7 Houseplants That Like Moist Soil

For some plants, overwatering is a cardinal sin. You could have the best intentions and care for your plant, but one instance of double-watering with not enough drainage and the whole plant is dead. However, some plants appreciate the extra moisture and thrive in well-watered soil.

If you want to grow plants that you won’t kill by overwatering, try houseplants that like moist soil, like the Venus flytrap, Bird of Paradise, Spike Moss, Fittonia, Baby’s Tears, Cyperus, or some types of ferns.

So let’s go over the species and how to care for each of them!

1.  Venus Flytrap (Dionaea muscipula)

Venus flytrap

The Venus flytrap is a well-known tropical plant that most people associate with its carnivorous tendencies. It belongs to a family of pitcher plants, named that way after the pitcher-shaped organ holding nectar. It feeds by trapping insects and then digesting them using an enzyme to extract nutrients. 

Caring for a Venus flytrap plant means putting it in direct sunlight for at least 4 hours daily and keeping it in a well-lit area for about 12 hours a day. It usually grows in bogs where the soil is poor in nutrients but also very moist, which is what you need to recreate at home.

Use a peat potting mix as your Venus fly trap growing medium and avoid unnecessary use of plant food that drives up the pH of the soil. You want the soil to be acidic to mimic the natural growing habitat of Venus flytrap plants.

As for moisture, this is a plant that loves being watered and can’t survive in dry soil. However, due to the relatively high pH of tap water, it’s better to use rainwater for your Venus flytrap. In case you have no access to clean rainwater, use distilled water.

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2.  Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia)

Bird of Paradise is one of the most-loved plants thanks to its uniquely shaped flower that resembles a bird, hence the name.

Even though it requires a lot of sunlight to bloom, which isn’t usually available indoors, it still has beautiful showy foliage that makes it a perfect houseplant.

Aside from placing the plant in indirect sunlight for 6–8 hours a day, caring for Bird of Paradise plants requires frequent watering. That’s mainly due to the soil drying out when placed in a well-lit area.

That said, you should never leave your Bird of Paradise plant to sit in stagnant water. So, make sure that the pot has great drainage as you monitor the moisture level in the soil.

Beware that Bird of Paradise plants are toxic to animals and small children, so keeping them out of reach is essential.

3.  Spike Moss (Selaginella)

Spike moss

Spike moss is a type of terrarium plant that propagates through spore-forming, just like ferns do.  Its leaves form small clusters that make it perfect for garden beds and even for covering vertical surfaces like trellises and walls.

Caring for spike moss means planting it in rich, moist soil. A mixture of peat moss and regular garden soil is enough to provide the nutrients for spike moss to spread, which it does readily!

You can expect your Spike moss to cover an area of 3 ft a year. Propagating it couldn’t be any easier. Just cut off a section of the plant and replant it somewhere else.

4.  Nerve Plant (Fittonia)

Just like other plants on this list, Fittonia, or Nerve Plant, is a tropical plant that originates from South America. It’s a slow-growing plant that doesn’t exceed 3–6 inches, but it can also have some trailing leaves that cover 12 to 18 inches around it.

Caring for Nerve Plants requires placing them in indirect sunlight, but not in low light conditions.  You can achieve the right environment required for their growth by placing them in moist soil mixed with peat moss in a well-draining container.

Nerve Plants love humidity and will do amazing in a bathroom where a lot of light comes in. However, if that’s not available, you can also place them under fluorescent lights that will help them grow.

As for their watering schedule, you should always keep an eye on your Fittonia because these plants are prone to drying out. You can even notice when the leaves go limp, which is what’s called a fainting spell.

When you rehydrate the soil, your plant will get back to normal. Just keep in mind that doing this enough times might compromise your plant’s health and it won’t snap back as vigorously.

5.  Baby’s Tears (Soleirolia)

Baby tears

If you’re a fan of ground covers, you’re going to love this. Baby’s Tears plant gets its unusual name from the tiny teardrop-shaped leaves that make it look almost like moss of some sort.

However, it’s not moss; it belongs to the nettles family and grows fast enough to show for it.

As a perennial evergreen in most zones, Baby’s Tears makes for an amazing addition to any flowerbed or rock garden. Just make sure you keep it in check since it can turn invasive really fast in warmer climates!

Caring for Baby’s Tears means watering regularly and frequently. This is a plant that likes a lot of water and won’t appreciate drying out at all. That said, the soil it’s planted in should be very well-draining, because if the roots sit in stagnant water, they will rot.

Unlike Nerve Plants, Baby’s Tears grow best in partial or full shade. This makes them ideal for being an indoor plant in an apartment that doesn’t get a lot of direct light.

However, if you plan to plant Baby’s Tears next to another plant in the same container, you should prune it regularly. Thanks to its fast growth, Baby’s Tears can take over shared space and suffocate other plants very easily.

6.  Umbrella Plant (Cyperus)

As close relatives of Papyrus plants that grow in the swamps and marshes of Africa, Cyperus plants are grasses that love to be submerged in water!

Their name, Umbrella Plant, comes from their leaf-like bracts that form in a circle, like umbrella spikes. They have a nice, exotic appeal that makes them perfect for indoor decoration.

Caring for these spoked beauties means never letting their roots dry. Planting them in acidic tropical soil rich in peat and never forgetting to water them are essential for their survival.

They can reach up to 2 feet tall indoors and twice as much outdoors in boggy conditions.

Just keep in mind that they aren’t at all hardy and will only survive in swampy heat outside. Inside, they’ll appreciate a humidifier or being placed in a well-lit bathroom.

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7.  Ferns

Ferns are some of the most popular choices for indoor plants that like warmth, moisture, and humidity.

You can find several varieties that will thrive if you provide them with the right conditions, such as:

  • Boston
  • Bird’s nest
  • Rabbit’s foot
  • Mother
  • Staghorn
  • Cretan brake
  • Button

Wrap-Up: 7 Houseplants That Like Moist Soil

If you’re still starting out with your plant care journey, a common mistake is overwatering your plants. Aside from diseases that happen due to standing water, like root rot, some plants just “drown” in the excess moisture.

That’s why we compiled this list of 7 houseplants that like moist soil and won’t die of overwatering. Our top candidates include ferns, Spike Moss, Baby’s Tears, Venus flytrap, and more!

These plants thrive in well-watered soil and will tolerate a double-take from the watering can. Just try to avoid bad soil drainage because stagnant water is a great breeding ground for bacteria.