Indoor Plant Buying Guide

Indoor plants are an excellent way to add color and beauty to your decor. Houseplants naturally clean the air, and herbs or fruit-producing plants can enhance your cuisine. Whether you prefer a few plants in a windowsill or choose to enhance your home with large houseplants for a tropical look, you will find many interesting and beautiful plants available for purchase.

Types of Indoor Plants

Plants can be large or small, and their growth can often be controlled by the size of the container in which they are planted. Many dwarf plants will stay small, and this is helpful if you have specific size and space needs. Your choice of indoor plants for your home can include a wide range of options, all of which will enhance your home's decor.

Ornamental Plants

Ornamental plants are kept primarily for their beautiful foliage. Variegated colors, ornate leaf patterns and a decorative shape can make interior spaces feel lush and tropical. Large plants- such as palm trees - can occupy huge containers on the floor and stretch to the ceiling for a dramatic look. Cactus is a fun ornamental indoor plant that requires very little care.

Flowering Plants

Flowering indoor plants add color and a taste of springtime all year long. Flowering plants that thrive indoors often include orchids, African violets, cyclamens and azaleas. African violets and orchids can be encouraged to bloom many times throughout the year, and colorful winter blooms can be especially appealing.

Herbs and Fruit

Many herbs such as thyme, rosemary and oregano can be successfully grown on a sunny indoors window sill. Citrus trees such as lemon, lime and mandarin oranges can also thrive and produce fruit indoors. Both types of indoor plants require a great deal of light, and they are an excellent choice for a sunroom or a window with a southern exposure.

Pay attention to

Growing conditions

Different types of plants have vastly different growing requirements. Some plants require bright sunlight, dry soil and warmth; other types of indoor plants require shade, moist soil and cool temperatures. Choose plants that match the conditions inside your home, or provide supplemental lighting if your desired plants' needs cannot be met with natural environmental conditions.

Maintenance needs

All plants require some type of fertilizer and water, although cactus and succulents require very little assistance to thrive. A balanced plant fertilizer and a non-chlorinated water source will keep your plants looking beautiful. Indoor plants occasionally require pruning to maintain their shape and repotting to allow for root growth. Repotting a large plant can be a difficult task, so be sure to consider how you will accomplish this maintenance need.


If you have children or pets in your home, the toxicity of your indoor plants needs to be carefully considered. Cats are particularly susceptible to being harmed by indoor plants, as they naturally like to chew on plant foliage. Every type plant in your home should be carefully researched for safety or be placed well out of reach of pets and children. Lilies, dumbcane and sago palm are examples of plants to avoid if you have pets in your home.

Size and space

Many plants stay small, especially if they are confined to smaller pots. However, some plants will grow quite large and require tall ceilings or large interior spaces to occupy. Before you end up with a plant that quickly outgrows its location, research its size at maturity. Dwarf hybrids of many indoor plants are available so you can enjoy a plant without worrying that it will outgrow the space.

Beneficial attributes

Indoor plants absorb pollution and carbon dioxide while emitting oxygen to clean the air. You may wish for your plants to provide other benefits, such as blossoms for floral arrangements or herbs for cuisine or medicinal purposes. For example, aloe vera is a plant that is easy to grow and provides the additional benefit of treating minor skin burns. Choosing plants that are useful can add to your enjoyment of them.

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Orchids are tropical flowering plants that are native to the rainforest. They require warmth, humidity and bright, indirect sunlight. Although they are not much to look at when they are not in bloom, they are spectacular when they flower. Huge, colorful sprays of blossoms can last for months. Orchids require careful maintenance and ideal growing conditions; they also require plant knowledge and special care to thrive. Phalaenopsis orchids are the most common variety, and they are also the easiest to grow.

Citrus Trees

Dwarf citrus trees are fun to grow, and they will reward you with delicious fruit as well. They require a great deal of sun, so they will need a location in a southern window or supplemental lighting, especially during the winter. In the summer, they can be moved outdoors to soak up the sun and heat. The best indoor citrus varieties include Meyer lemon and Kaffir lime.


For a touch of the tropics, palms can be a wonderful addition to any home's decor. As a species, they have a wide variety of environmental needs and care requirements. Some varieties can become quite large, so be sure to carefully choose a variety that won't outgrow your space or select a dwarf variety that will stay small.

Norfolk Pines

While not a true pine tree, the Norfolk pine has an evergreen shape and look that brings the conifer forest indoors. As a long-lived houseplant, the Norfolk pine can grow to be quite large over many years as an indoor plant. It is a popular choice for enhancing home decor due to its beautiful shape, and its simple maintenance needs make it an excellent choice for beginners.