Ever seen a Ponytail palm before? If you have ‘hair’ is probably the first thing that comes to your mind. But it’s not just this palm that will invoke the memory of hair. There are other plants that look like hair!
Plants that look like hair include the following 15 plants:
- Ponytail Palm
- Variegated Bonnie Spider Plant
- Spanish Moss
- Low Bulrush
- Corkscrew Rush
- Climbing Onion
- Firecracker Plant
- Chain Cactus
- Wax Plant
- String of Pearls
- Rat’s Tail Cactus
- String of Nickels
- Hindu Rope Plant
- Monkey’s Tail Cactus
- Screw Pine
Let’s find out more about these 15 plants that look like hair and how to grow them in indoor or outdoor conditions. Below you will find all the details needed to grow these unique plants in your home with relative ease.
Like a certain color of flowers like white? Read 12 Indoor Plants With White Flowers
15 Plants That Look Like Hair
If you like the odd-looking plants that look like hair, you won’t have to search high and low for them. Some of these plants are quite common and not that hard to source! They can grow well inside your home as well as outside.
#1. Ponytail Palm
Botanical Name: Beaucarnea recurvata
This plant has a broad base almost like a huge bulb protruding from the soil. The bulb and stem appear to have somewhat of a pattern and texture on it. But, the highlight feature of the ponytail palm is the thick trunk with long green trailing leaves that, you guessed it, look like hair!
It is a low-maintenance plant that can live for many years, which makes it an ideal houseplant. It’s also known as the bottle plant or elephant foot plant and originates from southeast Mexico. Ponytail plants are also used to make bonsai.
Light: Bright indirect light for around 6 to 8 hours
Watering: Water during the growing season when the top inch or two is dry. In winter water occasionally
Fertilizer: Increase the light in the summer months and fertilize with a cactus/succulent fertilizer in the spring
Temperature: Room temperature is fine between 60℉ and 85℉ (16℃ to 29℃)
Soil: Use neutral potting mixes that are specially made for succulents that are not natural water-loving plants. So, the soil should have excellent drainage!
Tip: Keep your ponytail plant in a small plant container to keep it small initially. If repotting, increase the new pot by only an inch to induce minimal growth and keep the plant at a manageable size
USDA Zones: 9, 10, 11
#2. Variegated Spider Plant ‘ Bonnie’
Botanical Name: Chlorophytum comosum “bonnie”
This is a perennial plant and originates from Southern Africa. Like other spider plants, it has green and white stripes and the leaves are twisted and curly which looks like a hairstyle that involves curlers!
The spider plant has tubers and produces offsets that you can cut off and plant.
Light: Direct sunlight is too strong and will cause the coloring to fade, so the best light is bright, indirect light.
Watering: The spider plant should be kept slightly moist during the growing season. Cut down water during winter.
Fertilizer: During the growing season feed with a weak fertilizer.
Temperature: Normal room temperatures are good enough 55℉ to 70℉ (13℃ to 21℃), it can survive winter too if kept fairly dry
Soil: Light, well-draining soil
Tip: In their native land spider plants are grown as a food crop!
USDA Zones: 10, 11, 12
#3. Spanish Moss
Botanical Name: Tillandsia usneoides
Spanish moss is an air plant or epiphyte that is related to bromeliads. It is native to Central and Southern America and some parts of the USA.
The plants grow down in long silvery green stems. You can drape them anywhere, on your hanging baskets, on other plants, or from driftwood too. They look very attractive in large bunches hanging from trees. It gives it a ghost-like appearance.
Light: Enjoys bright filtered light.
Watering: Water once a week, depending on humidity levels.
Fertilizer: Use an organic balanced fertilizer every month during the growing season.
Temperature: Best temperatures are from 65℉ – 80℉ (18℃ to 26℃)
Soil: Does not have roots
Tip: Spanish moss is not known to have any diseases or pests
USDA Zones: 8 to 11
#4. Low Bulrush
Botanical Name: Isolepis cernua
The bulrush is part of the sedge family which has a genus of between 80 to 89 species. The bulrush is a deciduous, grass-like plant. This plant is quite widely spread out in the world.
