House Plants for Interiors
Every interior space can benefit from the addition of a few house plants to the decorating scheme. Whether they are alive and growing or artificial replicas of botanical specimens, house plants can lend a touch of warmth and vitality to any living area or commercial environment, helping to relax visitors and guests and delivering a message of welcome. Their presence shows that the occupant has an appreciation for things natural, something to which we can all relate.
There are several factors to consider when selecting house plants for an interior space. The first of course is the size, shape, and growth form of the plant as compared to the area where it will be placed. For example, the tall, upright character of a Dracaena or a Ficus Tree might be most appropriate for a narrow corner or for use as a room divider. The cascading vines of an Ivy Plant or a Philodendron may be most appealing if they are allowed to tumble from the top of a tall cabinet or dresser. A shrubby Peace Lily, Spathiphyllum or Dwarf Schefflera, Arboricola could fill a gap between two chairs or other pieces of furniture.
Another important consideration will be the cultural requirements of the house plants themselves. While many of the most popular specimens that are sold as house plants are well-adapted to the environmental conditions found in the average home or office, there are some exceptions.
Low-Light House Plants
The following are among the best house plants for low-light situations and will grow well in a north-facing window or under the artificial light found in many offices.
- Chinese Evergreen, Aglaonema
- Peace Lily, Spathiphyllum
- Mother-In-Law's Tongue, Snake Plant, Sansevieria
House Plants that Need Some Light
These plants thrive in slightly brighter interiors, such as an east or west-facing window in a home or office.
- Dumb Cane, Dieffenbachia
- Ivy Plants
Sun-Loving House Plants
Certain house plants flourish under very bright light. A sunny spot next to a south-facing window is ideal for the following kinds of house plants.
- Succulents (Jade Plant, Aloe Vera, etc.)
Something else to think about is the amount of water a house plant will need. Typically, a plant will grow more slowly, and therefore use less water, if it is in a relatively dark location as opposed to a bright one. Most people tend to over water their house plants, causing the lower leaves to turn yellow and drop off. It's usually better to allow the potting soil to become a little dry between thorough watering, a cycle which more closely approximates the plants' natural growing conditions and prevents the roots from drowning. There are some exceptions, such as Ferns and Ivy Plants, which should never get really dry. No plant, however, should be left standing in a saucer of water, which could cause the roots to rot. Also, be aware that large pots dry out much more slowly than small ones. Big house plants in large pots may only need watering once a month, especially during the winter.
Nearly all house plants will benefit from frequent, regular misting with tepid water so as to increase the humidity in the immediate environment. Most of our homes and offices have much drier air than do the tropical jungles from which our favorite house plants hail, and this dry air can cause browning of the leaf tips (just as it dries our own skin). Another solution to the problem of dry air is to place the house plant onto a tray of pebbles, perhaps an inch deep, which are kept wet. Do not bury the plant's pot in the gravel, but keep the bottom of it above the water level. Water evaporating from the pebbles will create extra humidity in the air around the plant.
The soil in which the house plant is potted will, over time, become depleted of the nutrients needed for growth and maintenance. Therefore, house plants should be fed monthly during the spring and summer growing period with a balanced house plant fertilizer. Use the fertilizer at a dilution rate of about one-to one-half quarter of that which is recommended on the label. This will prevent an excessive build-up of salts in the soil, which can damage the plant. Every two or three years, re-pot the plant into fresh potting soil, using a larger pot if warranted.
Fortunately, if all these care requirements aren't practical in your situation, or if you want to have a plant in a spot where a live one won't survive, your professional florist can provide you with a selection of realistic-looking, permanent house plants which are botanically accurate in many details. The quality of these artificial specimens has improved tremendously in the past several years, so that the best of them are essentially indistinguishable from living house plants. All they'll need is dusting!Visit Something Special Florist to see some of the more popular house plants. We would advise you on the best plant selections for beautifying your particular indoor environment and for sending to out-of-town friends or loved ones. 718-773-1000