With adequate light and the right plant care, your indoor garden can be just as varied and interesting as your outdoor garden. What's more, because the climate is controlled and warmer during the nights, you even have some tropical plants at your disposal. Plant a mix of smaller, medium and tall floor plants for best results.
Aspidistra, or the aptly named cast-iron plant, is sturdy and very easy to grow. It is an upright, arching plant with tough, glossy, dark green leaves which grow 1 to 2 1/2 feet long and 3 to 4 inches wide. Aspidistra is tolerant of low light or even very shaded light and dry air, but it prefers high humidity and cool temperatures. Keep the plant constantly moist and fertilized in the spring and summer. It's a long-lived plant that is great for a beginning gardener.
With its interesting canes and feathery leaves, bamboo is a wonderful plant that is just too difficult to contain when planted outdoors; however, it provides a graceful tall structure for an indoor garden. Chinese goddess bamboo, or Bamsusa multiplex riviereorum, grows in a dense clump from 4 to 6 feet tall and does need a wide space. It does best with cool temperatures and bright light.
Clivia, or the kaffir lily, is native to South Africa and is grown indoors for its brilliant clusters of orange, funnel-shaped flowers that grow on long stems and bloom from December to April. The plant has dark green, bladelike leaves 1 to 1 1/2 feet long. Clivia likes rich soil, bright indirect light and crowded roots. Fertilize clivia two or three times during the growing season.
The wide, pointed and variegated leaves of dieffenbachia, or mother-in-law plant, provide a nice contrast to the feathery fronds of either bamboo or palms. It can grow to 6 feet tall but is normally purchased as a smaller plant of 2 to 3 feet. Dieffenbachia likes filtered light and average humidity.
Dracaena has blade-like or curved, ribbon-like long leaves growing in a graceful fountain shape. Most varieties are slow-growing and will tolerate low light and infrequent watering but do best with bright light to maintain bright color. Some varieties have long white streaks on the leaves and others have yellow, chartreuse or red shading. The godseffuaba variety, native to western Africa, is the most frequently grown indoor variety.
There are a number of palms that make great floor houseplants, but the chamaedorea elegans, native to tropical America, is an easy one to grow as a houseplant. It has a single trunk and feathery fronds and grows to 4 feet with fronds that are 3 to 4 feet long. The palm can tolerate crowded roots and poor light and does well with regular feeding.