27 Houseplants with Fun Foliage

From pinstripes to polka dots, there are many houseplant options with unique foliage. For those who appreciate a little more fun in their homes, houseplant expert Madison Moulton lists 27 houseplants with fun foliage.

houseplants fun foliage. View of a Begonia Maui Sunset Rex in a beautiful decorative pot against a gray wall. The Begonia Maui Sunset decorative-deciduous Rex showcases stunning, intricately patterned leaves with vibrant hues of pink, purple, silver, and green, creating a striking contrast against its dark, burgundy stems. Its large, asymmetrical leaves boast a velvety texture and are adorned with dramatic swirls and spirals, adding to its ornate appearance.


No matter your style or design preferences, you can find a houseplant to match your home. If you love drama, there is a long list of black houseplants that fit the criteria. If you need something easy and no fuss, beginner houseplants are the go-to.

For those who appreciate a little more fun in their homes, tropical container plants do not disappoint. These 27 houseplants are the top choices for fun foliage. The variety in color, patterns, textures, and shapes offers endless opportunities for houseplant lovers to add to their collection.

Polka Dot Plant

Close-up of Hypoestes phyllostachya in a white pot against a blurred background. Hypoestes phyllostachya, commonly known as the polka dot plant, features vibrant and eye-catching foliage adorned with speckles or spots in contrasting colors such as pink against a backdrop of green. Its oval-shaped leaves are soft and slightly hairy, arranged opposite each other along its stems.
Add vibrant flair to your space with polka dot plants.

The polka dot plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya) packs a lot of fun into a small package. Named after the mottled pattern on the leaves, these plants feature patches of bright colors like pink, lime, and cream.

Polka dot plants catch the eye on their own but look even more dramatic when varieties of different colors are planted in the same container. Their small stature also makes them ideal for planting in terrariums to add a much-needed pop of color.

Nerve Plant

Close-up of Nerve Plant in a stone flowerpot on a white background. The Nerve Plant, scientifically known as Fittonia albivenis, presents striking foliage characterized by intricate vein patterns in contrasting white colors against a backdrop of lush green leaves.
Inject vibrancy into your space with the striking nerve plant.

The nerve plant is quite similar to the polka dot plant in shape and stature despite being a completely different species (Fittonia spp.). The available colors are also similar but displayed in a different pattern. If polka dots aren’t your thing, this houseplant has fun foliage with a contrasting linear pattern along the veins that looks just like nerves, hence the name.

Restricting the pot size can keep your nerve plant compact. But they can spread out quite quickly in the right conditions, making them ideal for potting into larger containers as well.


Close-up of several potted Croton plants in black planting bags. The Croton Plant displays stunning foliage with a kaleidoscope of colors ranging from vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows to deep greens and purples. Its leaves are large, leathery, and glossy, featuring bold veins and various patterns, such as speckles, stripes, or blotches.
Brighten your space with the vibrant hues of croton leaves.

If bright colors and interesting patterns are your idea of fun foliage, croton is another houseplant that adds a unique flair. These leaves are so vivid they are almost blinding, featuring shades of bright green, orange, red, pink, and yellow.

Unfortunately, these perks come at a cost. Crotons are not the easiest plants for beginners to manage, as they have a tendency to drop their leaves. But if you keep conditions consistent and limit movement, they’ll look good year-round.

Pinstripe Calathea

Close-up of a potted Pinstripe Calathea plant in a lilac pot in a bright living room. The Pinstripe Calathea showcases elegant, lance-shaped leaves with striking pink or white stripes contrasting against its deep green foliage. The distinctive stripes run parallel to the leaf veins, creating a captivating pattern reminiscent of pinstripes.
Elevate your space with the captivating foliage of Calatheas.

There are many Calathea species with fun foliage to choose from, depending on your houseplant design preferences. For plenty of stripes, Calathea ornata is my go-to and one of the most popular calatheas you’ll find. The dark green leaves provide the ideal backdrop for subtle pink pinstripes, highlighted by the glossy sheen over the top.

