Horticulture Magazine

19 Impressive Trailing Indoor Houseplants

trailing house plant in a terracotta pot

Trailing houseplants are the ideal addition to the home; boosting its appearance as well as the lives of the occupants!

Houseplants are the perfect low-maintenance way to liven up a room.

Inviting nature into the home brings with it a range of benefits; research has shown that houseplants can boost mood, improve productivity and creativity, reduce stress and some even have air-purifying properties. [source]

We explore nineteen of the best trailing indoor houseplants for the different rooms in your home, the benefits of house plant ownership and even some tips on taking care of your new houseguests.

Philodendron trailing down a shelf
Philodendron is a popular trailing plant

Why choose trailing houseplants?

One of the biggest benefits of houseplants in the home is the benefits to air quality.

Studies have reported that some plants remove toxins such as benzene, carbon monoxide and even formaldehyde from the air. [source / source]

Cleaner air means a healthier home and happier occupants!

Beyond the health benefits, adding greenery to a bathroom, lounge or bedroom can add a pop of sophisticated colour and decor, while reducing stress and providing a natural self-esteem boost. [source]

Generally, trailing houseplants are very low-maintenance to take care of once you’ve found the perfect spot for them within your home.

Although requirements vary by species and plant size, generally the plants in this article are relatively wilt-proof; with the ‘trailing’ aspect forming part of the look!

Best for bathrooms

The bathroom is the most humid room in the house.

Regardless of sunlight levels in the room, the environment works perfectly for many types of tropical plants which thrive in the heat.

We’ll guide you through some of the best houseplants for bathrooms with options for sunlight-filled and windowless rooms alike.

1) Spider Plant 

a spider plant spilling over its pot in a bathroom setting
  • BOTANICAL NAME: CHLOROPHYTUM CONOSUM
  • HARDINESS RATING: H4
  • SUNLIGHT: BRIGHT BUT INDIRECT
  • WATERING: ONCE PER WEEK

Considered by experts as the easiest and most adaptable of houseplants to take care of, the Spider Plant or Chlorophytum conosum is the perfect addition to your bathroom shelves. [source]

Low-maintenance in its nature, the plant comes in a range of green and yellow hues and grows up to 3 feet long in the right conditions.

They can be used as trailing potted plants, or hung in a hanging basket depending on the space available and your decor preferences.

Although they tend to prefer bright light, they can handle life in low light conditions with less humidity, if required.

One of the best parts of raising a Spider Plant is the creation of baby Spider Plants!

These can be re-potted and used throughout the home, or given as gifts to others.

So, if you’re looking for a plant that doesn’t need hand-holding to grow big and strong, a Spider Plant could be perfect for your home. 

2) Begonias

polka-dot patterned leaves of polka-dot begonia in gold plant pot
  • BOTANICAL NAME: BEGONIA
  • SUNLIGHT: BRIGHT BUT INDIRECT
  • WATERING: DRY OUT BETWEEN WATERING; REDUCE IN WINTER

Another plant that thrives in humid environments is the Begonia.

Native to the tropical climates of South and Central America, Africa and south Asia, Begonias have over 1,800 different species ranging from small houseplants to five-foot tall bushy plants. [source]

As a result, begonias are naturally pest-resistant, giving you one less thing to worry about.

Of the three main types of begonia (fibrous, rhizomatous and tuberous), the most appropriate for the bathroom are the fibrous and rhizomatous types.

Unfortunately, the tuberous begonia will struggle in UK households as it requires more humidity and light than is available in the average bathroom.

Begonias come with a more delicate balancing act than most indoor plants, where humidity is important, but too much water can water-log the plants and cause problems such as root rot – so don’t be overzealous with the watering can!

If you’ve chosen a floral begonia, a sunny spot in the bathroom is perfect, with some direct sunlight.

However, begonias with foliage will need a sunny location away from direct sunlight to grow.

3) Bird’s nest fern

a birds nest fern in a white pot
  • BOTANICAL NAME: ASPLENIUM NIDUS
  • HARDINESS RATING: H1B
  • SUNLIGHT: MODERATE AND INDIRECT
  • WATERING: KEEP MOIST; NOT WATERLOGGED

Although there are plenty of species of fern to choose from, the bird’s nest fern or Asplenium nidus is particularly suited to bathroom environments.

As some of the oldest plants in the world, ferns have made their way into homes for decades now, having adapted to cooler climates – in contrast with their native environments of tropical Africa and tropical Asia. [source]

The bird’s nest fern is a delightful green leafy plant that enjoys moderate, indirect sunlight as long as it’s in a warm and moist environment.

