Houseplants with large, showy foliage make a very bold statement in indoor spaces, and if you have a big room, you really need one to lift it up and make your urban jungle complete in no time.
Some large-leaved indoor plants are as big as elephant’s ears; others like angel wings and rex begonias also add explosions of bright colors; yet others have weird and unusual, exotic shapes like monstera…
Simply superheroes, many also have the added bonus of impressive blooms like a bird of paradise. With great sculptural qualities, houseplants with big leaves can serve as the focal point and fit well in any décor!
Minimalist or maximalist, modern or rustic, no matter what style you have, intruding one or more big-leafed plants into your home or apartment will quickly create an oasis of well-being and bring a touch of green and bucolic look to your interior.
And we can start with a plant that, in Latin, means “monster,” just because it has huge and weird-looking leaves… Off we go!
When we say big, we mean it; from 8 inches to 3 feet (!!!), here are 15 of our favorite big-leafed houseplants with the boldest foliage to make a big statement to your indoor spaces!
1: Swiss Cheese Plant (Mosntera deliciosa)
With leaves that grow over 18 inches across (45 cm), Swiss cheese plant, a.k.a. split leaf philodendron, can surely bring a bold touch to any indoor space…
And we should not forget that its name is not random. In fact the foliage is so large that it has deep lobes, holes and cuts in it, a way to protect it from the wind.
But this adds decorative value to a houseplant that already has a waxy, smooth surface… It rarely blooms indoors, but when it does, a large, elliptical and cupped cream colored spade with a pale yellow spadix can be quite an eye catching focal point… But be careful, it is toxic to cats and dogs.
Coming from Central America, Swiss cheese plant has a very lush and tropical forest look, which is really perfect for indoor spaces; there is also the stunning ‘Albovariegata’ variety with white and deep green leaves if you really want a show stopper!
2: ‘Emerald Queen’ Philodendron (Philodendron ‘Emerald Queen’)
‘Emerald Queen’ philodendron has elongated, drooping and heart shaped leaves that reach 18 inches in length (45 cm), and of course, they are of the color of the most famous, and precious, green stones in the world…
Before they unfurl, however, they are red, which gives you a very good contrast. Very glossy and leathery, the foliage of this cultivar is ideal to bring a touch of fresh and bright but exotic natural beauty to any indoor space.
‘Emerald Queen’ philodendron is a fairly expensive climber; this makes it ideal for important places, like offices or elegant living rooms.
It is not high maintenance but it needs proper care, including regular watering and average air humidity (25% to 50%).
3: Crystal Anthurium (Anthurium crystallinum)
Get ready for a real giant when it comes to foliage: this wonder, crystal anthurium, hails from Peru and Panama with its leaves that can reach 30 inches long (76 cm), though indoors they will be a bit smaller…
Still, these colossal, leathery, deep green and glossy heart shaped leaves have lovely bright ribbed veins on them, a drooping habit and they are real show stoppers!
Even the blooms are quite a feat! About 5 inches long, (12.5 cm), they are greenish with red hints, and a yellow spadix, repeated through the year… And they are followed by shiny purple and white berries as well!
Crystal anthurium, unlike other varieties, is mainly grown for its large and beautiful foliage; you will also get a new one every four to six weeks, with a an always changing display. It looks best in a fairly large space. It also requires high air humidity.
4: Blushing Philodendron (Philodendron erubescens)
Original of Colombia, blushing philodendron has both large foliage and lots of colors… The leaves, in fact, are tough looking, leathery, they are very glossy indeed and they point up, with an elongated heart shape, and they can be 16 inches long (40 cm)!
But this variety also adds a continuous fusion of shades that goes from bright orange and red, when the new leaves come, to dark green with purple blushes when they are mature. The blooms are quite showy, with a white spadix and a strong ruby red spathe!
The most popular indoor variety is the cultivar ‘Burgundy’, winner of the Award of Garden Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society.
Blushing philodendron is perfect to create a sense of lush intensity in indoor spaces; its dark and broody look is quite unique, very deep, but also very luxurious, ideal for shady corners.
5: Round Leaf Plant (Calathea orbifolia)
Round leaf is a variety of prayer plant from Bolivia with very broad almost perfectly round (you guessed) leaves , about 10 inches in diameter (30 cm).
