Go Back to the Green Sixties With These Retro Houseplants

Staff
13 Min Read

Not that long ago, that old spider plant you have in your lounge would have been seen by interior designers as unforgivable retro. Not so anymore now, these retro houseplants from the 1960s and 1970s are really back in fashion. If you love the antique charm of a retro interior with a twist of the past then it’s time to go back to those green sixties and take inspiration from the houseplants that reigned back then.

The allure of these retro houseplants lies in their timeless elegance, their whispers of history, and the patina of age that lends them a unique character. This same charm can be infused into your home décor through their strategic use and application in your home. 

Retro Houseplants Really Look Great in Your Home!

Looking through any modern home magazine or site today, most of the time you’ll see one or two carefully placed flower arrangements or potted plants in a room. And sometimes, none at all — which shouldn’t, however, dissuade you!

 

A retro-inspired living room with a variety of houseplants.

 

Scan through some photos from the 60s and 70s interior decorating magazines, and you will, definitely, be amazed by the amount of vegetation that filled homes and public spaces back then. Whether it had something to do with environmental awareness or if it was a residual effect of the hippie culture, plants were loved far and wide across the world.

Eight Retro Houseplants That Will Look Great in Your Home

Many vintage decors of the time had a distinctly old-world look, the houseplants incorporated instantly transformed the ambiance of the place, making it look elegant with that chic feel. It’s, therefore, time to bring back these green-loving sixties with these exquisite retro houseplants. So, here are some of them.

 

Rediscover the Green Sixties with These Classic Houseplants
Photo by @sunny leony

 

1. Calathea Orbifolia 

Calathea Orbifolia is a beautiful houseplant highly sought after due to the exquisite beauty of its large, round leaves and its air-purifying qualities. This attractive foliage is subtly striped with pale silver-green markings, with the undersides of the leaf also being a pale silver-green.

All Calathea have strong air-purifying properties. This means that the plant produces extra oxygen and filters harmful substances from the air. This houseplant was particularly common in mid-century modern homes, where the lush tropical foliage provided a striking contrast to the clean lines and neutral color palettes of the furnishings. 

 

Rediscover the Green Sixties with These Classic Houseplants
Calathea orbifolia
Photo by @pichan_desu

 

Today, this retro houseplant is still a sought-after addition to homes looking to capture the vintage aesthetic of the 1960s era of interior design. You can learn more about Calathea Orbifolia in the article ‘The Highly Sought-After Houseplant Calathea Orbifolia’.

2. Pilea Peperomioides

With stunning green round leaves and a plentiful collection of long stems, pileas are a real show-stopper. This low-growing plant with its unique leaves and long stems adds a playful and nostalgic vibe to any space. It is a relatively easy-to-care-for houseplant thus a must-have for any indoor jungle with a retro feel.

In addition to its retro aesthetic, Pilea peperomioides, also known as Chinese money plants, are believed to symbolize good fortune and financial prosperity. This adds to their appeal as a retro houseplant with positive connotations.

 

Rediscover the Green Sixties with These Classic Houseplants
Chinese money plant.
Photo by @houseplusplant

 

What’s more, the Pilea peperomioides are great fun to look after. What’s even better is that it’s a plant perfectly safe for your pets. This plant is a member of the stinging nettle family (don’t worry – it won’t sting you!) and is super easy to look after. It is simply a remarkable little plant that is a true beauty. 

3. Monstera Adansonii

The Monstera adansonii or Monstera Monkey Leaf is a variety of Swiss cheese plants with classic irregular holes in their leaves. This mini Monstera is a must-have for any indoor jungle. Perfect for a tall shelf since they love to trail gently over their pot as they grow.

 

Rediscover the Green Sixties with These Classic Houseplants
Monstera adansonii
Photo by @monko_the_plant

 

If trained to climb, these plants will capably climb if they are guided along a support. Those deep green leaves just keep growing with their irregular holes and slightly crinkly leaves. Quite a sight to behold!

4. Calathea Rufibarba

The Calathea Rufibarba is a native plant of the Amazon rainforests in Brazil. Unlike most Calathea varieties, this plant is more subtle when it comes to patterns. This plant has long, slender, and wavy leaves that are light green when young. As the leaves mature, they transition into a darker green upper side and maroon to burgundy below. The stems of a Rufibarba are long and slender and are burgundy in color as well.

 

Rediscover the Green Sixties with These Classic Houseplants
Calathea rufibarba, a stunning houseplant with bi-colored and fuzzy leaves.
Photo by @sweetnic777

 

Calathea Rufibarba’s lush, tropical foliage can transport you back to the 1960s when exotic, tropical elements were all the rage in home decor. What makes this plant unique is that the underside of the stems and leaves are covered in hair-like fuzz. This has led many gardeners to give it nicknames such as ‘the fuzzy/ furry feather Calathea’, ‘velvet Calathea’, ‘furry Calathea’, and many more.

