African Violets – Saintpaulia species
An old fashioned favorite and still one of the of the most popular house plants. It has velvety leaves that grow around a cluster of flowers. It is a small compact plant that is perfect for window sills and other small spaces.
African violets like bright, filtered light and high humidity. Water thoroughly, letting the soil surface dry out slightly between watering. It’s best not to re-pot as the plant bloom best when the roots are crowded. Because of the long bloom time, regular feedings will keep the plant healthy and strong.
Aloe Vera – Succulent -
The Aloe Vera is probably the most popular of the Aloe plants because of the healing properties of its sap. The sap is an effective treatment for burns. The plant grows without stems and the leaves are sword shaped and fleshy.
It needs bright, indirect sunlight. Water thoroughly after letting the soil dry to a depth of 1/2″ between waterings. Propagation is by cuttings. Allow the cutting to dry for several days then plant in soil that is barely moist. Too much watering can cause root rot, which produces discolored and wilted leaves.
Anthurium Foliage House Plant -
Anthurium are grown for the beautiful, lush foliage. They are easy to care for if you provide the
Anthuriums need bright to moderate, filtered light. They can’t take any direct sunlight. They needs to be in moist but not wet soil. If the air is dry, misting will help them.
Arrowhead Vine – Syngonium podophyllum -
Even thought this plant looks a lot like the climbing philodendron, its growth habit is very different. When the leaves are young, they are on stems. The leaves are green with white or lighter green variegation and are shaped like an arrow. As they mature they become more lobed and their stems become vining. The leaves fan into multiple leaves. It needs support to climb on. It can be kept in clumping form through pruning out the vining stems as they develop.
It needs bright, filtered light. Water thoroughly and allow to dry a little between waterings. It does best in humid air.
Asparagus Fern -
Asparagus ferns have arching stems 18″ – 24″ long, covered in small needles.
It likes bright, indirect light. Water thoroughly, allowing the soil to dry slightly between watering. If it gets too dry, the leaves will yellow and drop. To prune, cut long, leggy stems all the way back to encourage new growth. This fern looks best on tall plant stand or in hanging basket, to allow the stems to hang down. These ferns do well outside as well as in. Mine are outside during the warm months but inside for the winter.
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Aucuba have large, green leaves with yellow spotting.
They need 4 hours minimum of direct sun a day. They need to be kept moist, but not wet. Do not allow them to dry out or to stand in water.
Bird’s Nest Fern – Asplenium nidus -
The Bird’s Nest fern has large fronds that grow from a center crown that resembles a bird’s nest. It is easy to grow and can get very large.
It will tolerate low light. Water thoroughly, letting the soil dry out some between waterings. It likes cool temperatures and can’t tolerate drafts or dry air.
Boston Fern – Nephrolepis exaltata “Bostoniensis”
The Boston Fern is the most popular fern grown as a house plant because it tolerates a variety of conditions.
It likes moderate light, no direct sun light. Water thoroughly and let it dry out slightly between waterings. If the light is too low, the plant will drop its leaves.
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Caladiums are beautiful foliage plants with large, paper-thin leaves that have varying patterns in greens, pinks, reds and cream.
It needs a minimum of 4 hours of filtered bright light a day. It should be kept evenly moist. In the fall the soil should be allowed to dry out some so that the plant will go dormant. It may need to be repotted each year. In warmer climates it can be grown in the yard as a perennial, but in cooler areas will need to be dug and brought in for the wine
Canary Island Ivy or Algerian Ivy – Hedera canariensis -
The Canary Island Ivy is a fast growing plant with medium to large leaves. It is good to grow in a hanging basket or trained up on a trellis.
It needs bright, filtered light. The plant will get leggy and grow weak if the light is too low. The soil needs to be kept evenly moist but not wet. Propagation is from stem cuttings.
Christmas Cactus -
Christmas cactus, also known as Thanksgiving Cactus, got its name because it is usually in bloom all during the holidays, from Thanksgiving to Christmas. The colors of the blooms varies, with pink and red being the most popular.
