These 15 Plants Will Thrive in Your Kitchen

Assorted plants on a kitchen counter

Sara Toufali

Of all the design choices you can make for your kitchen, adding an array of colorful houseplants is one of the most rewarding. But you can’t put just any indoor plants in one of the warmest, driest rooms in your home and expect them to grow well: Some houseplants do better in the humidity and warmth of your bathroom, and others need more light than your kitchen windows may be able to give. You’ll also want to use creative ways to keep surfaces clear since kitchen counter space is always at a premium.

Meet the Expert

As a certified Master Gardener in Philadelphia, Alexandra Jones has been an avid indoor and outdoor gardener for more than a decade. She's spent the past five years writing professionally about gardening, plants, and sustainability.

Keep scrolling for our 15 favorite houseplants that will thrive in your kitchen. 

01 of 15

Spider Plant

Hanging spider plant next to a range and kettle

Ricky Freudenstein

  • Botanical Name: Chlorophytum comosum
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-drained potting soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 7.2

There’s a reason spider plants are one of the most common houseplants: they’re nearly impossible to kill and incredibly easy to care for, with slender, attractive white-and-green leaves and a trailing growth habit that lends itself well to shelves and hanging baskets.

Display yours on top of a cabinet or hang one from ceiling hooks in a north, east, or west-facing window to keep counters clear. Since they need bright, indirect light, take care to place them at least five feet from a south-facing window.

Even better? Spider plants reproduce on their own with proper care, so you’ll soon have new plants to decorate with.

Spider plant in black grower's pot
Verdant Lyfe Spider Plant Chlorophytum Variegated $18 $16
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02 of 15

English Ivy

English ivy on a kitchen shelf over the sink

Coco Lapine Design

  • Botanical Name: Hedera helix
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade to bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Standard potting soil
  • Soil pH: 5.5 to 6.5

Another naturally trailing specimen, English ivy adds just a hint of stately charm to any room. Train its eager vines around a basket handle or let it hang down from a high shelf to take full advantage.

It's adaptable to most light situations, which means it's great for kitchens. Just be sure to keep the soil consistently moist (but not soggy), and mist regularly to prevent the leaves from drying out. Another bonus: English ivy is also effective at reducing toxins in the air.

Green English ivy in a hanging grower's pot
Lively Root Green English Ivy $36
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03 of 15

Cactus

Cacti and succulents in kitchen window

Sara Toufali

  • Botanical Name: Cactaceae
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light to full sun
  • Soil Type: Fast-draining cactus mix
  • Soil pH: 5.5 to 6.5

Bring a touch of the Southwest to your kitchen with a cactus, especially if your kitchen gets particularly hot and dry. These spiny desert plants are cousins to the succulent, and they, too, love basking in the sun. If you're short on space but you've got a bright windowsill, a cactus is the perfect choice.

Cacti can go weeks on end without water, and then some. Aim to water once every two to three months and only if the soil has completely dried out. In other words, if you're a neglectful plant owner, this one is for you. 

Handle these spiny plants carefully to avoid getting pricked. A few ideas to protect yourself: Wear nitrile-dipped gloves, cover the cactus with a towel, or use tongs to grasp.

Mini cinnamon cactus in a grower's pot
Lazy Gardens Mini Cinnamon Cactus $9
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04 of 15

Pilea Peperomioides

Pilea peperomioides plant on a kitchen counter

Coco Lapine Design

  • Botanical Name: Pilea peperomioides
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-drained potting soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 7.0

This trendy, must-have houseplant makes a great candidate for warm, sunny kitchens—and not just because one of its nicknames is pancake plant! Pilea peperomioides plants need lots of bright, indirect light to thrive, so consider adding one to your brightest kitchen windowsill.

Keep an eye on its leaves; if you notice them curling, that’s a sign that your pilea isn’t getting enough light and needs to be moved closer to the window or to a brighter spot. Don’t forget to rotate your plant every week or so to help all its leaves grow and spread evenly. 

Pilea peperomioides in orange grower's pot
The Sill Pilea Peperomioides $35
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05 of 15

ZZ Plant

ZZ plant and assorted plants on open shelving in a kitchen corner

Tracey Hairston

  • Botanical Name: Zamioculcas zamiifolia
  • Sun Exposure: Low to bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: All-purpose potting soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 7.0

The ZZ plant—so called because of its mouthful of a botanical name, Zamioculcas zamiifolia—is incredibly tolerant of neglect and can adapt to just about any reasonable conditions, from rooms with lots of bright, indirect light to dim, shady spaces. It’s also drought-tolerant, meaning that you can set it in a corner of your kitchen and forget it for a few months between waterings with no ill effects. Meanwhile, its feather-like compound leaflets stay lush and green, lending a jungle-like vibe to your kitchen.