These have deep grooves in them, and they alternate shades of bright and darker green, but always glossy and lush looking. They form lovely, dense clumps that fill the space with a tropical forest look.
They rarely bloom indoors, but when they do, the white flowers with purple dots come at the base of the plant, and they look like bright and cheerful butterflies.
Bringing a soft and harmonic presence with its broad and soft looking foliage, round leaf plant is ideal to brighten up and decorate rooms even where light is not plenty.
6: Ray Palm (Licula grandis)
It’s not just the foliage size that makes ray palm an exceptional houseplant… Yes, the leaves reach 22 inches across, (55 cm), but they also have a very sculptural value.
They are heart shaped and literally pleated, like Chinese fans, in fact, and with notched edges; literally like works of art.
Bright green in color and they grow with an upright and horizontally habit atop a brown, hairy and straight trunk.
The flowers are greenish yellow and drooping from the top, and they are followed by large clusters of bright red berries too!
Coming from Australia, ray palm can be a real star in any large indoor space; while it looks very exotic, it is not hard to take care of, and it likes shady spots as well!
7: Leopard Plant (Farfugium japonicum)
The clump forming perennial that comes to your home from the rivers of East Asian leopard plant has big leaves too; about 12 inches across (30 cm), and very round in shape. The mid green, glossy and leathery foliage spreads on long petioles and it grows horizontally to the ground.
It can even bloom as well, with clusters of bright yellow flowers that brighten up the cold days of fall and winter! Rhizomatous and evergreen, there are many varieties, including variegated ones like ‘Argenteum’, with eye catching white and dark green patches.
The leaf shape of leopard plant is maybe its main asset, it gives you a very artistic look, which adapts to modern décor as well as rooms with a more traditional look.
8: Seguine Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia var. seguine)
The largest leaves of all dumb cane types belongs to the variety seguine, which has many cultivars as well.
In fact they can reach 12 inches long (30 cm), and they have a tender look, with lovely colors in shades of green, often variegated but always glossy and attractive.
Broad and roughly elliptical, they form lush and vibrant clumps that can bring a breath of fresh air to any indoor place, also because they purify it!
Notable cultivars are ‘Camille’ with white foliage with bright green margins, while is fully bright green, maybe the most refreshing of them all.
The blooms are green spathes and spadices which hide under the shade of the shrubby exotic plant which can turn into a small tree with time.
Very popular as a houseplant, seguine dumb cane can be a friendly and discreet presence with a great relaxing and soothing effect in homes and offices.
9: Angel Wings (Caladium spp.)
Reaching about 12 inches long (30 cm), but sometimes even 2 feet (60 cm) the leaves of angel wings are impressive for color and shape as well – a houseplant with great value indeed., Tender looking and arrow shaped, they can be of many colors, in fact…
So, ‘June Bridge’ is basically all pure snow white; ‘Red Flash’ is bright green with a crimson patch that looks like a spider in the center; ‘Pink Cloud’ is pink with white areas and dark green veins; instead, ‘Gingerland’ has white and green with striking purple dots…
It will also produce small calla like flowers, but these are inconspicuous and hidden under the foliage.
Angel wings are by far the best houseplants to choose if you want both size and color; you can literally transform a room into a rainbow garden if you pick different varieties.
10: ‘Black Coral’ Elephant Ears (Colocasia ‘Black Coral’)
Meet a dark giant houseplant that really needs a big room and a focal point in your home; ‘Black Coral’ elephant ears… With leaves that reach a whopping 3 feet long (90 cm) with an elongated heart shape, it is impossible to miss…
Even more so because they are very glossy and leathery, but above all, of such a dark purple shade that they look really black! With the exception of the veins, which have a shiny violet blue tint…
Underneath, these have copper hues and the veins turn purple, like the massive petioles that hold the drooping “ears” in the air… Yellowish green spathes and spadices will provide contrast at the base once a year, though it is not a great indoor bloomer.
There are other, less “daring” varieties of elephant ears, but black coral is arguably one of the most impressive and sculptural of all. You do need a large room though…
11: ‘Fireworks’ Rex Begonia (Begonia ‘Fireworks’)
Rex begonia ‘Fireworks’ is the little baby of our list, with leaves that “only” reach 8 inches long (20 cm), but what a spectacle! In the shape of a heart with a curved point, they pack in so many colors and patterns that it’s hard to believe…
The very margins are deep maroon, then you have concentric areas of pale punk, then green, cream or even blue white, and then a decorative spider shaped patch in the middle of the deepest purple.