It is native to France, the British Isles, North Africa, East Africa, Central Africa, Madagascar, Australia, and New Zealand as well as other countries. It is a very decorative ornamental grass also known as fiber optic grass.
Light: A sunny to half shady location
Watering: Prefers moist soil during the hot months, and very little water in winter
Fertilizer: Give a compound fertilizer during the summer months
Temperature: The plant is tolerant of temperatures to (10℉) -12℃
Soil: Sandy loam soils
Tip: All parts of the plant are poisonous
USDA Zones: 8 to 12
#5. Corkscrew Rush
Botanical Name: Juncus effusus “Spiralis”
The corkscrew rush does not have leaves as much as green swirly wires that are twisted. The plant is actually a cultivar of a species that originates from Japan. It is sometimes referred to as “Twister” or “Spiralis”, this plant is also a perennial.
The corkscrew rush can add a bit of visual interest to your home, like something you will see at a hair salon! It is capable of growing in a wide range of climates.
Light: Full sun
Watering: These plants love wet soil and can even be used on the edges of ponds, a few inches submerged in water is tolerable
Fertilizer: In spring, an all-purpose fertilizer or manure will do
Temperature: Average to warm temperatures 65℉ to 80℉ (18℃ to 27℃)
Soil: Peat and moss-based potting mix
Tip: They can be planted in containers with a drainage hole and placed not too deep into ponds
USDA Zones: 4 to 9
#6. Climbing Onion
Botanical Name: Bowiea volubilis
You may also know it by the name climbing sea onion. The climbing onion is quite a queer plant. The climbing onion consists of a bulb that does look rather like an onion, that shoots out these extremely delicate vines with wisp-like fine hairs.
It originates from Africa and is not an onion but is related to the asparagus vegetable and the ornamental asparagus fern.
Light: This plant likes plenty of light. Also high temperatures
Watering: Water well during the growing season, but do not overwater. Do not let the growing media dry out
Fertilizer: The climbing onion does not need fertilizer
Temperature: As this plant is from Africa it requires warm temperatures between 30℉ (-1℃) and 50℉ (10℃)
Soil: A gritty, well-draining soil. Such as that used for cactus
Tip: A good placement area for the climbing onion in your home would be a windowsill that receives good light
USDA Zones: 10 and 11
#7. Firecracker Plant
Botanical Name: Russelia equisetiformis
This plant has many names: Fountainbrush, Coral Fountain, Firecracker Fern, Fountain Plant, and Hummingbird Plant. The firecracker’s natural habitat is found in Guatemala and Mexico and it flowers throughout the year.
Light: The firecracker plant enjoys full sun but can tolerate some shade
Watering: Water regularly during the growing season, but allow to dry between waterings. Cut down water in winter
Fertilizer: Using a half-strength solution of a balanced liquid fertilizer feed every 2 weeks, in the spring and summer
Temperature: This plant does best at temperatures of 65℉ to 75℉ (18℃ to 21℃)
Soil: To grow as a container plant use regular potting soil, mixed with perlite or sand. Outdoors it can be grown in a wide range of soil types
Tip: When choosing a pot, choose one that is tall and wide, as it has a weeping nature, and the pot should be wide enough to accommodate the plant’s roots
USDA Zones: 9, 10, 11
#8. Jumping Cholla / Hanging Cholla / Chain cactus
Botanical Name: Cylindropuntia fulgida
The jumping cholla is actually a plant native to the USA. It grows well in the southwestern areas of the country. This includes California, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado. But, be warned this appealing cactus is covered with spines, both large and minuscule which are hazardous when handling the plant.
These plants can reach heights of up to 4 meters and lack regular leaves. Instead, the leaves have been reduced to just spines. You may prefer this plant outside considering the hazards and heights it comes with.
Light: Although this plant can survive in full shade, partial shade to bright indirect light is best
Watering: The plant should be watered thoroughly, then allow it to get bone dry before you water it again or it could rot
Fertilizer: Fertilize the plant before it starts forming buds. Fertilize every two weeks, once the buds open you can stop fertilizing
Temperature: Sudden fluctuations in temperatures are harmful to the plant. It prefers temperatures of 65℉ to 75℉ (18℃ to 24℃)
Soil: Rich well-draining soils.