It like bright, indirect light. The soil needs to be kept moist during blooming, allowing it to dry slightly between waterings. After the blooming is finished, it needs to be a little dryer.
The coleus has beautifully colored, velvety leaves. It is easy to grow. If it is kept pinched back it will encourage fuller growth. It can be grown in the yard in pots or in the ground. Unless in very warm hardiness zone, treat as a tender annual.
It needs bright, indirect light. It likes to be kept evenly moist, but do not allow it to stand in water, it is susceptible to root rot. It is easily propagated from stem cuttings. It may need to be
re-potted every year.
Corn Plant – Dracaena massangeana -
The corn plant is a large plant with long, medium wide leaves off a main stem or stalk. It can grow to be 8′-10′ tall. They have dark green leaves streaked with lighter green.
It can tolerate low light but does not grow as fast. Water thoroughly and let dry slightly between waterings. If it gets too dry the tips of the leaves will turn brown.
This is one of my favorite house plants. It really is easy to care for and if you have the room for it, it can fill up a large, tall space beautifully.
Croton – Codiaeum variegatum -
The croton has large, leathery leaves in green, pink, red, yellow and orange. The same plant can have leaves with different colors and patterns. The plant’s colors may change as it matures. It can be difficult to grow.
It needs a minimum of 4 hours of direct sun each day. The soil needs to be kept evenly moist. It shouldn’t be exposed to any drafts or overly warm temperatures. The leaves will drop if the soil is too dry or too wet.
Dieffenbachia – Dumb Cane -
The Dieffenbachia has beautiful, large leathery leaves in patterns of dark and light shades of greens. It can grow to be very large, at 8 feet or more.
It can tolerate low light (reading light) but does best when it is in filtered bright light. Water thoroughly, allowing it to dry a little between waterings.
The name “Dumb Cane” come from the fact that the juice from this plant paralyses the vocal
Dracaena – Madagascar Dragon Tree – Dracaena marginata -
This Dracaena has very narrow leaves, and like other Dracaena, they form off of one stem (such as the Corn Plant). Because the stems are long and bare, there may be 2 or 3 plants to a pot of varying heights.
It needs moderate to bright, filtered light. The soil needs to be kept evenly moist. Water thoroughly but don’t allow to sit in water. If the soil is allowed to dry out, it will result in burning of the tips of the leaves. Also, if the plant gets too dry, spider mites can be a threat.
Elephant Bush – Portulacaria afra -
A beautiful foliage plant that is from Africa. It makes up about 80% of the diet of elephants. It can reach 4′ tall in it’s native environment but will be much smaller grown as a house plant.
It needs bright, filtered light. Water thoroughly, letting the soil dry between waterings.
English Ivy – Hedera helix -
This is a very popular ivy and it is available in variable color patterns and leaf characteristics. Because of its trailing and climbing growth pattern it works great in hanging baskets, or in pots set on high places, such as a mantle or shelf.
It needs a bright location with filtered light. Low light will make it grow spindly and leggy. It
needs regular watering with a slight drying time between waterings. If the plant dries out to much, it is vulnerable to spider mites. Propagate through stem cuttings.
Fatsia japonica -
The Fatsia has large, deeply lobed and glossy leaves of dark to light green. It is fast growing and very easy to grow.
It likes bright, indirect light. The soil needs to be slightly moist but allowed o dry out some in winter.
Ferns – (See Asparagus Fern and Boston Fern)
Ficus – Weeping Fig – Ficus Benjamina -
The Ficus tree is very popular as a houseplant. It is grown in a variety of sizes and shapes. Probably the most popular is the “Weeping Fig”. It is medium size with glossy leaves on arching stems. It can be grown to 2′-3′ and kept as a bushy plant or allowed to grow into a tree with gracefully arching limbs. It can be grown with one trunk or with several. Prune to create the tree shape, removing all the stems except one, or a few. It can grow to 10′-15′ or taller in the right conditions. It is often seen in shopping malls. It is often sold with 3 trunks braided.
