Houseplants with long, thin leaves really add a lot of elegance to a room! There’s little wonder so many of us look for these slender stems and leaves whenever we want to transform the look of our kitchens, bedrooms, and living areas.
So, inspired by this trend, I’ve put together a bumper list of the best houseplants with long, thin leaves for you to look out for at your local garden centre. I’ll also fill you in on a few handy care tips, too.
1. Long Leaf Fig (Ficus maclellandii)
This is a visual star amongst long-leafed houseplants! It’s easy to care for and has a statuesque, imposing presence to really fill out a room. Its glossy, emerald green leaves arch away from a central main stem, giving it a palm-like look.
This plant loves moist soil and to be kept as far away from draughts as possible. However, you’ll need to be careful with your watering! If it is allowed to completely dry out, it will suffer. If it is overwatered, it will rot.
This is an uncomplicated plant with a steady growth habit if you can provide routine care. It’s also great at purifying the air, and will thrive in areas of between 16 to 24 degrees C. Make sure to fertilise it occasionally during the growth season and mist its leaves if it’s looking ‘down’. Try turning the pot occasionally, too.
Watering just more than once a week should be fine, but not so much in winter. Bright, indirect light is perfect for this specimen!
2. Pink Princess (Philodendron)
This plant’s superb colouring is much sought-after by plant collectors. As the name suggests, it displays vibrant pink shades which can deepen to maroon.
These shades contrast well with the deep green colouring on the rest of its leaves. It’s rare you’ll get two leaves that match, either!
Thankfully, this is also an easy plant to care for. Properly looked after, it can develop leaves up to 20 centimetres long and 12 centimetres wide! It’ll thrive in humid rooms such as shower spaces, bathrooms, kitchens or where you can easily mist.
Ideally fertilise this plant fortnightly from late March to late September or mid-October. It needs a home temperature between 18 and 25 degrees C for optimum growth. It’ll enjoy weekly watering, and does well in medium to bright light (providing it’s indirect).
3. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
Spiders are amongst the easiest houseplants to grow, full stop. They are forgiving if you occasionally forget to water them (but try not to get into bad habits!).
They can be displayed in several ways, including in hanging baskets, shared containers, individual pots, or in a window display.
These plants will ideally need bright and indirect light, but they’ll also withstand darker spots. You should aim to moisten spider plants without getting them damp.
Allow your spiders to dry between watering, and only repot them when roots begin to grow out of the base! In a shared container, for example, you should use judgement – if the plant is looking weak, it may not have enough room. Alternatively, if you water other thirsty plants in a container, your spider plant may be drowning!
Ideally, spiders thrive in temperatures between 10 and 18 degrees C. They’re some of the least fussy houseplants I’ve ever grown. What’s more, splitting and repotting spider plants is super simple!
4. Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis)
This stunning succulent plant has a striking appearance with sharply pointed leaves that grow ever upwards. Famous for their healing sap, they have deep to pale green leaves.
They’re very easy to care for, too! Ideally housed in strong light, it’s a good idea to turn their container every few weeks to maintain their balanced appearance.
They will benefit from having leaves cleaned periodically, too, because they can attract dust! I recommend fertilising these plants in spring with a weak phosphorus solution for optimum growth.
A word of warning – it’s easy to kill these plants with kindness! It’s best to treat them almost as you would a cactus. Aloe vera prefer very light showers to complete soakings and will rot if not in sufficiently well-draining soil. Ideally, you should grow them in a medium for cultivating cacti or mix your own soil with perlite.
5. Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)
Sometimes known as the elephant’s foot tree, the woody stems of this succulent can be quite chunky – making it look a little bit like a willow! The long, thin, bright green leaves cascade down surrounding the ‘bark’ of the stem. These plants make amazing focal points in any room!
Ponytail palms are pretty undemanding on the whole. They will benefit from misting occasionally and ideally turned from time to time. This way, you encourage an even growth of leaves and prevent the plant from leaning.
Allow this plant to dry out between watering sessions – when you do water it, don’t drench it! Let its top three inches of soil dry before you water again. Ideally position your ponytail palm in a brightly-lit, draft-free area – temperatures above 7 degrees C are perfect.
6. Snake Plant (Sansevieria)
This plant often receives the name mother-in-law’s tongue, and its appearance is pretty formidable! It has long, slender leaves with sharp tips, and an upright growth habit, pointing towards the ceiling.
Its leaves come in various shades of green and can be variegated with paler green, lime, or pale yellow bordering in white.
As it happens, snake plants are really good for your health! NASA conducted experiments on this plant to evaluate its air-purifying qualities. Research proves it is adept at removing toxins such as Benzene from the atmosphere!
Caring for snake plants is straightforward – they enjoy well-lit areas, and normally do best between 16 and 24 degrees C. To encourage even growth, remember to turn your plant periodically so that all leaves get their fair share of light. Give it a generous amount of water every two weeks, once the soil is dry.
With approximately 70 species of snake plants out there, they range in size from a mature height of only 8 inches to over 16 inches tall – there are plenty to choose from!
