There are numerous common potted plants available to brighten up the home, outdoor areas or a container garden. Many have been selected over time in part because of their abundant production, consistent performance and ease of care. These plants can be a success in almost any setting with just a few key requirements met.
The poinsettia is one of the most popular seasonal plants. Often associated with the Christmas holiday, these decorative plants are mistakenly believed to be poisonous, but the Ohio State University Extension assures the public that the plants are a safe addition to their holiday celebration. When choosing a poinsettia for your home, select plants that are fresh in appearance--with no wilt and with color in all of the leaves and flowers. Protect your plant from the cold during transportation. The University of Illinois Extension recommends you avoid fertilizing the plant until after it has finished blooming and water it only when the soil dries.
African violets are well-adapted to growing indoors and will bloom for years. They have minimal requirements for upkeep, mainly needing only light and water. The University of Missouri Extension suggests applications of a diluted form of fertilizer high in phosphorus be used at each watering to keep the plants at their best and eliminate the worry of overfeeding.
The wandering Jew grows with speed. According to the University of Florida Extension, the plants have the ability to root wherever they touch the soil, making them easy to propagate and share, or to expand your home collection from a single starter. This plant prefers shade, making it a good choice for a covered porch or spots in the home where sunny window space is at a premium. The plant will reward you with a cascade of foliage, readily identified by its purple and green leaves, striped in silver.
The Boston fern also likes indirect light, making it another option for shady spots. The plant rarely needs fertilizing, but does like a moist soil. The University of Florida reminds home gardeners that many cultivars are available, offering a choice in growth rate, size and appearance.
Cacti and Succulents
Care of Christmas cacti requires some backwards logic, according to the Purdue University Extension Horticulturist. These plants prefer cooler temperatures and are less drought tolerant than other cacti. The plant can sometimes be delicate, with issues of wilt, bud fall and burn from direct sunlight. Holiday cacti bloom during other popular holidays. You may wish to expand your collection to include several for blooms throughout the year.
Jade plant is popular because it is a long lived houseplant with few disease issues. The plants will tolerate being root bound, but need full sun and good drainage. As a succulent, proper watering is critical to the Jade plant's condition. It does well outdoors during temperate weather and can be moved between indoor and outdoor environments.