14 Easy-To-Grow Houseplants that Deserve a Spot in Your Living Room or Office
If you are looking for an affordable way to add color and flair to your living area or work space, consider a houseplant. If you don’t have a backyard but still want to dabble in gardening, or you want to bring a bit of the outdoors into your work cubicle, consider a houseplant. If you want to nurture, talk to, and care for another living object and can’t afford a pet, consider a houseplant. Need another reason to purchase a houseplant? Back in 1989 NASA released this oft-cited study which reports that certain houseplants can help clean the air in your house and office of harmful toxins. So, rummage through the attic and find that old macramé plant hanger, move some magazines and make room on your coffee table, and run out to your local nursery to purchase one or more of these easy-to-grow houseplants.
Moth orchids (Phalaenopsis sp.) bear magnificent, long-lasting white, pink, red, purple, lavender, or yellow flowers. Don’t overwater. Let the top inch of soil dry between thorough waterings. Make sure pots drain well. Don’t overfertilize. Feed plants only when they are producing lush new leaves. Use a slow-release orchid fertilizer. Don’t put plants in full sun—they’ll burn. Place them in an east or west window with bright, filtered light. A south window is okay in winter. A north window would probably be too dark. For more advice, see Costa Farm’s orchid info site. Use elegant vases to emphasize their exotic form. Place them in front of a mirror to double the impact.
Succulents store water in their fleshy stems and leaves. Water them sparingly. Make sure the pots drain well or the plants will quickly rot. Use shallow containers rather than deep ones. They prefer a sunny window and fast-draining potting soil. Water every one to two weeks, letting soil dry completely between waterings. Feed your plants monthly during active growth with a liquid 20-20-20 fertilizer. Create a dish garden using a metal, stone, or terra-cotta pot with gravel mulch on top. Combine 4-inch plants that have different shapes and textures, such as the aloe, echeveria, ‘Flap Jack’ kalanchoe, and haworthia pictured in the container above.
Native to the American Tropics, anthuriums marry glossy, deep green leaves with spectacular blooms of red, pink, orange, or white. No flowers last longer indoors—up to three months from the time they open. Cut flowers last several weeks in water. Give them bright light but not direct sun. Feed monthly during active growth with a liquid 20-20-20 product. Grow them in coarse, well-drained soil that you let go slightly dry between thorough waterings. Keep temperature above 65 degrees. Clip off old flowers at bases of plants. Growing 12 to 15 inches tall, anthuriums are perfect for tables, countertops, windowsills, and pedestals. Show off the long-lasting cut flowers in pretty vases.
Peace lilies (Spathiphyllum sp.) are great indoors. They tolerate low light and combine handsome, deep green leaves with showy, white blooms. They also purify indoor air. Some selections grow big, while others stay small. Provide bright, indirect light. Direct sun burns the foliage. Keep soil moist. Feed every two weeks in spring and summer with a 20-20-20 fertilizer. Flush out the soil with lots of water two to three times a year to remove mineral salts left from fertilizer. Use massive ‘Sensation’ (5 feet high and 4 feet wide) as a floor plant where you need big impact. Place smaller types, such as ‘Petite,’ on tables, countertops, pedestals, or plant stands.
This plant remains popular today not only because of its striking form but also because it is an easy-keeper. Like a lot of houseplants, the snake plant grows well in most types of light and does not require a lot of water. Group a snake plant with other potted houseplants of varying textures and shapes or display it alone for visual appeal.
Far from attracting arachnids and other things that creep and crawl, the beloved spider plant earned its name from the small baby plants that grow on its long, arching leaves. The spider plant’s shape and growing habits make it ideal to use in a hanging basket or on a plant stand, either in your house, office, or on a covered deck.
You can drive down any neighborhood street and count all the Boston ferns adorning porches, stoops, and patios. This plants absolutely adores humidity, which is one reason the fern is so popular in the South. Spray Boston ferns with water daily. If you keep your ferns indoors, it is best to place a humidifier near the plants so they don't dry out.
Indoor Weeping Fig (Ficus)
Weeping fig or ficus (Ficus Benjamina) is one of the most popular houseplants, adding a touch of elegance with its glossy, dark foliage. The ficus will shed its leaves when stressed, however. This often occurs if the plant has been moved to a new location and, if this is the case with your ficus, just be patient and the leaves will grow back once the plant has settled into its new location.
Similar to the philodendron, the pothos is easy to grow and adapts to most conditions. Place this plant in bright, indirect light, and water when the soil surface feels dry to the touch. To promote new leaves and compact growth, trim the plant back when it gets too leggy.