Indoor Plants: Drought Tolerant, Decorative and Healthy!

We’re visual creatures, and creating visible beauty with plant life in your home can offer a sense of peace and even positive stimulation, depending on your personal style and taste. Indoor plants can add pops of refreshing color to bedrooms, living and kitchen spaces, and even bathrooms. Some indoor plants even have the added benefit of purifying the air in your home! In the latter part of the 1980’s, NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America performed a study on houseplants and their unique ability to purify airspace indoors. They discovered a variety of plants that have the unique ability to filter out common volatile organic compounds, or VOC’s. Since that time, many studies have been performed to further validate this truth.

The Smith Brother’s team has a sincere adoration of plants. We respect our agriculture highly, not only for its ability to bring life and color to indoor and outdoor living spaces, but for the imperative impact it has on our beautiful planet. In southern California and Hawaii, plant life is everywhere. Southern California brings a desert oasis with a blend of palms, succulents, and cactus, despite the fierce drought conditions. Hawaii offers a tropical oasis with a lush display of some of the most breathtaking plant life in the world.

So we thought we’d focus some interior design flare on indoor plants that can bring style, life, and decor to your home. Here are 6 indoor plant trends we love!

1. Snake Plant

Nature is truly amazing! The leaves of this plant display a snake-like print when fully extended. So if you’re into animal prints (don’t go too wild, now!) then the snake plant might be right up your alley. Consider putting this one in or near a bathroom as it’s known for its ability to filter out formaldehyde which is commonly found in cleaning products such as toilet paper, facial tissue and other personal care products. This plant requires very little watering, does well in low light, and will actually thrive best on the steamy humidity of your shower.

Snake Plant in Bathroom
Image Credit: Beth Kooby Designs via Photo by Jeff Herr Photography.

2. Chinese Evergreen

The Chinese Evergreen somehow brings simplicity and complexity together. From afar the greenery is vibrant, as you get closer the detail of its leaves present themselves with delicate internal bits of a lime tinted pastel tone. This indoor plant is quite simple to care for. It’s known to help filter out a multitude of air pollutants and toxins, and its ability to do this remarkably strengthens over time. Watering is minimal and it can thrive in low lit areas, and even produce blooms and red berries. This plant displays well in almost any home.

Large ornate home entry way with baroque tapestries

3. Bamboo Palm

California and Hawaii boast palms in abundance. Oh how we love this! So yeah, we need to shed some light on an ideal indoor version. We know there are many to choose from, but we do love the Bamboo Palm. The footprint of this indoor tree can be grand or minimal, and fares well in shady spots. Place these gems around furniture that could be off-gassing formaldehyde.

Bamboo Palms - Period Homes, Inc.
Image credit: Design by Period Homes, Inc. via

4. Bromeliads

Little secret: pineapples are a part of the lovely bromeliad pant family and these little plants with personality bloom a flower that resembles a pineapple top. Their flowers are so vivid, bright, and lovely, yet they’re small in size so they’re ideal for desktops, shelves, and side tables. Another perk is that their flowers last for weeks and sometimes months, given the right environment. They don’t require much water so they’re considered drought tolerant. A unique feature of bromeliads is that they can improve indoor air quality after hours. Most common indoor plants show their air purifying power during the daylight hours, but bromeliads actively release oxygen and remove air pollutants at night.

Modern Office with Bromeliad Plant
Home by Smith Brothers Construction

5. Succulents and Air Plants

Our team has had the pleasure of working with talented local landscape artist and designer, Scott Schrader. His love of plant life knows no bounds, and neither does his delightful creativity with them! Succulents and air plants were in pure focus on a project we were so fortunate to have collaborated with him on in Coronado. Their popularity is well deserved, and for good reason. In addition to improved air quality, studies have shown that these little ornamental plants can help improve concentration, memory and productivity, not to mention relieve stress. The varieties for these beauties are a plenty, so if you’re looking to create an indoor scape with them and aren’t sure where to begin, ask your local nursery or plant design specialist.

Large modern living room with succulents overlooking patio
Landscape Design by Scott Schrader. Home by Smith Brothers Construction.

Pets and Children

If you have pets or young children, make sure to check with your local nursery or even a landscape design expert about plant varieties that are harmful to pets or young children. You may still be able to display them in your home, but you’ll have to get creative with placement to make sure everyone is safe. An interior design specialist can help with creative ways to incorporate unsuitable plants for children and pets into your home.

Our Thoughts on “Fake” Synthetic Plants?

These aren’t our favorite for a variety of reasons. The carbon footprint of creating and transporting them could be reason enough, in our book. We understand that they may be easier to maintain, but if upkeep is a concern you can easily go with a succulent or air plant that require very little attention and is still “alive.” Synthetic plants also attract dust and simply don’t offer the refreshing elegance of real plants. We highly encourage the REAL thing! Start small if you’re new to plant maintenance and work your way up. Or maybe consider artwork or unique photography of plant life to display in your home if you simply don’t possess a green thumb.

If you enjoyed this blog you may want to read our blog about, “Xeriscaping for Southern California Living.”

Smith Brothers is a unique team of construction craftsmen, architects, and interior designers. Since 1978, we stress the absolute highest levels of quality, performance, value and service in each and every project. Our award-winning design ideas, expertise, and collective experience allow us to provide the very best in what we do. For more information please contact us at 877-230-0333, (+01) 858-350-1445, or

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