We all could use some pointers from time to time, especially with houseplant how-to's and TLC to get your plant to thrive. Check out our downloadable PDF guide for some tips!
Small, compact African Violets (Saintpaulia) have soft, furry, dark green leaves, and beautiful delicate flowers. They come in assorted colors and love medium to bright indirect light and warm humid conditions. Water with room temperature water at the soil level and avoid getting the leaves wet, as they tend to get spotted very easy. For the best flowering performance, fertilize with a water soluble fertilizer every 2 weeks. Do not allow African violets to go below 60 degrees F.
Air plants are ephiphytes, in that they use their roots to anchor themselves to other plants or supports and absorb nutrients and water through their leaves. Place air plants in bright indirect light areas and mist them several times a week or soak in water 2-4 times a week depending on how dry the air is in the home.
Aloe vera is a well known succulent plant. The gel type juice inside the leaves can be used to relieve pain from burns and minor cuts. Place in a bright indirect light location. A west or south facing window is the best. Water once the top 1/3 of the soil is dry. Mature aloe plants will develop offsets along the base of the mother plant. These can be removed to start new plants.
Aluminum plant (Pilea) has striking green foliage with silver markings. Pilea likes bright indirect light and keep the soil evenly moist. This houseplant helps remove harmful pollutants like formaldehyde and benzene from the air. Keep an eye on the root growth. Pileas develop extensive roots and may need repotted more frequently than other houseplants. Plant parts are considered toxic.
A tropical plant known for the colorful spathe type blooms. Anthurium plants like bright indirect light and temperatures between 60 and 85 degrees F. The soil mix should be a coarse mix, like orchid soil with sand and peat moss mixed in. Keep the soil evenly moist and never allow it to dry out completely. Set the pot on a tray of pebbles and water to create high humidity.
Baby Tears (Soleirolia) is a low growing, creeping plant with tiny, round, leaves. It prefers medium to bright, indirect light. It grows 2 - 4" tall with a nice trailing habit. Water when the top of the soil is dry to the touch. Great houseplant for terrariums or hanging baskets!
Bromeliads have large strappy leaves that develop colorful rosettes. Needs bright indirect light and soil that drains quickly. Water from above so water collects in the cups at the base of the leaves. This is where Bromeliads absorb nutrients. Set a saucer of gravel beneath the pot filled partially with water to increase humidity and help provide a moist atmosphere. This plant is relatively low maintenance. It is a terrestrial or epiphytic plant.
Calathea has striking foliage patterns that make them a popular houseplant. Provide bright indirect light and allow the top layer of soil to dry in between watering. If varieties with pink or burgundy coloring, look faded, it may not be receiving enough light. Protect from cold drafty locations in wintertime.
Cactus, like succulents, have thick leaves with the ability to store water. But cactus have sharp spines or hairs to help protect it in its natural environment. They are suitable for a direct sun spot in your home. Let cactus go completely dry in between watering.
China doll (Radermachera) is a common houseplant with abundant glossy-green leaves and an upright growth habit. It can reach 4-6' tall depending on pot size. This low maintenance plant loves bright indirect sun and soil that stays evenly moist. Non-toxic - safe for children and pets. Will have significant leaf drop with environmental changes it doesn't like!
Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema) is one of the most common and easy to grow houseplants. Provide medium to low light and water when the top inch of the soil is dry to the touch. They do appreciate high humidity, but will do just fine in lower humidity. Considered a good air purifying plant.
For the sake of simplicity, we will refer to Thanksgiving cactus and Christmas cactus as Christmas cactus. There has been so much breeding of Schlumbergera, flowering cactus that it is hard to tell which variety you may have. They are all beautiful and easy to care for and grow. Provide bright indirect light from an East or West facing window. Unlike traditional prickly cactus that can go completely dry in between watering, Christmas cactus like to be kept moderately moist.
There is a wide variety of plants available from the Dracaena family and they are easy to maintain. They grow best in bright indirect or medium light. The leaf coloring may not be as vibrant in lower light. It is easy to overwater this plant, so wait until the top inch of soil feels dry before watering. NASA list this plant as an air purifier and one that removes chemicals from the air.