7. Yucca (L. Clistoyucca)
Yucca plants are reliable, eye-catching plants that add stunning architectural interest to any room! As indoor plants they can be superb standalones in containers at ground level. Alternatively, you might want to house shorter specimens on tables, stairs, or landings.
The yucca’s long, slim leaves are impressively strong and will not move as a whole in a breeze. Lengthier tips may sway, however, from side to side. Underwatered or overwatered leaves may turn crisp or rot then drop off. Therefore, be careful when giving them a drink – one every week-and-a-half should be enough, just make sure to check the top two inches of soil are dry.
Yuccas are best suited to positions where they can receive full sunlight for at least part of the day. Look after them carefully, and they’ll sometimes produce white or cream flowers. New leaves unfold from a cone-like shape and are very solid to the touch!
You should ideally try and house yuccas in areas between 13 and 27 degrees C for the best overall growth. They’ll do well outside if need be, too.
8. Dracaena (Various species)
There are many different types of dracaena (such as the common corn plant) but they are all generally elegant plants with tall, thin, woody stems sometimes called ‘canes’. Their long, slim leaves usually have an upwards stance – they resemble slim trees!
Best suited to indoor living, they thrive in well-drained soil – but in winter months, require hardly any water unless you position them next to a radiator! These plants are easy to maintain if you keep them in medium to bright light – but don’t scorch them too much, or their leaves will turn brown!
Best kept out of draughts, dracaena need airy spaces and moist growing mediums – but not drenching. Think of giving them an odd shower rather than a regular bath! Dracaena need little attention but often.
During the growing season, I recommend feeding them fortnightly. Beyond the growing season, just help them rest and tick over in as stable an atmosphere as you can manage. Watering every one-and-a-half to two weeks should be ideal, and they’ll thrive in temperatures between 16 and 26 degrees C. That’s room temperature!
These plants don’t always cope well with extremes, so if you need to move them, water them carefully and be prepared for them to enter shock.
9. Amaryllis (Hippeastrum)
A superb flowering bulb with extremely long, slender leaves, the amaryllis will develop a long, thick stem topped by what I can only describe as a drama queen – amaryllis flowers are bold and beautiful!
They come in white, pink, red, and even variegated colours. Their leaves are elegant emerald green and smooth. This plant’s leaves and flower-topped stem can extend to approximately 18 inches.
They need a good amount of light, a moist, well-fertilised growing medium, and to be out of draughts. Its bulbs can be regenerated for the following year, so they make good investments and great gifts!
You should water amaryllis weekly. To ease amaryllis into a productive dormancy, reduce the amount of water they’re given and then leave them to settle down. A temperature of between 20 and 25 degrees C is ideal for these plants.
10. Bromeliad (Bromeliaceae)
These vivid specimens come in many different varieties, so you’re really in luck if you like their sophisticated, green-to-yellow leaves. They tend to plume up in nest-like states, with gorgeous flowers springing up in between.
Bromeliad leaves really do stretch as far as the eye can see. In some cases, you may find a plant offering leaves that extend up to 36 inches in length. It’s an incredible sight, but you’ll only get them to grow this well if you treat them right!
To do that, make sure you house them in conditions between 15 and 27 degrees C for optimal growth. You should ideally place these plants somewhere they can enjoy bright light, but they’ll also enjoy medium light conditions if you’re worried about scorching them.
You should aim to give a bromeliad a drink of water around once every week, maybe with a cup poured over the leaf base. Its roots are a different matter – these will need a very delicate misting, so try not to overdo it!
Bromeliads love soil that drains well. Try to gather some perlite or peat moss and keep their soil fairly acidic wherever possible. These plants can grow to three feet tall, meaning it’s worth taking care of them!
11. Himalaya Groundsel (Senecio himalaya)
This super-tough plant may not be the most common houseplant you’ll see in the garden centre, but it’s absolutely worth the investment if you can find one. It’s a super-stunning succulent with tons of bushy, spiky leaves.
These plants really clump together – looking almost like a green hedgehog! To keep this gorgeous plant looking its best, make sure to give it up to six hours of sunlight a day. As a succulent, however, it’ll withstand a variety of conditions.
What’s really surprising about this groundsel is that it will withstand extremely cold temperatures if forced to. You’ll find that it can sit happily in rooms as cold as 10 degrees C. That doesn’t mean it should! Try and aim for humidity at temperatures of up to 24 degrees C for the best growth.
You probably only need to water these plants once every fortnight to a month. Give them a good soak and let them dry completely before repeating.
The soil you use here is important, too! It’ll need to drain well, and ideally, it should be pretty coarse. Consider mixing up some compost with a little sand.
These beauties aren’t particularly tall, but they’re lovely little focal points for most spaces. Keep your eyes peeled!
As you can see, there are plenty of fantastic long-leaved plants you can invest in and care for at home. These are just some of my personal favourites, and ones I think you’ll have a lot of fun looking after.
Why not take a look at your local garden centre to see if you can spot any of these beauties for yourself? Just remember to follow the light and watering guidelines for the best results!