How to Choose House Plants


If you ever wondered why some people can grow anything and seem to be born with a green thumb, you probably think they have some inborn talent that you simply don't have. The truth is, growing healthy lush plants is all about knowing what to grow where and how to meet their needs. The secret is taking the time to choose plants that fit your home and your lifestyle instead of trying to grow plants that look like your neighbor's plants.

Step 1

Draw a diagram of your home, and note the areas where you would like to place houseplants. Knowing where to place the plant makes choosing the right plant easier and prevents impulsively buying a plant that simply will not thrive in your home.

Step 2

Jot down the natural lighting in the area. Bright light refers to a sunny windowsill at a southern or western window where the plant receives light all day. Indirect light refers to the lighting the middle of the room if sunlight enters through a southern or western window or light near an eastern window. Northern or partially-shaded windows provide low light. .

Step 3

Find out the average temperature of the area where you wish to place your new plants. Although average household temperatures of 68 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 65 at night are adequate for most plants, some require warmer or cooler temperatures.

Step 4

Visit the greenhouse or nursery to look for plants that match the available lighting and temperatures in your home.

Step 5

Read the plant identification tag to determine if the plant requires additional considerations, like humidity levels or a draft-free area. Evaluate your ability to provide those requirements. Consider your schedule and your willingness to care for difficult plants.

Step 6

View the size of the plant at maturity to determine if you have room for this plant. A small plant may grow quickly and outgrow the area. Consider available space in your home.

Step 7

Examine plants carefully for any signs of disease or insect infestation. Look under leaves for tiny webs, check the soil for any signs of mold and turn the plant over to view the roots. Roots protruding through the drainage holes indicate the plant is root bound and may suffer from stress.

Step 8

Choose plants with sturdy stems and dense foliage. Tall, spindly plants indicate a lack of light. Look for richly colored foliage. Pale or light green leaves may indicate low light or a lack of nutrients.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Pencil


  • Texas A&M University Horticulture: Houseplants

Who Can Help

  • North Dakota State University Extension: Houseplants
Keywords: choose houseplants, select houseplants, pick houseplants

About this Author

Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with 4 years experience in online writing and a lifetime of personal journals. She is published on various sites, including Associated Content. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.