Part of the fun, and skill, of growing indoor plants lies in finding the plant for you. The Golden Rule: make sure the plant appeals to you, it has a healthy environment to live in and care is no more difficult than your time, or experience, will allow. These are 6 simple questions to help you select the right houseplant for you and your lifestyle.
Do I want the plant to live in the room permanently?
You will need to choose whether you would like a temporary, seasonal visitor, or a permanent resident in your home. This will narrow down the list of possible types, and varieties, available. Don’t forget, a permanent houseplant adds beauty and interest to every room of the house, all year round. A temporary houseplant adds décor and interest to the home season to season. If you select a temporary houseplant, the varieties will differ depending on the season and time of year.
What types of indoor plants are there and how long do they live?
Foliage Indoor Plants are varieties of houseplants that will live indoors permanently. The foliage of these plants remains alive and attractive all year long.
Bulbs and Corms are bulbing plants that will grow and flower in normal room conditions temporarily. After they flower these bulbs and corms can be planted outside to help enhance your landscape too!
Miniature Trees are normal varieties that have been dwarfed by root pruning. They will live permanently under normal room conditions but do benefit from limited time outdoors.
Flowering Indoor Plants are varieties of houseplants that will live indoors permanently. These plants can be expected to flower year after year, under normal room conditions, providing their needs are met. Like foliage plants, the foliage of these plants remains alive and attractive all year long, even when not flowering.
Flowering Pot Plants are varieties that can be kept indoors for a temporary, but considerable, amount of time in normal room conditions. After flowering the plant is then usually discarded, or transferred to a greenhouse or garden.
Cacti and Succulents are varieties which will live permanently indoors, and can even flower occasionally under normal room conditions, provided their needs are met. The stems and leaves of these varieties are swollen and fleshy and may have spikes and spines.
Miscellaneous varieties are those that can be grown indoors but do not belong to any of the other groups. These include orchids, carnivorous plants, seeded annuals (nasturtium, morning glory) and some varieties of miniature trees.
What shape do I want or require?
There are several growing shapes when it comes to houseplants.
Upright House Plants include Ficus, Zebra plant, and Croton.
Bushy Plants include Azalea, Begonia, Maidenhair Fern and Flame Nettle.
Trailing Plants include Wandering Jew, Pothos, Swedish Ivy and Italian Bellflower.
Climbing Plants include Wax plant, Jasmine, Swiss Cheese plant and Kangaroo Vine.
Do I want a plant with colored leaves?
Many house plants have variegated foliage. This means that the leaves have white or yellow patches on the green foliage. A few well known variegated varieties include: Dragon plant, Desert Privet and Devil’s Ivy. Variegated forms of these house plants require more light, and care, then their all green counterparts.
How much time and experience do I have?
Some indoor plants are almost indestructible! Where others are so delicate they are best left to the experienced indoor gardener. If you are a novice when it comes to houseplants, or if you are growing plants to improve the décor of your home rather than as a hobby, then choose from easy, low maintenance, plants. These plants can stand a certain amount of neglect, poor management and do not require constantly warm winter home.
Some easy plants:
Most indoor foliage varieties: Ivy, Kangaroo Vine, Grape Ivy, Rubber Plant, Climbing Fig, Mother-in-law’s Tongue, Sweat Heart Vine, Spider Plant, Wandering Jew,
Some flowering plants varieties: Billbergia, Kaffir Lily, Geranium, Impatiens.
Most cacti and succulents.
What are the conditions under which the plant will have to live?
ROOM CONDITIONS SUITABLE PLANTS
Buying a plant and taking it home: some advice.
Houseplants are raised in green houses in which the air is always warm and humid. The world outside is far less accommodating to houseplants. Always buy your plants from a repeatable supplier who will make sure that the plant has been properly ‘hardened off’, and so, be able to stand the shock of change. Houseplants can, of course, be bought at anytime of the year but it is preferable to purchase delicate varieties in late spring or summer.
Before you buy look over the plant carefully, it should be strong, with no damage to leaves and it should be free from insects. Wrap the plant before you leave the shop or nursery, and treat it gently for about a week. Keep the new plant out of direct sunlight, avoid droughts and be careful not to give it too much heat or water. After this period it can place it in its permanent place and treat it normally. Florist plants, such as Azalea, which are purchased in flower during the winter months, require different treatment. With these varieties, put them in their place immediately and give them as much light as possible!
If you are new to keeping houseplants, or are looking to add to your indoor garden, it is important to choose the right plant for success! By asking yourself these easy questions you will be able to define, and choose, the perfect plant for you, your home and your schedule! So go out and give a plant a home!
Your turn! If you have any advice for how to choose the right houseplant for you lifestyle, let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear what you’ve got!
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