How to Choose the Best Plants for Your Space

choosing the best plants

Houseplants help clean the air in your home, can help reduce your stress levels and can increase humidity in the home. Not all houseplants are suitable for all homes, though. Think of the light levels in your home, its temperature and humidity, and your schedule when picking plants. Some plants, like cacti, don't need a lot of moisture but do need a lot of light, while others, like the Boston fern, can survive in darker conditions, but prefer a fair amount of moisture.

Benefits of Houseplants

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You might not know it, but the air inside your home might be more polluted than the air outside, as CNBC reports. The combination of volatile organic compounds, given off by paint, furniture and carpets, fumes from a gas powered furnace or stove, and mold spores can make the air in your home a toxic stew.

Luckily, one of the benefits of having living plants throughout your home is that many types of plant help to purify the indoor air. For several decades now, NASA has been studying the effect certain plants had on indoor air quality.

The organization has found that certain species of plant are able to remove pollutants and carcinogens, such as trichloroethylene, formaldehyde and benzene, from the air. Air-purifying plants include the snake plant, peace lily, aloe and spider plant. NASA recommends having one air purifying plant for every 100-square-feet of space in your home.

Houseplants do more than clean up the air in your home. Another benefit of certain types of plants is that they can help increase humidity. Boston ferns in particular are known for a process called transpiration, or the release of moisture into the air. If your home is dry in the winter, a few well placed ferns might eliminate the need for a humidifier.

Some plants, such as aloe, provide practical benefits too. You can snip off a piece of an aloe leave and use it to soothe burned skin, for example. Houseplants can also help you focus better and might actually increase your ability to concentrate.

Choosing the Best Indoor Plants for Your Home

Not every indoor plant will thrive in every home. Some houseplants require a lot more light than others, for example, or have very specific water and temperature needs. Understanding what a plant needs and what the conditions are like in your home can help you determine if it's the best plant for you to grow.

Light is a very important factor when picking a houseplant. Some indoor plants still need a fair amount of sunlight to thrive. A great number of indoor plants are adapted to growing in shady or dark conditions and will typically do well in a home that doesn't get a lot of natural light.

Plants that usually grow on the ground of a rain forest are often best suited to the indoor light conditions of a home. Snake plant, pothos vine, and the cast iron plant can all live in a dimly lit conditions.

If you do have large, sunny windows in your home, choosing a light-loving plant can be your best option. Choose plants such as cacti, succulents or an asparagus fern if you have bright light indoors.

The temperature inside your home and the humidity level can also influence the type of plants you can grow or where you can grow certain plants. If you regularly crank up the heat in the middle of window, your living area might be too dry for tropical, moisture loving plants to survive. A more humid area of the home, such as a bathroom, might be a better location for those plants.

If part of your home is unheated during the winter, such as a sunroom, the temperature might actually be too cold for many indoor plants to survive. If you have plants next to radiators or heating vents, the temperature might become too hot for them. Depending on the setup of your home, you might need to move houseplants from one area to another to accommodate their needs as the seasons change, according to the Royal Horticultural Society.

For more details on how to choose the best indoor plants for your home, check out the video from Deco Bliss. It runs through the light, temperature and humidity conditions in your home and provides pointers for choosing the best plant when you're at the garden center or nursery.

One last thing to think about when picking a plant for your home is your personal habits. If you travel a lot or aren't home often, choosing a plant that's relatively hands off can be the best option.

If you have kids or pets, you might want to be cautious about buying a plant that's poisonous. Curious children and animals can chew on houseplants and you don't want to risk having anyone get sick.

Types of Plants to consider

There's an indoor plant out there to suit you. From plants that flowers to plants that retain water in their leaves, a wide range of plant types exist. Knowing what some of the more common and easy-to-find types of indoor plants are out there will help you pick the plant that's best for your home.

Cacti and Succulents

Cacti are actually a type of succulent, according to the University Minnesota, but you'll often see them listed separately at a garden center. The feature that unites all types of succulents (including cacti) is the thick, fleshy leaves on the plants. These leaves are able to store water, allowing the plants to live in very dry conditions.

Succulent plants that can grow indoors include the jade plant, snake plant and aloe, as well as many, many more. The trick to successfully growing these plants it to avoid giving them too much water. They're used to desert conditions and will rot if there's too much moisture in the soil or in the air around them.

Ferns

Ferns are another popular houseplant, but not all varieties of fern are necessarily the best option for indoor growing. Generally speaking, ferns are moisture-loving plants who prefer humid conditions. If you've had cacti or succulents rot on you before, it might be time to try growing a fern.

While some varieties of fern come from tropical areas, a few are natives to more temperate regions. If your home does get cooler in the winter or if you keep the air conditioning cranked up in the summer, it can be ideal to choose a fern that's acclimated to cooler areas.

Palms

The types of palm plant you can grow as a houseplant aren't the same as the palm trees you might see lining the streets of LA. Palms tend to be one of the most popular types of houseplant, and for good reason.

They live long, they don't need much attention and they can live in low light. Palm plants are also usually slow growers, so you won't find yourself having to repot the plant frequently.

Flowering Plants

Some types of indoor plant are able to produce flowers, which can help brighten up your home. A few flowering houseplants, such as peace lily and the African violet, are able to bloom and thrive even in low light conditions. Since flowering houseplants come from a variety of species, their other care requirements, such as water and temperature needs, will vary from plant to plant.

Learn More About Plants

Are you ready to transform your home indoor a beautiful indoor garden? We have lots of articles on indoor plants, including advice on the different types of plants available and tips on picking the best plant for your home and habits. Check out the sidebar to find an article that interests you!

Photo licensed under CC0..

Source for fact: NASA

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