Houseplants may be used as accents and decorations to brighten up any room in the home, but some thought should be put into which plants to choose.
According to Prevention Magazine, there are numerous health benefits to having certain houseplants in the home. On the other hand, the University of Nebraska warns that some common houseplants can be toxic to children and pets. As a result, homeowners should consider their environment, as well as the pets and people who will occupy that environment, when choosing a houseplant.
Nephrolepis exalta, commonly referred to as the "Boston" fern, originated in Central America but became popular in the United States during the mid-1800s. Boston ferns can grow to be between 2 and 5 feet tall. However, they have an aggressive root system that can become root-bound, thereby requiring repotting. According to the University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension, Boston ferns are nontoxic.
Boston ferns prefer a consistent environment with high humidity and temperatures in the low 70s. Some varieties do well on decks and porches during the spring and summer months and can be brought inside during the autumn and winter months. They require little attention beyond maintaining a consistent moisture level in the soil.
Peace lilies are popular houseplants because they can tolerate low-light environments and still maintain their deep green, glossy leaves all year long. This plant will produce lovely white, spade-like blossoms when exposed to bright light. There is a wide variety of peace lilies, each with its own characteristics. They come in petite, medium and large sizes, making them appropriate for small accents in pots as small as 6 inches to major centerpieces. Peace lilies need bright light to bloom, but they do not do well in direct sunlight.
Poinsettias are sometimes referred to as "Christmas flowers" because of their ubiquitous presence in stores and as decorations during that holiday season. Poinsettias are native to Mexico (The Aztecs used parts of the poinsettia plant to make a reddish-purple dye), but they are grown commercially throughout the United States.
According to the University of Illinois Extension, poinsettias are the most-popular flowering potted plant in the United States, but they can be finicky to maintain. They need approximately six hours of indirect sunlight each day and prefer temperatures in the 60-to-70-degree range.
The University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension states that reports regarding this plant's toxicity are greatly exaggerated. The University of Illinois Extension agrees that the poinsettia is not toxic, but it also states that the plant's sap may cause skin irritation.