Calatheas do have a reputation for being dramatic, especially when it comes to watering. My pinstripe calathea seems like it starts to droop the second I turn my head. Keep them in a visible area to ensure you never miss a watering. This will also ensure you can enjoy the fun foliage up close.

Prayer Plant

Close-up of Maranta leuconeura, commonly known as the Prayer Plant, in a green pot against a white background. It boasts distinctive oval-shaped leaves with intricate patterns of veins and colorful markings. Its foliage features shades of green with variegations of red, pink, or white, creating a striking contrast.
Marvel at the captivating movement of Maranta leuconeura leaves.

While calatheas are sometimes called prayer plants, this is also the common name of Maranta leuconeura, a tropical species with leaves that almost look fake. This houseplant’s foliage is definitely fun, with a contrasting center, gradients of green, and stripes that run along the sides in cream or pink.

Maranta leuconeura is known as the prayer plant after the leaf movement. You won’t see them moving at a glance, but if you watch them throughout the day, you’ll notice the leaves shifting with the sun—another element of fun to look forward to.

Philodendron ‘Birkin’

Close-up of a potted Philodendron Birkin plant in a light blue pot on a light windowsill. The Philodendron Birkin showcases glossy, heart-shaped leaves with stunning variegation, characterized by creamy white or yellow stripes that contrast against its dark green foliage. The variegation patterns are streaked, creating a striking and dynamic visual effect.
Enjoy the unique beauty of striped foliage.

Philodendron ‘Birkin’ is another stripey plant sporting green foliage and cream stripes covering the leaves. While the pattern on prayer plant leaves is quite uniform, ‘Birkin’ pinstripes are different, meaning each leaf that emerges looks unique.

Philodendrons are beloved by beginners for their tolerance of neglect. ‘Birkin’ does match this characteristic but is slightly fussier about light if you want the leaves to retain their exciting coloring. Give them a spot with bright indirect light and you should have no trouble growing this plant.

Philodendron Micans

Close-up of Philodendron Micans in a dark brown pot against a blurred window background. The Philodendron Micans displays lush, heart-shaped leaves that feature a velvety texture and a rich, deep green color. Its foliage is highlighted by bronze undertones and an iridescent sheen that gives the plant a unique and luxurious appearance. As the plant matures, it develops long, trailing vines that elegantly cascade over the edges of containers.
Illuminate your space with the shimmery foliage of Philodendron micans.

Philodendron micans is another member of the Philodendron genus and one of my absolute favorites. It’s a little easier to find compared to ‘Birkin,’ but it is no less beautiful.

The fun in this houseplant’s foliage comes from the shimmery glow you’ll see when the sunlight hits the leaves, hence the specific epithet micans. The leaves are a deep green with a burgundy hue and look like they are packed with glitter in the right lighting conditions. The vines are great for cascading in front of bright windows where you can enjoy the shimmer in the leaves up close.

Chinese Evergreen

Close-up of Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema 'Kochin Tembaga') in a wicker pot on a balcony. Aglaonema 'Kochin Tembaga' presents broad, lance-shaped leaves featuring striking shades of deep green, cream, pink and pale green.
Aglaonema offers low-maintenance charm with vibrant foliage patterns.

Plants in the Aglaonema genus are commonly known as Chinese evergreens. These tropical plants are most appreciated for their ease of care. They easily tolerate low moisture and reduced light levels. Still, these houseplants offer plenty of ornamental value, with bright foliage in a range of fun patterns.

Most Chinese evergreens have green foliage, with splashes of cream or silver that create interesting shapes on the leaves. You can also find varieties with touches of red or pink in the foliage if you’re looking for a pop of color.

Dumb Cane

Close-up of Dumb Cane Plant in a white pot outdoors. The Dumb Cane Plant showcases large, oblong leaves that are typically green with creamy-white and yellowish speckles and stripes, creating a visually striking pattern. Its leaves emerge from sturdy stems and grow quite large, giving the plant a lush and tropical appearance.
Enjoy low-maintenance beauty with the vibrant leaves of dumb canes.

