Houseplants can be a great addition to a home if you want to add some life and color to your decor. You can find some beautiful plants that make a big difference to the room and your happiness and well-being. But, some plants can turn out to be a nightmare because they are so poorly suited to our homes, lifestyles, and experience levels. So, how to choose the right houseplants for your needs?
How To Choose Houseplants? (Based On Their Upkeep And Care)
Some plants are a lot more high-maintenance than others. For example, some need more fertilizing, and some need barely any care at all. The best approach for you depends on how you just reacted to the work “fertilizing.” If you are new to the houseplant world, this can be a surprise. Yes, some plants need more than just sunlight, water, and soil. There are levels to this, and the best place to start is to consider the following questions. Would you prefer to:
- Have something beginner-friendly that only needs basic care and watering.
- Have something that doesn’t need very much water because of your lifestyle.
- Learn to take great care of a high-maintenance plant and grow some beautiful specimen plants?
- Have something that doesn’t even need soil to grow because you aren’t sure how you would deal with that.
There is no right or wrong answer here. You can decide how to choose houseplants based on your experience levels, current living situation, lifestyle, and other doubts or restrictions you may have.
What Houseplants Are Good For Beginners?
There are many great plants for beginners if you are still willing to water them and provide the best conditions. You don’t want anything that will get upset when it gets cold or needs extra attention when it starts to bloom. A great starter plant is the Christmas Cactus. It is low maintenance and provides beautiful flowers during the darker months.
What Are The Most Challenging Houseplants To Take Care Of?
Orchids are for those people who are looking to grow something high-maintenance! Orchids are an obvious place to start if you want to bring a more high-maintenance plant into your home. They are easy to find in garden centers, and there are many books on how to grow orchids successfully. If you do well with one, you could start a collection.
What Houseplants Don’t Need A Lot Of Water?
Perhaps you aren’t at home a lot because of your job or have frequent weekends away. This isn’t great for plants that need constant care, and you don’t want to have to give a neighbor a spare key.
Try succulents! Succulents are fun to grow, and most of them only need watering once a week in the summer and during the winters, even less often. You can leave them be and enjoy their structural shapes.
Another great plant that doesn’t need a lot of water is living stones. Yes, a plant that camouflages as a stone! They are entertaining and slightly addictive to collect, so give them a chance.
What Houseplants Can Grow Without Soil?
Air plants are excellent for those people who would prefer not to deal with soil. It’s okay if you want to have plants in your home but not soil.
For example, if you rent a small apartment, you may not have the space for pots, compost, and other essentials for plant care. This is where air plants are such a great idea. You can keep one in a ventilated container anywhere in your home and give it a “bath” each week. It’s easy to grow, and they look great.
How To Pick A Houseplant?
Once you get an idea of the sort of care you can provide to a plant and which route you want to take, you can start to look at different species within these categories to find one(s) you like the most. It might sound superficial to choose a plant by its looks, but because houseplants also work as decor elements, it’s not nice to look at plants/flowers and notice that you don’t like the color or even find it ugly.
What Other Things To Consider When Your Choosing Houseplants?
The criteria for choosing the best houseplants don’t end there. It’s also good to consider other essential factors to ensure that the plant is suitable for your needs. These include:
- The scent of the flowers.
- Toxicity risks to pets or children.
- The size of the plant when mature.
- The risk of allergies from the pollen or sap.
1. What Plant Makes Your House Smell Good?
You don’t want something too overpowering when choosing the best houseplant for your home, especially if you have a small apartment. A too fragrant floral scent can be off-putting after a while. But, if you want a plant with a more traditional scent, you can always try geraniums. They typically smell great, and best of all, they aren’t that difficult to grow.
On the subject of “scent,” be careful not to overwater your plants. This is a common mistake with new plant owners that worry about killing their plants. Waterlogged soil and roots can create a musty smell via fungal growth.
2. Houseplants Can Be Toxic To Pets
Lilies are the worst offenders when it comes to toxic houseplants and pets. It’s best to avoid growing them if you have cats, as they could easily climb onto a windowsill and chew the leaves. Make sure to check the potential risk of any plant before you buy it. If the risk is minimal and you have dogs in the house, you might be able to place the plant in a safe place. Use your best judgment!
While we are on the subject of houseplants and pets, there is also the option of growing catnip. Cat owners can spend a fortune on catnip treats without realizing it. So, it could be a money-saving venture to grow a little “lawn” of it in a tray indoors. Your cat is sure to love you for it.
