This is your guide to all things indoor plant related. Including water and maintenance, good plant choices for low light areas, unique indoor plants, and more. We also give you the tips needed to start your own indoor garden. So here we go!
Nothing livens up a room like live plants. Yet it isn’t always that easy to find plants that do well indoors, especially in low light areas. So in this post, we’ve put together a list of the top plants for your home along with how much light they need to thrive and other important maintenance tips to keep them healthy and looking beautiful.
First off, you may want to know why we should plant and grow indoor plants in our home. Read on.
Table of Contents
Health Benefits of Houseplants
Believe it or not, but plants provide a dizzying array of benefits for their household. The best plants for removing harsh chemicals in the air include chrysanthemums, palms, ferns, spider plants, philodendrons, peace lilies, ficus, ivy, and dragon tree.
Here are the top ten benefits of having your own houseplant:
1. Prevention of Fatigue and Colds: Decreasing the susceptibility by greater than thirty percent, plants help to increase humidity levels and decrease dust. When you run a tight schedule, you simply can’t afford to be sick, so have a plant to reduce your risk of illness.
2. Sleep Improvement: Gerbera daisies are gorgeous flowers, and at night they give off oxygen. The aesthetics during the day and oxygen production at night prove to be enough for those that need to brighten up their home and help lull them to sleep.
3. Clear Congestion: Eucalyptus is the plant to help clear congestion and phlegm. A common sight to see on medicinal labels, one can also have the plant around the house to help aide in free-flowing airways.
4. Negate Cigarette Smoke: Quitters never win, except when it comes to smoking. However, for those who can’t put down these carcinogenic sticks, the Peace Lily is something to keep in the house, because it helps to remove the chemicals from cigarettes that are airborne.
5. Mental Health Improvement: By way of color choices, feng shui, and shapes, plants can provide an inviting interior for when you’re feeling down. Understanding that there is a living breathing thing for you to take care of gives a purpose in life that may not have been there otherwise. It also can promote new ideas and better moods.
6. Happiness: To be calm and optimistic is not always the easiest thing to do. However, by simply finding yourself a houseplant, you can give your eyes something to focus on other than the television.
7. Pain relief: The aloe plant is a common ingredient in topical cremes, as it reduces redness and pain that might be occurring from a recent cut.
8. Carbon dioxide Reduction: We breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide; the opposite can be said for plants. The more plants you have, the more likely it is that you are receiving more oxygen. Excess carbon dioxide can lead to drowsiness, but if a plant is present, you are less likely to encounter this problem.
9. Natural humidifiers: For those with chronic sore throats and dryness of the nasal cavity, plants are a natural option instead of purchasing a humidifier to bring into a room.
10. Removal of Airborne Contaminants: Indoor plants can aid in the removal of substances that are trapped inside the home. It’s easy to open the window during a spring, summer, or fall day. In the wintertime, however, it proves to be more chilled than the other seasons, and you are less likely to be welcoming in the fresh air. By bringing a plant into your home, you provide yourself with a garbageman of sorts, that takes out the harmful chemicals in the air.
Low Light Houseplants
Houseplants are great but it can be a challenge finding some that look good and can also survive in low light environments. Here are some things to consider:
- Light requirements
- Plant-feeding and watering
- Plant care and maintenance
- Best low light plants
Here are some of the low light houseplants we recommend:
- Spider Plant
- Snake Plant
- Howea Belmoreana
- Peace Lily
- Rubber Plant
- Devil’s Ivy
- Cast Iron Plant
- Chinese evergreen
- Zeezee plants
Caring for Low Light Plants
Here are some simple tips to remember.
- Don’t overwater
- Fertilize sparingly
- Try to move low light plants to indirect sunlight once a week or more so they can get some light
- Tropical and warmer climate plants tend to need more light
Flowering plants don’t have to just be outdoors, some can live inside as well. We put together a solid list of the best flowering indoor houseplants along with how to care for them.
