How to Choose and Care for Your Houseplants

We’ve mentioned plants in a lot of our posts, from Affordable Feng Shui to Transform Your Deck, Porch or Sunroom into a Comfortable Oasis. While the idea of an interior garden sounds delightful, knowing which plants grow best indoors can sometimes involve a bit of guess work. Here’s come insight on how to choose the best house plants and take care of them.

Photo courtesy of Environmental Project Solutions

Perhaps the biggest factor to consider when purchasing a houseplant is the amount of sunlight available. Too much such will fry certain plants while too little will weaken others. Here are some plants to consider for the two primary lighting extremes.

Low-Light Plants

Lucky Bamboo: Hailed as the best shade plant to be found, bamboo has been known to continue growing in rooms where there is little, if no natural light. In fact, two bamboo plants sit on my desk right and are yards away from the closest window.

Photo courtesy of Toby Lee Spiegel on Flicker

Dragon Tree: Does just fine in low lighting situations and doesn’t require a lot of maintenance.

Photo courtesy of Australia Gardeners

Spider Plant: Perfect for hanging pots as their off shoots will cascade over the side, down to the ground. Also known for their longevity. I had a middle school teacher who’s spider plants had been around for decades.

Photo courtesy of mycheappower

Peace Lily: These flowering plants have white blossoms and don’t require too much attention.

Photo courtesy of MyEcoTeam's Blog

Golden Pothos: Perfect for small spaces since it doesn’t grow very big. Again, not a very fussy plant.

Photo courtesy of justprettydeep

Direct Sunlight Plants

Zamioculcas zamiifolia: Although this plant likes lots of sun, it doesn’t need too much water, so be careful not to over-water it.

Photo courtesy of Guide to Houseplants

Aloe: Loves the sun. This plant has many healing properties and can be used to treat sunburn, cuts, and scars.

Photo courtesy of Dr. Thomas Ombrello

Chrysanthemum: A light lover that needs watered frequently.

Photo courtesy of Van Meuwen

Hydrangea: While it requires a bit more care than the other plants mentioned here, the beautiful flowers are worth it. For more in depth information on how to grow them, visit Color Choice Plant.

Photo courtesy of Weddingbee

Velvet Plant: Again, likes the sun and be sure to keep the soil moist, but not saturated.

Photo courtesy of

Plants that Improve Air-Quality

If you live in a city or town with poor air quality, NASA and ALCA conducted studies to determine which houseplants most effectively remove toxins from the air.  These are:

Heartleaf philodendron

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Elephant ear philodendron

Photo courtesy of The Green Goddess

Cornstalk dracaena

Photo courtesy of Denver Plants

English ivy

Photo courtesy of LogHome

Spider plant

Photo courtesy of pondplantgirl

Janet Craig dracaena

Photo courtesy of

Warneck dracaena

Photo courtesy of Green Penny Pincher

Weeping fig

Photo courtesy of Southern Botanical

Golden pothos

Photo courtesy of eco Home Resource

Peace lily

Photo courtesy of

Selloum philodendron

Photo courtesy of Crabapple LandscapExperts

Chinese evergreen

Photo courtesy of listZe

Bamboo or reed palm

Photo courtesy of Tropical Plants and Flowers Guide

Snake plant

Photo courtesy of Guide to Houseplants

Red-edged dracaena

Photo courtesy of Fitzroy Nurseries

The study recommends buying at least fifteen plants from this list for the best air purification results.

Basic Maintenance:

1. Be sure to dust your plant’s leaves once a week with a soft, damp cloth. They collect dust just like everything else in your house.

Photo courtesy of HGTV

2. Although it’s been mentioned throughout this post, don’t over-water your plants! Doing so will rot the roots. A basic rule of thumb to follow is to stick your finger a few inches into the soil. If the soil feels moist, don’t water the plant.

Photo courtesy of gardenguides

3. Groom your plant at least once a week by removing dead leaves and flowers.

Photo courtesy of Fredericksburg Farms

4. Fertilize your plant about once a month, unless directed otherwise.

Photo courtesy of Learn2Grow

5. Watch out for pests. howstuffworks has a great guide called How To Care For Houseplants to troubleshoot plant problems.

Photo courtesy of University of Nebraska Lincoln

To find the best plants available, go to your local nursery. Happy gardening!

Photo courtesy of design is mine

Photo courtesy of greentouchplants


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One Response to How to Choose and Care for Your Houseplants

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