Our Master Gardener Swears These Are The Most Overrated Houseplants

Some of my favorite plants are the most common. I have at least 5 planters full of golden pothos and a couple of spider plants because they thrive even in low-light conditions. Don't even get me started on my love for easy-to-grow begonias, of which I have four beautiful varieties. I don't get too excited about super unusual (and expensive!) plants, but I do like to display my plants in unique ways, like when I created a mounted staghorn fern and made a kokedama. Although these are my favorites, some more popular varieties do not perform as well as their close relatives, while others are extremely picky about their environment.

I should start this list by confessing to be a hypocrite because I have most of these in my considerable collection of houseplants. Although I have no plans to get rid of any of my plants, there are definitely some I would not buy again. I may love all my houseplants, but here are the ones I think are overrated.

Monstera deliciosa

This might be the plant that makes me the biggest hypocrite since I have three varieties, all rooted from cuttings of friends' plants. Of my monsteras, my Monstera adonansonii is my favorite because it constantly makes new leaves so if one turns yellow, it's not a big deal. On the other hand, my Monstera deliciosa takes ages to unfurl a new leaf and if something damages one of the existing leaves, I have to wait forever for another one. It is exciting when one finally shows up, though.

Marble queen pothos

Don't get me wrong, the marble queen pothos (Epipremnum aureum) is a gorgeous plant with bright green and white variegation, but its growth rate doesn't come close to comparing to golden pothos in low-light conditions. This difference is due to the amount of chlorophyll they can produce. Marble queen pothos has much less dark green than golden varieties, so its ability to perform photosynthesis is reduced. My oldest golden pothos has vines over 20 feet long while my marble queen barely grows, even though I give it supplemental light.

Fiddle leaf fig

I bought a dwarf fiddle leaf fig at Aldi, where I like to buy plants and supplies for bargain prices. I'm glad it was cheap because it's terribly picky about, well, everything. It needs bright light, and consistently moist, but not soggy, soil. This plant requires warm temperatures and plenty of humidity before it will deign to award me with a new healthy leaf. And, much like my frustration with my Monstera deliciosa, if a leaf gets damaged or I forget to water it for too long, it takes forever to get a healthy new one.

String of pearls

I have a few succulents in my house, but I have killed many more than I have ever managed to keep alive. I don't buy them because I think they're overrated, but people who know I love plants have given me several as gifts, so I have to at least try to keep them going. While I love the look of string of pearls succulents, I just cannot keep them alive. If you have the perfect location, soil, and a planter with good drainage, you may be able to get yours to thrive. 

Snake plant

I'll just insert another "I have several of these, too" statement here. The most common type of snake plant, Sansevieria trifasciata, is everywhere, but there's a reason everyone grows it. These plants tolerate considerable neglect and low-light conditions. While I enjoy how easy they are to grow, they are boring because they are so common. I prefer less common varieties like the more compact Robusta (Sansevieria 'Robusta'), which are also low-maintenance, but have a much more interesting look.

Venus fly trap

Carnivorous houseplants are fascinating because they have adapted to gain most of their nutrients from insects instead of from the soil. I often see Venus fly traps at big box stores, but they're tricky to keep alive. I bought mine at the Farmer's Market and it came with a full page of specific instructions. I didn't keep it for the same reason I don't have fish — if something needs food (in this case, insects), it may need to beg me to feed it. My cats and dogs constantly remind me they're hungry, but carnivorous plants do not.


Also known as prayer plants, calatheas are on my list of drama queen houseplants. I have had a few that I've overwatered, underwatered, and generally given them everything I have to offer to make them happy. Like fiddle leaf figs, they thrive in their ideal conditions, but finding that perfect spot in your house where they don't express their anger through their constantly moving leaves is a challenge. I think these plants are beautiful, but I'll let someone else deal with their drama.