Adding plants to indoor spaces adds beauty to our surroundings, helps remove toxins from the air and enhances our sense of well being. When choosing indoor plants, color, texture and form can complement existing décor to create a striking focal point or soften hard edges and angles.
Whether your space is contemporary or traditional, a home or office, whether you want bold and bright, straight and narrow, soft and mounding, trailing or climbing, the perfect plant is out there waiting to find you.
Plants Needing Low Light – Place these plants more than eight feet away from windows or in a northern exposure.
This easy-care plant adds beauty and grace to any room and is a proven “clean air plant” helping remove toxins like formaldehyde from the environment. Most varieties have lance-shaped leaves heavily mottled with shades of green, gray and silver. We love the new Jazzed Gem series with splashes of vibrant reds, pinks and corals. ‘Sparkling Sarah’ has pink and cream highlights and red stems. Grows one to three foot tall and wide.
Bold, shiny, glossy and architectural are all apt descriptors of this great plant. A succulent with rhizomatous roots, it thrives on a bit of neglect so don’t overwater, and it tolerates less than ideal environments. It’s an excellent option for an office setting or as a first-time houseplant. While slow growing, it will gradually fill out its pot and is happiest when slightly pot-bound. Grows three foot tall and wide over time.
Plants Needing Moderate Light – Place plants four to eight feet away from south and east windows, or near west windows not receiving direct sun.
If you are one to turn your nose up at snake plant, you may not have experienced the myriad of colors, sizes and forms this species offers. Some have stiff, upright sword-like leaves, while others have gracefully arching or even cylindrical rosettes. Colors range from dark green to a calming silver. Leaves may be mottled, marbled or striped in shades of white, cream or yellow. Another ideal office plant, it’s tolerant of low to bright light, thrives on neglect, and can be worked into any type of décor. Grows six inches to three foot or more, depending on variety.
Peacock Plant (Calathea) and Prayer Plant (Marantha)
These are natural works of art. The stripes and dots and colors on the tops of the leaves fascinate, while the dark purple and softness of the undersides make them irresistible to touch. Use one as a focal point or in a group with solid-colored plants. Prayer plant derives its name from the pairs of leaves that close together at night as if to pray. Set these on trays of moist pebbles for increased humidity. Peacock plant grows two to three foot tall and prayer plant grows one foot tall.
Plants Needing Bright Light – Place these plants in areas within four feet of large south, east, and west facing windows.
This is a truly “wow” plant. Bold, bright and colorful—with red, yellow, orange and even purple stripes and dots highlighting the green leaves—a croton brings the tropics to any setting. Place in a sunroom where it can grow into a small shrub or use smaller plants to create a lovely centerpiece on your Thanksgiving table.
These beauties have it all—color, texture, shape, and patterns. Your biggest challenge will be choosing only one, which is why so many of us become collectors. The Rex begonia is a bit particular about its setting and care; doing best in bright filtered light, warm temperatures and high humidity, which can be achieved by placing plants on a tray of pebbles with water. Allow soil to dry between waterings.
Moving Houseplants Inside for Winter
Temperatures of 50 degrees or lower can damage many tropical plants so follow these simple steps as you plan to move tropical and houseplants inside after they spent the summer outdoors on your deck or porch. Move houseplants when the outside and inside temperatures are about the same so the plants can readjust to life indoors before the heat is turned on.
• Inspect plants for signs of insects and disease, and treat appropriately before bringing inside.
• Spray leaves and stems with a hose to wash off insects and dirt.
• Clean pots on all sides, including the bottom.
• Submerge smaller plants in lukewarm water for 15 minutes to force insects out of the soil, but don’t do this with succulents or bulbous plants.
• Take a week to gradually expose plants to reduced lighting. When you move the plants indoors make sure the light conditions are as close as possible to those outdoors.
• Don’t over water or over fertilize. Typically plants inside will not require as much water or fertilizer.
• Once indoors, expect some yellowing or dropping of leaves. New leaves should form as the plant adjusts to lower light conditions.
Photos, except the peacock plant, by Sharon O’Neill.
Sharon O’Neill is the trees, shrubs and perennials buyer at Logan Trading Co., and Terry Harper is the greenhouse manager.