Turn your home into a proper jungle fast with these big leafy houseplants
Here's the thing about houseplants - they grow. I know, I know, I know, blinding flash of the obvious. But I think it's really easy to get caught up in the commerce and industry of the indoor plant world and forget that these are living, breathing creatures. I've certainly been guilty of this!
You would be surprised how many people walk into NODE, pick up a plant, and ask if it will get bigger. Um, yes. Plants grow.
Albeit most of the houseplants, we get these days in New Zealand are pretty small and young. Nurseries can't keep up with the demand so they sell them younger and younger. That being said, many of us want big statement houseplants with big fat leaves to fill a room or corner, instead of waiting for a decade to mature.
Here are our picks for big leaf statement houseplants, most of which grow really fast too.
1. Elephant Ears
Elephant Ear plants, Colocasia, Alocasias and Taro are tropical plants grown from tubers or from rooted plants. Elephant ears have very large heart-shaped leaves borne on 61-91 cm petiole or leaf stalks. The colors of the foliage may be anywhere from purplish-black, green, or green/white variegated.
Elephant ear plants might be commonly grown outdoors, you often see outside in Auckland, but they can make excellent large, show-stopping houseplants too, especially down south where we are based. The leaves of an elephant ear plant can grow up to 3 feet long, depending on the variety. Keep this plant away from small children and pets, as it can be toxic when ingested.
2. Monstera deliciosa
A big indoor statement plant list would be incomplete without the mother of all houseplants - the monstera. You can't have an indoor jungle without one, and preferably you have three. Growing big and tall fast, they are easy-care plants that give off an immediate jungle vibe once added to a room.
As they mature, their leaves grow enormous, with big holes or fenestrations, earning them their nickname of the "Swiss Cheese Plant." When grown indoors, the plant can grow up to 10 feet tall, with leaves up to three to four feet long. Natural climbers, once they begin to mature, you'll need to stake it up a fern pole to keep them vertical, otherwise, they might just take over your living room.
3. Philodendron selloum "Hope"
The Philodendron Selloum Hope is native to regions in South America, and it can grow to become a sizable long-stemmed plant with large narrow jagged shaped leaves. The newer leaves unfurl from the center of the plant with lime green coloring. As the leaves mature they then transition to a dramatic dark green coloring. The growth pattern of the Philodendron Selloum Hope creates a delicious silhouette of foliage that brings life to your interior design.
I was given one as a birthday gift years ago, and it's by far one of the largest houseplants at my house. She's huge and beautiful, the leaves are massive and it looks stunning in a corner.
This plant is also known for its air-purifying qualities which will work to continue to improve the overall health of your home, all while adding style and color to your home.
4. Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees
Fiddle leaf fig trees are popular houseplants that make a statement in any room. They are characterized by large, waxy, fiddle-shaped leaves and can be pruned into a variety of different shapes. Once mature, their leaves can grow huge. Most FLF's on the market in New Zealand are immature, only a few years old, with narrow trunks, they will grow tall, but it takes 15 years or more to develop the thick bare trunk you see online that has the more iconic tree shape.
When grown indoors, their size is normally restricted by being grown in pots and careful pruning. The leaves of fiddle leaf figs are toxic to humans, cats, and dogs if ingested. At NODE we carry both the young FLFs and mature form of FLFs.
5. Red Abyssinian Banana Plant
Banana plants are low-key one of our favorite houseplants simply because they are low-key. Here in New Zealand, we often see the red Abyssinian banana plants sold as the main variety for indoors. Fast-growing and with huge leaves, they make an instant statement at home. The older leaves die off as the plant matures, making it an almost unkillable plant.
These plants are closely related to the traditional banana (Musa), but they are not true bananas and are prized for their reddish coloration. In their native environment in tropical Asia and Africa, they can grow to 30 or more feet in height, but they will stay considerably smaller in containers or in cultivation.
The key to successful growth is more: more water, more light, more fertilizer, and more warmth. They are not especially tender and can withstand colder temperatures and will recover, although there might be some browning of the leaf margins.
6. Kentia Palm
The kentia palm is one of the world's most popular indoor palms. It has everything you could ask for in an indoor plant—it's shade tolerant, cold tolerant, and doesn't grow overwhelmingly large. Under the right conditions, a kentia palm will grow slowly into a magnificent specimen that can reach up to ten feet tall (and even higher outdoors).
Native to the islands of the South Pacific, the kentia palm is usually sold with two to five palms planted together, giving it the appearance of having multiple stems, all topped with graceful, arching foliage.
With the iconic shadows we see all over Instagram, Kentia palms are the perfect big leaf addition to your home.
7. Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia)
The bird of paradise is a tropical plant that earned its name thanks to its unique flower, which resembles a bird in flight. These houseplants have large leaves that grow in a self-heading habit—meaning the foliage sprouts in layers from a single central stalk.
There are five Strelitzia species, but only two are commonly grown as indoor plants: Strelitzia reginae (the orange bird of paradise) and Strelitzia nicolai (the white bird of paradise). These plants grow with upright leaves emerging directly from the soil; there is no trunk. The large leaves range from 12 and 18 inches long, and they can shred when exposed to windy conditions or when brushed in a busy hallway, but don't fret, it's normal.
What did we miss? Do you have a favorite big leaf statement plant? Share!