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Tips for choosing the right houseplant for your home

Watering house plants

Written by Gloria Ballard

June 28, 2021

If spring is about the garden outside, summer’s heat and humidity may drive you back indoors, where you can still experience nature among the houseplants. But which plants to choose? Here’s what to consider when you’re browsing the greenhouse to find new plants to add to your home:

 

  • All plants need at least a minimal amount of ongoing care, so a first step is to know what you can provide — and what you can’t. Light, for instance: All houseplants need it, but in varying degrees. If you live in a place that has little natural light coming in during the day, for instance, or can’t provide necessary artificial light, it’s best to choose houseplants that thrive in low-light conditions.

 

  • If you’re that person who says they kill everything they try to grow, you’ll want something that’s fairly low-maintenance. On the other hand, if you usually have success with houseplants and you’re up for a challenge or want to up your game, try something that is, admittedly, a bit finicky.

 

  • If you live with fur friends, know that some houseplants are toxic to dogs and cats, so do your research before you bring home something that might harm them if they decide to taste it.

 

  • What’s your decorating style? Do you thrive in a place with greenery that grows wild and free? Or do you prefer something more tidy and compact? Do you want your plant to have flowers, or are varying shades of green enough?

 

What works for you?

Houseplant varieties are endless, but here are a dozen ideas to get you started on choosing the right houseplant for your home.

 

For low light rooms:

Chinese evergreen, with delicately arched, sometimes variegated leaves 

– Some of the many varieties of Philodendron, from the familiar heart-leaf green vine to more unusual and colorful foliage.

Peace lily, with glossy green foliage and, occasionally, creamy white flower spathes.

 

Low-maintenance lovelies: 

-The low-light plants mentioned above are also fairly low-maintenance, but you also can never go wrong with slow-growing Zamioculcas zamiifolia — ZZ plant — with waxy, oval leaves on tall stems; 

Sanseveria, or snake plant, including the more unusual varieties, such as a spiky, cylindrical variety or the striking broad-leaf whale-fin sanseveria.

Air plants (Tillandsia) are – seriously – about the lowest-maintenance houseplant you can imagine. They don’t grow in soil, and will survive for a long time if they’re misted or dunked in water every couple of weeks.

 

Pet friendly houseplants:

The ASPCA gives a thumbs-up to any of these popular houseplants that are safe if curious pups or kitties take a nibble:

Parlor palms, which have airy, delicate foliage and come in a variety of sizes. Some prefer bright light; others tolerate lower-light conditions. 

Spider plant, with its crown of narrow leaves that produce long stems with miniature plantlets on the ends, is a standout in a room that gets bright light.

African violet’s downy leaves and sweet flowers add a spot of color in a room that gets bright, indirect light. Bonus, they thrive under fluorescent lights, as well.

 

Ready to up your houseplant game?

Zebra plant has dark green foliage with bold white veins and can be described as “temperamental,” but a great conversation piece among your plant-savvy friends.

Monstera can make a big statement in your houseplant collection (meaning: if you have a large space, this is the plant that can fill it). The large, dramatic leaves love moderate to bright light. 

Pilea is an easy houseplant to grow, but with its striking shadings or deeply textured foliage, it can be a show piece in your collection.  

 

Come in and browse the Garden Center at Gardens of Babylon to find the plants that are perfect for your indoor garden.

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