Dumb canes are also beloved for their low-maintenance nature, ideal for those tougher areas in your home where fussy plants die off quickly. The bright green leaves have patches of cream or lime in the center, creating a fun pattern that’s bound to catch your eye.

Do not eat this plant! Its common name, dumbcane, comes from the toxic sap within the plant, causing an inability to speak when ingested. It is not be ideal to keep around pets or children, but it’s perfect for people looking for fun foliage.

Snake Plant

Close-up of a Snake Plant in a large clay pot against a beige wall. The Snake Plant features tall, sword-shaped leaves that grow upright from the soil in dense clusters. Its leaves are dark green with light gray-green horizontal striping or mottling, giving them a distinctive and elegant appearance.
These plants offer easy care and whimsical foliage varieties.

Snake plants are a beginner houseplant staple, also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, for the long and pointed leaf shape. This structure alone creates fun foliage, with different houseplant Dracaena species sporting long and flat, curled, or even cylindrical leaves. But the variegation patterns also add to the whimsy of this plant in bright greens, creams, and yellows.

One of the major benefits of growing snake plants is that they’re incredibly easy to propagate. Grow new plants from pups, single leaves, or divisions to expand your collection.

Dragon Tree

Close-up of Dracaena marginata against a blurred background of a yellow pot on a lit windowsill. The Dracaena marginata, commonly known as the Madagascar Dragon Tree, displays slender, arching leaves that grow in tufts atop its woody stems. Its foliage is characterized by shades of deep green with thin red or purplish margins along the edges, creating a striking contrast against the backdrop of the plant's lighter green stems.
Adorn your space with the striking structural elegance of Dracaena marginata.

Another member of the Dracaena genus, Dracaena marginata is commonly known as the dragon tree. It has thick stems and long, pointed leaves that create a unique, structural shape. Although the standard species is stunning, the fun foliage comes from the colorful cultivars, sporting stripes of pink and green along the leaf margins.

Dragon trees store water in the stems, meaning you don’t need to water too often to keep them happy. Underwatering is better than overwatering, as this can lead to rot.

Polka Dot Begonia

Close-up of Begonia maculata in a beige pot against a light beige wall indoors. The Begonia maculata, also known as the Polka Dot Begonia, showcases stunning foliage featuring large, oblong leaves adorned with white or silver polka dots on a backdrop of deep green. Its leaves have a glossy texture and feature red undersides, adding to the plant's visual appeal.
Adorn your indoor space with the iconic polka-dot begonia.

Begonia maculata is one of the most recognizable begonias grown indoors, beloved by houseplant collectors. The common name says it all—the leaves feature large polka dots of different sizes in a bright white. The red hues on the leaf undersides also add to the fun, along with the unique wing shape.

If you want the leaves to look their best, aim for a spot with bright indirect light and give them plenty of water. Exposure to direct sun for long periods will scorch the leaves, impacting the pattern.

Rex Begonia

Close-up of a hanging pot of Begonia rex in a greenhouse. The Begonia rex, commonly known as the Rex Begonia, boasts mesmerizing foliage characterized by intricate patterns and vibrant colors. Its large, heart-shaped leaves feature swirls of silver, purple, pink, green, and burgundy, creating a stunning mosaic effect.
Invite whimsy into your indoor space with vibrant Begonia rex.

Another begonia species commonly grown indoors is Begonia rex. These plants are famous for their colorful and patterned leaves, offering plenty of fun in texture and shape, too. This is another plant that looks almost unreal, and once you have one variety, it’s hard not to want them all.

Like the polka dot begonia, rex begonias appreciate plenty of moisture. However, you need to ensure they are planted in well-draining soil and in a container with drainage holes to prevent issues with root rot.