It likes bright, indirect light. Moving the plant to lower light or different temperature can cause it to drop its leaves. If it does drop its leaves, be patient, they will grow back when acclimated to the environment. Water thoroughly but let the soil dry out slightly between waterings. Soil that is too dry can cause the plant to suffer.
Fiddle Leaf Fig – Ficus lyrata -
This ficus has large leaves in the shape of a fiddle. It can grow 5′ – 10′ tall.
It does best in bright, filtered light. Water thoroughly but allow to dry slightly between waterings.
Hen and Chicks – Echeveria -
This succulent plant is shaped in rosettes and can be in various colors, from green to purple. Medium to bright filtered light is best. It needs frequent watering and feeding.
Jade Plant – Crassula argentea -
This succulent has thick stems that branch out like a tree. The leaves are thick and fleshy, about 2″ long. It is a beautiful shade of green and can be tinged with red in bright, direct sun light. It can grow up to 5′.
Water regularly, allowing to dry slightly between waterings. It can be moved outside in the summer.
The Kalanchoe plant has beautiful foliage as well as colorful blossoms. The leaves are thick and shiny. The blossoms are clusters of tiny blooms.
Like most succulents, they like bright, indirect light. Water thoroughly, letting the soil dry somewhat between waterings. Over watering can produce root rot. Propagation from cuttings is easy.
Mosaic Plant, Nerve Plant – Fittonia -
The Mosaic Plant gets its name from the intricate patterns of the white or pink veins. It has a spreading growth habit that allows it to cascade over the sides of the pot. They are easy to grow because they are tolerant of a variety of conditions.
They need moderate to bright filtered light, with no direct sunlight. They need thorough,
regular waterings, allowing the soil to dry slightly between waterings. To avoid crown rot, water at the edge of the pot.
Mother-In-Law Tongue, Snake Plant – Sanserieria -
The Mother-in-Law Tongue is a very hardy, erect and tall plant with leaves patterned in horizontal bands.
It needs bright, indirect light. Water thoroughly allowing to dry out slightly between waterings. Do not over water.
Norfolk Island Pine – Araucaria heterophylla -
The Norfolk Island Pine is a popular house plant because of its beautiful growth habit, its tree-like appearance. They are slow growers so it is best to buy the largest one you can.
It needs medium to bright filtered light. It likes evenly moist soil. If the soil is too dry or too wet the leaves will drop.
Parlor Palm – Chamaedorea elegans -
This is a very common palm found for sale in garden centers. It is sold as a very small plant or very large, up to 6′. It is easy to grow.
It does best in bright, filtered light. It needs moist soil, allowing it to dry slightly between waterings. It needs to be allowed to dry out a little more in the winter. Do not prune palm trees, except to remove dead branches.
Peace Lily – Spathiphyllum -
The peace lily is a popular and easily recognized plant. The white blossom can be 5 – 6″ long and 4″ wide. The plant makes a beautiful foliage plant even when it’s not in bloom.
It needs bright filtered light but can tolerate lower light levels, but may not bloom. During the blooming season the soil needs to be kept moist. Other times it’s best to let the soil dry slightly between waterings. Root rot can occur with too frequent watering.
Peacock Plant – Calathea
The peacock plant has beautiful, large leaves variegated with green,reds and purple. I can grow to 2′ high and 8″ wide.
It will tolerate low light but likes medium light. It needs to be kept very moist but not allowed to stand in water. It needs humid air to do well. Misting regularly will help.
The Peperomea (Pepper oom ee ah) is a small, bushy plant. It is very popular as a house plant with its interesting, wrinkled leaves. Some have smooth variegated leaves.
It needs bight, indirect sunlight. It prefers a moist soil, but not wet. Water at the edge of the pot to prevent getting the crown wet and causing crown rot.
Philodendron – Heart Leaf – Philodendron oxycardinm -
The Philodendron is the most popular house plant. It comes in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and growth habits. The Heart Leaf Philodendron is a vining, climbing plant that is very tolerant of different conditions, which makes it very easy to grow.
