The Ultimate House Plant Guide

There are all kinds of plants you can choose from to turn your home into an oasis. Indoor plants don’t just add beauty to your space; they have a lot of other great benefits, too. They can help clean the air in your home by reducing pollutants and have also been shown to boost your mood. “I think it’s the act of gardening and having a living plant inside your space that elevates your mood and reduces stress,” says Kara Ziegler, a horticulturist at Pike Nurseries in Atlanta, Georgia.

Before you run to the store to pick out the perfect plant, you need to determine what kind of light your home provides. “People have to figure out whether they have low, medium or high light to make sure that their plants will fit those light requirements,” says Ziegler. “Once they know the lighting, they can then get a better understanding of what plants would be a good fit for them.”

Because there is a wide variety of indoor plants to choose from, Zeigler helped us compile some a guide to indoor plants.


Plants That Need a Lot of Light 

Explore types of plants for the home, ranging from beginner friendly plants to pet-friendly plants and more in this indoor plant guide from Meritage Homes. Some plants require more light to grow and would do best near a window or sliding patio door that provides plenty of bright, indirect light. These include:

Fiddle-leaf fig: These plants have nice large leaves and are perfect for a corner. “They add some green and a simple, modern aesthetic,” says Zeigler. “The key to keeping these plants alive is to water them thoroughly and let them dry out in between waterings.”

Bromeliad: If you want to add a bit of color, bromeliads often have striking foliage, including reds, pinks and whites. “They create a nice tropical look and are very low maintenance,” says Zeigler. You can even water bromeliads with ice cubes.

Anthurium: This is a very popular plant that has beautifully colored heart-shaped leaves and needs bright light to bloom.


Low-Light Tolerant Plants

Second on our indoor plant guide are low-light plants. There are a number of plants that can tolerate low-light conditions, but you will see more growth if they are exposed to some bright, indirect light. These types of plants should be kept away from direct sunlight. They also grow well in rooms with artificial lighting.

Pothos: This trailing, leafy vining plant can grow up to 40 feet outdoors, but indoors, it confines itself to 6 to 10 feet.

Fern: If you purchase a fern, you might want to grow it in a dish with a saucer and water it from underneath. “They don’t like a lot of standing water on their leaves and can turn brown,” says Zeigler.

Peace lily: This tropical species is a vibrant houseplant that does well in low to medium light. “And it’s excellent for purifying air,” says Zeigler. Just make sure to keep it evenly moist.

Pet-Friendly Plants

The next type of plant for the home we will be covering are pet-friendly plants. Plants contain different makeups and can have certain toxins that will not agree with your pets if they ingest or nibble on them. If you do have pets — whether a dog, cat or even bunny — there are a good number of plants that are safe to keep in your home. So, before you buy a plant, do your research or ask an expert.

Fern: In addition to tolerating low-light situations, ferns are also safe to have around pets. Varieties include the bird’s nest, Boston and maidenhair ferns.

Prayer plant: These house plants do well in low to medium light and have colorful foliage, so they can bring a pop of color to a room.

Cast-iron plant (also aspidistra): With spiky leaves and dark green foliage, the cast-iron plant adds a different texture and a more modern look to your space.

African violet: If you want to bring more color to your home, an African violent would be perfect. They have flowers that range from purples to pinks to whites.

Succulent: Succulents come in all colors and textures and can really add to the aesthetic of your home, you can even create a DIY succulent wall. Just make sure to avoid cacti if you have pets because of the spines.

Beginner Plants


Not everyone is blessed with a green thumb. And let’s be honest — some plants can be really time-consuming to take care of. Don’t worry, because we’ve got the plants for you.

Succulent: They’re not only pet friendly but also great starter plants if you have bright light in your home. Succulents are low maintenance, and because they are drought tolerant, they don’t require a lot of watering. “You can have fun with succulents by making a container garden and adding different types together,” says Zeigler.

