Growing Houseplants

Growing Houseplants

Selecting a houseplant is often more about examining your home and lifestyle than it is about gardening expertise. Once you define the parameters of your home's growing conditions and your signature style, it's not difficult to discover plants to suit the setting. Then you can determine if you're ready for an experts-only finicky beauty or a bulletproof, never-say-die plant.


Whether you have rooms filled with plants or are pondering a first-time purchase, use our checklist to help select the right plant for your life.

Evaluate Your Home


Most plants need some light to grow. Tour your home to determine how much light it offers.



How much room do you have to host houseplants? If you have small rooms filled with furniture, select small plants for tabletops, such as dwarf specimens or short succulents. In larger rooms, options include tall plants such as potted palms or Ficus trees.


Consider a plant’s mature size. Some plants, like African Violet, stay small. But a tiny Norfolk Island Pine or Rubber Tree can grow into a larger-than-life specimen. Unless you’re willing to prune, root-prune or toss-and-replace plants, you’ll need to do some research to ensure you’re getting a plant that fits your space.


Inventory Your Life


Plants are living creatures and require care.


Consider Growing Conditions


Plants have specific temperature requirements. Most houseplants are tropical and thrive when temperatures hover between 65-75°F during the day and about 10 degrees cooler at night. If your home has an area that’s consistently chilly or overly warm, you may not want to include plants in those rooms – or you can search out plants adapted to temperature extremes.



In all seasons but winter, most homes offer adequate humidity for houseplants. In winter, dry air can spell death for plants. Avoid placing plants that require high humidity, such as Ferns, Orchids or Bromeliads, in dry spots in your home. Tuck humidity lovers into moist places, such as near a dishwasher or in a bathroom.

Take Stock Of Your Décor

Different plants suit different interior design motifs.


Be Careful Around Kids And Pets

Are small children or pets part of your life? Obviously, you’ll probably want to avoid cacti or succulents with sharp spines. But some houseplants, like Caladium, Philodendron, Peace Lilly and even Poinsettia carry hidden risks. For a curious pet or child, these plants could cause illness or injury. Make sure to do your research before purchasing your plant.


Give Houseplants The Care They Need

No matter what kind of houseplant you have, you’ll succeed when you cover the basics of care and follow these tips to keep them healthy.


When you purchase a houseplant, it's most likely growing in a potting soil mix, which contains various materials, such as peat moss, perlite, bark, vermiculite or sand.



A houseplant container is more than just a decoration. Make sure you consider the plant's needs when making your selection.



Determining how much to water is probably the trickiest part of growing houseplants. Water needs depend on many factors, including the plant, soil, air temperature, humidity and light levels. Foliage also influences water use. Thick, waxy leaves don't lose water as quickly as soft, lush ones do.



Tropical foliage plants need humid air, which can be challenging in winter, when household relative humidity hovers around 5-10%.



Research specific temperature requirements for your plants.



Feed indoor plants using a balanced fertilizer labeled for houseplants.