Put them in dense clumps and you get the idea… Little pink flowers will also add their contribution in the winter months, for an added touch of beauty. What it lacks in sheer size, it makes up in colors!
Winner of the Award of Garden Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society, rex begonia ‘Fireworks’ is one of the most decorative and colorful leaf varieties, and it can lift even the most dull indoor space making it shine with colors!
12: Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata)
For a tall indoor plant with big, broad foliage, have a look at fiddle leaf fig, from western Africa. The leaves look irregular but they are overall oval, often curving, with wavy edges and divided into swelling parts; they can reach 18 inches in length (45 cm).
They are very tender looking, almost translucent and very bright green in color, but glossy and the veins on the under page can be yellow or orange sometimes.
The trunk is slim, smooth and upright, and the slender branches point upwards as well. The name describes this exotic Ficus very well, because its leaves look like violins, and I am sure that you can appreciate what sculptural and decorative value this shape has.
Fiddle leaf fig is both elegant and lush, a very good combination for a smart room or indoor space that needs some light and a fresh but exotic touch.
13: Bird of Paradise (Sterlitzia reginae)
Meet a real queen of the floral world from South Africa, bird of paradise, with massive foliage and mind blowing flowers.
The pointed, folded and leathery deep green leaves can in fact reach 2 feet in length (60 cm) and even more, they tend to grow upright and on huge petioles of up to 3 feet (90 cm). Evergreen and exotic, the blooms…
Well the look in fact like the feathers of an exotic bird, and they are large, up to 10 inches across (25 cm) and with lots of bright orange petals, but also deep blue ones and sometimes touches of purple and violet.
It is so beautiful that it’s become a popular and expensive cut flower… It is no surprise that it has won the prestigious Award of Garden Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society!
While bird of paradise lives very well outdoors in hot countries, it is also a very valuable houseplant, where you can keep it warm and enjoy its beautiful foliage all year round and mind blowing blossoms when it is cold outside!
14: Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica)
Southeast Asian beauty rubber plant takes its name from the unusual texture of its foliage, which you guessed, looks elastic and rubbery.
But we can’t forget that each leaf can be 14 inches long (35 cm) and they are oval, broad and with a clear dividing running through the middle.
Mid to deep green according to the light, these are purple red before they unfurl, and sometimes the undersides have copper shades as well.
This may also depend on light conditions. There are also variegated cultivars, like the cream and dark green ‘Tineke’, but these are usually less interesting to the touch, more similar to “normal” leaves. It will grow into a lovely small tree, roughly columnar, so, perfect for corners.
Because rubber plant is forgiving and low maintenance, it has become a favorite in office spaces and even homes where the family are busy or forgetful; in short, it’s a safe bet with big and gummy leaves!
15: Round Leaf Prayer Plant (Calathea orbifolia)
“Round and large leaf prayer plant” would be a far better name for Calathea orbifolia, because its broad, oval shaped foliage can reach a considerable 12 inches across (30 cm).
And because they have so much surface, they absorb lots of light, so, it is also a suitable houseplant for low light conditions.
But even in shady places, they retain their glossy sheen, and tropical look, with lovely stripes of very pale and mid green that radiate regularly from the mid rib.
Held on long petioles, the leaves arch and partly nod, for a very lush and sumptuous effect. White or purple flowers may also pop up at the base of this plant, but indoors this is not very common.
Round leaf prayer plant has a soft but florid presence, mixing large sized leaves with soothing colors and shapes; this may be the reason why it is a common houseplant, together with its fairly low maintenance needs.
Bold and Big Leaves for Indoor Spaces
Wow, what a trip! It’s been like exploring an exotic rainforest with huge leaves. Amazing colors and even mind blowing blooms – but all this can come to your home, and I am sure you already have some ideas…
Amber Noyes was born and raised in a suburban California town, San Mateo. She holds a master’s degree in horticulture from the University of California as well as a BS in Biology from the University of San Francisco. With experience working on an organic farm, water conservation research, farmers’ markets, and plant nursery, she understands what makes plants thrive and how we can better understand the connection between microclimate and plant health. When she’s not on the land, Amber loves informing people of new ideas/things related to gardening, especially organic gardening, houseplants, and growing plants in a small space.