Purple Velvet

Close-up of a woman's hand holding a Purple Velvet plant in a white pot against a white wall. The Purple Velvet plant captivates with its dense clusters of elongated, velvety leaves showing deep purple hues. The foliage, reminiscent of soft velvet, is accentuated by vibrant, iridescent hairs that catch light, casting a subtle shimmer.
Illuminate your space with the captivating purple velvet plant.

Gynura aurantiaca is commonly known as purple velvet or purple passion plant, and it’s easy to see why. The foliage has a fascinating purple glow around it, thanks to textured fuzz. The result is green leaves with a purple sheen, depending on how the light hits the plant.

These vines are ideal for hanging baskets and cascading over the sides of containers. To watch the leaves shine, I would hang them close to a window but slightly away from the direct sun’s path. They do wilt quickly, so make sure to keep up with watering.

Venus Fly Trap

Close-up of a Venus Fly Trap plant in a white pot against a blurred background. The Venus Fly Trap is a captivating carnivorous plant characterized by its unique, hinged traps resembling open jaws lined with delicate, hair-like structures. Each trap is adorned with vibrant green lobes and boasts intricate red markings that serve as lures for unsuspecting prey. Growing from a central rosette, its elongated, slender leaves stand upright, providing support for the traps.
Embrace the intrigue of carnivorous plants like the Venus flytrap.

Any list of fun foliage would be incomplete without carnivorous plants. The fun not only comes from the fascinating shape and color of the traps (which are technically modified leaves), but also the fact that they catch bugs, ridding your home of unwanted pests and keeping your plants alive at the same time.

The Venus fly trap is one of the most iconic carnivorous plants. Originating from bogs, they prefer consistently moist soil and bright indirect light to do what they do best.

Pitcher Plant

Close-up of a blooming Pitcher Plant in a large square gray and black pot indoors. The Pitcher Plant is an intriguing carnivorous plant characterized by its distinctive pitcher-shaped leaves, which form elongated tubes with a lid-like structure at the top. These tubes are adorned with intricate patterns and colors (red, light green, pink), resembling a work of art.
Elevate your plant care journey with captivating pitcher plants.

Pitcher plants are my favorite carnivorous plants, an ideal “next step” for those who have mastered venus fly trap care. The pitcher-shaped traps are incredibly eye-catching (for humans just as much as they are to bugs) in various colors and patterns that scream fun.

Pitcher plant care is a little more involved than some beginner-friendly plants on this list. Before purchasing one, ensure you’re prepared to give them regular attention and understand their growth habit.

Zebra Alocasia

Close-up of potted Alocasia zebrina against white background. Zebra Plant has long, thin stems with a striped pattern of brownish-purple against a pale green background. At the tops of the stems there are large, arrowhead-shaped leaves of dark green color.
Indulge in the striking beauty of Alocasia zebrina‘s patterned stems.

One of the first alocasias I purchased was Alocasia zebrina, aptly named the zebra alocasia. I avoided alocasias for a long time because of their fussy reputations, but once I saw the patterned stems of this fascinating variety, I knew I had to have it.

The long, arching stems of this plant bring a sense of drama wherever they are placed. That shape, unfortunately, also means the stems are prone to falling over when the plant is under or overwatered. Maintain consistent soil moisture and don’t overdo it to keep the stems strong.

Stingray Alocasia

Close-up of a Stingray Alocasia against a white background. The Stingray Alocasia is a visually captivating tropical plant distinguished by its unique foliage resembling the silhouette of a stingray. Its large, arrowhead-shaped leaves feature a pronounced, elongated tail and distinctive wavy edges, creating a striking resemblance to a stingray gliding through water. The foliage boasts a deep green color with contrasting silver veins.
Experience the unique allure of stingray alocasia’s leaf formation.

At first glance, the stems of the stingray alocasia look very similar to the zebra alocasia. But what makes this variety stand out is the shape of the leaves. The wide foliage pinches in at the base and has a long tail at the tip, creating the shape of a stingray.

Like other alocasias, regular watering is essential to keep the leaves upright and strong. High humidity locations are also helpful to replicate the tropical environments these plants are used to.

