House Plants: The Complete Guide

When it comes to some of the best house plants, deciding which is best for your home can be intimidating – especially if you have pets or certain requirements that need to be met. In this article, we’ll be going over the specifics of house plants, and taking a look at the best plants for various indoor conditions.

So, what makes up our complete guide to house plants? Below are the categories that we’ll be covering to set you on your way:

  • The Benefits of House plants
  • House Plants for Air Purification
  • The Best House Plants for Pets
  • The Best House Plants for Children
  • House Plants that do Well in Low Light
  • How to Care for Your House Plants

In the next few sections, we’ll be going over each of the above topics in more detail to give you a better idea of what plants will suit your home and how to keep them happy and healthy. Let’s get started!

The Benefits of House Plants

You may have already learned of the benefits of spending time outdoors surrounded by nature, but did you know that caring for plants inside your home can also have the same positive effects on our emotional and physical health?

When you’re inside your home with the windows and doors shut tight, the air can become stale, leaving the condition of your air even more polluted than the quality outside. House plants can play a vital role in cleaning the air in your home, thus improving you and your family’s health. In fact, according to a NASA Study, plants can remove nearly 90 percent of Volatile Organic Compounds from the air every 24 hours.

Additional studies have shown that being around aspects of nature, such as leafy plants, can drastically improve our mood, making us happier and increasingly cooperative. And in workplaces, plants have shown to make employees more productive and calm – which may have the same effect at home, consequently encouraging you to do household chores in a less begrudging manner. 

Another, and sometimes overlooked, benefit of the best house plants is the added humidity that they give to a room. Plants give off around 97 percent of the water that they take in, so if you or someone in your family has very dry skin or respiratory issues, indoor house plants could be a welcomed help. For these health benefits, it’s recommended that you place one larger-sized house plant every 100 to 130 square feet around your home.

House Plants for Air Purification

If your main concern is having cleaner indoor air, these house plants will certainly do the trick –  and look pretty while they work: 

  1. Snake Plant: One of the best house plants used or air purification, the Snake Plant, is a long-leafed succulent with deep green tones and golden yellow stripes. This plant releases oxygen at night, making it a great choice for the bedroom to improve your quality of sleep. Keep in mind not to overwater Snake Plants, as their roots have been known to rot in wet or moist soil.
  2. Aloe Vera: Yet another common house plant, Aloe Vera, is a visually appealing, spikey plant that has many health benefits. Not only does this plant clean the air of formaldehyde and other chemicals found in household cleaners, but the gel inside the leaves is also wonderful for healing cuts and soothing minor burns. This is a sun-loving plant, so be sure to keep it in or near a window.
  3. Spider Plant: If your green thumb looks more like a black thumb, the Spider Plant may be your best bet. Virtually indestructible, this air-cleaning plant removes toxins like carbon monoxide and is even non-toxic to pets. It’s covered in long, thin leaves and is made up of deep greens and beautiful yellow tones with markings similar to that of a Snake Plant.
  4. Golden Pothos: Another easy to care for, air-purifying plant, the Golden Pothos is a low-lying ivy made up of gorgeous dark and light green colors. The only care this plant really needs is a little water when the soil gets dry and some trimming if it starts to grow too big. It removes toxins such as formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and benzene from the air. Use caution. This plant is toxic to dogs and cats. Keep it out of reach.
  5. Rubber Plants: Native to India, Rubber Plants have leaves with a rubber-like texture and shine. They’re often used as decor and help to eliminate carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and other toxins from your home. Use caution. This plant is toxic to cats and dogs. Place out of reach or be vigilant with pets.
  6. Peace Lilies: One of the most colorful and beautiful air-cleaning plants, Peace Lilies, are adorned with bright white and yellow hues. According to previous NASA studies, these plants were one of the best at removing household toxins. They even eliminate ammonia. Use extreme caution. Peace Lilies are toxic to dogs, cats, and children. Be vigilant and place out of reach.

Though all of these plants are great for removing airborne toxins, some are toxic to pets and humans when consumed. Always use care when children or pets are present.

