Tips for buying and caring for indoor plants

December 16, 2014

Indoor plants can improve your mood, beautify your home and filter pollutants from the air. Follow these steps to keep your houseplants vibrant and healthy.


Indoor gardeners love a colourful display of foliage any time of year, and never more so than during winter. Helping houseplants to flourish means providing the right lighting conditions, which vary by plant type and species. As a general rule, non-flowering plants can live with partial or indirect light while flowering tropical plants must have direct sun. Non-flowering varieties such as the snake plant, umbrella plant, spider plant and some species of vines need at least a few hours of sunlight daily. Bamboo plants can thrive under shady, cool conditions away from direct sunlight.

Full or partial sunlight is favourable for blooming varieties like hibiscus, African violet, orchids and flowering cactus plants, and non-flowering succulents like the jade plant and air plants. You can compensate for a lack of sun by exposing your houseplant to artificial light from a compact fluorescent bulb.


Different types of indoor plants need varying amounts of water and humidity levels at different times of the year. It’s important to learn their specific needs but also essential to choose the types of houseplants that fit your lifestyle and ability to provide regular maintenance. If you value plants that add a green accent to your household without requiring constant attention, then consider non-flowering species that can get by with occasional watering. Maintaining your indoor humidity at 40-60 per cent during winter is good for you and your houseplants.


You can purchase a small plant and nurture its growth or a larger plant to occupy an empty corner or become a focal point of your décor. Much depends on the type of plant, the size of your space and access to sunlight. A large plant can quickly outgrow its location and become a nuisance if branches begin to intrude on your living area. In general, small plants are more resilient when exposed to a new environment whereas a larger plant may have an adverse reaction to the light and moisture conditions in your home.

Popular indoor plants

  • African Violet: These bloom on a regular cycle throughout the year and are known to thrive in bright indoor conditions
  • Aloe Vera: A member of the succulent family, the thick shoots have medicinal qualities and can be used to treat burns
  • Orchids: Notoriously fussy but beautiful, these are high-maintenance flowering plants that require direct light and high humidity
  • Spider Plant: These are known to withstand long periods of neglect (often in college dorms) while still producing trailing fronds of delicate leaves
  • Norfolk Pine: A potted conifer that flourishes indoors, this plant loves direct sunlight and can double as a Christmas tree

Select indoor plants based on characteristics that match the environment in your home. Be ready to experiment with different plant locations and artificial light sources to help your houseplants survive and thrive.

Tips for buying and caring for indoor plants
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