- Flowering Houseplant types
- Recommendations for beginners
- Light and temperature considerations
- Maintenance and plant care
Variety is the spice of life – there are so many different flowering houseplants to choose from that it’s difficult to choose just one to add to the interior of your house. Containers should be big enough to house the roots, soil, and allow room for growth. Cleaning the leaves, flowers, and buds should be weekly if not bi-weekly. Dusting then misting helps remove dust that clogs pores on the leaves and petals and also gives an extra bit of moisture to the plant. Watering also depends on the variety of plant, due to environmental differences. The same can be said for how much light the plants receive.
So without further ado, here are the top ten flowering houseplants.
1. Brazilian Fireworks
If just the name doesn’t stun you, the beauty of this plant is remarkable. This plant proves to be interesting because after blooming its scarlet flower towers, it can actually shoot its black seeds across a room. Even when the flowers are not in bloom, the leaves still offer the eye-catching element of its silver on green coloring. These plants need to be kept in medium to bright light, a warmer interior and have their soil kept evenly moist.
No, not the influenza virus that we all know. Streptocarpus is also called Cape primrose. This offers a variety of different colors and is extremely easy to grow and replant. Making sure that it is receiving cooler temperatures during the winter will help it thrive. It should be kept in medium to bright light, 60-65 degrees F in the winter, 70-80 degrees F the remainder of the year. Soil should remain barely moist.
3. Kaffir Lily
Also known as clivia, this houseplant typically blooms in winter, and has a head that clusters with yellow or orange tubelike flowers. It only blooms when it is exposed to cool, dry conditions; lower temperatures in the winter and dryness are essential if you wish for this plant to grow. It should be kept in medium light, soil kept barely moist, and top out at 75 degrees F the majority of the year, but be between 50 and 55 during the winter time. Make sure that you keep an eye on its growth, as this is a poisonous plant.
A close cousin of the pineapple, its flower forms a similar shape to the stem of the lovely fruit. The blooms are also resilient, as it can last up to six months. This particular plant variety likes warm temperatures, but by placing it somewhere cool while it is still blooming can prolong its flowering stage. It requires bright light, 65-80 degrees F majority of the year, 60-65 degrees F in winter, and soil should remain moderately dry, but make sure that there is water in its vase.
5. Rieger Begonia
This plant is one of the few that bloom in the wintertime. The shape of the flower proves to be similar to a rose and is best suited for tabletops and hanging baskets. Medium to bright light, 65-76 degrees F, and evenly moist soil is what this plant needs to survive. This is another plant that should be monitored. If ingested by children or pets, it can cause irritation of the throat, lips, and mouth.
This plant proves to be one of the more fragrant; it is a common appearance among perfume notes. Its flowers are either pink or white. These need bright or intense light, 40-60 degrees F in winter, 60-75 degrees F the other part of the year, and the soil should be kept evenly moist.
Not all beautiful plants are needy – this poinsettia cousin can withstand neglect, as long as it is given bright to intense lighting and kept on the dry side. This is also a poisonous plant and is also very thorny.
8. Christmas Cactus
This plant tends to flower in response to cooler temperatures and short day length, similar to what winter tends to bring the all-seasons environments. It should have bright light, kept in 70-80 degrees F, 55 degrees F in autumn, and moderately dry soil.
9. Guppy Plant
It is a type of African violet that blooms mostly during the summertime, but if given enough light, will continue to bloom throughout the year. It is perfect for hanging basket and its flowers resemble goldfish (hence the name). It should be kept in medium to bright light and have moderately dry soil.
It’s the flower that appears on close to every Hawaiian shirt. It forms huge blooms, topping out at 8-inch diameters. However, these beautiful flowers tend to be short-lived and blossoms typically last a day or two. You can find just about any color variety of hibiscus, and they can grow to be six feet tall.
Tropical plants can be fun and exotic. With the right amount of sunlight and a warm room temperate some tropical plants can do well indoors.
