10 Minimalist Plants That Go Perfectly with Sleek, Stylish Decor

updated Jul 22, 2020
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The trend of minimalism is still going strong in design, from warm Scandi-style interiors to sleek contemporary spaces. But in a pared-down space, there’s one thing you shouldn’t have to sacrifice: houseplants! Having a little greenery inside helps your home feel inviting and lived in. Scared of making your space look cluttered and messy? Don’t worry: There are plenty of plants that complement minimalist style but still have a punch of personality. Try one of these 10—they’ll bring instant life to your space, all while looking clean and sophisticated.

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1. Sansevieria trifasciata “Bantel’s Sensation

Sansevierias, commonly known as snake plants, are a minimalist’s dream. And there is one variety that just takes the cake: “Bantel’s Sensation” has leaves that are more narrow than many other Sansevieria varieties, which gives it a unique look. The variegation on the leaves makes the plant almost completely white in appearance. It’s a great addition to any shelf or floor plant collection with its clean lines and simple colors.

Caring for this plant takes minimal effort, too! Sansevierias are low light and drought tolerant. Water once every month or so and you’ll be all set. Beware of overwatering as it will cause the plant to rot from the bottom up. Note that sansevierias are toxic to both dogs and cats.

Buy: Sansevieria “Bantel’s Sensation,” $28 at Etsy

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2. ZZ Plant “Raven”

While all Zamioculcas zamiifolia plants fit into the “minimalist” category, the “Raven” variety takes it just a little bit further. This variety doesn’t just boast upright stems and glossy leaves—it also has stark black coloring. It is a rarity to find, which makes it even more special. Imagine this against a simple white wall or perched on your mantle. The “Raven” will quickly become a conversation starter in your home.

Care is easy: ZZ plants are low light and drought tolerant, just like snake plants. Be careful not to overwater or the plant will rot from the roots up. Keep in mind, too, that ZZ plants are toxic to both dogs and cats.

Buy: ZZ Raven, $15.97 at Etsy

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3. Burgundy Rubber Tree, Ficus elastica

Rubber trees have been a longtime favorite of many house plant enthusiasts. They’re easy to care for, and are quick growers—in a matter of a few years a rubber tree can go from a small pot to taking up a significant amount of real estate in your home. This variety is a deep burgundy, which makes it especially striking.

This plant needs indirect light but will tolerate a brighter light situation. It is one of the easier of the popular ficus trees, but still needs to be watered on a weekly basis and has a tendency to drop a leaf or two when stressed. All ficus plants are toxic to both dogs and cats.

Buy: Burgundy Rubber Tree, $150 at Bloomscape

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4. Ficus alii

This ficus is what is known as a standard—a tree with a single trunk. The clean line of the trunk gives way to branches covered in oblong leaves that are reminiscent of the shape of bean pods. This tree is a wonderful way to fill an empty corner or wall space while maintaining a minimalist aesthetic, since it’s big but doesn’t sacrifice the clean design appeal. Pot it in a sleek vessel to take it the extra mile.

It is a ficus, so it will need more attention than a snake plant or ZZ plant. These plants thrive in bright, indirect light and need weekly watering. If you have a large plant, remember that it will need a significantly larger amount of water than a smaller plant would. Keep this one away from any radical temperature changes. The Ficus alii will drop leaves (and I mean, a lot of leaves) when stressed. This is a stress reaction and doesn’t indicate that your plant is dying. In fact, this plant has been known to drop all its leaves and then regrow them. Like the rubber tree, this is toxic to both dogs and cats.

Buy: Ficus Alii Braid Plant, $99.95 at FastGrowingTrees.com

5. Euphorbia ammak

Have a space in your home that gets a ton of light? A ghost cactus might be what you’re looking for! The Euphorbia ammak is a rare cactus that is native to Africa and gives off a refreshing vibe. The light color of the cactus would make a strong contrast against any dark wood or walls in your home. 

The ghost cactus, which is sometimes also called an African candelabra cactus, is a slow growing specimen that needs bright light and minimal watering. It’s relatively easy to find smaller, more affordable plants, but if you want a large-scale one, be ready to shell out for it. However, this plant is a solid investment as long as you have enough light in your home.

Buy: African Golden Candelabra, from $25.99 at Etsy

Credit: Joe Lingeman

6. Echeveria

Echeverias are still extremely popular, even as the succulent trend ebbs and flows. Their implied ease makes them a must-have for a lot of novice houseplant collectors, but their versatility what makes them so great. Echeverias can fit into any design aesthetic as long as they are given the proper light requirements. Pot one in a low profile vessel or a few in a glass terrarium to polish off that minimalistic look.

Echeverias need bright light and minimal watering. Do not overwater or your plant will rot. Let the soil dry out completely in between watering to ensure you’re in the clear.

Buy: Echeveria in pot, $26 at The Sill

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7. Satin Pothos, Scindapsus pictus

If you’ve been searching for a textured plant that also gives you options, look no further. The satin pothos can drape from a smaller container or it can be trained to climb up a totem, giving you the height of a tree and the look of a vine. The silky texture of the satin pothos lends to the shiny look these leaves give off in the sun.

All satin pothos need is indirect light and water once a week. They’re resilient plants, so if you miss a watering cycle, don’t worry—this plant will forgive you. Keep in mind that scindapsus pictus is toxic to both dogs and cats.

Buy: Silver Pothos, $35 at Bloomscape

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8. Calathea ornata

The pink pinstripes of the Calathea ornata bring in a fun twist to this minimalist plant. This plant stays relatively compact, so you won’t have to worry about it taking up all the space on your shelf or table. 

As calatheas go, this variety can be a bit temperamental when it comes to care. Bright, indirect light is key as the leaves will scorch in direct sun. Do not let the soil dry out. Once the soil dries out, the leaves will start to brown on the edges, which won’t heal. Water your calathea when the top of the soil begins to dry out. Frequently mist the leaves for good measure.

Buy: Calathea Pinstripe, $59 at The Sill

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9. Tillandsia xerographica

These big guys are the stars of the tillandsia family. Otherwise known as air plants, tillandsia have been known as “easy” houseplants simply because they don’t require soil to survive. While they’re not exactly easy, as incorrect marketing has led the general public to believe, they are easy to design with. Because they don’t need soil to survive, you can stick these plants anywhere. They are a simple, graceful statement in a minimalist design scheme. 

Air plants need bright, indirect light. If you think about their natural environment, they’re found dangling in the canopy of the rainforest, so they do best in filtered light. Mist two times per week or soak them in a bowl of distilled water once per week. Let the plant dry before putting it back.

Buy: 5-inch Tillandsia Xerographica Air Plant, $12 at Etsy

Credit: Emily Billings

10. Bird of Paradise

Florists know this plant as an exotic flower while houseplant lovers know it as the giant, lush plant that it is. In the proper conditions, this plant can take up a serious amount of space, making it the perfect focal statement for a large room. Give your bird of paradise bright, indirect light and a deep watering when the top inch of the soil is dry. The leaves will split on the edges if the plant isn’t getting enough water or humidity. Mist daily to prevent unsightly leaf splits. Note: Bird of Paradise plants are toxic to both dogs and cats.

Buy: Bird of Paradise, $150 at Bloomscape