By Justin Hancock, Costa Farms Horticulturist
Photographs courtesy of Costa Farms
Looking for some leafy beauty for your home as a contrast to your other green plants? Here are five of our favorites!
1. Colorful Aglaonema
This collection of plants tops our list because there are so many varieties and they grow in practically any indoor conditions, including low light or low humidity. Plus, Colorful Aglaonema are totally forgiving if you're not good at watering them regularly. If you like the classic look of white variegation, watch for White Calcite, which features deep green leaves heavily spotted in white. If light pink is more your speed, try Watermelon Unakite, which shows off foliage that emerges cotton-candy pink before maturing to watermelon-pink with splashes of green. And if you love chartreuse, you’re sure to love Lemon Pie, which bears green, lime, and chartreuse foliage.
2. Nanouk Tradescantia
A beautiful houseplant with leaves striped in cream and pink, Nanouk Tradescantia is a relatively new variety that a lot of plant parents have fallen head-over-heels in love with. It’s quick growing, so it doesn’t take long for even a small plant to put on big impact. We’re particularly fond of it in hanging baskets—the tops of the leaves are lovely, but the bottom sides are hot pink, magenta, or rich purple in a high-light situation.
3. Golden Goddess Philodendron
Perhaps the most brightly-colored houseplant we grow, Golden Goddess Philodendron is a climbing P. domesticum hybrid (not to be confused with P. hederaceum, the common heart-leaf philodendron) that features long oval leaves in bright golden yellow. It’s a showstopper when young, but really comes into its own as it ages and climbs. The leaves can get more than a foot long in warm, bright conditions! It’s also a cinch to grow in bright or medium light.
Fittonia, also called nerve plants, are fabulous small, tabletop-sized-plants that are big on color. Most varieties have green leaves strongly colored with red, pink, or white veins. Fittonia is a standout because it tolerates low-light conditions like a champ. It is sensitive to drying out, though, and can wilt dramatically if it gets too dry. This pretty plant also prefers abundant humidity levels, making it a classic choice for terrariums. Frankie is one of our favorite varieties—it bears metallic pink leaves with green edges. Mini White has tiny dark green leaves accented with white stripes. Ruby Red shows off pronounced and eye-catching dark red veins.
Crotons are classic houseplants that are big on color. Most of these tropical shrubs show off leaves boldly variegated in yellow, orange, red, or purple. They need the right spot to look their best, so be sure you can provide bright light, warm temperatures, and average to above-average relative humidity. Petra is a classic with yellow to yellow-orange leaves that bear shades of green in between the veins. Give it as much light as you can for best color.
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