Some folks keep a few houseplants in their home just to have a splash of colour or a bit of nature in their interior spaces. But houseplants can have a huge impact on the look and feel of your home, and incorporating them into your interior design is a great way to bring a dash of drama without making any permanent changes to your space.
And if drama is what you’re looking for, the plants you want are the ones that produce huge, impressive leaves. Whether you’ve got a bare, minimalist room that needs a bold statement or a busy, crowded space that needs something that will stand out on its own, some big-leaf houseplants are just the ticket. The good news? There are plenty of leafy plants to choose from. The bad news? That makes choosing them a challenge. Here are the best houseplants with obscenely large leaves based on aesthetics and ease of care.
Also known as calathea orbifolia, these gorgeous Brazilian plants grow to an impressive three feet in height and produce dozens of huge, striped leaves that make an impression. They’re tropical, so they will do best in partial shade and high humidity, making them ideal for a terrace or deck in a warm area — they probably won’t thrive in a completely indoor area unless you keep your house like a sauna. That said, they don’t require too much care, just some light watering when their soil is dry and a good dose of fertiliser now and then. The best part? The prayer plant moves, rising and falling during the day as if “praying” to the light.
African mask plant
African mask plants can be difficult to grow indoors — they’re tropical and like high humidity and warm temperatures. But! If you put in the time and effort, your reward is one of the most dramatic plants you can have in your home. Growing as high as six feet in size, the African mask plant produces absolute units of leaves with dramatic veining and a delightful purple underside. They don’t like direct sunlight, and the soil should be kept moist at all times. Keep in mind this plant is toxic to pets, so it’s not appropriate for folks with curious critters roaming their houses.
Also known as a “Swiss cheese plant,” the monstera deliciosa is popular for its distinct look. These climbing evergreen plants have huge leaves with fenestrations, or splits, that give them a spidery, unique look. They don’t like direct sunlight but need some light exposure, require a little misting from time to time and good drainage in their pots. Your reward will be a plant that spreads around your space offering its enormous leaves for all the visual interest you could possibly want.
Elephant ear plant
Another plant that’s toxic to pets, the elephant ear plant is one of the easiest big-leaf indoor plants to grow. In fact, they don’t need much attention at all: Keep them out of direct sunlight, water regularly (but don’t soak the soil or the roots will rot), and your elephant ear will grow like gangbusters, spreading out with large, arrow-shaped leaves that reach up for the sun. They can reach as high as eight feet, making them an excellent choice if you’re looking for leafy wow factor.
Safe for pets, the majesty palm is like having a bit of paradise in your home. Be warned: These majestic plants can grow as tall as 3.05 m high if given the chance, so make sure you have the room before committing. They should stay out of direct sunlight, but only need watering about two to three times a month. They produce gorgeous, generous arching fronds that will sway and ripple in any sort of breeze, reminding you of that trip to the tropics. They do like high humidity, but can do well even if you like it a bit drier inside.
Ruffled fan palm
The licuala grandis is a great choice for a big-leafed plant because of the beautiful and unusual shape of its leaves, which resemble a classic handheld fan with serrated edges — be careful, as they’re actually quite sharp! The leaves can grow to almost two feet wide, and the plant itself is pet-friendly. The pleated leaves are such a unique visual look they bring a bold dash of visual interest to any room — they stand out even in crowded, busy designs. They don’t need much light, don’t need warm temperatures, and only need moderate watering. One thing to note is that they are slow growers, so you’ll need to put in some time before you’re rewarded with their gorgeous leaves.
Birds of paradise
If you want a pop of colour along with enormous leaves, the birds of paradise plant is your best choice. Not only do the bold, green leaves grow to as much as 18 inches long, in full sun the plant will produce beautiful orange and blue flowers. The flowers grow pretty fast, producing a leaf per month on average, so you’ll get some dramatic coverage pretty quickly. This plant can eventually get as tall as six or seven feet with a four-foot spread, so you’ll need to ensure you have space for it to thrive. It’s toxic to pets (and people, actually), so it’s not ideal for a household with animal friends or small children. While it requires rich, acidic soil, it doesn’t need much by way of daily care, making it relatively easy to enjoy indoors.
Got a lot of space to fill with vegetable drama? The anthurium veitchii is a bold choice, because it gets big. Like, really big. It requires relatively humid conditions to thrive, but it’s a showstopper of a plant if cared for properly. Keep in mind that these plants grow very slowly — it can take months to produce a single leaf — so you’re going to have to invest some time before you reap the rewards, but taking care of them is pretty simple: Keep the soil moist and keep it away from direct sun, and you’ll be fine. Once you get it going the leaves will eventually be bigger than your hand and can eventually get to be several feet long, with lovely ribbing.
Calathea white fusion
If you long for big leaves but don’t have a lot of space, the calathea white fusion is a good choice because it rarely grows more than a few feet tall. Although it likes humid conditions, it doesn’t require much work — a good amount of sun plus enough water to keep the soil damp on top will do it. Because the white fusion likes humidity and is so small in size, it’s a great plant to keep in the bathroom. Otherwise, you might need to keep a humidifier going to avoid drying it out too much. But all that work is worth it: Its leaves are gorgeous — large and streaked white and green, with a purple underside that peeks out to provide contrast.
Why not go classic with an old-school favourite that’s very easy to care for and produces leaves that can be more than a foot long? The rubber tree can grow pretty tall — as high as 3.05 m — and grows pretty fast, so be prepared. The lush, deep green leaves will spread out nicely, producing a dramatic effect. While you’ll need to be careful because the tree is toxic to animals and people, it makes up for that by being one of the easiest plants you’ll ever care for. Give it some indirect light and keep the soil moist and you’ll soon have an enormous plant shading your room. You should consider re-potting every year or so because of the plant’s rapid growth, however.
Tropic snow dumb cane
Although toxic to people and pets, the tropic snow dumb cane is one of the easiest leafy plants to care for. It can grow up to 3.05 m tall, and sprouts absolutely enormous leaves with a distinct light-green rib pattern. You can more or less neglect these plants and they will find a way to survive, but they will do best if you water them once in a while (when their soil is dry) and keep them in bright light. Just make sure you have high ceilings, because this plant likes to stretch up.
If light is an issue in your space, the snake plant is a great choice. Growing as high as eightfeet tall with large, blade-like leaves with white and light-green striping, this plant thrives in low-light conditions — you can practically put it in a closet and it will still grow. It only requires watering once or twice a month, and the vertical nature of its leaves makes it an ideal choice for a room without much floor space, or any space where you want to draw the eye upward.
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