How to Identify Round-Leaf Indoor Plants
Most indoor plants have heart-shaped, elongated or even blade-like leaves, and few have perfectly round leaves. If you’re trying to identify a houseplant with round leaves, you’ll need to look at its other characteristics, such as the color of the leaves, the plant’s growth habit, its height and width, and the flower shape and color. When you’re attempting to identify your round-leaf indoor plants, having a houseplant guidebook with pictures handy can be helpful.
Indoor Plants with Cascading Forms
Look for a creeping, cascading growth habit to identify the Bolivian Jew or Turtle Vine (Callisia repens). The Turtle Vine produces small white flowers and leaves that are green on top with purple undersides.
Identify the Umbrella Flower (Ceropegia radicans) and String of Hearts or Rosary Vine (C. woodii) by their creeping, spreading growth habits and rounded, but often slightly heart-shaped, leaves that are less than two inches in diameter.
Identify the String of Buttons or Necklace Vine (Crassula rupestris) by its cascading, vine-like growth habit and its waxy flowers. The small, thick and round leaves grow side-by-side along long stems or vines.
Identify the Swedish Ivy (Plectranthus australis) by its cascading, creeping growth form and its glossy leaves with white spike-shaped flowers. This vine’s leaves grow in fanned-out clusters.
Look for silver markings and fine hairs on the rounded leaves of your small indoor plant to identify the Strawberry Begonia (Saxifraga sarmentosa or S. stolonifera). The Strawberry Begonia grows to only six to nine inches tall, with runner stems cascading out at its two-foot width.
Spot the String of Pearls or String of Beads (Senecio rowleyanus) indoor plant by its creeping growth habit and fleshy round leaves growing from thin stems. This cascading succulent has tiny white flowers.
Houseplants with Upright Growth Habits
Look for a spreading, upright indoor plant with woody branches to identify the Mistletoe Fig (Ficus deltoidea or F. diversifolia). Both species bear small berry-like fruits that are usually whitish turning to yellow, orange or red. The F. deltoidea can grow up to 15 feet tall, while the F. diversifolia grows to only three feet high.
Check the indoor plant for green leaves that have white, yellow or pink variegation to identify the Chicken Gizzard Plant (Iresine herbstii ‘Aureo-Reticulata’). This round-leafed plant can grow up to three feet tall in an upright form and has spike-like flowers, although the leaves are more attractive than the flowers.
Identify the Blood Leaf or Beefsteak Plant (Iresine lindenii Formosa) by its distinctive dark-red leaves that have lighter-colored veins running through them. Like I. herbstii, I. lindenii grows upright and to three feet in height with non-showy flower spikes.
Identify the Balfour Aralia (Polyscias balfouriana ‘Marginata’) by its waxy, variegated leaves that are green with white edges and its small white flowers. The Balfour Aralia is a tall, upright plant, growing up to 15 feet in height and six feet wide.
Mounding or Rounded-Form Houseplants
Identify the Wax Begonia (Begonia semperflorens or Begonia sp.) by its succulent, rounded overall growth habit and its white, pink or red small flowers. The Wax Begonia grows to two feet tall and two feet wide with swollen nodes and green or bronze rounded to slightly oval leaves.
Identify the Baby Tears plant (Helxine soleirolii) by its moss-like appearance and its spreading growth habit. Baby Tears grows to only six inches tall and wide, with tiny green leaves.
Spot the Felted Pepper Face (Peperomia incana) indoor plant by looking for its whitish-green thick leaves and rounded overall growth habit. The Felted Pepper Face plant grows to only 15 inches tall and has non-ornamental flower spikes.
Look for dark-green and sometimes variegated waxy leaves to identify the Baby Rubber Plant (Peperomia obtusifolia). This plant grows in a round bush-like form, up to one foot tall and wide. The Baby Rubber Plant has white, “rat tail-shaped” flowers and thick stems.
Indoor Plants with Ornamental Flowers
Inspect your round-leafed indoor plant for thick green leaves and clusters of small white flowers to identify the Jade Plant (Crassula argentea). The Jade plant grows up to three feet tall and two feet wide with leaves growing on thick stems.
Look for a thick wax covering on the leaves and pinkish, star-shaped flowers to identify the Wax Plant or Wax Vine (Hoya carnosa). The Wax Plant’s flowers have a slight fragrance and grow on long vines in clusters.
Spot a Rainbow Bush or Elephant Bush (Portulacaria afra) by looking for its thick woody stems and fleshy but tiny green leaves. This upright plant grows miniscule pink flowers from spring to autumn.
You can tell the two species of Mistletoe Fig apart by looking at the undersides of the leaves. Both species have green or grayish-green leaves, but the F. deltoidea’s leaves have red undersides.
Don’t confuse the Umbrella Flower with the Rosary Vine. The Umbrella Flower has dark green leaves and skinny, tube-like flowers that are white with tinges of green and burgundy, while the Rosary Vine’s leaves are marbled with white on top with purple undersides and marbled green, white, gray or rose flowers.
- You can tell the two species of Mistletoe Fig apart by looking at the undersides of the leaves. Both species have green or grayish-green leaves, but the F. deltoidea's leaves have red undersides.
- Don't confuse the Umbrella Flower with the Rosary Vine. The Umbrella Flower has dark green leaves and skinny, tube-like flowers that are white with tinges of green and burgundy, while the Rosary Vine's leaves are marbled with white on top with purple undersides and marbled green, white, gray or rose flowers.
- Houseplant guidebook (optional)