My Top 7 Houseplants of 2021

This post is to celebrate 7 plants that have brought me lots of joy throughout 2021.

It was super tough to decide on only 7 plants for this list because there are so many that I own and love.

Without further ado, here are my 7 favorite houseplants of 2021.

What are your favorite houseplants for the year? Share in the comments below.

Happy New Year!

Table of Contents

#1 Epiphyllum guatemalense f. monstrose

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Epiphyllum guatemalense f. monstrose is a jungle cactus that grows twisted “leaves” (really flat, leaf-like stems) that can trail or climb. It develops white flowers that bloom at night and are self-pollinating.

As the name implies, it is native to Guatemala and can be found climbing among trees and other epiphytic plants.

Though the flowers aren’t anything special, the fruit that is produced after is stunning! Check out the hot pink fruit against those dark green curls.

The fruits are long-lasting too; they are still on my plant after several months!

It is hard to catch the flowers when they are fully open because they emerge late at night and are already wilted by morning. So if you want to take a peek at one of the blooms, you may need to do some night checks.

Regardless, it is a pretty easy-going plant that has been really fun to watch grow over time.

It also isn’t your classic-looking houseplant, which makes it even more appealing to me. 🙂

How do I care for Epiphyllum guatemalense f. monstrose?

This plant is located near a south-facing window that receives direct sunlight during the winter and somewhat shaded sunlight during the summer (because there is a tree near the window that loses its foliage in winter).

I water this plant regularly, either when nearly dry or completely dry. I do not allow it to sit dry for long. And I never allow it to sit in standing water. Its roots are sensitive to both under and over-watering.

I have it potted in a well-draining mix with potting soil, perlite, and a little orchid bark.

I fertilize a few times throughout the growing season with Espoma Organic Indoor Plant Food at weak strength.

And that’s it. Very easy plant.

#2 Peperomia prostrata, String of Turtles

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Peperomia prostrata, or String of Turles, is a plant that I had to purchase several times to be able to successfully grow.

Because of my trials and tribulations with this plant, I feel extremely proud to be able to share with you the healthy and large specimen I currently have.

I really enjoy the round sparkly leaves and the turtle-shell-like patterns that adorn them.

String of Turtles is native to the rainforests of Ecuador, growing as an epiphyte clung to trees and other plants. In its native habitat, it receives frequent rainfall but never has wet feet since its roots are clung to tree bark.

How do I care for Peperomia prostrata?

Peperomia prostrata is in front of a West-facing window with blinds installed. The blinds help to diffuse the light a little since the window receives hot afternoon sun in summer.

The plant is in a mixture of potting soil and perlite to ensure the potting mix doesn’t stay wet for an extended period of time.

My job is to check this plant pretty regularly so it doesn’t sit dry for long periods of time either. I currently find this plant fairly dry and in need of water once a week.

The challenge with Peperomia prostrata is to understand that its roots do not want to sit wet while also understanding that its leaves aren’t large and succulent enough to tolerate dry conditions for extended periods of time either.

If Peperomia prostrate isn’t being watered regularly, you will begin to see the ends of its vines because to turn dark brown and crispy, dying back.

I fertilize regularly throughout the growing season with Espoma Indoor Plant Food at half strength.

#3 Scindapsus pictus sp. (Maybe argyraeus or Silvery Ann?)

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Scindapsus pictus sp is one of those plants that I never get tired of looking at. I purchased it as Scindapsus pictus argyraeus, but it definitely has some vines that look a lot like the Silvery Ann cultivar, which is why I’ve labeled it sp. (or unknown species).

Part of the reason I adore this plant is because of its huge size. It’s a large, happy plant whose biggest issue is the regular need for hair cuts. Its dark green foliage and silver splashes are beautiful in any spot throughout a home.

I am growing this baby in a large north-facing window in my bathroom. It is directly across from my shower (which has a glass door) so I get to watch the plant in the morning light while the steam from the shower fills the bathroom. The view is just so gorgeous and relaxing!

How do I care for Scindapsus pictus sp?

I grow Scindapsus pictus sp. in a North-facing window where it doesn’t receive a lot of direct light but receives lots of indirect light through the day.

It is in a well-draining potting mix, like most houseplants, to ensure it doesn’t stay wet for too long.

I water this plant when I notice that the potting mix is dry or when the leaves begin to curl a little.

I fertilize regularly throughout the growing season with Espoma Organic Indoor Plant Food at half strength.

#4 Hoya macrophylla albo marginata (scientifically recognized as a variegated Hoya latifolia)

hoya macrophylla 3

Hoya macrophylla albo marginata is an affordable and relatively easy-to-find Hoya that has gorgeous, large leaves with raised veins and white variegation.

When grown in a good amount of sun, the new growth will emerge pink to burgundy in color and then slowly fade to green and white.

I wish I had a good picture to show you of the sun-stressed colors, but winter does not provide us Michiganders with much sun in winter.

Because of this plant’s consistent beauty and low-maintenance nature, I find it a consistent joy to look at and attend to.

How do I care for Hoya macrophylla albo marginata?

I am growing this Hoya a few feet from a large South-facing window.

Those large leaves can absorb a good amount of light, so it doesn’t necessarily need to be right on the windowsill, particularly when a South-facing window receives direct sun most of the day.

The plant doesn’t like to be left dry so I check it regularly to ensure its watered as needed and have it potted in a well-draining mix of potting mix, perlite, orchid bark, and charcoal.

