1. Maranta leuconeura (Prayer Plant) Marantas are known for their unique foliage that looks as if it was painted on by hand. They are native to Brazil and have low, spreading foliage. This can create a dramatic look on tabletops or in a container that allows the foliage to drape over the edge. In my experience they can get brown edges on the leaves if filtered water is not used. At night the leaves curl up, giving them their nickname. But leaves curling up during the day are a good indicator that the plant wants more light. The picture above is my favorite, maranta 'lemon lime.'
2. Peperomia (Radiator plant) Peperomias are an underrated houseplant and come in a ton of different varieties. The more succulent peperomia obtusifolia can grow long, sturdy stems and work as a low maintenance hanging plant. Peperomia caperata is a bit needier, with more delicate leaves that come in a stunning array of colors from silvery green to deep purple. The caperata varieties tend to enjoy soil kept on the moist side, with any dead leave removed quickly before they can rot.
3. Pilea peperomioides (Chinese Money Plant) This cutie caused a stir in the plant world in the last couple of years as its demand spiked, while its commercial availability waxed and waned. Now, it’s a mainstay on nursery shelves far and wide. It can take some practice to get the care just right and achieve the perfect, green, disc-shaped leaves; there is even a Reddit community with 5,400 members dedicated to troubleshooting your Pilea’s care. Here is a good regimen to follow: bright light, a well-draining soil, and letting the soil dry most of the way between waterings. If your pilea is happy, it will reward you with many offset plants which you can separate out and share with your friends and family to show off your hard work!
4. Fittonia albivenis (Nerve Plant) Named for its contrasting veins, which can range in color from white to pink to bright red. This is a very herbaceous (soft tissued) houseplant with a deceptively fragile appearance. If it goes too long without a drink, your nerve plant might go droopy and appear that all hope is lost. But give it a deep watering and place in bright light, and the plant will spring back to life, reaching its stems to the heavens within an hour or so. This is such a common occurrence with nerve plants that the nerve plant time lapse is now its own genre with a prolific presence on Youtube.
5. Beaucarnia recurvata (Ponytail Palm) Not actually a palm, this little tree makes a fun specimen due to its thick trunk and long curly leaves that give it its namesake appearance. Over time the plant will grow taller and taller, dropping the lower leaves as it grows to expose more trunk. The fun foliage may be extra tempting for cats, so I would recommend putting the plant up somewhere out of reach if you have an extra curious feline. Luckily, if all else fails, this plant can happily live outside or on a porch or balcony as well. Pictured above are some mature beaucarnia plants grouped together, but they look amazingly elegant on their own too!