Alocasia Dragon Scale

Close-up of Alocasia Dragon Scale in a gray pot on a windowsill. The Alocasia Dragon Scale is a mesmerizing tropical plant known for its stunning foliage that resembles the textured scales of a dragon. Its large, arrowhead-shaped leaves exhibit a unique pattern of deeply ridged veins and raised, iridescent scales, creating a striking three-dimensional effect. The foliage ranges in color from dark green to nearly black, with highlights of silver or metallic tones adding to its exotic appeal.
Enhance dragon scale alocasia’s allure with a contrasting container.

Dragon scale is another standout alocasia species perfect for collectors of fun foliage. The common name comes from the pattern and texture of the leaves that look just like dragon scales. This is emphasized by the color, with patches of lighter green that fade to a silvery shade over time.

To make the dark edges of the foliage stand out, pair this plant with a darker container. This will also create greater contrast with the lighter patches of green, emphasizing both hues.

Spotted Cast Iron Plant

Close-up of a Spotted Cast Iron plant in a large clay pot outdoors. The Spotted Cast Iron Plant is a resilient and visually intriguing houseplant prized for its glossy, dark green leaves adorned with creamy-white or yellow spots and streaks. Its lance-shaped foliage emerges from thick, upright stems, creating a lush and dense appearance.
Choose the spotted cast iron plant for delightful foliage.

The cast iron plant (Aspidistra elatior) is named after its tough and robust nature. This is one of those houseplants people say is almost impossible to kill, handling neglect and suboptimal conditions with ease. The long, strappy leaves also fit well into any home, no matter the style.

If you want fun foliage, the spotted cast iron plant is the one to choose. You may also see it labeled ‘Milky Way’ after the tiny dots that look like stars on the leafy green backdrop.


Close-up of Triostar Stromanthe in a clay pot with mulch against a purple wall. Stromanthe sanguinea 'Triostar' presents an enchanting display of vibrant foliage characterized by its bold, variegated leaves. Each leaf showcases a stunning combination of shades, including deep green, creamy white, and rosy pink, with intricate patterns that resemble painted brushstrokes. The undersides of the leaves boast a rich burgundy hue.
Indulge in the colorful charm of Stromanthe sanguinea foliage.

The triostar stromanthe is famous online for its variegated leaves, sporting splashes of green, cream, and pink in mixed patterns. The pink variegation is the most beloved characteristic (especially for pink houseplant lovers), but the overall shape and fact that no two leaves look the same mean this is a must-have in your fun foliage collection.

To maintain their color, you must ensure the plants have enough energy to keep pushing out new leaves. Place the pot in an area with a full day of bright indirect light. Avoid areas with direct sun as this may scorch the sensitive leaves.

Hoya Krimson Queen

Close-up of a Hoya Krimson Queen in a decorative blue ribbed pot on a white table against a white wall. The Hoya Krimson Queen is a charming member of the wax plant family, showcases glossy, succulent-like leaves with creamy-white margins that gradually transitions into shades of pink and green, creating a captivating variegated pattern. Its elliptical leaves emerge from cascading stems, forming dense clusters that hang gracefully from container.
Enjoy the striking variegated leaves of hoya.

The Hoya genus is vast, filled with interesting species that grow wonderfully indoors. ‘Krimson Queen’ is a cultivar of the popular Hoya carnosa, known for its large patches of variegation. These leaves are largely green, with cream sections that have a slight pink tinge to them.

Hoyas store water in their thick and lush leaves, meaning you don’t need to water as often as some other houseplants. However, that also makes them prone to problems in cases of overwatering, so it’s better to let the soil dry out a little before watering again.

String of Turtles

Close-up of String of Turtles Plant in a small clay pot on a white shelf. The String of Turtles Plant, scientifically known as Peperomia prostrata, presents a delightful display of small, succulent-like leaves arranged in dense clusters along trailing stems. Each leaf is adorned with intricate patterns resembling the markings on a turtle's shell, featuring shades of green and silver with distinctive vein patterns.
An adorable string of turtles thrives in compact spaces effortlessly.