Tip: The chain cactus dislikes lime, so avoid tap water and use filtered water or rainwater.
USDA Zones: 9, 10, 11
If you like white flowers, take a look at these 12 Indoor Plants With White Flowers to beautify your home.
#9. Wax Plant
Botanical Name: Hoya Carnosa
The hoya has vines for stems and thick leathery leaves that hang down and look like hair, messy unbrushed hair! The flowers are a cluster of small flowers. The flowers are star-shaped in an array of colors and are shiny. The wax plant originates from India and East Asia.
The Hoya carnosa has many cultivars, there are the “krinkle” varieties and the variegated varieties too.
Light: Bright indirect light throughout the year
Watering: Water well in the spring and summer, they are thirsty plants, but do not keep in soggy soils. Use room temperature water to water these plants
Fertilizer: Feed monthly from spring to fall with a water-soluble fertilizer that is high in potassium
Temperature: Keep your hoya in warm temperatures of 65℉ to 75℉ (18℃ to 24℃)
Soil: Use sphagnum, peat, and moss-based potting mix, with perlite mixed in for better drainage
Tip: It can take up to 2 to 3 years for this plant to flower, so be patient!
USDA Zones: 10, 11, 12
#10. String Of Pearls
Botanical Name: Senecio rowleyanus
The string of pearls has a vine-like stem with “beads” spaced out along the stem. The beads are actually modified leaves and look like hair with traditional beads in them. It is native to South Africa and is very easy to care for as well as propagate.
Light: These plants can do with a bit of direct morning light and indirect afternoon shade. A total of between 6 to 8 hours of light
Watering: During the growing season keep the soil moist. You can insert your finger in the first 2 inches of soil to test if it is dry. If it is dry, water the plant. The string of pearls is fairly drought resistant and excess water will make it rot
Fertilizer: Use water-soluble fertilizer, half diluted during the growing season. Provide fertilizer every two weeks
Temperature: String of pearls do well in warm temperatures above 70℉ (21℃)
Soil: Any potting soil mix will do but sandy soil is the best. As it is a succulent it will require well-draining soil
Tip: These plants are usually seen hanging down from baskets but they can also be trained to cover areas on the ground, rather like a mat
USDA Zones: 9 – 12
#11. Rat’s Tail Cactus
Botanical Name: Aporocactus flagelliformis
The rat’s tail cactus originates from Southwestern Mexico as well as Central America. It is popular for its long trailing stems that look like neatly braided hair. They flower in spring and early summer. Their blooms are usually red, orange, or violet-red.
In the wild, these plants can be found growing in trees (epiphytes) or on the ground (lithophytic). In cultivation, they are more suited to basket culture or hanging pots.
Light: This cactus is suited to desert conditions, so bright direct light. Full sun throughout the year
Watering: Water regularly during the growing season. Start tapering off the water in the fall, water seldomly during winter
Fertilizer: In the spring and summer you can feed your rat tail cactus a fertilizer that is diluted to half strength
Temperature: This plant is quite tolerant of temperatures from 45℉ to 90℉ (7℃ to 32℃)
Soil: Use a cactus mix that has excellent drainage as well as it is slightly acidic.
Tip: The rat’s tail cactus is different from the monkey’s tail cactus. They might have similarities but are botanically different
USDA Zones: 10 and 11
#12. String Of Nickels
Botanical Name: Dischidia nummularia
This plant is a vine, but what’s unusual is that it is a succulent that is native to Australia, Asia, and India. Like orchids and Tillandsia, it is an epiphyte and grows on trees and branches. It gets its nutrients from rainwater and other debris that collects around its roots.