Its large fronds can grow quite quickly, with the newer leaves growing from the centerpoint of the plant.

The fronds of this particular fern can grow as large as 150cm in length and 20cm in width, making them the perfect plant for lower bathroom shelves.

Again, due to their native home, there’s a delicate balancing act in place when growing and taking care of a fern; be sure to provide moist compost without overwatering, and stay away from watering the plant itself. 

4) Pothos

pothos houseplant with variegated leaves
  • BOTANICAL NAME: EPIPREMNUM AUREUM
  • HARDINESS RATING: H1B
  • SUNLIGHT: LOW AND INDIRECT
  • WATERING: ONCE PER WEEK; REDUCE IN WINTER

Great for bathroom counters, the pothos is ideal for bathrooms with less natural light – thriving in low and indirect light environments.

A hardy plant, pothos plants are tough and easy to care for, with fast growth rates that flourish and trail to lengths of up to 9m!

Realistically for bathroom space and as an indoor plant, they are kept much shorter than this with semi-regular pruning.

Leafy and green in appearance, the plant (also known as ‘Devil’s Ivy’) has heart-shaped leaves with touches of light green, yellow and white hues.

The colour of their leaves are also a good indicator of plant health; they may turn all green with a distinct lack of sunlight, or suddenly turn pale if they’re getting too much sun.

These plants are also adaptable in other rooms throughout the house with a lack of sunlight and, again, are another easy plant that doesn’t like regular watering.

Leave the soil to dry out entirely to avoid root rot and accidental overwatering, with droopy leaves working as a good indicator of this. [source]

Best for bright spots 

While bathrooms aren’t always the brightest areas of the home, there are a number of beautiful trailing houseplants with easy-maintenance that bask in regular or direct sunlight to grow.

5) Aloe vera

Aloe vera plant in a pink plant pot on kitchen worktop
  • BOTANICAL NAME: ALOE BARBADENSIS
  • HARDINESS RATING: H1C
  • SUNLIGHT: BRIGHT; DIRECT OR INDIRECT
  • WATERING: DRY OUT BETWEEN WATERING

Another plant that doesn’t need regular watering and possibly the most well-known house plant of all, it wouldn’t be an indoor houseplant list without an aloe!

Green and spiky in appearance, aloe plants in the wild can grow up to heights of 100cm tall, although the varieties for indoor use generally max out at heights much shorter than this.

Aloe plants grow well in areas with bright, direct sunlight – so although they can thrive in bathrooms, any area in your house that’s close to a window will keep your aloe plant happy.

With over 400 types to choose from, the Aloe barbadensis is one of the most common choices for houseplants. [source]

6) Dracaena

dragon tree in a white pot with stairway in background
  • BOTANICAL NAME: DRACAENA
  • HARDINESS RATING: H1B
  • SUNLIGHT: BRIGHT BUT INDIRECT
  • WATERING: DRY OUT BETWEEN WATERING

The Dracaena or ‘Dragon Tree’ is a beautifully tall addition to any house. With stiff, tall leaves, they’re notoriously easy to grow indoors and perfect for green-thumbed beginners.

When grown in their native areas of Madagascar and Mauritius, the Dragon Tree grows up to 6m in height! [source]

As an indoor houseplant, they generally reach heights of 2m or so, tolerating a wide range of temperatures and climates.

This is another plant that enjoys indirect light, and needs watering every 2-3 weeks or so, once the top half of the soil is dry.

Brown leaves are a sign of overwatering the dragon tree, and yellow leaves can be an indicator of thirst.

One big consideration when thinking about buying a Dracaena is that, although safe for humans, this plant is especially toxic and poisonous for dogs and cats. [source]

7) Tradescantia or Spiderwort 

spiderwort in a hanging planter
  • BOTANICAL NAME: TRADESCANTIA
  • HARDINESS RATING: H1C
  • SUNLIGHT: BRIGHT BUT INDIRECT
  • WATERING: KEEP MOIST; MIST REGULARLY

Native to southern Canada and northern Argentina, the Tradescantia is a house plant with colourful leaves ranging in appearance from silver and purple to green.

Perfect as a hanging plant or trailing potted plant indoors, there are over 70 species of Tradescantia to choose from to brighten up your home.

Depending on the variety you choose, this plant generally thrives in bright spots indoors and outdoors alike.

For example, the ‘Green Hill’ species simply needs some frequent indirect sunlight, whereas the ‘Purple Spiderwort’ is a durable choice of indoor plant that can survive in temperatures as low as -4°C, making them perfect for colder rooms in the house and the winter months.

