More Than Just Meatballs and MELLTORP: Check Out IKEA’s Houseplants
The best deals at our favorite Scandinavian housewares chain aren’t found in the bookshelf aisle
I’m sure you already know that there’s a whole lot more to IKEA than dorm furniture and a lingonberry-laden cafeteria. For starters, they have a whole wall of bulk gummy candy (!) and their unique fabrics are a phenomenal bargain. But out of all the twee, lagom delights on offer at IKEA, houseplants may be their greatest sleeper hit. There’s so much to love about this; not since the 1970s have houseplants been a trendier way to update your home, and best of all, they help improve indoor air quality.
For me, the IKEA houseplant aisle is where budgets go to die. It’s situated right at the end of the maze, the last stop before the warehouse, the only thing standing between your reasonably filled blue bag and the checkout line. You can keep your head down and solider on…or you can stop and peruse. Go ahead—a little peek won’t hurt.
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IKEA has an impressive array of artificial plants (even a Monstera!) for black thumbs, but the store’s living plants aren’t all as generic as you might expect for an international megastore chain. Some are hits and some are misses, but they’re all pretty much bulletproof.
Get These STËALS
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Snake plant (Sansevieria spp.): IKEA’s houseplant shelves carry lots of healthy-looking snake plants in 6″ pots, both the S. trifasciata and S. cylindrica. My money is on the latter; the specimen I brought home had about a dozen pups popping out around the main plant, ready for me to divide and pot up as separate little babies.
Orchids: Although IKEA only carries moth orchid (Phalaenopsis sp.), they have a fairly wide selection of colors and patterns. More importantly, as far as orchids go, these are the easiest to grow and mine rebloom every year without fail. These are definitely the best deals out of any IKEA houseplants. A full-size Phal (5.5″ pot) is $19.99 and the mid-size (4.5″ pot) is $14.99, but my money is on the adorable mini Phals ($9.99)— I just rack them up on my kitchen windowsill. You’ll need to pick up a cachepot to display the bigger sizes, but the mini Phals come in a teeny 2.5″ ceramic pots.
Succulents: The selection of succulents in IKEA’s houseplant aisle is pretty decent. There’s nothing terribly rare or unusual, but you can pick up a healthy aloe in a 4″ pot for just $4.99.
Palms: The 6″ parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans; $7.99) that I snagged is super healthy: bright green, fluffy, and bushy, without a single wisp of spider mites (which hit my last parlor palm hard). The same plant, in a slightly smaller pot, will run you $36 at The Sill. A majesty palm (Ravenea rivularis) in a 9.5″ pot will only set you back $14.99, and adding just a couple of them to your home will add an instant tropical exotica vibe.
ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia; pictured above in the FRIDFULL pot): These are one of the best plants for cleaning indoor air, but they’re also total Instagram darlings. At $9.99 for a 6″ pot, it’s less than half the price of other places.
Asplenium ‘Crispy Wave’: SECRET ITEM ALERT! This adorable little bird’s nest fern isn’t in the catalog’s list of plants (you have to search for it by product number in the “Create a Shopping List” menu), but I nonetheless found one in the Portland store for $9.99.
Dragon tree (Dracaena marginata): These standard houseplants are a bit “meh,” but at a mere $1.99 (for a 4.25″ pot!), I am POWERLESS to resist! Any bargain-hunting plant lover should stock up on these — they’re tops for cleaning the air, and they make great gifts.
PÅSS on These
Your mileage may vary, but personally, I’m not a huge fan of the grafted Ficus microcarpa ginseng bonsai (they look like the Elephant Man in houseplant form, and even healthy specimens look kind of banged-up to me), but they’re a good choice for trying out bonsai. The specimens at IKEA are much cheaper than ones I see for sale elsewhere, and they do come in a black or white ceramic pot, so you don’t have to buy another one for displaying your weird little mutant. I also find ponytail palm (Beaucarnea) to be a bit of a ’90s throwback, and not in a good way.
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The basic white ceramic MUSKOT pots (pictured above; $2.99) are a very affordable and sleek option, but I absolutely love the vintage medical/farmhouse look of the enameled metal CITRONSYRA pot ($3.99-5.99). They come in three different sizes (4.25″, 4.75″, and 6″) and most of the houseplants can slide right into these pots. If you plan on transplanting a plant into these pots, you’ll have to add drainage, as they’re watertight (this a selling point for me; I can just plunk a potted plant right into the CITRONSYRA, no drain tray needed).
In seagrass and slate-gray, the RÅGKORN pot is another solid choice with the classic IKEA look. It comes in sizes large enough (9.5″ and 12.5″; $24.99 and $29.99, respectively) to comfortably accommodate mature specimens; it has a built-in drain tray and it even has helpful handles for easy transport. I also like the glazed stoneware SÖTKÖRSBÄR ($4.99). In a cool/neutral pale aqua-gray color, it looks lovely with Echeveria and other pale succulents.
Some of the best buys in IKEA’s houseplant section aren’t actually plants. The SATSUMAS plant stand ($49.99) is stylish and versatile, and it even has a built-in drain tray so you don’t wreck your floors; there’s also a ladder-shaped vertical stand that’s great for smaller spaces. The more basic KRYDDPEPPAR ($29.99) also has a built-in tray and looks very minimalist, but some reviewers seem to have an issue with the screws not fitting the holes, so buyer beware!
Related to plants stands, the BITTERGURKA is a hanging plant tray that allows you to display multiple small pots in one hanger, for a fuller and more lush look. You can change pots in and out as you see fit. With its pretty woven seagrass exterior, DRUVFLÄDER is also convenient—the pot is built into the hanger and it’s watertight, so you can just pop a new plant in, pot and all, and not worry about water leaking all over your couch every time you give the plants a drink.
ANVÄNDBAR plant hanger ($12.99) looks boho-chic in that Scandinavian/1970s mom way, but the maximum load is only 11 pounds—one mid-size pot and a heavy watering would do it in. It would work well to hold a terrarium or glass fishbowl of air plants, though.