7 Supremely Cute Coffee Table Plants

coffee table at Hunker House
credit: Stephen Paul

Only puppies are cuter than cute plants, and even that judgment may falter when you start house training. A cute plant remains adorable all its life and will definitely add delight and whimsy to your coffee table. What exactly is a cute houseplant? We have no precise definition, but, like the Supreme Court said of pornography, we know it when we see it.

If your coffee table is ready for a darling houseplant, choose from the cutest, the most interesting, and the ones that make you say, "Aah!" Here are eight candidates to get you started.

1. Polka Dot Plants

Talk about adorable! Polka dot plant is one of the cheeriest houseplants around with foliage that just makes you happy to look at it. The leaves are red, pink, or white with generous splashes of elfin green. They form a low mound of foliage that looks enchanting on a coffee table. For maximum cuteness, grow your polka dot plant in a pot that complements the colorful leaves.

Plant care: Moist soil is a must for polka dots, but don't get it waterlogged. Indirect light from a nearby living room window makes for a happy plant on your coffee table. Fertilize this cutie twice a year with a balanced product to keep it smiling.

2. Watermelon Peperomia

A plant that looks like a watermelon rind? Now that's straight out of Dr. Seuss. The watermelon peperomia's huge leaves are oval and wavy. They are an outstanding mix of watermelon green and silver stripes.

Plant care: These cool plants are very easy to grow and are a good choice even for beginners. They are perfect for a coffee table in the shade in a bright room. Allow the soil to dry out before watering moderately.

3. Caladium

Caladium are amazing foliage plants, so cute and colorful that you'll forget that they don't have flowers. Everything about these plants is lovely, from the arrow shape of their huge papery leaves to the fabulous mix of colors and patterns and stripes, an explosion of whites, greens, reds, and pinks. They will definitely be eye-catching on your coffee table and elicit more than a few oohs and aahs from your family and friends.

Plant care: Caladiums cannot tolerate much direct light, but do well in indirect sunshine or light shade. Water regularly to keep the soil moist, and crank up the temperature to 70 degrees Fahrenheit if you can.

4. Baby Rubber Plant

Baby rubber plants
credit: Walmart

With leaves that are rounded like chubby baby faces, baby rubber plants look a little like succulents, but they aren't. In fact, these plants are perennial epiphytes from South America. These darlings blossom in spring, but they are grown for their foliage, the glossy, rounded leaves growing close to the main stems. The cultivar Albomarginata is particularly lovely, with its mottled yellow and green foliage.

Plant care: Bright indirect light is the order of the day, so if your living room has southern facing windows, the coffee table will be a wonderful sight. Give these "babies" a thorough watering, but only when the soil has dried out. To provide humidity, use a pebble tray or spray the plant regularly (a mister will help).

5. Venus Fly Trap

Venus fly trap plant
credit: Walmart

The Venus fly trap is a "captivating" plant. It is also surprisingly darling, considering that it is a carnivore. Native to subtropical wetlands in North and South Carolina, the plant has a "trap" made up of two hinged lobes at the end of each leaf. The rosy pink inner surfaces have hair-like projections that cause the trap to snap shut when a fly or other insect lands there. The hinged trap doors are lined with small bristles (that look like long eyelashes) and interlock when the trap shuts.

Plant care: A Venus fly trap prefers poor soil with excellent drainage and lots of humidity. Never fertilize this native plant, but give it bright indirect light to keep it happy and pink inside. Keep the soil moist and allow for good air circulation. And don't worry, you won't have to feed it bugs; they also get nutrients from soil.

6. Cape Primrose

Cape Primrose 'Purple Panda' plant
credit: Logee's

Cute plants are an international group. The utterly darling cape primrose, with its long, thin velvety leaves and bright sprigs of flowers, hails from South Africa. For extra cuteness, choose Purple Panda for its adorable two-tone blossoms, white upper petals with dark purple netting at the outer edge, purple lower petals with distinctive dark purple netting, and bright white edges. It's simply spectacular and can bloom for 12 straight months.

Plant care: In their native habitat, cape primrose live on the forest floor. It's no wonder that, as indoor plants, they like low light conditions. Don't go for total shade. Some light will keep the plant flowers coming while retaining the deep green hue of the leaves. Well-draining soil is a must, as well as adequate irrigation. Take care not to splash water on the leaves since it can stain them.

7. Grape Hyacinth

With flowers made up of tiny clusters of purple pearls, diminutive grape hyacinths light up your coffee table. Topping out at 6 or 8 inches high, the plants grow from small bulbs. You can start them yourself by forcing Muscari bulbs in water or soil, or else buy them potted up and ready to bloom.

Plant care: Once the bulbs are growing, they are easy to care for. If your plant is blooming in a hyacinth vase of water, just top up as the water evaporates. For a larger display, plant grape hyacinth in soil. They'll need moderate watering and partial sunlight.


Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler

From Alaska to California, from France's Basque Country to Mexico's Pacific Coast, Teo Spengler has dug the soil, planted seeds and helped trees, flowers and veggies thrive. A professional writer and consummate gardener, Spengler has written about home and garden for Gardening Know How, San Francisco Chronicle, Gardening Guide and Go Banking Rates. She earned a BA from U.C. Santa Cruz, a law degree from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall, and an MA and MFA from San Francisco State. She currently divides her life between San Francisco and southwestern France.