Live plants are used as decor and live ingredients in bars and restaurants across the world – but they don’t always look great.

Far too often we see sad plants, dying for some reason and seriously harshing the vibe. But, just because you weren’t blessed with a green thumb doesn’t mean you can’t be a plant parent! If you’re looking to add some meaningful greenery to your workspace or home bar, here is a list of 6 non-toxic, low-maintenance, bar-approved plants to start with.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera, Aloe barbadensis miller, is known worldwide for its healing powers. This plant represents health, luck, and beauty. Its spiky exterior and abstract shape make Aloe Vera a striking decor piece. Aloe Vera is like the mom of the friend group – the one who makes sure you get into the right Uber at the end of the night. Break off a piece of Aloe Vera for anyone who has a sunburn and needs a little relief.

Care: Aloe vera likes lots of bright sunlight and dry soil. Put it in a sunny window and only water it when its soil is bone-dry.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera

Photo by Kevin Bessat

Lavender

The aroma of fresh lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) is known to reduce stress and create calmness. What could be better for a bartender? Be the picture of grace and peace, even when your bar is suddenly packed and you have 10 new service tickets! Ok – maybe it’s not that powerful – but the aromatherapy effects are scientifically proven, and for that reason, lavender is an excellent herb to keep behind the bar. Lavender flowers make beautiful garnishes and can be used as ingredients in syrups, cordials, bitters, tea, and more.

Care: Lavender likes a Mediterranean climate – that means dry, sandy soil, and lots of sunlight. Keep in a sunny spot, water it when the first few inches of soil have dried out, and prune it regularly to promote new growth.

English Ivy

Any cottage-core fans out there? English Ivy’s adaptive nature and ability to thrive almost anywhere reminds us of our ability to overcome. To quote Miranda July: “But, like ivy, we grow where there is room for us.” English Ivy, or Hedera Helix, is a lovely plant to keep behind the bar because it adds fairytale vibes to any room without needing any special treatment. It’s also a great air purifier and a beautiful backdrop for photos.

Care: Give the ivy indirect light, water it when it’s fully dry, and it will thrive. Use some small wall hooks to direct its climbing if you like.

Areca Palm

Since ancient times, palms have represented luxury, victory, and immortality. Areca Palms (Dypsis lutescens) are big, beautiful, bold statement pieces that will add a ton of green without needing a huge pot or much maintenance. Areca Palms are kind of like that one really fun hostess who puts everyone in a good mood – they immediately elevate the space and create a lively aesthetic.

Care: Keep your Areca Palm in indirect, but bright, light and keep the soil slightly moist. These Palms need to be fed regularly with fertilizer to maximize their growth potential.

Snake Plant

The Snake Plant, Dracaena trifasciata, has been a favorite potted plant for decades in restaurants, offices, and homes. It’s known as a symbol of luck and prosperity. Snake Plants are crazy easy to care for and they look stunning as elements of interior design. Snake Plants can tolerate low light and much neglect – they’re like the customer who drinks the IPA you gave them without complaint, even though they asked for a Pilsner.

Care: Snake Plants only need a bit of sunlight to survive, but they will grow faster with some bright, indirect light. Only water them once they are completely dry.

Snake Plant

Snake Plant

Photo by Kelly Sikkema

Cactus

Yeah, I know “cactus” isn’t very specific, but I can’t pick just one! Cacti come in all different shapes and sizes, so there’s a perfect one out there for any space. With their sharp spines and tough reputation, cacti represent protection and strength. Under the right conditions, most cacti bloom bright flowers once or twice a year. Because it’s kind of hard to kill them, they’re easy for even the busiest of plant parents. Like everyone’s favorite barback, the cactus just quietly does its thing without needing much encouragement or attention.

Care: Water every few months and keep cacti in a sunny spot. Don’t mess with them too much and they’ll be happy!

Cactuses

Cactuses

Photo by Jason Zook