How to Identify Large House Plants


Large house plants bring the natural world indoors and can create dramatic visual statements in open rooms. These plants include bushes, vines and small trees. Good nurseries often carry an ample selection of large house plants and can advise gardeners on their proper care. House plants vary considerably in the amount of light, humidity and water they need to thrive. Gardeners should select plants based on the amount of light available in their home garden setting.

Step 1

Examine the plant's growth habits. Several large house plants are actually small trees, such as the Ficus Benjamina, or "Weeping Fig," the Umbrella tree or the Money tree. Dwarf citrus trees such as the Meyer lemon or Calomondin orange trees are identified by their fruit, as well.

Step 2

Examine the plant's foliage. Large palms make attractive house plants and have multiple, feathery leaves on long stems. Ferns have similar foliage, although the leaves are usually shorter and wider. Norfolk Island pine has evergreen needles. The leaves of the dieffenbachia are large, elongated ovals and are glossy green or variegated.

Step 3

Inspect the plant for flowers or other unique attributes. The silver vase plant grows to 3 feet high and produces pink, spiky bracts followed by purple flowers. Angel-wing begonias grow 6 feet high and produce clusters of pink, white or red blooms. Anthurium produces red, heart-shaped flowers with protruding red tongues. Flowering maple produces orange or yellow trumpet-shaped blossoms that resemble honeysuckle.

Step 4

Identify the light requirements of the plant. Philodendrons, peace lilies dieffenbachia and dracaena require minimal to moderate light. Ficus benjamina, flowering plants and most palms require moderate to intense light to thrive.

Tips and Warnings

  • Some houseplants are poisonous, causing skin rashes, upset stomach or allergic reactions. Keep poisonous plants such as dieffenbachia, philodendron and fishtail palm away from children and pets.


  • "The Garden Primer"; Barbara Damrosch; 1988
  • North Dakota State University Extension: Interior Plantscaping with Large Houseplants
  • Better Homes and Gardens: 24 Beautiful Blooming Houseplants
  • University of Connecticut Home and Garden Education Center: Safe and Poisonous Houseplants

Who Can Help

  • Texas A&M University: House Plants
Keywords: identify large houseplants, grow large houseplants, large houseplant variety

About this Author

Julie Christensen has been writing professionally since 2001. She is a full-time freelance writer and former teacher with writing credits from several regional and national publications, such as Colorado Parent and LDS Living. She specializes in parenting, education and gardening topics. Christensen studied early childhood education at Ricks College, and spent 20 years as a teacher and director in university and public school settings.

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