How to Grow Small and Easy Houseplants


Small, indoor plants are good plants for beginning gardeners or for individuals who do not have the space outside for a garden. The health of these plants will depend on several factors in the home, such as amount of light they will receive, humidity and how often you will water them. Indoor plants will still need a degree of attention in order for them to grow and survive. There are several hardy varieties of small plants that can grow inside and require little maintenance. Two good ones to try are African violets and maidenhair ferns. Even with indoor plants, each species can require a different level of care.

African Violets

Step 1

Place your African violets in an area that receives eight to 12 hours of bright, indirect light. A countertop near a bright window or sliding glass door is a good place for African violets. Choose a location that is about three feet from a southeast- or west-facing window.

Step 2

Fill a small tray with water and pebbles or small gravel to increase the humidity around your violets. Nighttime temperatures should be around 60 to 80 degrees F. Place them in an air-conditioned room in the summer.

Step 3

Water your violets when the soil becomes dry. Do not allow the flowers to wilt or the soil to become hard. According to the University of Florida Extension, you can water your African violets from the top or the bottom. If you water from the top, apply the water directly to the soil. Do not allow the water to get on the leaves of the violet or they will spot. You should have drainage holes so the water will drain out. To water from the bottom, place your violets in a tray or container with an inch of water. Remove the violets from the tray when the soil becomes moist to allow it to drain. The water should be room temperature or slightly warmer.

Step 4

Mix a 20-20-20, water-soluble fertilizer and mix it at one-quarter of the recommended strength on the container. The amount to be mixed will depend on the brand of fertilizer that you choose. If the fertilizer calls for 1 tsp. of fertilizer you will mix 1/4 tsp. Water with this mixture each time you water your violets.

Maidenhair Ferns

Step 1

Choose a location that receives indirect lighting for your fern. An east-facing window is the perfect location for your fern. Bathrooms are ideal places for ferns because they will enjoy the humidity, as long as there is enough light. Misting the plant once a week with water can also provide enough humidity.

Step 2

Water the plant when the soil is dry to the touch. Use just enough water to make the soil moist. Over-watering can cause root damage and too little water can cause the plant to wilt and eventually die.

Step 3

Apply a 10-10-10 liquid houseplant fertilizer at half of the recommended dosage. Dilute the fertilizer with equal parts of water and apply about 1/4 cup. Fertilizer should be applied every month from April to September.

Things You'll Need

  • FertilizerrnPebbles


  • This Old House: Houseplants for People Who Can't Grow Houseplants
  • Galt: Best Houseplants
  • University of Florida: African Violet
  • University of Vermont: Growing Ferns
Keywords: small indoor plants, growing indoor plants, small plants

About this Author

Melody Dawn has been writing since 2004. Her work has appeared in the "Gainesville Times" and her writing focuses on topics about gardening, business and education. She is a member of the Society for Professional Journalists. Dawn holds a Master of Business and is working on a Master of Journalism from the University of Tennessee.