Pothos: They don’t just do well in low light — pothos are “also a good beginner’s plant,” says Zeigler. “You really can’t kill them. They’re foolproof.” They can be grown in soil or in vases of water.

Sansevieria (also known as the mother-in-law’s tongue or snake plant): Do you go out of town for two or three weeks? The snake plant, which has spiky leaves and succulent-like properties, is very low maintenance and likely will still be alive when you come home from vacation.

ZZ plant: It grows in low to medium light and needs very little water, so it really is hard to kill.

Plants for the Green Thumb


Next on our indoor plant guide are plants for those with a green thumb. Once you’ve mastered caring for the beginner’s plants and better understand how lighting and watering affects them, it’s time to graduate to some of the more complicated plants.

Orchid: These plants are sold at your local grocery store, but believe it or not, they are not for beginners. “The key is to keep them evenly watered — not sitting in water or completely dry soil,” says Zeigler. If you buy an orchid, grow it in a pot with orchid potting mix. When an orchid is done flowering, you can cut off the old flower and get the plant to rebloom on cooler nights. “Put them outside for three or four nights in a row in high 50-degree temperatures and watch them bloom,” advises Zeigler.

Fiddle-leaf fig: In addition to needing a lot of light, the fiddle-leaf fig is more susceptible to pests and other diseases and can be very sensitive to changes in its environment. It can be a little tricky if you’re not used to having to monitor water.

Palm: “Definitely wait until you’ve mastered other plants before you get these,” says Zeigler. Palms need soil with high nutritional elements, and pruning is also an important step in taking care of them.

Minimalist Plants

Last on our house plant guide are minimalist plants. Some homeowners may want a giant plant oasis, while others just prefer small plants in a few areas. For the minimalist, “buy little 4-inch plants and put them in neutral-colored pots,” says Zeigler.

ZZ plant and sansevieria: With thick, waxy green leaves, the ZZ plant has a very modern, minimalist look. And with those aforementioned succulent properties of a sansevieria, the clean lines look stunning next to any plant with lush foliage.

Peace lily: The glossy, dark green leaves of this plant keep it very simple. Plus, it sprouts a creamy-colored bloom that you can coordinate with a neutral pot.

Ponytail palm: If you want a palm plant that doesn’t look too jungle-like or overgrown, the ponytail palm is the perfect plant for your space. It has a sleek trunk and long curly leaves that make it visually appealing.

Looking for more plant inspiration? Check out how outdoor plants can level up your backyard.

Care and Maintenance

Now that you’ve determined which plants work best for you and your home, it’s time to go to the store or nursery and get the right potting soil. You’ll need one that’s lightweight and has good drainage. “You don’t want to ever put your houseplant into a mix that’s compacted because they won’t drain well,” says Zeigler. Next, choose a pot with a drainage hole so that your plant doesn’t sit in water.

Once you’ve gotten your plants, soil and pots, it’s vital that you water each plant correctly. Don’t use ice cubes to water plants, even if the direction says you should. In general, the best way to see if your plant needs water is through the touch test. Stick your finger about 1 to 2 inches into the top of the soil, and if it’s dry, water your plant thoroughly. Additionally, make sure to fertilize once a month. Get an all-purpose liquid plant food and incorporate it into your routine.

Last but not least, regularly clean your plants’ leaves as you would with any other surface in your home. “Plants get dusty, so wipe their surfaces with a damp cloth about once a month because the dust can really clog the pores and affect the plant’s ability to photosynthesize,” says Zeigler. “If you want to get fancy, use a leaf shine spray to give it a glossy look.”

Remember, many of the plants that we bring indoors are ones that grow naturally in very humid, tropical environments. “Then we put them in a dry house that has air conditioning and heat,” says Zeigler. “So they need humidity and water.” That’s why, no matter which plants you choose to beautify your space, it’s so important to treat them with love and care to make sure they grow and flourish.

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