For as beautiful and intimidating the phrase tropical houseplants might be for those with a brown thumb, these plants are not particularly hard to grow. In nature, these plants typically grow under a canopy created by taller trees, so lighting isn’t as large a priority as it would be for other plants. However, there is a necessity for a warmer home with a bit of higher humidity, making the environment they thrive in as close to the one found outdoors.
Instead of daily dousing alone, add misting these plants to your plant care – not only does it prevent drying out the plant due to low humidity, but it also helps to keep the dust from settling and sticking to the leaves. Obviously, you cannot have a plant just on top of a table without a container. Making sure that the container you choose is appropriate for the variety of plant is absolutely key for your plants’ growth. It should be big enough to house the soil and roots, have a level of soil that allows room for appropriate watering, be eye-catching but not distracting from the plant itself, and provide drainage at the bottom to prevent overwatering. Making sure that you are also fertilizing the plant will also help it bloom and grow. The three key plant food elements include nitrogen, phosphoric acid, and potassium. It is recommended that one should fertilize once every two weeks from March to September.
Three varieties that are easy to grow include Amazon Elephant Ear, Bird of Paradise, and Bromeliads. Bromeliads are typically flowering plants. Believe it or not, but the pineapple is actually a bromeliad as well. Bromeliads have evolved into many different species and can live in a wide variety of environmental conditions. Their unique trichomes (typically looking similar to scales or hairs) provide the ability to capture water in forests and help reflect excess sunlight in a desert environment. Bird of Paradise, or Strelitzia reginae, is indigenous to South Africa. It can grow up to the height of two meters (or 6’6″) and has large, strong leaves. This is a flowering plant, that produces orange and indigo colored buds, that look similar to the shape of a bird’s head and beak, hence the name. These plants are also representative of good perspective, as well as liberty and magnificence. Lastly, Amazon Elephant’s Ear is another easy to grow the tropical plant. It needs bright, indirect light, so maintaining a distance within five feet of a window will help its growth. Direct sunlight, however, will prove to burn the foliage, so avoid at all costs.
Two of the rarer tropical plants would be the Golden Sugar Apple, and Bauhinia bidentata. Golden Sugar Apple is originally from Costa Rica. It has a large fruit, growing up to one pound, that is green when it is unripe. Once ripened, it will turn to a dark yellow or orange color. The Orange Orchid Vine (Bauhinia bidentata) has large leaves and bright orange flowers. It can tolerate a light freeze but when starting off, should not be in a frost-prone environment.
House plants are very useful in homes and life in general. They purify our indoor air by consuming the carbon dioxide we exhale and release the much-needed oxygen that we inhale. Most house plants are also capable of trapping poisonous gasses and pollutants in our homes and offices leaving the air fresh and purified.
Most popular house plants planted worldwide originate from the tropical climates and are adapted to low light levels which make then suitable for indoor use. As lovely as they may be, some houseplants contain substances that can be harmful to people, livestock, and pets that share the same homestead or office. A plant is considered poisonous if it contains chemical substances that produce hazardous reactions in the body of animals or humans when ingested. Such harmful reactions may include skin irritations, dermatitis, allergic reactions, or internal poisoning.
Houseplant owners should be made aware of toxic properties of such poisonous house plants and find out if the benefits of the plants are worth the risk of keeping them. Below are some of the potentially poisonous house plants with their brief descriptions.
If you have a pet like a cat or a dog or a young child, houseplants might not be a danger you’ve thought of, but many of them are poisonous if ingested. So we’ve made a list of the ones you will want to watch out for.
Botanical name: Aloe barbadensis
Common names: Chinese Aloe, True Aloe Indian Aloe, Burn Aloe, Barbados Aloe, First Aid Plant, Miracle Plant and Wand of Heaven
Poisonous parts: Latex
Poisonous component: Aloe-emodin
Aloe is a common well-known house plant popular for its herbal healing properties. Take caution when using aloe as a herb for it can cause contact dermatitis in sensitive individuals. The main irritant is the yellow skin and inner juice. Ingestion of Aloe arborescences can cause cathartic irritation of the intestines. As a general caution, rub as small gel of the aloe on the back of your hand and inner palm to test for sensitivity before use.
