Want to add a distinctly Fixer Upper touch to your home? Of course, you can try out many of Joanna Gaines’ best design tips in your own house. But if you need a simple way to channel your inner Joanna in an afternoon, no costly renovations needed, just head to your local nursery.
Joanna routinely decorates the most beautiful homes on Fixer Upper with gorgeous houseplants. And most of them are easy to find and even easier to take care of!
Read on to get the scoop on the beautiful houseplants that Joanna Gaines thinks everybody should have at home.
1. Creeping jenny
- Botanical name: Lysimachia nummularia
In a post on her blog, Joanna Gaines writes that she’s a “self proclaimed plant lady.” She has lots of favorite houseplants that show up in various episodes of Fixer Upper, starting with creeping jenny. Joanna explains that creeping jenny “can be used for groundcover, but I love the way it hangs happily over the side of the pot it’s planted in. This thing lives up to it’s name.” She explains that this pretty little plant “grows fast and can be pretty invasive. So keep that in mind when planting.”
How to take care of creeping jenny
The Spruce concurs that creeping jenny can spread quickly, even when grown in containers, as most houseplants are. This plant is happiest in full sun to part shade, and The Spruce reports that creeping jenny “will tolerate fairly wet conditions. Don’t let it completely dry out.”
You can easily propagate this plant just by rooting it in water. But keep in mind that, unlike many other houseplants, creeping jenny is considered an invasive plant in some areas. So, be careful if you like to move your houseplants outside.
2. Elephant bush
- Botanical name: Portulacaria afra
Joanna also loves the elephant bush, one of the many houseplants that does well with lots of sunlight. She writes, “These tend to grow straight upright, so they add lots of height and texture to shelving.” Joanna adds that the elephant bush was one of her favorites when staging the houses featured on Season 4 of Fixer Upper.
It also features in one of her favorite pairings of houseplants. She styles the elephant bush with the string of bananas succulent (more on that plant in a few pages)! Together, these two succulents look beautiful in any corner of your home.
How to take care of an elephant bush
Gardening Know How reports that the elephant bush grows as tall as 6 to 20 feet in its natural habitat. Elephant bush houseplants, on the other hand, remain just a couple of feet tall, at most.
It thrives with lots of light in a warm but draft-free room. Ideally, the elephant bush should go in indirect sunlight, as overly bright light can damage the leaves. It also prefers well-draining soil, like a cactus mix or potting soil cut by half with sand or vermiculite. And if you can, you should place them in an unglazed pot, which will help excess moisture evaporate.
3. Fiddle leaf fig
- Botanical name: Ficus lyrata
Joanna, like many other designers, loves a statement-making fiddle leaf fig. These trees can grow 6 feet (or taller) indoors, and you can find tall ones at your local nursery or home improvement store.
But Joanna advises, “If you have the patience and a green thumb, you can save some cash and buy it as a baby fiddle.” She adds, “Just keep in mind, they are sometimes a little testy, so finding the right sun might be a trick. But this is one I will always have around. I love their big green leaves, and I especially appreciate that no two are just alike.”
How to take care of a fiddle leaf fig
As Joanna notes, the fiddle leaf fig can get a little finicky. Apartment Therapy recommends watering your tree only when the top inch of soil is dry. Fiddle leaf figs prefer bright, but indirect light, so don’t put it in a window with the sun falling directly on its big, gorgeous leaves. It’s also a good idea to wipe dust off the leaves with a soft cloth when you notice it accumulating.
You can fertilize it once per month during growing seasons, but not during the winter. And in terms of yearly maintenance, you can expect to repot the plant or trim the root ball when the roots begin to grow out the bottom of the container.
- Botanical name: Hoya carnosa “Rubra”
If you want a trailing vine, you can’t go wrong with the hoya. Joanna writes that, like many other vines that are popular houseplants, “it grows like crazy, so use it when you’re looking for long, whimsical vines that drape down. It’s also a pretty popular houseplant, so it’s easy to find, too!” You can find many varieties of hoya at your local nursery or even the home improvement store, but it looks like Joanna is using the Hoya carnosa “Rubra” in the homes featured on Fixer Upper.
How to take care of hoya
Pistils Nursery reports that each hoya cultivar has its own likes and dislikes. The variety Joanna seems to favor — the Hoya carnosa “Rubra” — likes bright but indirect light. (Joanna advises that while this hoya doesn’t require direct sunlight, it does perk up when it’s near a window.) On the other hand, it dislikes low to medium light and cold, drafty windows. And Pistils Nursery characterizes this variety as sensitive to overwatering, so you’ll want to practice some restraint with your watering can.
5. Night-blooming cereus
- Botanical name: We’re not sure exactly which variety Joanna is growing, but the most common are Epiphyllum oxypetalum, Hylocereus undatus, and Selenicereus grandiflorus
If houseplants that are super low-maintenance sound like the right fit for you, Joanna recommends that you try the night-blooming cereus. The Fixer Upper star explains, “This is a low maintenance cactus plant — that only blooms at night! The best part about this thing is that it requires minimal watering and can handle low-sun areas.”
