Common indoor houseplants include foliage plants, flowering plants and climbing or trailing plants. Indoor houseplants require varying levels of natural light, making it important to consider natural light levels when choosing indoor plants. Consider, too, the available space and proportion of the plant size to the room.
Foliage plants that need low natural light include the butterfly palm, ranging in height from 5 to 10 feet and preferring a warm to cool temperature range; the parlor palm, which can range in size from a few inches to 3 feet, depending on how often it is pruned; and the staghorn fern, a tough-leaved plant that prefers a shady position and, if not pruned, can grow very large.
Common indoor foliage plants that prefer medium light include the Boston fern, commonly used as a hanging plant, and mother-in-law's tongue, which can withstand full sun, although the leaves will yellow.
According to the "Encyclopedia of Gardening" by the American Horticultural Society, common indoor foliage plants that prefer full sunlight and can tolerate dry conditions include the century plant with thick broad spike-tipped leaves, the bristly-spined rat's tail cactus and the jade plant, a small plant with glossy teardrop-shaped leaves that turn red in the sun.
Flowering plants that require low natural light include the African violet, a small perennial with oval shaped and fuzzy, dark green leaves that, according to the "Indoor Plant Bible" by Dorte Nissen, can tolerate temperatures as low as 50 degrees F. Other plants include the Indian azalea, a compact plant available with white, pink, red and purple flowers, and the flamingo flower, a plant with heart-shaped leaves and a single white petal that sits atop a long narrow stalk.
Common indoor flowering plants that prefer medium light include the Brazilian gloxinia with a bell-shaped petal, fuzzy leaves and very short stems; the moth orchid, which has leathery textured leaves at its base and a small collection of flowers along its elongated stem; and the jewel orchid, a small orchid with small white flowers and velvety dark green leaves with red veins and undersides.
Common indoor flowering plants that prefer full sunlight include the broom tea tree, a small shrublike plant with small narrow leaves and numerous small flowers, and the shrimp plant, a small shrub plant with hairy leaves and white pendantlike flowers.
Climbing or Trailing Plants
Climbing or trailing plants have to be supported during growth unless they have a built-in means of support as recommended by the "Readers Digest Beginner's Guide to Gardening." Climbing or trailing plants that prefer low natural light include the arrowhead vine, a compact plant with large arrowhead-shaped leaves, and the heartleaf philodendron, a stem rooting vine ideal for hanging baskets.
Common indoor climbing plants that prefer medium natural light include common ivy, a vine that will require support or a hanging basket, and the Swiss cheese plant, with its large glossy green leaves that requires plenty of space to grow.
Common indoor climbing plants prefer high natural light include the mandevilla, a climber with dark green leaves and trumpet-shaped flowers that require support; the blue passion flower, a hardy plant that can reach up to 33 feet in length; and jasmine, a shrub with small, narrow, dark green leaves and scented white flowers.