Almost all large indoor plants grow as trees and shrubs in their natural environment. Many come from the tropics, where they are shaded by the forest canopy and compete with large, hungry trees for nutrients and moisture. Because of these conditions, they have a tough nature that allows them to tolerate low light and occasional neglect. Plants that are grown outdoors will not last long in an indoor environment, so purchase indoor plants from a reputable dealer who sells only plants that are acclimated to indoor growing conditions.
Sometimes called split-leaf philodendron, windowleaf grows up to 70 feet tall when grown as a vine. This tropical rainforest plant has large, glossy, deeply split leaves. Tentacle-like areal roots grow from the stem. Give windowleaf a stake for support. The best support is a moss stick, which is a wooden stake wrapped in sphagnum moss and secured with fishing line or netting. This type of support gives the areal roots a point of attachment from which they can feed. Windowleaf tolerates semi-shade and dry-air growing conditions. It grows best in moderately bright sun exposure. Water before the soil dries out and add liquid house plant fertilizer every 3 to 4 weeks. (Reference 1)
The areca palm, also called yellow palm or cane palm, grows up to 30 feet tall with arching fronds that are 6-feet to 8-feet long. The plant has multiple trunks that grow 2 inches to 3 inches in diameter. Keep the soil moist and add a complete liquid houseplant fertilizer monthly, and provide bright light. (Reference 2)
Crotons have variegated leaves in shades of red, orange and yellow. The leaf shape varies with the variety, but most are long and broad. The leaves add a colorful, exotic touch to floral arrangements. Crotons grow up to 6 feet tall outdoors and are generally smaller indoors. Light that is bright but not direct produces the best leaf colors for this plant. Crotons need more water than most foliage plants, so water before the soil dries out and watch young leaves for signs of wilting. (Reference 3)
Dracaena is a tropical-looking, low-maintenance house plant that grows best in bright light but tolerates low-light conditions. It grows up to 10 feet tall and 2 feet wide. The strap-like foliage is variegated with light colored stripes in many varieties. Water when the soil becomes dry with room-temperature water. Used timed-release fertilizer pellets or feed with a liquid houseplant fertilizer monthly during summer. Cut the plant off at the top if the stem becomes too tall or the foliage becomes sparse. (Reference 4)
Glossy-Leaved Paper Plant
This tropical-looking plant grows up to 6 feet tall indoors. The leaves are up to 16 inches wide with seven to nine deeply cut lobes. It does well in low light. Keep the soil evenly moist in summer and feed with a liquid house plant fertilizer once a month. Reduce watering and discontinue fertilizer applications in winter. Glossy-leaved paper plant produces showy flowers followed by black berries if grown outdoors but rarely flowers indoors.