How do I Choose the Best Indoor Houseplants?

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

Even without an outdoor space, it is perfectly possible to grow a garden indoors. Whether flowers, ferns, or cacti are preferred, the ceiling is the limit with indoor houseplants. Choosing indoor houseplants will largely be dependent on the space available and lifestyle of the gardener. With a little forethought, the whole home can be decked out in the glory of indoor flora.

Houseplant fertilizer.
Houseplant fertilizer.

Determining how much light is available may be the first consideration when choosing indoor houseplants. All plants require some sunlight in order to grow, but some are shade lovers while others need several hours of strong light each day. Spend a few days observing windows and skylights in order to determine how much direct light beams through and at what time of day. Most plants feature information regarding how much light is required, so choose accordingly. If plants look a little droopy or are not growing, consider placing them on the porch or in direct sunlight for a short time each day to stimulate their growth.

Ferns require minimal upkeep and are easy to grow indoors.
Ferns require minimal upkeep and are easy to grow indoors.

Everyone has a busy schedule, and few people have the time or skill to be a full-time gardener. When choosing houseplants, consider how much time they will require and how consistent your schedule is. Some plants require a constant level of pH and moisture, and may need watering at specific times of day. For the truly busy or forgetful, remember: cacti can live several weeks without water, and go well with southwestern or modern decor.

Plants are complicated, living things and many have complex defense mechanisms such as poisonous leaves or berries. If the house is frequented by pets and small children liable to snack on anything available, avoid choosing indoor houseplants that can cause harm. When purchasing plants, look carefully for any poison warnings and consult nursery or garden center employees to find out which plants might be harmful to the casual nibbler.

When planning an indoor garden in a small place, try thinking of plants as you would about lamps and light fixtures. Trees such as rubber plants are like floor lamps, and will need to sit on the floor. Trailing vines and ferns, on the other hand, can be like chandeliers and hang down from the ceiling in baskets. Choosing indoor houseplants that create different planting levels will allow the effective utilization of space as well as give a nuanced and layered look.

Remember that while choosing indoor houseplants is about expressing personal taste, it is also about having rooms full of thriving plants rather than showy blossoms that have been accidentally killed. By choosing according to the skills of the gardener and the capabilities of the space, a healthy, bountiful indoor garden can be ensured. Starting out with simple varieties such as succulents rather than needy tropical palms and ferns can help a novice gain skills and confidence, all while maintaining a healthy, verdant household of plants.

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a wiseGEEK writer.

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