It tolerates low light and dry conditions, but does best in at least moderate light and regular waterings, allowing the soil to dry slightly between waterings. Pinch the vines back if they get leggy to encourage a more bushy growth habit.
Philodendron Selloum -
This is a very large philodendron with dark green, deeply cut leaves. As the plant matures, it can get very large, 4′ x 4′ in the house, and in the most favorable conditions it can get very full. If it’s in zone 8 or higher, it can grow in the yard and get much larger.
It needs medium to bright filtered light. It is best grown in an evenly moist soil. Wipe the leaves off with a soft, damp cloth to remove dust.
Philodendron Spade-Leaf – Philodendron hastatum -
The Spade -leaf philodendron is a favorite house plant that’s easy to grow. It is usually grown attached to a support because of weak stems. The leaves are large, about 8″ to 12″ long.
It needs moderate to bright filtered light. Water thoroughly, allowing the soil to dry slightly between waterings. Over watering causes many problems. It doesn’t like being moved, and will drop it’s leaves if moved to a drastic change.
It is easily propagated by stem cuttings. The large leaves benefit from being wiped off. To keep the plant a certain height, cut the top of the plant.
Piggyback Plant – Tolmiea menziesii -
The Piggyback plant is a beautiful plant and popular as a house plant. The medium size, heart shaped leaves produce new plants at the connection to the stem. Because of this growth pattern, the plant is unusually full. It works well in hanging baskets or on a pedestal where the trailing stems can cascade down.
It needs to have moist soil. It won’t do well with dry air or in drafts. It likes bright, indirect light.
Ponytail Palm, Elephant Foot Tree – Beaucarnea recurvata -
The stem or trunk of the Ponytail Palm resembles a palm tree and as the plant matures, the base enlarges to look like an elephant foot. The long, thin leaves sprouting from the top give it the name of “Ponytail”. It can grow to be 6′ – 8′ tall. It is a slow grower, so buy the largest size you can.
It needs bright, filtered light. It stores moisture in the trunk so don’t over water.
Pothos – Epipremnum aureum – (or Scindapsus)
Pothos is a vining plant with heart shaped, leathery leaves. It very closely resembles the Heart Leaf Philodendron. It is usually in green and cream variegated. It is a cascading plant and so is best grown in hanging baskets in on taller plant stands. Cut stems back if they begin to get leggy to encourage fuller growth habit.
It likes moderate light but not direct sun light. It does best in moist – but not wet – soil.
Prayer Plant – Maranta leuconeura -
The prayer plant is has beautiful foliage with colored veining and strokes of contrasting colors. The leaves lie flat in the daylight but close upward at night, resembling praying hands. It is fairly easy to grow.
It will tolerate low light but does best in medium light. Direct sunlight will fade the leaves. It needs moist soil, allowing it to dry slightly between watering. It likes humid air. Use a humidifier or mist frequently. Root rot can occur if watered too often or if standing in water.
Purple Passion Plant, Velvet Plant – Gynura aurantiaca -
The Purple Passion Plant has purple leaves with velvety, reddish fuzz. It is easy to care for.
It needs bright, indirect light. The soil should be kept evenly moist. Water thoroughly but don’t let the plant sit in water. It’s important to not let the soil dry out. Propagate by stem cuttings. Pinch or prune it to keep it the height you want and to produce a fuller growth pattern. Unfortunately, this plant can be vulnerable to aphids or whiteflies.
Rabbit’s Foot Fern – Davallia -
The Rabbit’s Foot fern is named for its rhizomes that grow down the side of the pot. They are fuzzy and resemble rabbit’s feet. The plants can get quite large and become more interesting with age. They work well in hanging baskets or in pots that are well off the ground. Be sure that whatever they are potted in is plenty large enough for their growth because the rhizomes that grow down the sides of the container makes it difficult to transplant. The delicate fronds stand on upright, delicate stems. It likes moderate light with no direct sun light. It grows best in evenly moist soil. It prefers moist air. This is a good plant for hanging baskets outside as well, if you can bring it in for the winter.
