Monday, March 10, 2014

Selecting The Right Houseplants

Photo: Make The Best Of Things - Lovely green pothos in a beautiful cobalt blue vase.
Plants bring a little bit of nature indoors. They can turn a house (apartment or dorm room) into a home. Reportedly, many varieties purify our air as they take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. 

I have green and golden pothos (epipremnum aureum) growning in my apartment. Pothos grow best with a few hours of sun, but are nearly impossible to kill. If not in a sunny room, they still manage to live. I usually water my houseplants once a week, but at times, am a forgetful gardener. So pothos are perfect for me. 

Likewise, I have success with African violets (saintpaulias). Sit the plant in a windowsill with a few hours of sun per day and only water it once a week.

Most of us don't think about the maintenance of plants until we've killed a few of them. Why do I buy a poinsettia every Christmas when I can't seem to cultivate one to last past February? The trick to keeping houseplants alive is to assess your lifestyle and the conditions of your home, then selecting the right plants, which thrive under those conditions. 

Before you bring a plant home, consider these factors:
African violets photo: Wikimedia Commons

1. How much light do you get?
2. How warm, or drafty is your place? Will the plant be close to a heater in winter, or an air conditioner in summer?
3. Do you travel? If so, a catus requires lots of light, but little water. Jade and snake plants are also rugged.
4. How much do you want to fuss? Weigh hardy plants (examples: peace lilies, rubber trees, English ivies) against delicate plants (like orchads, zebra plants, gardenias).
5. And equally important, which plants fit the decor of your home?

Based on my experience, pothos and African violets are low maintenance plants. If you enjoy gardening, you may be more ambitious. Here are other choices from Better Homes And Gardens and This Old House -- the latter listing plants that absorb indoor carcinogens.

Few things are as beautiful as Mother Nature. Indeed, there is a houseplant for every lifestyle and green thumb.

You may also enjoy:
Buy Flowers For Less
Feast Your Eyes On Cobalt Blue
Spring Forward In Style: Five Easy Pieces
Essential Oils Are A Household Essential 


  1. Haven't had a pothos for years, I had forgotten how easy they are, and yours looks great in that pot. Think I'll get another one. Love African violets too, but they are fussy and can be difficult in our climate. Now our weather is cooling off a bit, I can give them another try.

  2. Hi Patricia,

    My pathos look exactly like the ones in the cobalt blue pot, which is why I borrowed the picture. I always credit the photos, so you can see who took it. My iphone doesn't take the vivid pictures I always see on your blog, which is why I get mine off the web. There are a few photos I take with my iphone and post ... and you can really see the difference in quality!