Hoya is my favorite genus/group of plants! It was so hard to decide on ONLY ONE for this list. Some honorable mentions: Hoya obovata, Hoya rotundiflora, Hoya australis Lisa, and Hoya fungii are all really rewarding and beautiful plants to grow as well.

I fertilize regularly throughout the growing season with Espoma Organic Indoor Plant Food at half strength.

#5 Philodendron Brasil

Philodendron Brasil

Philodendron Brasil is a very common houseplant for good reason. It is a prolific grower that is absolutely gorgeous and pretty pest-resistant.

I like how each leaf can be totally different from the others and that this plant can show some sun stressing in new growth, which will turn a pinky-orange color.

You can see a bit of sun stress in the last photo above. This is sun stress from winter sun. The colors are more intense during higher light levels.

How do I care for Philodendron Brasil?

Philodendron Brasil is growing in a South-facing window with a sheer curtain installed, which reduces the intensity of the light.

It is potted in a combination of regular potting mix and perlite.

I check this plant weekly to see if it is in need of water and then move the big plant into a tub and shower it down while drenching the soil.

Between the consistent showers and its pest-resistant nature, I haven’t had any pest issues with this plant.

I fertilize regularly throughout the growing season with Espoma Organic Indoor Plant Food at half strength.

#6 Miracle Berry Tree or Synsepalum dulcificum

Miracle Berry Trees are typically grown for their incredibly unique fruit which possesses the ability to alter your taste buds so that unsweet food tastes sweet.

It’s an interesting phenomenon that people use both for fun and for important purposes, like helping those going through cancer treatments to find food more palatable.

I fell in love with this plant for its foliage initially, however. I love the pronounced veins on its many leaves and how the new growth emerges a gorgeous red-pink color as you can see in my pictures above.

It is also super easy to pollinate this plant when in bloom, which makes it easy to produce fruit!

To pollinate, you just give the plant a good shake each day as if it is windy enough to move the tree a bit. Once pollinated, berries will begin to form and then ripen over the next couple of months.

Then you can try the miracle of miracle berries for yourself!

How do I care for my Miracle Berry Tree?

Miracle Berry trees are extremely sensitive to nutrients and impurities in both its potting mix and the water you provide the plant.

Some of you may be familiar with how a Prayer Plant (Calathea, Maranta, etc.) is sensitive to nutrients in our drinking water that can cause ugly brown spots on its leaves.

Miracle berry plants are much more sensitive than this, unfortunately. The plant can perish altogether if provided with the wrong potting mix, water, and fertilizer.

Because of this, it is extremely important to carefully select any products being used for this plant.

I follow the Logee’s Greenhouse method of care where you pot the tree in 50% peat moss (with nothing at all added) and 50% perlite, potting in a terracotta pot.

This plant doesn’t like to dry out, so I use a moisture meter to check it regularly. When the moisture meter reads a three, I thoroughly water the plant using only distilled water, rainwater, or similar water sources that do not contain chlorine or any other harsh additives typically present in our drinking water.

It is important to also use a gentle fertilizer so the plant isn’t overwhelmed with nutrients. I use Espoma Organics Indoor Plant Food at a very weak strength consistently when the plant is growing.

Despite its needs being a little more complicated than any other plant on this list, it is such a unique and rewarding plant to grow that it makes it totally worth the extra effort to keep this plant happy.

Most fruiting trees want lots of light, especially if you want them to flower and fruit. However, I’ve been growing this particular tree in an East-facing window for a couple of years with success.

I recently added a Soltech Solutions Aspect Light (like shown in the picture below) to supplement the light and help the Miracle Berry and my other Citrus trees to fruit. We will see what happens next spring!

#7 The Vanilla Orchid (a.k.a. the Vanilla Vine or Vanilla planifolia)

The Vanilla orchid (also known as the Vanilla vine and Vanilla planifolia) is the plant responsible for the delectable vanilla beans used in baking and cooking around the world!

I love this plant so much because it has beautiful succulent leaves that can trail or climb, somewhat resembling a hoya (which I also adore).

While it would be really awesome to see a bloom or vanilla bean on this plant, I’m totally fulfilled just enjoying the foliage.

This is another plant that took me a few tries to keep alive, but it was totally worth it!

How do I care for the Vanilla Vine?

The orchids we generally see for sale in stores and plant shops are Phalaenopsis. Phalaenopsis orchids are epiphytic in nature, which means that they cling to trees and other plants, with their roots fully exposed for their entire lives.

The vanilla vine, on the other hand, is considered a semi-epiphyte because it can grow rooted in the ground or grow clung to a tree.

Because of this, the potting mix you use for this orchid is similar to many of our tropical houseplants: a mix of 50/50 potting mix and perlite would be just fine.

I use a combination of potting mix, perlite, orchid bark, and charcoal, which seems to keep these plants and many of my other succulent trailing and climbing plants happy.

Vanilla orchids can be trained to climb a trellis, a moss pole, or even a wall. They can also be allowed to trail over the side of the pot as you see here in my photos. It’s totally personal preference. I water these plants when they are dry or nearly dry. I do not allow them to remain dry for long as their roots will begin to die back.

All of them are hanging in a west-facing window that receives direct afternoon sun filtered through open blinds.

I fertilize regularly throughout the growing season with Espoma Organic Indoor Plant Food at half strength.

Happy growing and Happy New Year, everyone!

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