3. Even Houseplants Can Get Sizable
This is another important consideration: how big will your houseplant get? The last thing you need as a grower is something growing out of control and taking over a small living room. Always find out the heights of mature plants before you buy and their growth rate. Also, please do some research on whether you can prune the plant to keep it smaller.
An excellent example of this is bamboo. Bamboo can look great indoors, especially if you have decor inspired by the Far East. But, they are also notorious for growing very fast.
If you are keen to have something big and bold in your living room, the Swiss cheese plant is a brilliant option. These plants can get tall, with a maximum height of 10 feet (about 3,5 meters). So, if you put them in a large pot on the floor and learn how to maintain their size, you can have a great addition to a room.
4. Houseplants Can Cause Allergies?
Plants look great, but then there is, of course, the issue of allergies. A too strong scent is bad enough, but this can spell disaster for our nasal passages when pollen comes along.
Watch out for flowering plants if you have problems with allergies. Plants that are more about the foliage and drama are the way to go here. Also, watch out for ferns. Ferns release spores, and these can trigger asthma and similar conditions when they circulate in an indoor environment.
Houseplants For Culinary And Skin Care Purposes
There are also other ways how you can use houseplants. They don’t just have to be there as something nice to look at. They can also prove to be very beneficial. Let’s find out how:
You Can Grow Edible Houseplants
Some of the best houseplants for any home are herbs. There are so many different types out there with different scents and tastes. They can provide a more subtle fragrance to a room than a floral plant, although many still bloom with pretty flowers of their own.
You can also pick their leaves as needed to add to your meals, rather than relying on dried herbs from the store. Your choice can come down to what you use the most. For example, if you cook a lot of Italian meals, you could focus on growing little pots of basil and oregano on your kitchen windowsill.
It is also possible for some homeowners to start growing fruits and vegetables in their kitchens. A small pot with a trailing tomato plant on a sunny windowsill could bear fruit with the proper care. Others like to grow chillis. Research your options carefully to find varieties that suit your living conditions. Or, experiment with the seeds from the produce you buy and see what happens.
Houseplants For Skin Care
Or, you could also grow plants to use in skincare and healthcare. There are lots of great botanical oils and substances in modern skincare that make a massive difference. So, why not try and grow your own and get those substances from your indoor garden.
Calendula oil is popular and effective but not the easiest one to grow indoors. Aloe vera is a lot easier and can produce a lot of natural gel that is perfect for moisturization, soothing skin, and even dealing with sunburn.
Another great option is to bring some lavender into your home. A small pot is all you need to get this relaxing fragrance. You can run your hands through it when feeling stressed, pick its flowers, add them to herbal teas, dry them, or use them in other creations.
Are You Looking For Something Unordinary?
You might say that a living stone or an air plant suspended from the ceiling is weird enough. But, there are some other houseplants that you can consider if you are keen to put in the effort to learn to care for them.
Try Carnivorous Plants – If You Are Brave Enough
Carnivorous plants are fascinating for anyone with an interest in botany and natural history. These plants can attract flies and other pests into their traps and then leach nutrients from their bodies, or in other words, eat them!
You could soon find that you get fewer flies buzzing around than average. Kids love them too, because it is basically the real-life version of Nintendo’s Piranha Plant. The only problem is that these plants aren’t the easiest to take care of. You will need to invest time and research on how to keep them alive. Once you get more confident, it might be worth giving this unique plant a go.
Don’t Forget These Miniature Trees!
Then there are Bonsai trees! There are mixed opinions in the gardening world about Bonsai trees as creating these trees, and their miniature forms are more of an art than anything horticultural. But, if you have even been curious about them and keen to try it out, you can give it a go. To get them to thrive, you need patience and provide them with love and only a little bit of space.
So, How To Choose The Right Houseplants To Your Needs?
In short, there is a lot to consider when you’re trying to choose houseplants for your home. Options that may seem obvious and recommended by plant-loving retired parents aren’t always going to work for younger growers who live in small apartments.
Also, take note of all the restrictions you have and what you want most from your houseplants. How much available space and what growing conditions you have. How much time you can dedicate to their care and any other desires about the plant’s secondary purposes.
With careful planning and research, you should find something interesting and attractive that will thrive and add color to your lifestyle. It could be a plant you haven’t even heard of, and that’s half of the fun. Take your time and enjoy the journey!
Featured image credit – photopia90/Shutterstock.com