Botanical name: Amaryllis
Common names: Amaryllis, Lily Langtry, and Jersey Lily
Poisonous parts: Bulb
Poisonous component: Lycorine
The primary irritant in this plant is available in small amounts and so the bulb has to be consumed in large amount to cause any observable symptoms. These symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Amaryllis species are commonly confused with Hippeastrum species due to their morphological similarities. It is, therefore, wise to treat both species and potentially poisonous.
Botanical name: Anthurium andraeanum
Common names: Flamingo lily, Oilcloth flower, Painter’s Palette.
Poisonous component: Calcium oxalate
Poisonous parts: all parts
The main allergic reaction is caused by ingestion, however, it is difficult to ingest or chew the foliage because it quickly causes a painful throat and mouth irritation. Symptoms of poisoning include dysphasia, blistering, hoarseness and throat inflammation.
Anthuriums are blooming plants with tiny crowded flowers that are sometimes referred to as “rat tail” with red bract-like leaves
Botanical name: Caladium hortulanum
Common names: Angels’ wings, Heart of Jesus, Elephant Ears.
Poisonous component: Calcium oxalate
Poisonous parts: all parts
Ingestion of its foliage can result in severe throat and mouth irritation as well as the respiratory tract inflammation. Such reactions can also be observed in children, dogs, cats or other pets nibble on the foliage. Caladiums are produced from corms and are propagated by simple division of the tubers.
Botanical name: Solanum pseudocapsicum
Common names: Jerusalem cherry
Poisonous component: Solanocapsine
Poisonous parts: fruits and leaves.
Jerusalem-cherry has colorful berries and is commonly produced in nurseries and garden centers. It is one of the most poisonous house plants. Ingestion of the berries or leaves may result in symptoms such as gastroenteritis, abdominal pain, and vomiting. This plant should therefore not be planted indoors or in homesteads with children as they may be tempted to a nipple or eat the colorful berries.
Botanical name: Rhododendron sp.
Common names: Azalea
Poisonous component: Andromedotoxins (grayanotoxins)
Poisonous parts: all parts
Azalea is a dwarf type of rhododendron commonly used as a bonsai. Azaleas produce a single flower per flower stem and its flowers bloom at once within a month or two creating a sparkling display. Rhododendrons are generally low toxicity plants but should still be treated as poisonous and hence all pets and children should be kept off.
Botanical name: Chrysanthemum sp.
Common names: Mums
Poisonous component: Arteglasin A
Poisonous parts: stalks and Leaves
There are two main types of Chrysanthemums, the exhibition type, and the hardy garden variety. The hardy varieties are tough and can withstand the cold winter conditions, unlike the exhibition types. Long time exposure to chrysanthemums may lead to contact dermatitis, a common occupational hazard of nursery workers, florists, and gardeners.
Botanical name: Clivia miniata
Common names: Kaffir Lily
Poisonous component: Lycorine
Poisonous parts: Roots
Kaffir lily has a small amount an alkaloid called lycorine. It must be ingested in large amounts to cause toxicity symptoms which may include salivation, collapse, vomiting, diarrhea, and paralysis. Kaffir lilies produce a cluster of beautiful tubular orange flowers with yellow stalks. In case of pollination, flowers develop into cherry-sized green berries that later turn to red
Botanical name: Codiaeum variegatum
Common names: Croton
Poisonous component: 5-deoxyingenol
Poisonous parts: latex, Bark, leaves, and roots
Crotons are tropical herbaceous plants that prefer warm and humid climatic conditions. They can tolerate partial light and therefore a suitable choice for a house plant though they develop brighter foliage in brighter light. Chewing on the roots or bark will cause burning and inflammation of the mouth. The latex therein causes eczema on repeated exposure.
