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What are Some Good Indoor Plants?

By N. Phipps
Updated May 16, 2024
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House plants are excellent for the indoor gardener, allowing one to grow plants year round. Tall or large-leaved house plants, such as ficus, can provide interesting focal points while smaller varieties of indoor plants, like herbs, are commonly used to fill in empty areas. Good indoor plants add to the home’s ambiance. Therefore, it’s important to match both the plant’s features and growing requirements to its indoor setting. While there are numerous types of house plants to choose from, some good indoor plants to start with include pothos, dracaena, philodendron, snake plant, spider plant, and fern. These are all considered easy plants to grow.

With its heart-shaped, apple green leaves splotched in white, pothos makes an attractive indoor plant. Closely related to philodendron, pothos adapts well to both bright conditions as well as low light. It also thrives with average indoor temperatures and moist, humus soil. Pothos can even be left to grow in water. Dracaena, also known as corn plant, is also grown for its attractive tall foliage, which resembles corn stalks, and is edged in red. Dracaena is a good indoor plant for focal interest and is easy to care for.

Philodendron is one of the most commonly grown indoor plants, with the climbing varieties quite popular. Philodendron is suitable for growing in various conditions and handles occasional neglect with ease. This plant is great for adding height in hanging baskets or climbing poles. Another plant tolerant of neglect is the snake plant, or mother-in-law’s tongue. Its tough, sword-like leaves make an interesting accent to nearly any home décor. Snake plant will even root easily should a leaf break.

Spider plant is considered one of the easiest indoor plants to grow. It’s an extremely adaptable plant, growing in a wide range of conditions. The small spiderettes, which hang down from the mother plant, are its most attractive feature. While some might argue otherwise, growing fern plants indoors is relatively easy. Given the proper care, a fern will grow vigorously, providing textural interest with its feathery-like fronds. There are numerous types of fern so finding one that suits various indoor settings should not be difficult.

There are a number of other good indoor plants for the home as well. However, their care may require a little more effort. Two plants that bear mention here include the ever-popular Christmas cactus and the hibiscus. Christmas cactus makes an excellent house plant but requires moderate care. Given the proper conditions, however, Christmas cactus will reward indoor gardeners with attractive, brightly colored blooms. The hibiscus also produces profuse blooms when cared for properly but is highly sensitive and quite finicky.

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Discussion Comments

By irontoenail — On Jul 07, 2014

@Iluviaporos - Well, cacti are fairly popular as small pot plants and they need quite a bit of direct sunlight. Bonsai trees are another example.

Really, you just have to pick the right plant for the right spot, which is what you'd have to do in the garden anyway. Some areas in the house are going to receive more light than others (and this is going to depend on the time of year as well).

If you are worried about a plant not getting enough sunlight, you can always do what my mother does in the winter, which is put several of her potted plants out in sunny windows and move them around during the day a couple of times to ensure they get enough sun. She doesn't do this every day, but her plants grow very well, so I guess she does it enough.

By lluviaporos — On Jul 06, 2014

@croydon - Actually sunlight is usually the limiting factor when it comes to traditional indoor house plants. They are usually ferns and plants that thrive in the undergrowth because they aren't going to get much direct sunlight. Plants won't thrive under electric lights unless they can get the sunlight they need to convert into sugars.

By croydon — On Jul 05, 2014

You don't have to limit yourself to purely decorative plants indoors. There are lots of options for growing edible plants or medicinal plants or herbs indoors and often it's easier to grow them there than to grow them outdoors.

Chili peppers are a really good option. A couple of years ago I grew a pepper plant that produced so many peppers I had enough to dry them in a bundle. It even looked really pretty as an indoor plant, with the bright red of the fruit and the glossy leaves.

There are some cherry tomatoes that are bred specifically to be indoor plants as well. And almost anything can be grown in a container with access to enough sunlight.

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