These 6 Popular Houseplants Symbolize Luck, Gratitude, and More

Want to gift a plant that also has a special meaning? Try one of these options.

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Houseplants often make welcome gifts, just because or for special occasions. And similar to how many flowers can have specific meanings, some popular indoor plants also can communicate a symbolic message to the receiver. (Plus, a potted plant will last longer than a bouquet of blooms.) Certain plants are said to bring good luck, for instance, while others represent gratitude or peace. Each of the six houseplants below have special symbolism, and they're easy to care for, making them the perfect choice for a thoughtful gift. Or if a particular plant's meaning speaks to you, why not add it to your own collection?

01 of 06

Pilea Peperomioides: Prosperity

pilea peperomioides in grower pot on table on plain background
Courtesy of The Sill

Also called the coin plant or the Chinese money plant, Pilea peperomioides "symbolizes the wish for financial stability and wealth," says Magda Lindstedt, a plant specialist for Horticure. It grows thin stems that end with large, rounded leaves that look like green coins, and some folktales say that planting a coin in the soil alongside your plant will help it attract wealth. This cute plant is easy to propagate, and usually stays less than 12 inches tall. Place in bright, indirect light and let the soil dry out between waterings. This pet-friendly houseplant also tolerates medium indirect light.

02 of 06

Peace Lily: Sympathy and Peace

Peace Lily Spathiphyllum wallisii 'Domino'
Blaine Moats

Peace lilies (Spathiphyllum wallisii) are a common gift at funerals, because they're known for symbolizing sympathy. But in the past few years, "it's transformed its perception as the grief plant, to one more connected with peaceful spaces," says Gretchen Sword, a plant specialist on Horticure's New York-based team. Peace lilies are easy to care for, and like to dry out a little between waterings. They can reach up to three feet tall, and grow best in bright, indirect light (though they'll tolerate low-light too). Without much attention from you, a peace lily will brighten your home with large white flowers and shiny, dark green leaves.

03 of 06

Aloe Vera: Healing and Protection

Aloe plants near window
Marty Baldwin

Unsurprisingly, Aloe vera plants are usually associated with healing and protection. These plants have been used around the world for thousands of years, and their clear gel is still used today for soothing sunburns and other skin conditions. Growing your own aloe plant is simple as long as you have a bright, sunny window to place it in. Most varieties of aloe will stay less than three feet tall, thrive in bright, indirect light, and only need watering when the top inch of soil gets dry.

04 of 06

Maranta (Prayer Plant): Gratitude

prayer plant maranta leuconeura
Scott Little

Also called prayer plant, Maranta varieties earned their common name because their leaves curl up each night, like praying hands. "This movement common to Marantas symbolizes the reflective action of a daily prayer of gratitude," Lindstedt says. If you want to give someone a "thank you" gift, a Maranta can help symbolize your gratitude. Depending on the variety, Marantas can grow in low, medium, or bright indirect light, and usually need water just before the soil starts to feel dry to the touch. Some Marantas can grow up to 12 inches tall, and can have shades of pink, red, and silver streaking its green leaves.

05 of 06

Oxalis: Good Luck

Iron Cross Oxalis Oxalis tetraphylla
Laurie Black

Also commonly called shamrock plant or false shamrock, Oxalis varieties are said to bring good luck. Sometimes sold as houseplants around St. Patrick's Day, Oxalis plants have heart-shape or triangle-shape leaves that can be shades of green or dark purple, and tiny white or pink flowers. Usually, Oxalis will stay less than 12 inches tall, and thrive in bright, indirect light, only needing a drink when the top inch of soil gets dry.

06 of 06

Strelitzia (Bird of Paradise): Freedom

bay window nook bird-of-paradise
Gabriela Herman

Though it's native to warmer regions like South Africa, bird of paradise (Strelitzia) can also be grown indoors as a houseplant. "Strelitzias generate incredibly striking flowers, resembling an exotic bird ready to take flight when blooming," Sword says, which is why bird of paradise plants are usually linked to freedom. In order to bloom, Strelitzia plants need bright light (including a few hours of direct light). Keep the soil consistently moist, and mist daily to boost humidity. In ideal conditions, bird of paradise plants can grow 5-6 feet tall, so make sure you've got plenty of space.

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