The Different Kinds of House Plants

There are different kinds of plants that have adapted to live in extreme conditions, from hot, arid deserts to shallow salty marshes. Living indoors is an extreme situation for many plants that can't always grow in the confines of a pot or container that receives limited light. Finding the right house plant is half the challenge of cultivating indoor plants.

Cape Aloe

A member of the lily family, cape aloe (Aloe ferox), also called bitter aloe, is a succulent species of aloe native to the Cape region of South Africa. The plant boasts three-foot dusty blue green leaves, which are tinged red. Cape aloe can be grown indoors if it gets plenty of light. Cape aloe does best if brought outside for the summer and kept indoors the rest of the year. The plant is low maintenance and requires very little care. Plant cape aloe in a well-drained, infertile sandy or rocky soil, and water deeply but infrequently. Water more often during the summer, and almost completely withhold water during the winter.

South American Air Plant

A member of the orpine family, South American air plant (Kalanchoe fedtschenkoi), also called gray sedum, is a perennial succulent species native to Madagascar. The medium-sized plant, which grows to be about two feet tall, sports fleshy scalloped leaves, which are a dull greenish blue color. The plant produces small, unremarkable blooms that are a reddish brown and hang under the leaves. South American air plant is a popular house plant, and will grow well in bright, diffused sunlight. The plant does best in a well-drained, rocky potting mix, with regular watering during the growing season and infrequent watering during the winter. The plant is somewhat drought tolerant, and will hold on for awhile if neglected.

Sweet Basil

Sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum) is an herbaceous annual native to the Mediterranean. The plant is well known for its culinary popularity, and is an important seasoning, particularly in Italian cuisine. Sweet basil requires little effor to yield sweet, edible leaves. Growing up to two feet high, sweet basil boasts lush green foliage with a strong aroma. The plant does best in bright sunlight, in a moist, well-draining soil. Sweet basil should be watered frequently to look and taste its best. The plant is ideal for a sunny spot in the kitchen, and does well in a hanging basket where its leaves can drape over the side.

Keywords: plant kinds, house plants, plant types

About this Author

Michelle Wishhart is a writer based out of Astoria, Ore. She has been writing professionally for five years, starting with her position as a staff arts writer for an alternative weekly paper in Santa Cruz. She has a B.A. in fine arts from the University of California in Santa Cruz and a minor in English literature.