The Best House Plants for Pets

It’s no secret that dogs and cats, alike, will sometimes nibble on plants. Having plants in your home is a surefire way to pique their curiosity, which is why it’s important to have safe house plants to avoid any accidents. Here are our favorites:

  1. Moth Orchids: These flowers sprout beautiful, bright blossoms of pinks, off-whites, and purples. They’re completely safe for cats and dogs and will also work to purify your air. Moth Orchids only require watering once a week and do well in low-to-medium light.
  2. Money Tree: Great for your pets, and for the (ahem) lackluster plant parent, the Money Tree is a hardy and adorable plant that would work well in any room with low-to-medium light. Watering should be once every week or two weeks, but no worries if you forget – this plant bounces back in no time.
  3. Bamboo Palm: A tropical-looking plant, Bamboo Palm is a larger choice that will give your home a calming aura. It does require water about twice a week and a tad more upkeep than others on our list as it grows; however, we would still consider it quite resilient. Keep it out of direct sunlight.
  4. Aluminum Plant: With its deep green and gray leaves, the Aluminum Plant would make an attractive addition to any room in your home. They do best in medium light and will only need to be watered when the topsoil (down to about an inch) begins to dry. Try to keep the soil on the dryer side, as soil that is too wet may result in root rot. 
  5. Christmas Cactus: Adorned with vibrant pinkish blooms, Christmas Cactus is an ornamental that is visually striking and safe for your pets. Though it won’t cause death or extreme illness in dogs or cats, it may cause minor intestinal issues if consumed. 
  6. Parlor Palm: If you’re looking for a small indoor tree, the Parlor Palm is an excellent option. It’s easy to care for, has appealing shapes and colors to tie a room together, and is safe for your pets.

Though all of these plants are non-toxic to dogs and cats, it’s always best to prevent your pets from chewing or consuming your indoor plants as a precaution.

The Best House Plants for Children

The safety and health of small, curious children is definitely a top priority when considering house plants. We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite indoor plants that are both nice to look at and completely harmless to children:

  1. Gerbera Daisy: A favorite for children, the Gerbera Daisy is colorful, adorned with large blooms, and completely safe for kids’ rooms. They do require quite a bit of sunlight, so be sure to keep them near or in a window.
  2. Jasmine: Fragrant and covered in white blossoms, Jasmine is perfectly safe to have anywhere around the home – just as long as it can receive a few hours of direct sunlight from a window. 
  3. Venus Fly Traps: Though they’re not everyone’s cup of tea, carnivorous plants are a huge hit with kids. These plants are interesting to watch, they’re safe, and they’re great for getting rid of that annoying fly that’s been hanging around for a few days. Place in a window spot so they can receive indirect light and lightly water when soil is dry.
  4. African Violets: Native to Africa, African Violets sprout blooms of deep purple, sport rounded, deep green leaves, and are perfectly harmless. They can be tricky to care for, though, so if you’re a new plant parent, it may be best to avoid this one.
  5. Begonias: Begonias are an ideal house plant for adding splashes of white, red, orange, or yellow color to a room. They’re pretty easy to care for (though they don’t like too much light) and are not only safe for children but pets, as well.
  6. Sensitive Plant: A safe and intriguing option for a home with children, the Sensitive Plant got its name from its unique feature of closing its leaves when they’re touched. This plant is not only cool but sprouts wispy, bright blooms for a dash of color.

Even though these plants are completely safe for children, some of them may have sharper edges to their leaves or may cause an upset tummy if consumed. If you have small children, remember to keep an eye on them when they’re interacting with or around these house plants.

