House plants are an inexpensive and creative way to brighten up an indoor space, providing color and liveliness that can't be beat by a framed photograph or painting. All too often, people dispose of their house plants at the first sign of wilting or drooping. If cared for properly however, many indoor house plant varieties will live for years.
A member of the lily family, iron plant (Aspidistra elatior) is a tough foliage plant that can handle most indoor conditions. A native of China, iron plant is notable for its lustrous, dark green leaves, which are about 1 1/2 feet long. Some varieties may boast variegated green and cream leaves, or leaves flecked with gold. Also called "cast iron plant" for its resilience, iron plant will handle quite a bit of neglect in the home. The plant grows best in indirect or filtered sunlight, and will tolerate low levels of light. Cultivate iron plant in a loose, fertile soil and water occasionally. Move to a dimmer location if the leaves begin to look bleached or washed out.
Angel wings (Caladium bicolor) is a distinct looking perennial that boasts heart-shaped or elephant-shaped leaves that are a shade of variegated red and green. Angel wings grow to be between 1 to 3 feet tall, with leaves that cascade over the side of the pot. Also called "heart of Jesus," angel wings is a popular tropical house plant that will thrive in a lightly shaded location of the house. Plant angel wings in a slightly acidic potting soil, and water regularly. You may wish to increase humidity for the plant by putting it over a tray of pebbles and water. Check occasionally for spider mites and aphids, which you can easily wash off with soapy water.
Mexican petunia (Ruellia brittoniana) is a frost-tender evergreen perennial native to Mexico. The plant sports long, dull green leaves accented by floppy flowers in a range of colors from white to pale blue, pink or lavender. Mexican petunias grow to be about 3 feet tall. Though notorious for becoming invasive in moist, outdoor situations, Mexican petunias may be grown as a low maintenance containerized house plant. Place the plant in a sunny location of the house, in a fertile, well draining soil. Water the petunia plant frequently, enough to keep the soil consistently moist to the touch.