One of the greatest architects, Frank Lloyd Wright, believed plants and forests were high art. He exhorted his students to “study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” His iconic homes and building often copied natural forms, and he relied on houseplants to bring nature into his interiors. You can take a page from his book by incorporating some of these plants, all of which have interesting structural properties, into your next interior design project.
These succulents have dramatic vertical leaves that add an architectural element to any indoor plant display. Added bonus: they are extremely low maintenance.
2. Fiddle Leaf Fig
The fiddle leaf fig is a member of the popular Ficus group of plants. This is a great choice when you have a lot of space to fill in a room, but your budget doesn’t allow for a lot of furnishings. The big, bold leaves and height make an area look “full”.
3. ZZ Plant
The interesting symmetrical oval leaves on the ZZ plant, also known as the aroid palm and the Zanzibar gem, present a modern texture that fits in well with sleek 21st century interior designs.
4. Indian Rubber Tree
The Indian rubber tree, another member of the Ficus family, screams 1970s houseplant. But don’t count these old standards out. Different varieties come with a wide range of glossy, colorful, and patterned foliage, enough choice to fit into any decorating style.
5. Parlor Palm
Bring the tropics indoors with the graceful feathery fronds of the parlor palm, which can grow up to five feet (1.5 meters).
Another houseplant that can bring a touch of the exotic to your interior is the dracaena, especially the variety known as the Madagascar dragon tree, with its unusual red-striped fronds.
7. Lucky Bamboo
No article on structural houseplants would be complete without a mention of lucky bamboo, that quirky upright plant that has captured the hearts of interior designers everywhere. It actually isn’t real bamboo but instead another variety of dracaena.
The sharp spikes on the indoor yucca make a great addition to a Western-themed room or one with a more modern, angular aesthetic.
9. Split Leaf Philodendron
(also commonly known as Monstera)
Here’s the structural houseplant that’s got it all–height, fascinating wide foliage, tropical feel, expansive footprint. Got a bare corner you want to fill? Check out the split leaf philodendron.
10. Sago Palm
Sago palm owes some of its unique form to its prehistoric origins. This plant species has remained unchanged since a time that predates the dinosaurs. It is not a palm, but the palm-like fronds give it a similar appearance.
“I think that I shall never see/a poem as lovely as a tree,” wrote the poet Joyce Kilmer. He’s just one of many artists who considered plants the most inspiring of artistic creations. By working one, or all, of these structural houseplants into your interior design, you can produce both high art, high fashion, and a happy living space.