ZZ plant in a black and white striped pot on a wood side table
Ansel & Ivy ZZ Plant $46
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06 of 15

Pothos

Pothos on open kitchen shelves

Coco Lapine Design

  • Botanical Name: Epipremnum aureum
  • Sun Exposure: Low to bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-drained potting mix
  • Soil pH: 6.1 to 6.5

Although its natural habitat is the jungle, pothos, also known as devil’s ivy, is so versatile that it can survive in a steamy bathroom or in a comparatively arid kitchen. This hardy, easy-growing plant comes in lots of colors, so you can coordinate classic green-and-yellow variegated pothos, neon-green lime pothos, or silvery satin pothos with your kitchen’s color scheme. They’ll even help remove toxins from the air in your kitchen. With its long, trailing vines and pretty, teardrop-shaped leaves, it also makes a great candidate for the edge of a tall cabinet, a high shelf, or a hanging basket. 

Golden pothos in a biodegradable pot on a wood stool
36Vine Golden Pothos $26
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07 of 15

String of Pearls

String of pearls on a kitchen wall shelf

House of Chais

  • Botanical Name: Senecio rowleyanus
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining cactus or succulent mix
  • Soil pH: 6.6 to 7.5

This adorable, elegant houseplant combines the best traits of a hanging plant and a succulent in one. Its long, thin stems grow long strands of pea-sized “pearls” in an attractive green shade—and as long as it’s happy, your plant’s strings will keep growing and growing all the way to the ground if you let them.

String of pearls is a great candidate for a high shelf, the top of a cabinet, or a hanging basket, but make sure you choose a spot where it won’t be disturbed or jostled, as the pearls break off easily. Take care not to overwater this succulent, as that’s a surefire way to cause root rot and kill your plant.

String of pearls plant from above
Succulents Box String of Pearls Senecio Rowleyanus $25
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08 of 15

Basil

Basil on a kitchen counter

Coco Lapine Design

  • Botanical Name: Ocimum basilicum
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light to full sun
  • Soil Type: Herb or vegetable soil mix
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 7.5

Fresh herbs are really a no-brainer if your kitchen gets bright light. Basil is one of the easier herbs to grow, which is a good thing, since it's also one of the most versatile for cooking. And if you're hot-tempered in the kitchen, you'll be happy to know that the smell of basil is known to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.

Herbs can be a bit finicky to grow indoors, and basil is no exception. It needs at least six hours of bright light daily and evenly moist soil at all times. The good news is that pruning your basil plant encourages growth while providing fresh leaves to elevate your dinners.

Potted basil plant with water beads on its leaves
Growers Exchange Basil 'Genovese' $7
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09 of 15

Snake Plant

Snake plant and succulents on a modern kitchen countertop

Cathie Hong Interiors

  • Botanical Name: Sansevieria trifasciata
  • Sun Exposure: Low to bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Free-draining cactus or succulent mix
  • Soil pH: 4.5 to 7.0

With its tall, colorful, lance-shaped leaves, a snake plant is a great addition to a corner of your kitchen that needs a little liveliness, even if it isn't flooded with natural light.

Also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, this tough plant can go for weeks between waterings and even does better when you forget about it—as long as it has a little light and stays above a cozy 65 degrees.

As an added bonus, snake plants are effective at clearing toxic chemicals from the air in your home. 

Snake plant in black grower's pot
Lively Root Futura Superba Snake Plant $36
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10 of 15

Wandering Jew Plant

Hanging inch plant in an open, bright kitchen

House of Chais

  • Botanical Name: Tradescantia
  • Sun Exposure: Medium to bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: All-purpose potting soil
  • Soil pH: 6.1 to 7.8

The family of plants colloquially known as wandering Jew plants—the spiderwort family of Tradescantias and Zebrinas—are by and large easy to care for and can adjust to a variety of environments.

Tradescantia zebrina in particular makes a striking addition to your kitchen plant collection, since its leaves are striped with vivid purple and silver; Tradescantia padilla ‘Purple Heart’ features slender, deep-purple leaves and stems, with little lilac-colored flowers.

Display yours in a spot near a kitchen window that gets good bright, indirect light. Wandering Jew plants are great candidates for hanging baskets, too. 