Peperomia prostrata is an adorable, compact plant ideal for smaller spaces or popping into terrariums. It is commonly known as string of turtles, with long vines and rounded leaves with the pattern of a turtle shell. They even produce tall flower spikes like other peperomias in the right environments.

As small as the leaves are, they do hold onto some moisture, so don’t worry about missing a watering or two. Plant in well-draining soil, as the roots don’t like to be waterlogged.

String of Dolphins

Close-up of a hanging pot with String of Dolphins plant against a beige-brown wall. The String of Dolphins plant showcases a unique and whimsical appearance with its trailing stems adorned by small, dolphin-shaped leaves. Each leaf features a pointed tip and distinctive notches along its edges, resembling the profile of leaping dolphins. The foliage is dark green.
This plant delights with playful foliage resembling leaping dolphins.

Another member of the string succulents group, string of dolphins (Curio × peregrinus) has exciting foliage. The cascading vines have collections of dolphin-shaped leaves running along them, looking like they are just jumping out of the water.

These plants have a tendency to look sparse when they aren’t placed in the right light levels, along with other members of the Curio genus. I like to give them a few hours of gentle morning sun for a boost of energy, keeping them protected from harsh midday and afternoon rays.

Flaming Sword Bromeliad

Close-up of Vriesea splendens in a brown plastic pot on a white background. Vriesea splendens, commonly known as the Flaming Sword plant, presents a striking appearance with its rosette of glossy, strap-like leaves. The foliage features a deep green color with silver-gray mottling, adding to the plant's ornamental appeal.
Brighten up your space with the playful foliage of flaming swords.

Bromeliads are always bright and fun, but if you’re looking for fun foliage in particular, the flaming sword is ideal. Scientifically known as Vriesea splendens, the leaves of this bromeliad have a striped light and dark green pattern to complement the colorful flower in the center.

One of the major benefits of growing these plants indoors is that they are considered safe for pets. No need to worry about keeping pots out of reach or accidental nibbles.

Ponytail Palm

Close-up of a Ponytail Palm in a small clay pot on a white background. The Ponytail Palm, or Beaucarnea recurvata, is a distinctive succulent tree with a striking appearance characterized by its swollen trunk resembling an elephant's foot and long, narrow, cascading leaves that resemble a ponytail. The leaves, which grow in a rosette formation at the top of the trunk, are leathery and arch gracefully, providing an elegant silhouette.
Add a touch of whimsy to your space with ponytail palms.

I always say the ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata) looks like something straight out of a Dr. Seuss book, with curly narrow leaves that fall over a bloated trunk. This gives the whole plant a whimsical look bound to catch the eye, no matter where it’s placed.

Ponytail palms are ideal for filling empty corners in your home. They grow slowly but can reach several feet tall in the right conditions and containers. Be careful not to overwater, as the base can quickly rot in soggy conditions.

Crocodile Fern

Close-up of Crocodile Fern in a large clay pot against a white wall indoors. The Crocodile Fern captivates with its striking foliage resembling the scales of a crocodile. Its elongated, wavy fronds feature deeply serrated edges and a textured surface with prominent ridges and crevices, reminiscent of crocodile skin. The fronds emerge from a central rosette, cascading gracefully in a fountain-like manner.
Add a touch of fun to your fern collection with crocodile ferns.

Ferns are always stunning additions to any houseplant collection, but they’re not necessarily fun. However, that’s certainly not the case with the crocodile fern (Microsorum musifolium). The green fronds of this fern have a unique texture and pattern that looks just like crocodile skin.

These ferns can be quite fussy and not ideal starter plants for beginners. They require a spot with relatively high humidity (above 50%) and regular watering to thrive.

Final Thoughts

There is no shortage of fun in the houseplant world, especially when growing one of these 27 plants. For avid collectors, it will be hard not to want them all.

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