Crotons have bright variegated leaves with shades of yellow, red, and green. They are a fairly easy plant to grow indoors. They like very brightly lit locations so they can keep their bright colors. With an upright growth habit, make sure the container is sturdy so it won't tip over once it reaches a modest height. Keep soil evenly moist at all times and provide high humidity. If you notice leaf drop, it may be too dry.
Provide bright indirect light. Cyclamen like cool temperatures. Place them away from a heat source in the home for better performance. Water when the soil feels dry to the touch. Set the pot in a pan of water and let the water soak up into the soil. Watering from the top onto the center crown of the plant can cause it to rot. Cyclamen are known for going summer dormant when temperatures really heat up.
Dieffenbachia (Dumb Cane)-This plant is one of the more common houseplants and is very easy to grow. Dieffenbachia requires evenly moist soil. You may also place a tray under the pot with pebbles and water to help with humidity levels. This houseplant prefers to be within 5 to 8 feet of a window, but will survive lower light levels. It is also a good air purifying plant.
English Ivy (Hedera) is a vining, trailing plant good for hanging baskets, topiary or grown on a support. For indoor growing, provide bright filtered light, but not direct sunlight. Keep the soil evenly moist and well drained. Ivy does not like standing water. This plant can grow outdoors, but it is quite vigorous, so be careful where you plant it as it can grow quickly. It is easily controlled when grown in a container as a houseplant.
Boston, Kimberly Queen and Sword ferns (Nephrolepis) all require basically the same conditions. Medium indirect light. In the summer months they can be placed outdoors in a bright filtered sun area. They should only receive approximately 2 hours per day, otherwise the fronds get sunburn. Water once the top 1/4 of the soil is dry. They do like high humidity. Mist regularly or place pot on a tray with water and pebbles to create humid conditions. One of the best plants for air purifying.
Ficus benjamina is the most common fig offered as a houseplant. They can be fussy, but with a bit of information, they can be grown successfully. First, they do not like to be moved or placed near cold drafts. Second, they prefer bright to medium light, but not direct sunlight. Third, water so the soil stays evenly moist, but not soggy. Fourth, provide high humidity by either misting regularly or set the pot on a tray of pebbles and a little water to create humidity. Helps improve air quality!
Fittonia is commonly called Mosiac plant or Nerve plant by the way the veins are prominently displayed. Provide bright indirect light and keep the soil evenly moist. Good for hanging baskets because the branches can trail down over the edge of the pot.
Goldfish plant (Nematanthus) is easily identified by the orange blooms that resemble goldfish! This is a good plant for a hanging basket. The branches tend to cascade downward, creating a nice draping effect. Bright light of an east-facing window is ideal. Keep the soil evenly moist. If heavy leaf drop occurs, the soil is too dry. In wintertime, keep away from cold drafts.
Dark green, shiny, heart-shaped leaves and a trailing habit makes this tropical plant great as a cascading table plant or hanging plant. Provide medium to low light. Water well once a week to keep soil evenly moist. If you see lots of yellowing leaves, it may be getting too much light. If growth is leggy, it may need brighter light. Philodendrons also remove air-born toxins such as formaldehyde from the air.
Kalanchoe has thick succulent leaves and colorful bloom clusters that are typically forced to bloom around the holidays by growers. They are easy to find around Christmas and Easter. Place them in a bright indirect light area of an East or West facing window. When the soil is about 50% dry, water thoroughly. Be careful to not overwater. Too much water can cause root rot on Kalanchoe.
Kangaroo Fern (Microsorum) has thick leathery leaves that resemble kangaroo toes. Provide bright indirect light and keep the soil evenly moist. It will appreciate high humidity, but does fine in households with lower humidity.
Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana) are said to bring good luck and fortune to its owner. Provide medium to low light and keep soil evenly moist. You can also grow Lucky Bamboo in a container with pebbles for stability and just enough water to keep the roots covered. Change the water every 7-10 days.