Wandering Jew plant in an orange clay pot on a wood side table
Bloomscape Tradescantia Zebrina $35
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11 of 15

Air Plants

air plant in ceramic pot on kitchen countertop

katyenka / Getty Images

  • Botanical Name: Tillandsia
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Epiphytic
  • Soil pH: 4.0 to 8.0 (water pH)

All you need to display air plants, also known as Tillandsias, is a bright, sunny windowsill. In fact, since they draw nutrients from the air rather than soil, you can keep them in any warm spot in your kitchen—a windowsill, a plant stand, a decorative dish, or even hanging from the ceiling in a glass globe or mounted in a frame on the wall—as long as they have lots of bright, indirect light.

During times of the year when your kitchen is extra dry, give your air plant a bath every two weeks, submerging it in water for two to three hours, before draining it and letting it dry out again. 

Six air plants on a white surface
The Sill Six Assorted Air Plants $30
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12 of 15

Jade

Jade plant on kitchen windowsill

Sara Toufali

  • Botanical Name: Crassula ovata
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Cactus or succulent potting mix
  • Soil pH: 6.1 to 6.5

These cute, versatile succulents can add a chic, desert-like vibe to any kitchen. They’re perfect to dress up a bright, sunny window—one that gets at least four hours of full sun per day. While they can grow in spots with less light, the green, paddle-shaped leaves won’t get the signature red tinge on the edges without that full sun.

Just take care to move your succulent back from the window a bit in winter if your kitchen tends to be drafty, as jade plants grow best in temperatures between 50 and 70 degrees. 

Jade plant in a terra cotta pot
Horti Jade $14
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13 of 15

Heartleaf Philodendron

Heartleaf philodendron on a kitchen shelf

Coco Lapine Design

  • Botanical Name: Philodendron hederaceum
  • Sun Exposure: Low to bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Peat moss-based potting mix
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 7.0

Often mistaken for pothos, heartleaf philodendron is identifiable by its truly heart-shaped leaves rather than the teardrop shape of pothos leaves. The care and growth habits of the two jungle vines are similar, too.

Heartleaf philodendron doesn't take much to thrive—just a bit of light and a drink of water every couple of weeks. Hang yours from the ceiling or place it on a high shelf and before you know it, you'll have vines trailing down your walls.

If your heartleaf philodendron grows too long, simply trim the vine to your desired length. You can then propagate the trimming into a new plant by rooting it in a glass of water before planting in soil.

Heartleaf philodendron in a grower's pot
The Mossie Heart Leaf Philodendron $16
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14 of 15

African Violet

Potted African violet in a bright kitchen

Mint Images / Helen Norman / Getty Images

  • Botanical Name: Saintpaulia ionantha
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Loose, porous, and well-draining potting soil
  • Soil pH: 5.8 to 6.2

If color is what you're after, the African violet will deliver with its bright blooms that come in a variety of pleasant purple shades and stick around all year. But be warned that this plant will require more coddling than some of the others on this list.

If your African violet doesn't get plenty of bright light, it won't be able to maintain its blooms. It's also sensitive to both under and overwatering—aim to keep the soil barely moist at all times by watering lightly when the surface is dry.

African violet in a grower's pot on a wood stool
FloridaPlantsGardens African Violet $13
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15 of 15

Aloe Vera

Large aloe vera plant on a kitchen countertop

Sara Toufali

  • Botanical Name: Aloe barbadensis Miller
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Cactus or succulent soil mix
  • Soil pH: 7.0 to 8.5

Aside from thriving in dry, warm, sunny spaces, hardy aloe vera has another great reason to live in your kitchen. This succulent is great for your skin! Cut a leaf and use the gel inside of it on dry or irritated skin after washing dishes.

Like other succulents, aloe vera needs minimal water and lots of sun, so keep it near a warm window where it can get as much bright light as possible. 

Aloe Vera plant in terra cotta pot
PlantVine Aloe Vera $28
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Article Sources
MyDomaine uses only high-quality, trusted sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Wei X, Lyu S, Yu Y, et al. Phylloremediation of Air Pollutants: Exploiting the Potential of Plant Leaves and Leaf-Associated MicrobesFront Plant Sci. 2017;8:1318. doi:10.3389/fpls.2017.01318

  2. Houseplants Improve Indoor Air Quality. University of Arizona Cooperative Extension. September 30, 2015

  3. Ali B, Al-Wabel NA, Shams S, Ahamad A, Khan SA, Anwar F. Essential Oils Used in Aromatherapy: A Systemic ReviewAsian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine. 2015;5(8):601-611. doi:10.1016/j.apjtb.2015.05.007

  4. What Should I Know About Growing Aloe at Home? University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension. January 4, 2019

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