Plants of the Past: Popular 1970s House Plants

It’s time to break out the macrame plant hangers and take a look back at the popular house plants of the 1970s. For a real vintage vibe, combine your plants in one area for a lush indoor jungle look, wicker or rattan furniture, and of course the ubiquitous macrame plant hanger to let your trailing plants cascade gracefully.

Boston fern — As in Victorian times, the lush foliage of the Boston fern, Nephrolepis exaltata, is always a popular choice. Thankfully, the Boston fern is less fussy than some others we could mention (Maidenhair fern, we’re looking at you here).

Chinese evergreenAglaonema is a great choice for a colorful, easy-care plant.

Dwarf umbrella treeSchefflera arboricola is a cute little shrub/small tree variant of the much larger Umbrella tree, Schefflera actinophylla, synonymous with Brassaia actinophylla. Like other Schefflera, the leaves are palm-like consisting of 7-9 leaflets.

False AraliaSchefflera elegantissima has thin, almost dainty looking small tree, toothed leaves that range from a coppery red, to burgundy, to dark green.

Fiddle-leaf fig  The ever popular Ficus lyrata is a show stopper with large green leaves that can be spotted in the background of many pictures from the 70s.

Inch plant Tradescantia zebrina’s purple-and-green color scheme and habit of trailing definitely give off a vintage vibe. These plants especially love going outside in warm, humid weather and make a gorgeous addition to a porch or patio with their shimmery, striped foliage.

Monstera deliciosa — It’d be more ‘70s to call this popular beauty a “Swiss cheese” plant, but the Monstera by any other name is still a striking plant to have in your home. No wonder we still love it! You can start small and watch your Monstera mature, or you can splash out for a mature plant with the iconic fenestration in the leaves.

Rubber plant — The Ficus elastica is a classic beauty with glossy, vibrant leaves. This is a perfect plant for a window with a lot of bright, indirect light.

Snake plant Sansevieria is a classic plant that has been one of the house plant hobbyist’s favorite plants to put in those low light corners.

Spider plant — The ubiquitous Chlorophytum comosum  survives pretty much anything, including the ‘70s, so it’s little wonder these plants are still a favorite today.

String of Hearts Ceropegia woodii features trailing vines with dainty heart-shaped leaves, and trailing plants have a very ‘70s vibe.

Umbrella tree — Yet another type of Schefflera, this larger leafed variety with 7-16 leaflets, Schefflera actinophylla, synonymous with Brassaia actinophylla, is an especially striking tree if you have higher ceilings.

Weeping Fig — The Ficus benjamina is a tree with smaller leaves that is happy to sit in the background looking pretty. In fact, if you look at a lot of pictures from the 70s that feature house plants, you will notice these livening up the background.

Do you have vintage-inspired plants? Head over to the HPH Facebook group and show us!