My Top 10 Houseplants of 2020

by | Jan 4, 2021 | Plant Trends

2020 was a truly unique year for the houseplant hobby. Global quarantine resulted in a huge influx of new houseplant enthusiasts which dramatically increased demand for plants.

The rapid growth in demand for houseplants led to an exponential price increase for popular and rare plants. I, along with many others, were priced out of these in-demand specimens.

Once I realized that many of my wish list plants were unobtainable, my mindset began to shift. I got excited about the plants that I could obtain for reasonable prices. I also fell back in love with some of the plants that I’ve had for a long time because they are big, lush, and beautiful. 🙂

You’ll see that this year’s list indicates that journey, as the plants I’m most excited about aren’t expensive or rare (with one exception), but they sure are beautiful and a true joy to grow.

Table of Contents

#1 Orchids

Orchids became one of my absolute favorite plants to explore this year.

In 2019 I finally learned how to keep Phalaenopsis orchids alive after killing MANY. I use their roots to determine when to water. When their roots are a vibrant green they are well hydrated. When their roots become a more silvery, papery green, it is time to water! (all credit goes to MissOrchidGirl’s YouTube channel for that tip!)

After proving to myself that I could keep a Phal. orchid alive long term, I was ready to add more in 2020!

You can’t beat the gorgeous pops of color among the greenery around the house. I have added Cattleyas, Oncidiums, Dendrobiums, Paphiopedilums (check these out if you are a foliage lover), and even some jewel orchids. They’ve all been a joy to grow and maintain so far.

I have no doubt that you will hear more about orchids on this blog because my excitement for them is flourishing day by day!

(All of the orchids pictured are Phalaenopsis sp. with two exceptions: the 5th photo is an Oncidium Sharry Baby and the 6th photo is a Cattleya hybrid from Logee’s.)

#2 My big Hoya carnosa varieties

There is something about big, lush plants that I just love. When you combine that lushness with a genus of plants I can’t get enough of anyway, it is perfection.

These Hoya carnosa varieties are so easy and so darn forgiving. I’ve propagated cuttings from them and neglected to water them and they still love me with new growth and lush foliage.

There is a good reason for how these particular Hoyas became the most commonly available species!

I’ll be honest, I don’t even think my pictures truly do them justice. They are more beautiful than I’ve been able to capture.

(From Left to Right, Top to Bottom: Hoya carnosa Krimson Princess, Hoya carnosa compacta, Hoya carnosa Krimson queen, Hoya carnosa compacta variegata)

#3 Monstera siltepecana

I purchased Monstera siltepecana as a small cutting a little over a year and a half ago. Below, on the left, is a picture of it shortly after rooting. For the first few months I cared for it, I was honestly underwhelmed by the plant because it was pushing out tiny leaves on what seemed like weak stems and I wasn’t sure how great the plant was going to do.

Over a year and a half later, though, I’m so glad I didn’t give up on this baby. Once it became established in its pot, the growth took off and both the leaves and stems became larger and more robust.

The picture on the right is not current, its from sometime during the summer of 2020. The pot is probably about twice as full now. I will take an updated photo when the sun decides to peek out again from behind winter cloud cover.

It is by far the fastest growing Monstera in my home and it is so darn beautiful. I love the silvery splashing on the dark green leaves.

What is also interesting , though, is that this silver mottling and leaf shape is the juvenile form of the plant. As the plant matures, it develops fenestrations (or natural holes in the leaves) and loses that silvery, glaucous splash.

I never expected my plant to get to the mature form in my home, but my wife noticed the other day that one of its new leaves has developed its first fenestration! I am not sure how I feel about it!

I love the immature appearance, but there is also something quite exciting about knowing that your plant is happy, thriving, and maturing. So we will see what is to come for my not-so-little Monstera siltepecana.

I’ll insert a picture below of a mature plant so you can see how dramatically these plants change.

Photo by mario_trejo, https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/63546318

#4 Ferns

Ferns are a group of plants that I couldn’t have ever imagined placing on this list a year ago. I had no interest in them or desire to try them, but I decided this summer to give them a shot. My version of quarantine fun, I guess!

I wanted to explore what fern care was like and to be able to write a blog at some point about what my experience with ferns was like, even if it was a giant failure.

What I wasn’t prepared for was to completely fall in love with them! I adore how they bring a jungle or forest vibe to an area.

