If you want to add some greenery to your home — whether to brighten up a corner or to spruce up a small space — think hanging plants. Generally, plants suspended and cascading from above can beautifully fill an empty area.
If that's what you're looking for, we got you covered. Here are nine houseplants that are perfect for hanging.
1. Spider Plant
You have to have a heart of stone not to ooh and aah when you see a suspended spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) surrounded by its young. These plants are lovely in and of themselves, with green and white leaves, long, thin, and swishy as ribbons. But when they have babies — which is a regular occurrence — the little guys grow on long slender stems that also cascade out from the mother plant, bobbing in the air current. In the end, this easy-care plant is surrounded by a mound of swaying, slender leaves and miniature spidie babies.
Want a little romance in your life? A chain of hearts plant (Ceropegia woodii) has plenty of love to give since its thin stems are filled with dark green, heart-shaped leaves. This low maintenance trailing vine is ideal for hanging baskets where its stems can cascade to the floor in long quivering, long threads, adding a sense of fluidity and movement to the room. Many mistakenly identify it as a succulent. It is not, but its needs are just as simple: indirect light and water when the soil is dry.
Never heard of a trailing cactus? Well, let us introduce you to the only one we know: The mistletoe cactus (Rhipsalis spp.) This unique plant grows as an epiphyte in the tropics. Its succulent stems are thin as pencils and can grow to six feet long, making for graceful swaying in a hanging container. Seeing that its usual home is a branch nook or rock crevasse, the mistletoe cactus will happily grow in a northern window without requiring much in the way of maintenance.
With tiny fan-shaped lealets in softest green, maidenhair fern (Adiantum raddianum) is as graceful as a plant can be. The feathery fronds are delicate as rain on the window, a look accentuated when the plant is swaying in a hanging basket. This fern is completely enchanting and only gets more so if you give it a humid placement with indirect, even light in which to grow.
Tired of all the green hanging houseplants? Chenille plants (Acalypha hispida) will wake you right up with their fuzzy, red-pink flowers. Don't think roses or daisy shapes. Chenille means "caterpillar" in French and the chenille flowers — actually tight groupings of pistils — look more like bright catkins than ordinary blossoms. (Their other common name is monkey tail.) They start out resembling rounded fuzz balls, but grow long and undulating, sometimes to 18 inches long, impossible not to touch.
Okay, peperomia may bring to mind a pizza rather than a graceful flowing plant, but leave your judgment aside. Cupid peperomia is an utterly enchanting plant with gorgeous heart shaped leaves that are light green and edged with creamy white. The airy stems and palest pink shade of the stem joints adds to the tender look, but don't let this plant fool you. It's a tough and easy-care succulent, tolerant, and drought resistant. It was just made for a hanging basket.
Tropical Nepenthes pitcher plants (Nepenthes spp.) are just made for hanging baskets, thanks to their hauntingly beautiful dangling pitchers. Each one looks like a cross between a hummingbird and a mermaid. They are exquisitely patterned and have shimmery lips, slippery inner walls, and nectar at the bottom, luring insects to slide to their death. Hang your pitcher plant where it gets high light, no drafts and constant moisture.
8. Burro’s Tail
Ready for a truly theatrical succulent with luxurious, dangling stems? You cannot do better than burro's tail (Sedum morganianum). The pendulous stems are packed with plump leaves that look like chubby grains of rice. This undemanding succulent will stop traffic in a hanging basket in your living room, and gets even more impressive as the stems grow and grow to 24 inches and beyond. The foliage color varies depending on the cultivar, but you can find silvery green, true green or blue green. Place these exceptional plants where they can trail to the floor without getting in the way.
With leaves so dark that you aren't sure if they are plum purple or black, purple shamrock (Oxalis triangularis) make a stunning hanging houseplant. The leaf shape is also exceptional, each leaf triangular and grouped in threes, like butterflies joined at their noses. While considered invasive in the yard, they are simply luxurious in a hanging basket indoors. And to frost the cake, in spring and summer you'll see small, trumpet shaped blooms that sit above the leaves for weeks. Give this plant a site with indirect sun and keep its soil moist.
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.