5. Pilea Moon Valley

Native to Central and South America, Pilea Moon Valley, or Pilea Mollis, with its stunning, variegated leaves, is a perfect fit for a ’60s retro-themed space. Its common name, Pilea Moon Valley, is inspired by its deeply dimpled leaves – thought to look like the craters and valleys on the moon. The leaves are bushy and are typically a bright yellow-green with dark copper veins, echoing the bold, geometric patterns and textures popular in 1960s interior design.

 

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Pilea Moon Valley, also called Pilea Mollis.
Photo by @kasvi_invaasio 

 

Its delicate, almost lace-like leaves grow to five cm in length and add a touch of whimsy and nostalgia to any room. As a low-maintenance plant, Pilea Moon Valley fits perfectly with the laid-back, easy-going attitude of the 1960s. It prefers bright, indirect light and consistent watering. The plant itself will remain relatively small, never reaching more than 30 cm in height, which makes it suitable for windowsills and tabletops. While it doesn’t need much sunlight to thrive, it does prefer humid environments. 

The plant’s compact growth habit and trailing stems also make it perfect for hanging baskets or macramé planters, a popular trend in the 1960s. With its retro charm and easy care, this is an excellent addition to any space looking to capture the essence of these bygone years.

 

Rediscover the Green Sixties with These Classic Houseplants
Photo by @val_plantes

 

6. Monstera Deliciosa Tauerii 

When looking for retro houseplants, don’t forget about the Monstera Deliciosa Tauerii. This stunning, tropical foliage plant has large, heart-shaped leaves with lots of perforations. Tauerii is a dwarf-type Monstera and particularly develops its leaf perforations early. It tends to set earlier than other Monsteras.

Monstera deliciosa is native to South and Central America, where it grows as an evergreen perennial vine in tropical rainforests. It uses its aerial roots and climbing habit to make its way up along surrounding trees, through the canopy to reach the daylight. It, also, is well-suited as a decorative houseplant and lets you bring those green sixties right back into your home. 

 

Rediscover the Green Sixties with These Classic Houseplants
Monstera Deliciosa Tauerii.
Photo by @t27plants

 

Just so you know, the plant’s striking foliage, featuring holes and tears gives it a ‘Swiss cheese’ appearance and echoes the bold, geometric patterns and textures popular in 1960s interior design. And as a statement piece, it can transport you back to the 1960s, when exotic, tropical elements were all the rage in home decor. 

7. Calathea Medallion

Calathea Medallion – aka Calathea Veitchiana – is arguably one of the most beautiful low-light plants you’ll see around. They are pretty popular with plant enthusiasts because of their large, medallion-like leaves: a brilliant green pattern on top, and a deep burgundy underneath. Their leaves fold up slightly in the evening, as if in prayer – causing them to be mistaken for Prayer Plants at times.

 

Rediscover the Green Sixties with These Classic Houseplants
Calathea Medallion.
Photo by @salmandaplants

 

This plant’s beautiful, ornate foliage echoes the bold, graphic patterns and textures popular in the interior design of the bygone years. It can, therefore, easily take you back to the ’60s, when exotic, tropical elements were quite popular in home decor.

In essence, the plant’s lush, tropical foliage and striking patterns make it perfect for adding a touch of retro flair to any space. And with its low-maintenance requirements and ability to thrive in bright, indirect light, it presents an excellent choice for busy homeowners looking to capture the essence of the ’60s in their home decor. 

 

Rediscover the Green Sixties with These Classic Houseplants
Photo by @boysandgirlswithplants

 

8. Pilea Silver Tree

Pilea spruceana ‘Silver Tree’ is, also, another perfect retro houseplant. A relative of the more well-known Pilea Peperomioides, this plant has a bit of a different growth habit wanting to creep more than to grow upwards. The silver tree pilea has intriguing purple-brown leaves streaked with metallic silver in the center.

With its delicate, variegated leaves featuring shades of silver, it is a stylish addition to any ’60s retro-themed space. The unique foliage, with a subtle, shimmering quality, is quite reminiscent of some of the glamorous, sophisticated aesthetics of those years.

This easy-to-grow houseplant with beautiful foliage is perfect for adding a touch of retro flair to small spaces, such as shelves or side tables. Its delicate stems and leaves can be trained to cascade, creating a beautiful, whimsical effect reminiscent of the era’s iconic hairstyles and fashion.

 

Rediscover the Green Sixties with These Classic Houseplants
Pilea spruceana, commonly known as the Silver Tree or Norfolk Friendship Plant.
Photo by @pflanzencenter_keller

 

It is best placed in an east-facing window for medium light intensity. Also, for best results, keep humidity constantly high and temperatures average. And with its low-maintenance requirements and ability to thrive in relatively bright, indirect light, it presents an excellent choice for busy homeowners looking to capture the essence of the ’60s in their home decor. 

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