What’s not to love about a houseplant? You can always count on them to add a dash of verdant greenery to any space. And for those leaning toward an urban jungle aesthetic, plants can make living indoors feel like a delightful sojourn at an exotic locale—no luggage or travel required. But with so many different varieties to enjoy, choosing a houseplant to represent all your hopes and dreams for the new year might feel a bit daunting.
Whether you need extra help with selecting the best houseplants for sprucing up your existing collection or fulfilling New Year’s resolutions around cultivating a greener thumb, we consulted four plant experts to find out which houseplants are most likely to be trending in 2022. From humidity-seeking ferns that thrive in a little fern family to the Ficus triangularis (a.k.a. the sweetheart tree), there’s plenty to love when it comes to these 2022 predictions for the new year.
In 2022, people are going to feel more confident about caring for larger houseplants. According to Maryah Greene, plant stylist and creator of Greene Piece, “larger houseplants are going to be the statement pieces of next year.” With an abundance of information out there about caring for houseplants and the many experts and stylists that people can turn to, we’ll likely see more plant parents trying their hand at caring for particularly big species. “As more people start returning to the office, they’re going to become inspired by the larger plants they see thriving in those bigger office spaces,” she adds. Maryah predicts that larger houseplants like the bird of paradise and the Ficus audrey will be in vogue.
Plant specialist and stylist Hilton Carter likewise cites the Ficus audrey as a plant to look out for next year. “It’s one of these tree-like houseplants that can grow up to 50 feet indoors and really transforms a space,” he says. “Although it’s a cousin of the fiddle-leaf fig, it can grow into a big tree, making it a true statement plant.”
If you want to go big, but not 50-feet big, Hilton suggests the Ficus triangularis (growing up to eight feet), or Sweetheart tree, as an alternative. Its unique triangular leaves are tinged with gray-green streaks that won’t drop as easily as its cousin, the Ficus benjamina (a.k.a. the weeping fig). “One of the plants that I really love at this moment is the Ficus triangularis, which is another cousin to the fiddle-leaf fig, but in an almost baby form with variegated foliage,” he says. “I believe this is going to be very hot next year.”
Climbing and flowering houseplants
Jarema Osofsky, an interior plant designer, landscape designer, and owner of Dirt Queen NYC, predicts that we’ll all be wanting a bit more color from our plants in 2022. “I definitely think that flowering plants will be trending in 2022 as well as plants that climb like Rhaphidophora tetrasperma, which really takes on a sculptural quality as it climbs,” she says. It also has the split leaves of a Monstera deliciosa, but because it’s more compact, the plant works well in small apartments.
Recently, Jarema layered orchids into her hanging pots to introduce a wider variety of colors. Orchids may be notoriously difficult to work with, “but you really can care for just about any plant. It starts with choosing the right plants for your space.” As she further explains, “The orchid ice cube rule needs to be abolished, because there are no ice cubes in the rainforest. You want to mimic the orchid’s natural environment, where they grow in tree nooks and hang down. So, you’ll want to water them thoroughly and then let them dry out, mimicking a heavy rainfall and then the bright sun shining down.” By bringing flowers and vining plants indoors, the goal should be recreating what you’d experience and see outside. Jarema adds, “You can even guide vining plants with hooks or use them to frame a window in your home to give a jungle feel.”
Want to embrace the trend of flowering houseplants with something a bit more easy-going? “Hands down the peace lily is the best flowering plant for beginners,” says Stephanie Watkins of Casa Watkins Living. “Not only is it forgiving if you have a momentary lapse in memory and forget to water, but the beautiful flowers make this plant such a gorgeous centerpiece in a home.” Not to mention, the peace lily comes in a wide variety of colors and sizes. “What I like to advocate for in decorating with plants, is to use plants in as many ways as you can,” she adds. “Peace lilies work in table centerpieces and as shelf decor, with the bonus that flowering houseplants can provide an even greater color palette.”
Three out of our four houseplant experts agree that you can expect to see more ferns in 2022. Perhaps more tree than fern, the Australian tree fern is a prime example, according to Hilton. “I love a good Australian tree fern,” he says. “They do well in areas with high humidity, but you can recreate that humidity in your home with a humidifier or by misting it often. They grow a nice trunk, becoming more like an interesting blend of fern and palm.”
In fact, a fern’s desire for abundant water might be what ultimately charms plant lovers who opt for houseplants that need frequent care. As Maryah explains, “If you’re looking for something that you can monitor regularly because you want it to serve as your self-care plant, I think ferns are a great option. They get a bad rap because they are kind of difficult to care for. But I have a client who only has ferns. And it is truly their meditative process.”
Jarema thinks that ferns will be huge in 2022. “Ferns enjoy being in each other’s company, so it’s always really nice to collect a few and build a fern family in your home,” she concludes. “They really like the humidity that being together creates.”
This was originally published on Architectural Digest.