Rubber Plant – Ficus elastica -
Very popular house plant that is easy to grow. It has large, leathery leaves and grow 2′ – 10′ tall.
It prefers bright filtered light but will tolerate medium light. Water thoroughly but allow to dry between waterings.
Schefflera – Umbrella Tree
They like bright, indirect light. If the light is too low, the plant will be weak.Water thoroughly,
allowing plants to dry a little between waterings. If the soil gets too dry, the leaves will drop. Like a lot of plants, if the plant gets too dry and is in distress, spider mites can become a problem.
Sego Palm – Cycas revoluta -
This palm is also known as a fern palm because the foliage resembles the growth of fern leaves. Potted, the trunk is usually short, about 3″ – 4″ tall. The Sego is a slow growing palm but it will need lots of room to spread because the leaves can arch out for about 3′.
It needs bright, filtered light and moist soil.
Spider Plant – Chlorophytum comosum -
The Spider Plant is easily recognized by it’s producing miniature plants on shoots hanging down all around the plant. This plant is well suited for growing in hanging baskets because of it’s growth habit. It can get 3′ tall with 4-5′ stems hanging down. I is easy to grow because it is very adaptable to many conditions.
It likes moderate to bright, indirect light. It can’t tolerate direct sunlight though. The soil needs to be very moist during growth but other times allow it to dry slightly between waterings. If it gets too dry though, the plant can be damaged and it will die back.
Staghorn Fern – Platycerium bifurcatum-
The Staghorn fern grown on surfaces and not in soil. When bought, they are usually mounted onto something, such as bark or boards with peat moss. They grow slowly and will look like large antlers.
It should hang in an area with bright filtered light and humidity. Attach a little spagnum moss to the surface the fern is attached to. Take down and soak in a sink or bucket to saturate the spagnum moss. Do this as the moss dries out.
Swedish Ivy – Plectranthus species -
This plant has beautiful foliage that cascades down, but isn’t vining. The medium size leaves of green or variegated, are very aromatic.
It likes bright, filtered light and evenly moist soil. Keep it pinched back to encourage fuller growth.
Wandering Jew (purple) – Zebrina pendula -
The Wandering Jew can be variegated or solid colored. Because it has trailing stems, it works well as a ground cover or in a hanging basket. It can be a fast grower. Keep it pinched back to encourage a fuller growth habit.
It needs moderate light. It likes moist soil, but not wet. Propagation is by stem cuttings.
Watermelon Plant, Aluminum Plant – Pilea cadierei -
The Watermelon plant is small and compact. It needs pinching to become very full. If grown in all the right conditions, it can become much larger. There are different color variations of this plant. The Aluminum Plant has a silvery sheen to it.
It needs bright, indirect light. Water thoroughly, letting the soil dry slightly between waterings. Propagate by stem cuttings. Re-pot any time.
Even though Yuccas are usually grown outside, as young specimens they make good house plants. They have thick, sword shaped leaves with very sharp tips. As the plant matures it forms a trunk.
It needs at least medium light and can tolerate direct sunlight. Water thoroughly, letting the soil dry slightly between waterings.
ZZ Plant – Zamioculcas zamiifolia -
This plant has beautiful foliage, deep green and shiny. The leaves grow in an upright pattern all along the stems. It is extremely slow growing and takes patience if you like to see some growth. It’s best to buy the largest plant you can. It is really easy care though because its needs are small.
It needs medium filtered light but will tolerate low light. It needs regular, light watering.
Zebra Plant – Aphelandra squarrosa -
The Zebra Plant is a small plant with unusual foliage. The leaves are dark with white veining. The colorful flowers appear in the fall and can last 6 weeks or more.
It needs bright, filtered light. The soil should be kept very moist during flowering but at other times, allow it to dry slightly between waterings. If the air isn’t humid enough the leaves will scorch.