Trailing houseplants for a bright spot - Senecio rowleyanus

15 of the best trailing house plants

Lift your spirits with these marvellous hanging house plants to grow.

Trailing house plants have long, trailing stems. Growing them in pots hanging from the ceiling or sitting on a shelf is a great way to show them off, enabling their stems to cascade down for dramatic effect. Growing trailing house plants in this way adds depth and interest to your house plant displays, adding height and softness to the room you’re displaying them in.

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How to grow trailing house plants

Make sure you choose a trailing house plant that will thrive in the conditions you can provide. If choosing a trailing house plant for your bathroom, make sure it can tolerate high humidity. If choosing a trailing house plant for growing near a window, make sure it thrives in bright light.

We’ve chosen selection of 15 plants that be grown in this way, listing them by their light and humidity requirements, so you can choose the perfect plant for each particular spot of your home.

More on growing house plants:

Browse our choice of trailing house plants, below.


Best for a warm, humid spot, such as a bright bathroom


Golden pothos

Golden pothos, Epipremnum aureum 'Njoy'
Golden pothos, Epipremnum aureum ‘Njoy’

Goldon pothos, Epipremnum aureum ‘Njoy’, is a twining vine that can be left to hang or trained along a wire. It tolerates shade and is ideal for beginners, as it copes with neglect. Water when the compost surface is dry. Cuttings root easily in water.


Heart-leaf philodendron

Heart-leaf philodendron, Philodendron scandens 'Micans'
Heart-leaf philodendron, Philodendron scandens ‘Micans’ with orchid cactus (Disocactus) in the background

A beautiful vine, heart-leaf philodendron, Philodendron scandens ‘Micans’, can also be trained along a wire. Water when the surface of the compost is dry.


Orchid cactus

Orchid cactus in a hanging pot
Orchid cactus in a hanging pot

Orchid cactus is an easy plant to grow, as it copes with neglect. Disocactus x hybridus (often sold as D. ackermannii) produces big, red flowers on its long, fleshy, flattened stems in April. Water when the top 2cm of compost is dry.


Satin pothos

Satin pothos, Scindapsus pictus 'Exotica' on bamboo stool
Satin pothos, Scindapsus pictus ‘Exotica’ on bamboo stool

Satin pothos, Scindapsus pictus ‘Exotica’, is a twining vine with satiny leaves splashed with silver. Slow growing and perfect for beginners, it will take a bit of neglect. Water when the top 2cm of compost is dry.


Red herringbone plant

Red herringbone plant, Maranta leuconeura var. erythroneura
Red herringbone plant, Maranta leuconeura var. erythroneura

Also known as the prayer plant, Maranta leuconeura var. erythroneura closes up its attractive patterned leaves at night, as if in prayer. Water when the compost surface is dry. It’s quite particular about water and humidity, so is best for experienced growers.


Staghorn fern

Epiphyllum guatemalense f. monstrosa (foreground) with Platycerium bifurcatum staghorn fern (background)
Epiphyllum guatemalense f. monstrosa (foreground) with Platycerium bifurcatum, staghorn fern (background)

A strange and magnificent plant, the staghorn fern, Platycerium bifurcatum, is usually mounted on a piece of wood or in a basket, with a small amount of compost or other organic matter piled up beneath it. Water when the organic matter is dry by dunking it into a bowl of tepid water. In summer, mist the shield- like circular fronds at the base several times a week. Give it a bright, humid spot out of direct sun. It’s best for more experienced growers.


For a very bright spot, but out of midday summer sun


String of beads

String of beads, Senecio rowleyanus in foreground
String of beads, Senecio rowleyanus (foreground) and burro’s tail, Sedum morganianum (background)

Looking like delicate rows of peas, the leaves of Senecio rowleyanus make a beautiful statement. Water when the top 2cm of compost is dry. This plant is fussy about water, so it’s best for experienced growers. Cuttings root easily when pinned to the surface of a pot of cactus compost.


