A House Plant for Every Room
Are you looking to add some greenery to your indoor space? You can find easy-to-grow plants for just about every area of your home.
Be aware that some plants are poisonous to pets, so keep that in mind when making your decisions.
Low light – north-facing window
The spikey snake plant is semi-succulent with long, leathery leaves in either green or green edged with yellow. Snake plants are very long-lived and will tolerate low light better than any other house plant. They will also withstand prolonged periods of dryness but will not tolerate overwatering.
The philodendron, a favorite in offices under fluorescent lights, has dark green, heart-shaped leaves on trailing stems. The plant is very adaptable and regular pinching of the tips will encourage dense, fuller growth.
Pothos is another vining plant related to the philodendron. Nearly indestructible, the pothos is a vigorous vine with stems that can grow up to 30 inches long. You’ll find it in a dark green variety or with yellow or off-white variegation in the leaves. If kept in very low light the yellow fades to green, but the plant will live on.
Frequently found in house plant sections of grocery stores, the waxy leafed Peace Lily produces a distinctive white flower. It needs more water than most houseplants and if you let it go too long without water, it will wilt. But even if it wilts it will quickly rally and eventually you’ll learn exactly when to water to prevent wilt.
The Chinese Evergreen is also an easy-to-grow plant with long narrow leaves. It can reach up to three feet tall so can make a great focal point for a room. Some varieties have solid green leaves, but most have interesting variegation in shades of silver, gray, or light green.
Medium light – east or west-facing window
You’ll find this bloomer in a myriad of colors, from white and light pink to deep, dark purple. This old-fashioned favorite needs bright, but not direct sunlight to bloom. It can blossom for long periods of time if you find the right spot. It’s easy to create a new plant by snapping off a leaf and nestling it in potting soil.
The Calathea, which grows up to four feet tall, is popular due to its bold and colorful foliage. The leaves come in various shades of green, cream, white, pink, and silver. The undersides of the leaves are dark purple, making a striking contrast.
Known as the prayer plant because the leaves fold up in the evening, the maranta has oval, pale green leaves with dark green, red or brownish markings. The plant does well in hanging baskets, but too bright a light will bleach the leaves.
A good choice for houseplant beginners, the peperomia comes in hundreds of varieties, with leaves thick and plump, rippled, smooth, or shiny, in shades of green, red, gray, and cream. The pattern on the leaves may be marbled, striped, or a solid color. Peperomia has a clumping growth habit so it’s great for a shelf or table.
Contrary to popular belief, orchids are fairly easy to grow. The Phalaenopsis (moth orchid), which produces tall spikes of large blooms in shades of white, purple and pink, is the most common orchid and you’ll likely find it at your local grocery store. Orchids like bright light, but not direct sun.
Bright light – south-facing window
You’ll find these easy-to-grow plants in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and growing habits, from upright pillars to spreading clumps and spiny spheres. They have few pest and disease problems and grow slowly. Some cacti have thorns, so handle with care.
Similar to the cactus, succulents are simple to grow and require little maintenance. “Hen and chicks” is a name used for a number of different succulents because of their propagating nature. The “hen” is the main plant, while the “chicks” are plantlets that form from the main plant.
The Kalanchoe, also known as Flaming Katy, is a succulent with glossy green leaves and cheery, colorful flowers that can tolerate the dry air inside your winter. The blooms, in yellow, red, pink, orange and red, are long-lasting.
Grown for their brilliantly marked leaves, you’ll find the croton in a wide range of leaf shapes and colors, from red, orange, yellow and pink, to purple, green, and white. The croton needs two or three hours of direct sunlight to keep leaf coloration.
Also known as the Swiss cheese plant because of the holes that develop in its large leaves, the fast-growing monstera can grow to be quite large. The large leaves can collect dust, so wiping the leaves with a damp cloth will keep them clean and healthy.
A word about watering
The quickest way to kill a house plant is to overwater it, so check the soil regularly rather than automatically watering. Put your finger in the soil, and when the top inch of the soil is dry, water all the way through and let it drain. Another trick is to put a pencil in the soil and if soil adheres to the eraser it’s moist and if no soil comes out you know it’s dry.