Botanical name: Cyclamen persicum
Common names: Primrose (not a primrose), Sowbread, Cyclamen, Persian violet (not a violet)
Poisonous component: Cyclamin A
Poisonous parts: Rhizomes and bulbs
They are native plants of northeast Africa and the Mediterranean and a lot of species are now endangered. Cyclamen persicum is commonly grown as a potted plant both outdoors and indoors with the commonest variety being frost tender. The poisonous bulbs and rhizomes are bitter and mainly found underground hence pets and children are less likely to be exposed to their toxins.
Botanical name: Brugsmania sp., Datura innoxia syn.
Common names: Devil’s Trumpet, Moonflower, Sacred Datura, Hell’s Bells, Devil’s Cucumber, Devil’s Weed, Angel’s trumpet, thorn apple
Poisonous component: Atropine, hyoscyamine, and hyoscine
Poisonous parts: all parts
This plant has bright white tubular flowers that grow up to six inches long. Also commonly called “thorn apple” due to the spiny fruits it produces. Datura is in the same group with other equally poisonous plants namely deadly nightshade, mandrake and henbane that are collectively referred to as “witch’s weeds”. This plant contains poisonous alkaloids that have previously caused death in animals and humans; it has also been used in murder and suicides. General symptoms of poisoning include spasmodic movement, agitation, drowsiness, and coma.
Botanical name: Dieffenbachia sp.
Common names: Leopard Lily, Giant Dumbcane, Dumbcane, Spotted Dumbcane
Poisonous component: Calcium oxalate
Poisonous parts: all parts
Dieffenbachia sp has a distinctive leaf pertain and commonly planted as a houseplant in many homes. Chewing and ingestion of the parts of this plant causes immediate pain and swelling of the throat and the mouth. Consequently, persistent exposure can cause impairment of speech for some days. Eye contact may lead to intense pain, swelling and irritation and should, therefore, be avoided.
Crown of Thorns
Botanical name: Euphorbia milii
Common names: Crown-of-thorns, the Christ’s thorn, Christ’s Crown
Poisonous component: 5-deoxyingenol
Poisonous parts: Sap
“Crown-of-thorns” is a climbing or trailing spiny shrub with bright flower clusters and red bracts. It is native to Madagascar. This plant has irritant and caustic chemicals in its latex and skin and eye contacts should be avoided. General ingestion symptoms include blistering, abdominal pains, throat and mouth irritation and vomiting
Botanical name: Hedera helix
Common names: English Ivy
Poisonous component: did hydro falcarinol, hederasaponins, and falcarinol
Poisonous parts: Leaves
It is grown both as an outdoor and an indoor ornamental. It is known to cause poisoning of dogs, sheep, cattle and humans. Symptoms of ingestion include convulsions, difficulty in breathing, vomiting, coma and paralysis. Contact dermatitis can occur on long term exposure which may be accompanied by weeping blisters. The leaves and berries are quite bitter and it is less likely that kids will consume in large amounts.
Botanical name: Euphorbia pulcherrima
Common names: Poinsettia, Flame-leaf flower, Lobster flower
Poisonous component: unknown
Poisonous parts: Latex, stems and leaves
Poinsettias are very popular nursery plants, especially at Christmas time. They have beautifully contrasting deep green and red leaves. They are native plants to Mexico. Poinsettias are short day ornamental plants which are commercially produced and sold by horticulturists. They are low toxicity plants and are no longer classified as deadly poisonous house plants. Long term exposure may, however, cause skin irritations and inflammations and its pollens are known to cause allergic reactions to some sensitive individuals.
Air Cleaning Plants
Houseplants do more than improving the look of the room they are in, they also have health benefits as well. Certain houseplants can remove formaldehyde and other toxins from the air.