Burro’s tail

Sedum morganianum 'Burrito'
Sedum morganianum ‘Burrito’

This sensational succulent, Sedum morganianum, is easy to grow and simple to propagate. Its plump leaves root readily when laid on a pot of compost. Water when the first 2cm of compost is dry.


String of hearts

String of hearts, Ceropegia woodii
String of hearts, Ceropegia woodii

String of hearts or rosary vine Ceropegia linearis subsp. woodii produces curious flowers like tiny, pink, pepper pots. It’s an ideal plant for beginners, as it tolerates neglect. Water when the first 2cm of compost is dry.


Thrives in bright but indirect light


Fishbone cactus

Orchid cactus and fishbone cactus (Epiphyllum)
Orchid cactus and fishbone cactus (Epiphyllum)

The fishbone cactus, Epiphyllum anguliger (pictured behind the orchid cactus), bears large, scented, yellow and white flowers in autumn. Unlike most cacti, the fishbone cactus is native to forests, where it grows on trees or rocks in dappled light. Water freely in spring and summer, and mist in hot weather. In winter, water when the compost surface is dry.


Chain cactus

Chain cactus, Rhipsalis paradoxa 'Minor'
Chain cactus, Rhipsalis paradoxa ‘Minor’

The chain cactus, Rhipsalis paradoxa minor, produces small, white flowers in spring, if given cooler temperatures over winter. Water freely in spring and summer and mist in hot weather. In winter, water when the compost surface is dry. Suitable for more experienced growers.


Coral cactus

Coral cactus, Rhipsalis cereuscula
Coral cactus, Rhipsalis cereuscula

The long, slender stems of coral cactus, Rhipsalis cereuscula, bear small, white, bell-shaped flowers in spring, followed by spherical, white fruits – which is why it’s sometimes called the mistletoe cactus. Water freely in spring and summer and mist in hot weather. In winter, let the compost dry out between waterings.


Wax plant

Wax plant, Hoya linearis
Wax plant, Hoya linearis

Wax plant, Hoya linearis, bears clusters of small, white, scented flowers that look like Iced Gems. Keep the compost moist in spring and summer, and in winter let it dry out before watering. Best for more experienced growers.


Curly locks orchid cactus

Curly locks orchid cactus, Epiphyllum hookeri subsp. guatemalense (background)
Curly locks orchid cactus, Epiphyllum hookeri subsp. guatemalense (background)

The coiling stems of Epiphyllum hookeri subsp. guatemalense produce small, yellowy and white flowers in spring. Water when the top 2cm of compost is dry.


How to care for your hanging houseplants

Watering hanging houseplants
Watering hanging house plants

Few house plants can tolerate waterlogged roots. Except when it’s really hot in summer, you shouldn’t need to water more than weekly – and more likely fortnightly in autumn, winter and spring, when reduced light and temperature levels mean your plants are hardly growing.

First, use your fingertips to assess whether the plant needs watering. If so, remove the inner plastic pot from the outer one and place in the sink, or over a bucket, where it can drain. Or, if your outer pot has holes in the base, the whole lot can go in the sink. Slowly pour water onto the compost until it reaches the rim of the pot and let it seep through. When the water stops dripping from the base, hang it back up.

Always use tepid water and, if possible, rain water – tap water contains salts, which can make your plant unhappy.


Two ways to hang your house plants

The simplest way to display your trailing house plant is to keep the plant in its plastic container and put it into a decorative outer pot at least 5cm wider in diameter. Slip plant and pot into a macramé or sling, carefully distributing the stems around the rim of the pot so that when you lift it into place, the taut cords don’t damage the plant.

Alternatively, pot your plant directly into a planter with a hole in the base and integrated hanging cords. Remove the plant from the plastic pot and centre the rootball in your planter so that the trailing stems are distributed between the hanging cords. Back-fill with free-draining cactus or house plant compost and firm in, so the compost surface is about 3cm below the rim of the planter.

Pot cut out