Light: String of Nickels do well in low light conditions
Watering: Keep the soil moist but do not keep it soggy
Fertilizer: Make sure that their potting mix is rich in organic matter. A half-strength fertilizer can be applied at the beginning of the growing season
Temperature: Grows best at temperatures between 40℉ to 80℉ (4℃ to 27℃)
Soil: The soil should be light, porous, and high in organic matter. Use shredded coconut coir or bark chips. The roots need air and must not be suffocated by regular potting soil
Tip: Root rot is the most common disease affecting the string of nickels, due to incorrect potting medium and poor watering habits
USDA Zone: 10, 11, 12
#13. Hindu Rope Plant
Botanical Name: Hoya carnosa ‘Compacta’
The Hindu rope plant is actually a type of lush green hoya. The plant’s leaves appear as a twisted rope almost like hair braided using a fancy technique. The leaves are thick and waxy like a succulent.
Light: Indirect but bright sun for at least 6 hours a day
Watering: Provide a thorough watering only when the top few inches are dry
Fertilizer: Feed with a weak fertilizer every few months, cease fertilizing during winter
Temperature: Above 50℉ (10℃), anything below this can be problematic
Soil: Porous Soil with any pH profile
Tip: You can propagate Hindu root plants from stem cuttings
USDA Zone: 10, 11, 12
#14. Monkey’s Tail Cactus
Botanical Name: Hildewintera colademononis
The monkey’s tail cactus belongs to a group of perennial succulent plants that originate in North and South America. It is classified as a lithophyte, as it has shallow roots and grows amongst rocks, crevices, and on cliffs.
Light: This plant needs bright indirect light. Although being a desert plant it can do with some direct sun
Watering: Water weekly in the growing season, the plant will go into dormancy in the winter and so reduce watering
Fertilizer: Feed with low nitrogen fertilizer in a liquid form
Temperature: Temperatures above 60℉ (16℃) and as low as 20℉ (-6℃)
Soil: A cactus mix that is well-draining and organic. If it is not that well draining you can add some perlite or alternatives
Tip: Let the plant dry thoroughly before watering again
USDA Zones: 9, 10, 11
#15. Screw Pine
Botanical Name: Pandanus tectorius
The Screw Pine is definitely one of the plants that look like hair however you look at it. The leaves can reach three feet and taper towards the ends!
The leaves all feature different lengths and so some protrude outwards while others hang down, giving the appearance of a funky head of hair!
Light: Dappled sunlight is adequate since full sun results in scorching of leaves
Watering: Moderate watering when the top soil gets relatively but not completely dry
Fertilizer: Fertilize during the growing season weekly. But, change to a monthly fertilizer application during the dormant season.
Temperature: 65℉ to 80℉ (18℃ to 27℃), keep away from air vents
Soil: Highly fertile and porous soil (preferably loamy soil)
Tip: This is a tropical plant and so you need to ensure a humidifier is kept at 50% throughout growth.
USDA Zones: 10 and 11
If you love plants but want to stand out from the rest, you need something other than the common houseplant! Try out plants that look like hair, as this is the best way to go. Although these plants may sound exotic, they are not as hard to find as you think.
15 Plants that look like hair are Ponytail Palm, Variegated Bonnie Spider Plant, Spanish Moss, Low Bulrush, Corkscrew Rush, Climbing Onion, Firecracker Plant, Chain Cactus, Wax Plant, String of Pearls, Rat’s Tail Cactus, String of Nickels, Hindu Rope Plant, Monkey’s Tail Cactus, and Screw Pine.
Many of these plants are even easy to grow in the USA under several USDA zones, even in household conditions. You can keep them indoors and even then transfer them outdoors. Take a few off the list and start to grow them to improve your garden or home.
Like Ivy plants too? Take a look at these 14 Types Of Indoor Ivy Plants That Can Beautify Your Home.
Can I grow cactus plants indoors?
Yes, you can grow a cactus plant indoors. All you have to do is ensure that they receive the right conditions to ensure growth.
One of these important conditions is sunlight for 4- 8 hours and well-draining soil. Otherwise, you also need to care for them properly by not giving them too much water.
Are succulents and cacti cold-hardy?
Some cacti and succulents are quite a cold hardy while others can only be grown indoors depending on which USDA zone you live in.
Some cacti and succulents that are cold hardy are Cholla, Prickly pear, Stonecrop, Sedums, and Sempervivums (commonly called hens and chicks).