How to Grow an Indoor Herb Garden
In the battle of packaged versus fresh, fresh always wins. Why stunt your growth as a botanist by getting herbs from the shelf when you can grow your own herb garden, indoors? It is best to start with the easiest herbs to grow. Figuring out the best place to have your herb garden, as well as light considerations are also things to keep in mind when starting off. Tips and tricks of bettering your garden for further growth are also key to keep up with your newly found hobby. Containers are also important, as no one type of herb is the same size as another.
The easiest herbs to grow include parsley, mint, chives, lemongrass, thyme, oregano, coriander, and rosemary.
Parsley is for the more patient gardener because it can take up to two weeks to see results. However, it does not require much maintenance or light once started.
Mint grows like weeds – peppermint and spearmint are both invasive and hearty, so they should be separated from other herbs.
Chives do not require much light and are very easy to start from an already-rooted plant.
Lemongrass is not planted in soil, making it extremely easy to have in the house. Throwing it in a couple inches of water will show roots and new shoots in no time.
Thyme requires six to eight hours of sunlight on any given day.
Oregano is a popular herb among Mediterranean food, and like thyme requires six to eight hours of sunlight.
Coriander is actually the seed of cilantro and is very hearty and reliable.
Rosemary prefers to remain drier than moistened and is a very compact herb.
Event the tiniest of apartments and be successful herb gardens if you have enough light. There are so many clever ways to utilize window space. Most people stick to the window seal for potted plants but some people get more creative as you can see in the below video. This gentleman uses plastic bottles hanging from the ceiling in the window to create his own indoor garden. The coolest part is the way that the waters. Letting the water trickle down from the top plant through, each bottle down to a collecting bottle at the bottom.
Typically, indoor herb gardens find themselves close to a light source, to promote photosynthesis. These plants requiring more light should be under grow lamps during the winter times, to ensure they have a sufficient amount of light during any given time of year. Choose either a south or west facing the window, as these are more susceptible to sunlight. Maintenance of an indoor herb garden is rather simple – light feeding, repotting every year, renew annual plants, moving perennials outdoors during warm seasons, and pruning occasionally. Make sure you are watering plants as necessary.
Herbs will grow in just about any container, but one needs to be sure that the choice of the container has good drainage. Herbs typically do not have intricate root systems, so it is superfluous to have a large container that is holding one herb. The margin of error decreases greatly when the herb is in a smaller container, meaningless soil, which means fewer problems when it comes to watering.
How to Get Rid of Houseplant Gnats
These slow-moving fly relatives are quite the annoyance to plant owners, as they can multiply quickly and take a while to completely eliminate. There are a few steps that can be taken to reduce the population and rid your house of them completely.
Make sure that your insect killer is safe for your garden. Head up to any home improvement store to purchase fruit and vegetable insect killer. Then, spray the chemical on the houseplant(s) that might be those with the gnat problem.
Gnats typically lay eggs on the top layer of soil. Removing this top layer will help reduce the number of gnats that you will have to deal with later. It is recommended to remove approximately one inch of the top layer with a shovel. If you feel as though your plant may need new soil entirely, that is also an option.
Gnats are outdoor insects and might be getting inside from poorly sealed windows and doors. Spray these areas with an insect killer, so that the adult gnats die off, and therefore are unable to produce new eggs.
Dish soap can also help aid in the elimination of gnats. Liquid dishwashing soap, when added to water before watering your plants, can help rid the house of gnats without harming the plant.
Cider vinegar also helps to attract gnats. Pour about a cup of cider vinegar into a shallow bowl or container. Cover the container with a clear plastic cover, but cut a very small hole in the center. The cider vinegar brings the gnats in, but they become stuck once inside. Make sure that you empty the bowl once the gnats are gone, as this can turn from a trap into a science experiment rather quickly.
Stylish Pots for Indoors
We’ve put together some of our favorite pots for your indoor plants. All of which you can purchase online View them here.
Now you have it, A definitive guide to all things indoor plant related.
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