Interestingly, studies showed that the Purple Spiderwort in particular was especially skilled at removing indoor toxins and harmful volatile organic compounds (or VOCs) from household air. [source]

Other best picks

Here’s a few more notable mentions for trailing houseplants that bring a range of benefits to your home:

8) English Ivy

an english ivy plant in a pot on the balcony
  • BOTANICAL NAME: HEDERA HELIX
  • HARDINESS RATING: H5
  • SUNLIGHT: ANY
  • WATERING: DRY OUT BETWEEN WATERING

One of the more classic and well-known trailing houseplants, the English Ivy or Hedera helix is a common species of Ivy that thrives in a range of lighting and soil conditions.

Native to Europe and western Asia, the English ivy is often seen on the sides of British pavements, brick walls and on the fronts of older houses!

The English ivy is an easy-growing and robust plant with a range of cultivars such as the ‘Fluffy Ruffles’ with ruffled leaves, the ‘Gold Baby’ which has a beautiful golden edge to its leaves or the ‘Midas Touch’ with reddish stems and climbing attributes.

Grow your English ivy in a plant pot or up in a couple of hanging baskets to emphasise its beautiful trailing appearance.

9) Chinese Evergreen 

variegated foliage of chinese evergreen in a white container
  • BOTANICAL NAME: AGLAONEMA COMMUTATUM
  • HARDINESS RATING: H1B
  • SUNLIGHT: LOW AND INDIRECT
  • WATERING: ONCE PER WEEK; REDUCE IN WINTER

The Chinese Evergreen is another striking house plant to add to a modern home.

The Evergreen thrives in low-lit and humid conditions, so would work well in a bathroom.

However, the durable plant can be kept elsewhere in the house with occasional misting to the leaves to keep them their striking green and yellow colour, while keeping away dust.

An effective cleanser, the plant was another participant in the NASA study where it was scientifically proven to break down formaldehyde and benzene from the air, which can make their way into the household from detergents, cosmetics and even wooden furniture! [source]

10) Peace Lily

white flower of peace lily with green foliage in background
  • BOTANICAL NAME: SPATHIPHYLLUM WALLISII
  • HARDINESS RATING: H1B
  • SUNLIGHT: MEDIUM BUT INDIRECT
  • WATERING: DRY OUT BETWEEN WATERING

Finally, the Peace Lily is probably one of the most striking indoor plants.

Perfect for livening up any room, they appear with dark green leaves, a white leaf bract and a beautiful yellow flower.

As with many indoor houseplants, peace lilies thrive in medium to low-light conditions.

However, the plants and its flowers will vary in appearance depending on how much light they get; more light usually means more flowers, and less light will lead to fewer blooms, and more of a foliage look.

The most common reason for a peace lily to die is overwatering – so keep your watering can at bay until the leaves begin to droop!

Notable Mentions

We couldn’t write about trailing houseplants without showcasing the following nine plants –

11) Senecio String of Pearls

senecio string of pearls plant hanging from a wicker plant pot
  • BOTANICAL NAME: SENECIO ROWLEYANUS
  • HARDINESS RATING: H2
  • SUNLIGHT: BRIGHT BUT INDIRECT
  • WATERING: ONCE PER FORTNIGHT; REDUCE IN WINTER

A succulent which is easy to grow indoors, this plant has a unique trailing appearance with long threads of ‘pearl’ shaped foliage.

It is extremely tolerant of drought and can survive long periods without being watered, making it very easy to care for.

12) Burros Tail

Sedum morganianum spilling from a ceramic white container
  • BOTANICAL NAME: SEDUM MORGANIANUM
  • HARDINESS RATING: H1C
  • SUNLIGHT: BRIGHT BUT INDIRECT
  • WATERING: ONCE PER MONTH

Sedum morganianum, commonly known as ‘burros tail’ or ‘donkey tail’ is another interesting looking plant that is sure to stand out.

As a sedum, the plant prefers warm temperatures that match its native region of Southern Mexico, meaning it works well as a houseplant.

As a succulent, the plant needs infrequent watering and should be placed in a bright location with indirect sunlight.

13) Trailing Jade Plant

light green foliage of Peperomia prostrata in an orange pot
  • BOTANICAL NAME: PEPEROMIA PROSTRATA
  • SUNLIGHT: BRIGHT BUT INDIRECT
  • WATERING: DRY OUT BETWEEN WATERING

Trailing Jade is a succulent which, despite looking a lot like the Jade Plant, is a member of a completely separate genus.

