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How to Identify Leaves of House Plants

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How to Identify Leaves of House Plants

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Overview

Houseplants are a pleasure for many homemakers, and the National Gardening Association reports that 35 percent of homes grew houseplants in 2006. Houseplants clean the air, add humidity and improve the mood as well as the appearance of a room. The large-leaf plants seem to be most beneficial, says Linda Goldfarb on Christian Broadcasting Network. Identification of indoor plants is essential to proper care. Identify houseplants by leaves and enjoy all the benefits of growing plants indoors.

Step 1

Look at the leaf for the type of plant. If you can identify a category, you can shortcut the identification process. Decide if your plant is a succulent or cactus variety by looking for fat thick leaves that hold water. Look for special identifiers such as colored leaves in coleus, variegated leaves in variegated periwinkle (vinca), or spotted leaves such as in the polka-dot plant (hypoestes). Also check to see if the leaves are fuzzy as in African violets or saxifrage.

Step 2

Determine if your plant is a shrub such as dieffenbachia, a tree such as a Norfolk Pine, or a small houseplant. In addition, if you know that it blooms, you may be able to determine the name of the plant from the color of the bloom.

Step 3

Check online at sites like Gflora and North Carolina State University for pictures of leaves of common houseplants. Remember that most houseplants are tropical plants, so a tropical plant website may have identification of plants you need.

Step 4

Use the public library to look in the books to identify the common houseplants. Many horticulture books and gardening books have sections on indoor plants with photographs and instructions for care. A book gives the benefits of identification and care all in one location.

Step 5

Take a leaf of the houseplant to your nearest nursery or garden center and ask for help with identification. You may even be able to match the plant there, and many plant lovers work in the field.

Step 6

Ask in an online forum such as the University of British Columbia Botanical Garden. Click on "Today's Posts" to get to the current information, or "Review Archives" for older posts. Some forums encourage questions, and plant lovers seem to enjoy answering identification questions.

References

  • North Carolina State University: Cooperative Extension Service: Hort on the Internet: Houseplants
  • Gflora: The Encyclopedia of House Plants
  • Plant Care Encyclopedia: Plant Encyclopedia Database
  • Christian Broadcasting Network: Health: Houseplants

Who Can Help

  • National Gardening Association: National Garden Month: Houseplants
  • University of British Colombia Botanical Garden: UBC Botanical Garden Forums
  • Union County College: Plant of the Week
Keywords: houseplant leaf identification, identify house plants, identify houseplant leaves

About this Author

An antiques appraiser with a specialty in pottery, porcelain and glass, Linda Richard has contributed photos and information for several publications in her area of expertise. She has worked in legal research and medico-legal writing for 25 years, and has been working online for the last 12 years.

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