5 Houseplants with Colorful Leaves That Will Bring Fun to Your Indoor Jungle

Create a kaleidoscope of joy with the best houseplants with colorful leaves you can keep in your home

Caladium house plant with pink leaves
(Image credit: Getty Images)

We all know that house plants make a home feel happier–and even healthier. Just looking at the color green lowers our stress levels, according to numerous research studies. This may be so–yet houseplants with colorful leaves bring a joy of their own to a space.

From deep fuschia and delicate pink to fire-y orange and zingy yellow, leaf colors can vary hugely from just different shades of green. Whether striped, mottled or otherwise variegated, the colorful tones on plant leaves can take an indoor garden to another level.

So which are the best choices for houseplants with colorful leaves to add into your indoor garden?

1. Caladiums

Caladium house plant in a black pot

(Image credit: Getty)

These plants have spectacular heart-shaped leaves, with a wide variety of variegations, among the numerous cultivars. Expect contrasting veins, paint-splattered effects or unusual tonal twists across the scores of different types of Caladium.

Whether you're looking for subtle hints of pastel pink, showy pops of magenta or intense tones of fuschia, the Caladium will not disappoint.

'I believe that caladiums bring a touch of tropical elegance and vibrant color to indoor gardens,' says Hollie Walters, founder, Blue Buddha Farm. 'They are particularly well-suited for indoor gardening because they thrive in the warm and humid conditions often found indoors.

'There are a few Caladiums that I absolutely adore. One of them is the "Florida Moonlight" caladium, which features stunning white leaves with delicate green coloring. It brings a sense of purity and brightness to indoor settings.

'Another favorite is the "Pink Symphony" caladium, which has delicate translucent pink leaves. There is such a diverse variety of caladiums available, each with its own unique charm and color palette to choose from to suit your living space.'

2. Begonia Rex

Begonia exotica with colorful leaves in a white pot

(Image credit: Getty Images / Andreas Hoernisch)

There are a number of Begonias grown for their foliage (rather than for their flowers) and they make eye-catching house plants. Chief among these, where color is concerned, is the Begonia 'Rex'.

Begonia 'Rex' is the starting point for an array of colorful hybrids. Sometimes called 'painted-leaf' or 'fancy leaf', these Begonias are loved for their unusual and colorful leaf patterns, which range from deep burgundy to flushes of pink.

'There are thousands of Begonia cultivars,' explains Tom Knight, founder, Our House Plants. 'The foliage types are normally Rhizomatous Begonias, which are smaller than the Cane and Tuberous Begonias.

'Begonias need a bright location, out of direct sunlight. Avoid over-watering, as Begonia roots can rot, so ideally let the soil dry out between waterings.'

3. Aglaonema Wishes (Chinese Evergreen)

Aglaonema Wishes house plant

(Image credit: Getty Images / Fajar Wahyudi)

With its speckled green, yellow and pink leaves, Aglaomena Wishes is a delightful plant to add to an indoor garden. Yet despite its striking appearance, it is a relatively easy plant to care for. You won't ever see this one growing in the wild though.

'While plants in the Aglaonema genus are native to tropical regions in Asia, the Aglaonema wishes is a cultivar that is bred by growers and does not naturally occur,' explains Paris Lalicata, plant expert at The Sill.

'To best care for an Aglaonema wishes give it bright indirect light with some morning sun, preferably in an East or West window. An obstructed North window can work but will cause slow growth. A South window can work if direct sunlight is diffused. Water when most of the soil has dried out, and provide some level of humidity in the home.'

4. Triostar Stromanthe

Calathea Triostar prayer plant

(Image credit: The Stem)

The Calathea Triostar is a spectacular houseplant with colorful leaves, which offer glimpses of hot pink and dark burgundy. Like many plants, avoid over-watering. It's best to wait until the top two inches of soil feel dry before drenching again and letting it drain.

'The variegated green and white leaves with burgundy undersides are stunning,' says Lisa Eldred-Steinkopf, author of the book Houseplants. 'At night they fold up like a prayer plant, a relative in the Marantaceae family.

'This plant is quite often used outside in the summer, in mixed combination pots for shady situations. (The white parts of the leaves will burn in full sun). In the house though, it will need a bright light to keep its colors. A western exposure would be best.

'Keep this plant evenly moist, not dry, but never standing in water. They need high humidity, so stand the pot on a pebble tray.'

5. Croton 'Petra' Plant (Codiaeum variegatum 'Petra')

Croton house plant with colorful leaves

(Image credit: Getty Images / comar gallery)

The Croton is another plant that is loved for its colorful leaves and again there are numerous cultivars. The 'Petra' is a popular variety and fairly easy to get hold of.

'The colorful leaves of this plant are unbeatable,' says Lisa. 'Hot vibrant colors of red, orange and yellow are the main tones on the dark green leaves. 'These plants aren't terribly hard to grow but it's tough to keep those vibrant colors bright in the house.

'Bright sun is needed for these plants to keep their color. A south or west window with some direct sun is recommended.

'Keep the potting medium evenly moist and the humidity high, by placing the plant on a pebble tray. If the soil dries out, the bottom leaves will fall off.'

Jacky Parker is a London-based freelance journalist and content creator, specialising in interiors, travel and food. From buying guides and real home case studies to shopping and news pages, she produces a wide range of features for national magazines and SEO content for websites

A long-time contributor to Livingetc, as a member of the team, she regularly reports on the latest trends, speaking to experts and discovering the latest tips. Jacky has also written  for other publications such as Homes and Gardens, Ideal Home, Red, Grand Designs, Sunday Times Style and AD, Country Homes and Interiors and ELLE Decoration.