It is tolerant of neglect, requires infrequent watering and a location that is bright but doesn’t usually receive direct sunlight (which may scorch the leaves of the plant).

14) Red Herringbone

red herringbone plant
  • BOTANICAL NAME: MARANTA LEUCONEURA VAR. ERYTHRONEURA
  • HARDINESS RATING: H1A
  • SUNLIGHT: BRIGHT BUT INDIRECT
  • WATERING: KEEP MOIST; REDUCE IN WINTER

This popular houseplant has stunning foliage and is known for its distinct red veins and variegated leaves, which often trail over the edge of the pot.

If you’re looking for a statement plant this would make an excellent choice.

This plant does require more regular watering than other options but it is important to keep the soil moist but never waterlogged.

Choose a south-facing windowsill for this plant to thrive.

15) Monstera

a monstera houseplant with interesting foliage
  • BOTANICAL NAME: MONSTERA DELICIOSA
  • HARDINESS RATING: H1B
  • SUNLIGHT: BRIGHT BUT INDIRECT
  • WATERING: ONCE PER WEEK

Potentially the most instantly recognisable of all houseplants, Monstera has seen a huge surge in popularity over recent years.

While it might not strictly be classed as a ‘trailing’ plant, the characterful foliage will grow outwards and often spill over the edges of its pot.

They prefer to be watered every week or two and should be kept out of direct sunlight which can cause the leaves to yellow.

A bright (but indirect) location will cause the plant to develop holes which give it the apt name of ‘swiss cheese plant’.

16) Philodendron

phiodendron hanging over a white shelving unit
  • BOTANICAL NAME: PHILODENDRON
  • HARDINESS RATING: H1B
  • SUNLIGHT: MEDIUM BUT INDIRECT
  • WATERING: ONCE PER 1-2 WEEKS

Philodendron is an evergreen perennial and a native of Central America.

It thrives in indirect light and requires infrequent watering (usually every 1-2 weeks will suffice).

For trailing varieties, look for Heartleaf Philodendron or Philodendron ‘Brasil’.

17) Moth Orchid

pink flowers of moth orchid
  • BOTANICAL NAME: PHALAENOPSIS
  • SUNLIGHT: BRIGHT BUT INDIRECT
  • WATERING: KEEP MOIST; MIST REGULARLY

The Orchid is certainly unlikely to be considered a traditional trailing plant, but the foliage and flowers of some varieties will spill over the sides of their container and hang down in a trailing form.

The variety pictured above (a Moth Orchid) has stunning patterned flowers in white and pink.

Unlike other plants in this list, orchids will need regular daily care, with misting required daily when they’re not dormant.

They will also require fertilising every 1-2 weeks.

It can be difficult to replicate the humid, tropical conditions they thrive in (especially here in the UK) but they are beautiful and rewarding plants to grow.

18) Goldfish Plant

orange flowers and green foliage of goldfish plant
  • BOTANICAL NAME: NEMATANTHUS
  • HARDINESS RATING: H1B
  • SUNLIGHT: BRIGHT BUT INDIRECT
  • WATERING: TWICE PER WEEK; DON’T ALLOW SOIL TO DRY OUT

The Goldish Plant owes its name to the many tiny yellow flowers which bloom in a shape reminiscent of small orange fish.

It is native to the tropical areas of Central America and thrives in warm conditions that are out of direct sunlight.

With the right care (and plenty of bright, but indirect, sunlight) your plant should bloom heavily in the summer months.

19) Turtle Vine

turtle vine foliage trailing from white container
  • BOTANICAL NAME: CALLISIA REPENS
  • SUNLIGHT: BRIGHT BUT INDIRECT
  • WATERING: KEEP MOIST; NOT WATERLOGGED

Callisia repens (also known as ‘Turtle Vine’) is a succulent with beautiful cascading leaves that will trail out of its growing container.

Bright but indirect light is ideal with moist but well-drained soil.

Overwatering is a common issue, meaning you should always allow the topsoil to fully dry out before watering your Turtle Vine.

Introducing trailing plants to your home

There are a range of beautiful trailing indoor houseplants available.

The ones we’ve mentioned in this article are generally quite low-maintenance, and provide a range of benefits from brightening the home to cleaning the air around you. 

Some top tips to be mindful of include:

  • Whether the plant needs direct sunlight, indirect sunlight or mostly shade
  • Water schedules: including whether to water or mist the leaves, or the roots and soil themselves to encourage growth
  • The temperature and humidity of the room in which they’re kept
  • The rooms and placements in your home which would benefit the most from air-purifying qualities.

Happy growing! 

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