When looking for potted plants, it can be a great idea to think big. According to Bob Anderson, extension horticulturist with the University of Kentucky, the term "large" is generally attached to potted plants that have the capability of growing over 6 feet tall and 3 feet wide within a few years. Large plants are not any harder to grow than their smaller compatriots, especially since they tend to have fewer problems with insects and disease. The biggest problem growers may face is having moving the plant once it has reached full size.
According to Deb Brown, a horticulturist with the University of Minnesota Extension Service, one large plant makes much more of an impact in a room than several smaller ones. That makes larger plants a good choice when you want to draw attention to special areas in your home, such as a favorite architectural feature or an attractive view. The size and width of larger houseplants can also be used to hide less desirable features or screen off areas.
Choosing a Location
Like any other plants, large plants need sufficient light in order to grow properly. For best results, choose a location that faces south or southwest. They also need plenty of room. Proper pruning should be done to ensure that the plant does not become taller than three-fourths the height of the room. For example, if the distance from the floor to the ceiling is 12 feet, the plant should only be 9 feet tall.
Plants that Require Low Light
A few large plants do not require a lot of sun. In fact, they only require about 75 to 200 foot candles (fc) to survive. This means they can be placed in areas that receive just enough natural daylight to read by. One of the better options that meets this requirement is the philodendron, either the common philodendron (Philodendron cordatum) or the silver sheen philodendron (Philodendron miduhoi). Philodendron have vines that grow about five feet long and are good choices for balconies or high areas that allow them to trail down.
Other plants that can survive areas of low light include the cast iron or barroom plant (Aspidistra elator), neanthe bella or parlor palm (Chamaedora elegans), Janet Craig dracaena (Dracaena deremensis 'Janet Craig') and peace lilies (Spathiphyllum spp.).
Plants that Require Medium Light
Large plants that require about 200 foot candles (fc) to survive can be placed in areas that receive just enough natural daylight to read by. Quite a few palms fall into this category, including reed and bamboo palms (Chamaedora spp.), areca palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens), Chinese fan palm (Livistonia chinesis), and queen sago palms (Cycas circinalis). Fig trees (Ficus spp.) also fall into this category, including weeping or laurel figs (Ficus benjamina), fiddle-leaf figs (Ficus lyrata), and broad-leaved Indian rubber tree (Ficus decora).
Both palms and figs have broad leaves and are good choices when mass is needed. Other large plants that require medium light include the flamingo flower or pigtail plant (Anthurium scherzeranum), Norfolk Island pine (Aaucaria heterophylla), umbrella tree (Brassaia actinophylla), Japanese sago (Cycas revoluta), giant dumb cane or mother-in-law's tongue (Dieffenbachia amoena), Madagascar dragon tree or red-edged dracaena (Dracaena marginata) and China doll (Radermachera sinca).
Plants that Require High Light
Some large plants have high light requirements, between 500 to 1,000 foot candles. This means that the room is well-lit during the day and has lots of windows. Many palm trees fall into this category, including clustered fishtail palm (Caryotau mitis), pygmy or miniature date palm (Phoenix roebelenii), European fan palm (Chamaerops humilis), queen palm (Arecastrum romanzoffianum) and slender lady palm (Raphis excelsa).
Other large plants with a high light requirement include the pony tail or elephant foot tree (Beaucarnea recurvata) and the sea grape (Cocccoloba uvifera).