How to Choose an Indoor Plant Type


An indoor plant can add color and vibrancy to a sterile, dull room. Indoor plants make the late fall and winter seem less brutal and depressing by keeping a bit of spring inside all year long. They also make the corners and edges of a room seem softer and more friendly with their organic, flowing shapes. Indoor plants can also add a pleasant fragrance to a stale room and even help protect your health by cleaning toxins out of the air.

Step 1

Check the light in the room you want to grow your plant in. Unless you're planning on using grow lamps, you'll need to provide enough light through windows alone. Low-light plants such as lucky bamboo will do well in any room with indirect sunlight but will burn with too much sun. High-light plants such as cacti, by contrast, require a south- or west-facing window with several hours of light per day.

Step 2

Decide how much work you are realistically going to put into caring for your plant. Some plants, such as cast iron plants, ferns and cactii, require very little care aside from an occasional watering or fertilizing, whereas bonsai trees require frequent pruning and root cutting to keep them down to size.

Step 3

Consider how much space you want your plant to take up. Many air plants are only an inch or two in length, whereas ficus trees can grow several feet tall indoors.

Step 4

Consider the features of each plant. Some plants produce bright flowers, whereas others, such as English ivy and spider plants, help clean the air. Aloe vera is a special case, since it both cleans the air and provides gel that can be used on scrapes, sunburns and other minor skin problems.

Step 5

Rule out any poisonous plants if you have pets or small children. Check the references below for partial lists of plants poisonous to people and pets. There is no complete list of poisonous plants, so always check any species of plant with your pediatrician, poison control center or veterinarian to make sure it isn't poisonous before choosing it.

Things You'll Need

  • Plant
  • Grow lamp
  • Soil
  • Water
  • Fertilizer


  • The Daily Green: How to Choose Indoor Plants to Clean the Air
  • Chunterer: Choosing An Indoor Plant
  • Easy Indoor Plants
  • University of Rhode Island: Indoor Ferns

Who Can Help

  • National Capital Poison Center: Even Plants Can Be Poisonous
  • Humane Society: Plants Potentially Poisonous to Pets
Keywords: choose indoor plant, choose house plant, choose a houseplant

About this Author

Isaiah David is a freelance writer and musician living in Portland, Ore. He has nearly five years' experience as a professional writer and has been published on various online outlets. He holds a degree in creative writing from the University of Michigan.