Enliven Your Cooking Space With These 12 Best Kitchen Plants

updated Aug 5, 2020
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(Image credit: Hannah Puechmarin)

If there’s one room that seems to get left out when finding new homes for your houseplants, it’s  the kitchen. Even the biggest plant parents tend to forget about using their cooking space as a viable option to raise a new aloe or pothos. Whether it’s for culinary purposes, first aid, or simply just decorative, there are some species of plants that do better than others when it comes to hanging out where you cook dinner. 

While your plants will enjoy this living situation, you’re also making it easier on yourself when it comes to caring for them. You’re close to a sink for watering, most kitchens have ample sunlight, and because you frequent this room so much, you’ll rarely forget about your leafy friends—it’s the perfect situation for both parties.

Up ahead, see the 12 plants that work wonders in your kitchen.

Credit: Kristin Prough


  • How to recognize it: Herbs come in a variety of different types but are usually small to medium-size plants. This wide range of plants include basil, mint, oregano, cilantro, thyme, rosemary, sage, and parsley.
  • What makes it kitchen-perfect? Because these plants are small, they take up very little space in your kitchen. And, to state the obvious, they’re within an arm’s length to grab and use in your cooking or garnish your plates.
  • Keep in mind: Each herb requires a different level of maintenance and care, but most do well with bright, indirect light and moderate watering.
Credit: AT | Joe Lingeman

Aloe vera

  • How to recognize it: Long, green leaves with spiked edges. If you break open the leaves a fresh, gooey gel will be present.
  • What makes it kitchen-perfect? Aloe vera is known for its gel’s healing properties. Having it in the kitchen makes it easily accessible in case the pomodoro sauce accidentally splatters and burns your skin.
  • Keep in mind: Aloe doesn’t need excessive watering and needs to be in well-draining soil. It prefers moderate to warmer climates and can be propagated fairly easily if needed.

Spider plant

  • How to recognize it: Long blade-shaped green leaves with a white stripe going down the middle.
  • What makes it kitchen-perfect? Non-toxic to pets and helpful for purifying the air, a spider plant will make for a great addition to your cooking space.
  • Keep in mind: Spider plants are rather hardy, and while it is possible to kill them, they can take a lot more forgetfulness than your usual houseplant. They like humid climates and appreciate lots of indirect sunlight.
Credit: Rachel Jacks

African violet

  • How to recognize it: Rounded fuzzy green leaves with colorful flowers
  • What makes it kitchen-perfect? If your kitchen needs a burst of color, African violets will deliver. Houseplants like this give a little more than just greenery, and they’re not toxic to pets, so you won’t have to worry about your furry friend’s sneaky window sill naps. 
  • Keep in mind: These plants are a bit sensitive when it comes to water. Their soil should never be dry, but overwatering can also be detrimental. Its leaves also shouldn’t be subject to water because it could cause discoloration. African violets also like plenty of light. 
Credit: Samara Vise

Snake plant

  • How to recognize it: Stiff, upright variegated leaves that feature a mix of dark green, light green, and yellow.
  • What makes it kitchen-perfect? Snake plants are tall but not wide, so it won’t take up too  much precious counter space. If your kitchen doesn’t have a sunny window, you’re also in luck as snake plants can manage sans bright light.
  • Keep in mind: Do not overwater your snake plant, and try to keep in it a terracotta or clay pot to help with drainage. Low light and dry soil won’t kill it and it does fine with plant parents who prefer low maintenance routines.
(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)


  • How to recognize it: Most have upright arms or paddles with spines or have spherical stems with spines.
  • What makes it kitchen-perfect? Most cacti are super low maintenance and are an incredibly trendy addition to this room. 
  • Keep in mind: While each variety of cacti is different, most do well without much watering and prefer a cactus soil mix that’s well-draining. Be sure to give your cacti plenty of light, too.

Air plant

  • How to recognize it: Small plants with green with tufts of long, pointed leaves. 
  • What makes it kitchen-perfect? Whether you place them in macrame hammocks, in geometric hangers, or set them on rocks, air plants are easy to move and maintain without taking up really any space at all. 
  • Keep in mind: A light misting of water and the occasional full dunk is what they need to survive. These plants pull in nutrients from the air, hence the name, and don’t need to be planted or potted, but do appreciate good lighting.
Credit: Anna Spaller


  • How to recognize it: Long green vines with heart-shaped leaves
  • What makes it kitchen-perfect? Statement-making and easy to care for—what more could you want? Pothos are ideal houseplants, including for in your kitchen as they don’t require much sunlight and has very few needs.
  • Keep in mind: Pothos plants can survive both in soil and just in water. If you stick with soil, make sure you give it time to dry between waterings. Pothos also prefer low lighting, not bright or direct sunlight.
Credit: Тодорчук Екатерина/Getty Images

Peace lily

  • How to recognize it: Shiny green leaves with white flowers
  • What makes it kitchen-perfect? Peace lilies help purify the air and because of its blooms make for a pretty plant to have in your kitchen.
  • Keep in mind: Peace lilies are not pet-friendly and it’s probably best to avoid them if you have a dog or cat. They do best in low lighting and can tolerate a lack of water better than overwatering.

Rubber plant

  • How to recognize it: Shiny dark green leaves on a thin upright trunk
  • What makes it kitchen-perfect? If you have an odd empty corner in your kitchen, a rubber plant will liven things up and won’t ask too much of you.
  • Keep in mind: Well-draining and well-aerated soil is essential for a healthy rubber tree. It likes bright light, but not direct light, so that spot in your kitchen across from a sunny window is ideal. 


  • How to recognize it: Looks just like a patch of grass
  • What makes it kitchen-perfect? Not only does wheatgrass look pretty cute, but it’s perfect for juicing or putting into smoothies, making it another great culinary option aside from your usual herbs
  • Keep in mind: Wheatgrass needs to be trimmed when it gets to be six or so inches tall. It also likes a daily or twice-daily light misting of water.
Credit: Hannah Puechmarin


  • How to recognize it: Bushy fronds with frilly leaves
  • What makes it kitchen-perfect? Boston ferns in particular are low maintenance and non-toxic. They can help spruce up odd places in your kitchen like by the sink and near the pantry. 
  • Keep in mind: Ferns like soil that’s a bit moist and prefer indirect light. It also likes humidity and to stay a bit cooler, so keeping it by your sink is a great option.