGES

  • Botanical Name: Aglaonema
  • Sun Exposure: Medium indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 6.5

These upright, leafy plants with colorful speckled leaves are beloved by home gardeners because they’re attractive and easy to care for. With marbled pinks, reds, silvers, and yellows on their green leaves, Chinese evergreens can bring beautiful patterns (similar to prayer plants) to your space. Their leaves are often streaked or spotted, and incorporate several colors in each plant.

The main challenge with Chinese evergreens is getting their water right—not too much, not too little—so let the soil dry out a bit between waterings. 

10 of 14

Aluminum Plant

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YOUGEN / GETTY IMAGES

  • Botanical Name: Pilea cadierei
  • Sun Exposure: Medium indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 7.0

Aluminum plants get their name from their signature silver coloring, which appears in an attractive pattern between the veins of the green leaves almost as though it’s been brushed on.

Your aluminum plant's silver shapes will shine by a window in shimmering light. This plant will thrive best in warm temperatures (no lower than 60 degrees) with gentle, indirect sun exposure. Choose an east- or north-facing window to display it to ensure the colors stay bold and don't brown under direct sun.

11 of 14

Variegated Rubber Tree

GETTY IMAGES/JESSICA LIA

JESSICA LIA / GETTY IMAGES

  • Botanical Name: Ficus elastica
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting soil
  • Soil pH: 5.5 to 7.0

While the rubber tree’s glossy, green leaves are a classic look, the showy variegated version is a must-have for any collector of colorful plants. The leaves of this type, also called ruby ficus, are streaked with a combination of seafoam green, dark green, cream, and pink colors.

These tall plants are great for filling an empty corner near a well-lit window. Since they grow vigorously, be sure to keep up with your rubber tree's potting needs and replant it when it's getting too large for its pot.

12 of 14

Polka Dot Plant

GETTY IMAGES/PERRY MASTROVITO

PERRY MASTROVITO /GETTY IMAGES

  • Botanical Name: Hypoestes phyllostachya
  • Sun Exposure: Medium indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting soil
  • Soil pH: 5.6 to 6.5

Unlike some colorful plants which need more sun to show their true colors, polka dot plants (also known as freckle face plants) look best in shadier conditions. However, this can cause the low-growing plant to get leggy—so bright, indirect light is the ideal compromise.

In addition to pink, these petite plants come spotted with white, purple, lavender, and red colors on their leaves. Most varieties at plant nurseries have the traditional pale pink color, so check out an online plant store if you're looking for a rare breed.

13 of 14

Snake Plant

GETTY IMAGES/GRUMPY COW STUDIOS

GRUMPY COW STUDIOS / GETTY IMAGES

  • Botanical Name: Sansevieria trifasciata
  • Sun Exposure: Medium indirect light
  • Soil Type: Cactus or succulent soil
  • Soil pH: 4.5 to 7.0

The snake plant is known for being almost impossible to kill. But these hardy specimens, also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, also have some of the most attractive foliage of any entry-level houseplant.

Variegated types offer streaks and stripes in different shades of green, yellow, or cream. The most common colorful variety has deep green leaves banded with bright yellow borders. While they do best in indirect light, snake plants can adapt to dim conditions—and they won’t mind if you wait a few weeks between waterings. 

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Bloomscape Sanseveria $150
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14 of 14

Ti Plant

GETTY IMAGES/TAMES NGAMSOM

TAMES NGAMSOM / GETTY IMAGES

  • Botanical Name: Cordyline fruticosa
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Peat-based mix with perlite or sand
  • Soil pH: 5.5 to 6.5

A dramatic tropical species with deep purple leaves, the ti plant is also known as cabbage plant or cordyline plant. Depending on the cultivar, these variegated plants are streaked with shades of cream, pink, or pale purple. Some variants are even bred to grow with solid red leaves for bold pops of color.

Take care to display this stylish plant in a spot with lots of bright sunlight to keep its colors rich. Because the ti plant is sensitive to fluoride in water, use distilled water, filtered water, or rainwater to keep its leaf tips from browning. The ti plant is not safe for pets, so be sure to display it out of their reach.

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