House Plants that do Well in Low Light

If your windows are already decked out in decor, or you simply need to add some life to a windowless room, these awesome plants thrive in low light conditions:

  1. ZZ Plant: A popular low light plant for homes and offices, the ZZ Plant can thrive under artificial light and is an ideal option for the forgetful plant owner. Sporadic watering is no big deal for these plants, so no worries if you miss a watering or two.
  2. Rattlesnake Plant: Native to Brazilian jungles, the Rattlesnake Plant craves low light conditions and has a unique, striped appearance. Though this plant does well with minimal light, it does thrive best when placed in a humid environment, which may be difficult to replicate for some homeowners.
  3. Chinese Money Plant: This plant is dressed in an abundance of flat, rounded, deep green leaves. It would make an interesting focal point for any room and will only grow to about a foot high. It is a low light plant but will go after the sun, reaching its stems towards any nearby windows.
  4. Paper Plant: Native to Japan, the Paper Plant flaunts very largely, flat leaves. It does best in part or full shade but will benefit from some sun in the morning or evenings. This plant cannot tolerate winter temperatures, so if near a window, be sure to move it to a different place in your home to keep it warm.
  5. Prayer Plant: The Prayer Plant is yet another intriguing plant that visibly moves and is easy to care for. It gets its name from the way its leaves fold up at night and fold back down in the morning. This plant has deep green and cream leaves with bright red veins and would fit perfectly on a bookshelf or small side table.
  6. English Ivy: Wonderful for planting in a hanging basket in the kitchen or bathroom, English Ivy is a trailing plant. It comes in a variety of leaf colors. Sprits the plant lightly with water every other day.

Though these plants do exceptionally well in low light conditions, some may require partial, indirect light in the mornings or evenings. Try not to overwater these plants, especially since they receive so little light. 

How to Care for Your House Plants

In this section, we’ll be addressing the most common house plant concerns and providing a guide for house plant care. 

How Much Water do House Plants Need?

All plants are different, but house plants are unique in that there is a general rule of thumb you can follow for the majority of indoor-thriving species.

Because house plants are not exposed to the elements like outdoor plants, they often don’t need as much watering. Once a week or once every two (or even three) weeks in a good watering schedule to keep. You’ll want to keep your plant’s soil on the dryer side, as moist soil indoors can lead to root rot, thus killing your plant(s). 

Be sure to check the care instructions for each of your indoor plants after you purchase them to ensure you’ll be giving them the proper care. Try not to get too eager and only water your plants when they absolutely need it.

How to Keep the Soil Fresh

Unlike outdoor plants, house plants will deplete the nutrients in the soil quicker over time. In order to keep the soil fresh, there are three things you can do:

  1. Add compost sparingly. Fresh, organic compost made at home or purchased from a plant nursery is a great way to keep nutrients in the soil of your indoor plants. Composting doesn’t need to be done very often, maybe once in a year or every few months. Adding too much compost could actually result in rot, so use with caution.
  2. Use plant food. Plant food bought from a garden center is an alternative to compost but still provides your plants with nutrients that they may lack from being placed in an indoor environment. Again, you’ll want to feed your plants sparingly and avoid overloading the soil.
  3. Don’t overwater. Overwatering isn’t only bad for your plants, but it’s bad for the soil. It can deplete it of nutrients, create mold, and do all sorts of damage. Remember, only water when the topsoil (down to about an inch) is dry.

Helping the soil stay fresh isn’t too difficult of a task (luckily). Just as long as you keep these tips in mind, your house plants should be good to go!

How to Repot House Plants

Repotting plants usually only needs to happen when your indoor plant has outgrown their original pot. The majority of the plants on our lists are slow growers or quite small and won’t need repotting for a year or years. However, if you do need to re-pot a plant, we’ve got some pointers for you: 

  • First, lightly water your plant. This helps ease the removal.
  • Gently remove the plant by turning the pot to the side and slowly pulling the main stem.
  • Remove any diseased soil. If you notice molded soil, remove it. If not, do not disturb soil on roots.
  • Add soil to the pot, then place the plant. Once the plant is positioned, fill the pot up to the crown of the plant.
  • Finally, water the plant. Give the newly potted plant a good drink by watering until you can see it seeping through the bottom of the pot.

Be sure to prune any dead leaves, stems, or flowers to encourage growth after repotting.

Eyerly Family

The Eyerly Family is a family of 8 that loves gardening. Over the past several years we have been applying what we learn about gardening to our own 16x16 raised back yard garden. Our garden is very prolific and we grow a wide variety of vegetables which we love to eat! Click here to learn more about the Eyerly Family.

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