We aren’t sure exactly which variety Joanna has used on Fixer Upper. But nurseries stock several varieties that produce flowers that only open after nightfall — a novelty in the wide world of houseplants.
How to take care of night-blooming cereus
SF Gate reports that these cactus varieties prefer well-draining sandy soil, minimal watering, and partial shade. They can grow as houseplants anywhere in the United States and, according to SF Gate, require very little care. You’ll just need to take care not to overwater, as the roots of the night-blooming cereus can rot quickly if exposed to too much water. Also, some varieties can grow up to 12 feet tall in the perfect location, so you’ll want to give a well-established plant plenty of space.
6. Olive tree
- Botanical name: Olea europaea
If you recognize only one of the houseplants featured on Fixer Upper, it’ll likely be the olive tree. Joanna uses these beautiful houseplants throughout many homes. She explains, “An olive branch is a symbol of peace and is something I love to give as a gift or incorporate in a sunny corner of a home. The simplicity of olive trees is what makes them one of my favorites.” The small leaves and stately shape of the olive tree make it the perfect addition to your lineup of houseplants, especially if you favor a more modern aesthetic.
How to take care of an olive tree
As Joanna notes, “These trees love sun and are sensitive — so try not to move it around too much after you’ve found the right spot.” Apartment Therapy advises that you place an olive tree in a spot that gets sun at least six hours a day.
Olive trees can grow up to 10 feet tall in containers, but most people opt for dwarf varieties when they get olive trees as houseplants. Dwarf olive trees grow up to 6 feet tall, but they can stay shorter if you prune them. They like a soil that drains easily, like a cactus mix, and prefer for the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings.
- Botanical name: Pilea depressa
Pilea also appears in many Fixer Upper homes — and for good reason. Joanna explains, “My girls use this sweet little plant as ground cover in their fairy gardens, so it’s all over my greenhouse.” She puts that abundance to good use, and notes, “In season 4, I used it a lot as the perfect plant to complete a bookshelf or coffee table.” This variety, with its dainty little leaves, makes a popular addition to terrariums. But you can use it elsewhere in your home, too; it tolerates normal household humidity levels just fine.
How to take care of pilea
The Spruce reports that for most plants in the Pilea genus — which consists of 600 different species — you should provide bright, indirect light. (Never place them in direct summer sun.) Houseplants in this group like high humidity and a lot of water, so you shouldn’t let the soil dry out much between waterings. They do, however, prefer a well-draining potting mix. You can easily propagate pilea from cuttings, and The Spruce recommends starting with new cuttings each spring instead of trying to counter the plant’s leggy tendencies.
8. Snake plant
- Botanical name: Sansevieria trifasciata “Laurentii”
This particular variety shows up at just about every nursery and home improvement store — as well as on several episodes of Fixer Upper. Joanna counts it as one of her favorite houseplants. She writes, “This plant is a winner because it can survive with little care and hardly any light. If you’re new to plant care, this is a great starter. It’s also called the Mother-In-Law’s Tongue or Viper’s Bowstring Hemp.”
How to take care of a snake plant
This sculptural houseplant proves a lot easier to maintain than you might think. Apartment Therapy notes that these plants are prone to root rot, so you’ll want to choose a well-draining soil mix (and use a terra cotta pot rather than a planter that can trap moisture).
Fortunately, “snake plants do well when you almost forget about them,” according to Apartment Therapy. You should allow the soil to dry out between waterings, and try not to get the leaves wet when you do water. These plants prefer indirect light, but they will tolerate a variety of lighting conditions.
9. String of bananas
- Botanical name: Senecio radicans
The string of bananas not only has a fun name but makes a whimsical addition to your collection of houseplants. Joanna advises, “If you’re going for a more modern look, the ‘string of bananas’ is the plant for you.” This succulent grows quickly, producing trailing tendrils of banana-shaped leaves. Joanna suggests, “Hanging these on hooks in your ceiling is an easy way to bring a corner of your home to life — just be sure not to overwater!”
How to take care of a string of bananas
SF Gate adds the string of bananas to the list of low-maintenance houseplants, reporting that they’re easy to grow both indoors and out. They prefer a spot with light shade. You should provide a well-draining soil, and you don’t have to use fertilizer. Keep the plant moist until it’s established, at which point you should water only when the soil is dry during the warmer months. In the cooler months of the year, you should water less frequently and even allow the soil to stay dry for a week before watering again.
10. Variegated vinca
- Botanical name: Vinca major ‘variegata’
Joanna seems to love variegated vinca, a low-maintenance houseplant that grows quickly even if you neglect it. She writes, “This plant grows like crazy and is low maintenance. Variegated Vinca thrives in just about every area, including shaded spots, so even if you don’t have the perfect ‘plant spot’ in your house, try this. Just give it a little love and before you know it, it’ll be time to replant in a bigger pot.”
How to take care of variegated vinca
SF Gate characterizes variegated vinca as low-maintenance but warns that you should keep in mind that it’s an invasive plant in some areas. (Take care if you like to move your houseplants outdoors during the summer!) Unless it’s in a very hot area or in extremely dry conditions, vinca does well with very little water. You also don’t have to fertilize these plants.