Father’s Day gifts: The 10 best houseplants for plant dads

Illustration of three potted plants adorned with mustaches. One also has a bowtie and glasses.
Our favorite houseplants for the plant dad in your life.
(Micah Fluellen / Los Angeles Times)

If your father figure prefers watching Hilton Carter and Monty Don plant makeovers to BBQuest, why not skip the grilling gifts and get him a houseplant for Father’s Day? Demand has been high for houseplants lately, so we reached out to some of our favorite plant stores to find out what’s in stock for last-minute shoppers. Here, with input from Los Angeles small businesses, are some of the best houseplants for the plant dad in your life.

A tall snake plant in a pot
Snake plants come in various shapes, sizes and colors.
(DEA / C. Dani / De Agostini via Getty Images)

1. Snake plant

Popular types of sansevieria, such as the snake plant or mother-in-law’s tongue, are easy to grow, require little water and thrive in warm interiors. Although it’s often considered an office plant, there are many interesting varieties to choose from in various shapes, sizes and colors, including the horn-like cylindrica and patens and trifasciata ‘Black Coral.’ (Available at Roger’s Gardens, Folia Collective, Potted, Rolling Greens.)


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June 12, 2021

A plant in a white pot next to a couch.
Dracaenas, like this Dracaena ‘Warneckii,’ are known for their striking variegated foliage.
(Lisa Boone / Los Angeles Times )

2. Lisa cane

If you are looking for something tall and dramatic, dracaenas, which are popular for their striking variegated foliage, hold up well in lower light. While some are low-growing, a healthy Lisa cane can grow as tall as 7 to 8 feet with very little sunlight. (Available at Roger’s Gardens, Tansy, Rolling Greens.)

A platycerium bifurcatum, or Staghorn fern
Fertile fronds of Platycerium bifurcatum, a.k.a. Staghorn ferns, have a single sterile frond that is constantly being replaced. Fertile fronds can extend up to 3 feet, with each of the “antlers” measuring up to 9 inches long.
(Potted )

3. Staghorn fern

The fertile fronds of the tropical Platycerium bifurcatum, or staghorn fern, can extend up to 3 feet with each of the “antlers” measuring up to 9 inches long. When mounted, these plants feel like art. This is a good plant for dads who like routine, as it does well with consistent care. (Available at Potted and Folia Collective.)

Zamioculcas Zamiifolia plant in a white flower pot .
The ZZ plant is hardy — and drought-tolerant.
(Kseniia Soloveva / Getty Images/iStockphoto)

4. ZZ plant

If Dad is intimidated by houseplants, Zamioculcas zamiifolia, commonly known as the ZZ plant, is a tall, sculptural tropical that can survive just about anywhere. Hardy and drought-tolerant, this houseplant needs water every few weeks. (Available at the Sill, Tansy.)

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April 22, 2021

Close-up of a ponytail palm
The ponytail palm doesn’t need much watering.
(DEA / G. Cigolini / De Agostini via Getty Images)

5. Ponytail palm

The Beaucarnea recurvata, or ponytail palm, is easy because it can grow almost anywhere. It is impossible to kill as long as you don’t overwater it. (Available at Roger’s Gardens, Tansy.)

A parlor palm in a decorative pot.
Parlor palms thrive in warm, humid rooms.
(DEA / G. Cigolini / De Agostini via Getty Images)

6. Parlor palm

If Dad’s taste is more Bohemian modern than traditional, the arched fronds of the Chamaedorea elegans, also known as a parlor palm or good luck palm, will add a relaxed tropical vibe to interiors. The miniature palm is a slow grower that can reach about 3 feet high or, with repeated repotting, as high as 6 feet. Like most tropical plants, Chamaedorea elegans thrives in warm, humid rooms, so it helps to mist it or place it on a tray filled with moist pebbles. (Available at the Sill.)

A Chinese money plant on a table with books, a pair of binoculars, a wrench and a framed print.
Pilea peperomioides, or Chinese money plant.
(Lisa Boone )

7. Chinese money plant

The Pilea peperomioides is known for its round shiny leaves and is often called the friendship plant because it grows baby plants that can easily be propagated in water or soil and given as gifts. Pileas are low maintenance and do well in bright, indirect light with occasional watering. (Available at the Juicy Leaf, Potted.)

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June 6, 2020

Dumb cane in a basket
Dumb cane is most comfortable in warm and humid interiors.
(DEA / C. Dani / De Agostini via Getty Images)

8. Dumb cane

Dumb cane, or Dieffenbachia maculata or seguine, is beloved for its highly decorative leaves tinged with yellow, cream and white. Maculata/seguine, commonly known as spotted dumb cane because its sap can cause irritation of the mouth, is a popular species featuring narrow green leaves with irregular white markings. Native to Central and South America, it is most comfortable in warm and humid interiors. If your interiors are dry, place it on a tray of damp pebbles for humidity, or group it with similar humidity-loving plants to create a moisture pocket. Because it can grow to 5 feet tall or or more, it is an excellent choice for an empty wall. (Available at All Time Plants.)

A money tree with a braided trunk in a pot.
The money tree does best in a bright spot.
(Matthew Lloyd / Getty Images/iStockphoto)

9. Money trees

Money trees, or Pachira aquatica, feature a braided trunk and shiny hand-shaped leaves. Money trees are rumored to promote positive feng shui and good fortune. The plant does best in a bright spot with regular watering and abundant humidity. (Available at Greenwood Shop.)

A miniature fiddle leaf fig in a green pot
A miniature fiddle leaf fig, or Ficus lyrata.
(Lisa Boone / Los Angeles Times)

10. Fiddle-leaf fig

The fiddle-leaf fig, or Ficus lyrata, is a high-maintenance plant perfect for someone who wants to dote on something. Tall and sculptural, most of the fiddle-leaf plants we have seen in stores lately have been miniature. The popular plant likes bright indirect light and is prone to root rot if overwatered. Be careful with fertilizer; it can burn the roots of a stressed plant. (Available at Rolling Greens, the Sill.)