I love how intricate and delicate their little leaves are and how those leaves play with the sunlight cascading through them. It has become one of my favorite things.

Luckily, most ferns are incredibly inexpensive, especially when you source them locally.

(Pictured from left to right: Asparagus fern, Maidenhair fern, Cotton Candy fern)

#5 The Scindapsus Genus

I’ve loved Scindapsus for a very long time and I’ve made it my mission to collect as many of them as I can. This year has only served to increase that love!

I can’t get enough of these matte, leathery leaves spilling out over the pots with their glittering, silver splashes.

It’s come to my attention that some of these varieties are now being sold at high prices, which is too bad since they were previously so reasonable.

I hope that the prices come down in the next couple of years so that anyone who’d like to collect them can.

(From left to right, top to bottom: S. pictus Silvery Ann, S. pictus Silver Splash, S. pictus Jade Satin, S. treubii Moonlight, S. pictus Silvery Ann, S. pictus Exotica, S. pictus Argyraeus)

#6 The Aloe Genus

Aloe is a plant that I’ve always had around to some capacity because I grew up having a mother and grandmother who grew Aloe vera. I enjoyed having the opportunity to break off a leaf section of Aloe vera when I had a cut or scape so that I could apply some of its sap. I want to give my daughter the same experience growing up.

What I didn’t really know until recently was just how vast and amazing the genus of Aloe is. There are so many gorgeous, colorful, and interesting species and cultivars that are almost all pretty inexpensive and easy to grow.

I began picking up various Aloes when they appeal to me and have amassed a small, but beautiful collection that I really enjoy. Below are just a few of those that I’ve added.

(Pictured from left to right, top to bottom: Aloe Delta Lights, Blue Elf Aloe, Mosaic Aloe, Aloe vera)

#7 Snake Plants

This might be the most predictable plant on my list, but you just can’t beat a good snake plant! They are so affordable, SO easy, and beautiful no matter where they are placed.

I really enjoy having them in both groups of plants and as standalones, like my whalefin snake plant on the right below. I am someone who enjoys decorating with a lot of neutrals and I enjoy having the plants be the color and spotlight of the room.

When you add the structural elegance of a snake plant against minimal, neutral decorating, it is really quite beautiful.

#8 Anthurium Silver Brush

This plant is the only one on this list that is no where near affordable at the moment (to my knowledge anyway).

I was lucky to find and purchase the Anthurium Silver Brush as a small seedling prior to the pandemic. It is still quite small (pictured here in a 4 inch pot), but I cannot get enough of the velvety green, heart-shaped leaves with sparkling silver splashes highlighting the veins.

I check this baby morning and night to see if it needs water, which makes it the plant that I check the most often in my home. But it’s worth it. Look at this happy plant!

#9 Large Cacti and Euphorbia

Cacti and Euphorbia are living sculptures to me. They add really interesting texture among foliage plants, are absolute stunners on their own, or look great in a group of other cacti and euphorbia.

They are incredibly slow growers, so there is no need to worry about them outgrowing their pots or your living space quickly, and they thrive on neglect.

They also are great shippers because they do not have delicate foliage that is easily damaged in shipping.

As long as they have a sunny windowsill and an ample amount of neglect, they are likely to do quite well! That’s why these beauties stay in my top 10 each year.

#10 Jade Plants

The very common jade plant is another houseplant that I grew up seeing as a child.

Both of the regular Jade plant and the variegated Jade plant have been very easy and enjoyable to observe. The large, succulent leaves stay consistently good looking and retain a lot of water so they do not need to be watered very frequently.

The love I have for my two jade plants sparked an interest to investigate a little further into the their genus, Crassula.

The Crassula genus is pretty large with many plants that look nothing like the common jade below. Many of them are very geometric and more compact than what we think of as Jade. My wife described Crassula spiralis as an optical illusion because of the neat, spiraling geometric patterns of its succulent leaves.

I’m positive I will do a deeper dive in blog form later this year into the Crassula genus to explore, with you, some of these interesting and weird plants!

I hope you enjoyed reading about my top 10 plants of 2020!! What were some of your favorites from the year?

Happy New Year! I hope to see you again soon!

2 Comments

  1. Jo-Anne

    Very nice to see the lovely plants with their names.

    Reply
    • Colleen

      Thank you Jo-Anne! Hope you are able to find some of these beauties to try in your home 🙂

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.