How to Care for Tropical Houseplants


Growing tropical houseplants is an effective way to beautify a home as well as purifying and freshening indoor air. Although there are many different types of tropical houseplants, they all come from warm, humid environments and have many similar requirements. The key to keeping tropical houseplants green and lush is to replicate their natural environment as much as possible.

Step 1

Place tropical houseplants where they will be exposed to bright but filtered light. Tropical plants are naturally accustomed to rain forests, where they are partially shaded by taller growth. Too much direct sunlight can scorch the leaves. Put them 3 to 4 feet away from a bright window, or shade the window lightly with a sheer curtain.

Step 2

Keep the room temperature between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Although tropical houseplants can survive in temperatures as low as 55 F, growth will be stunted. Avoid putting tropical houseplants near drafty doors or window, air conditioner vents, fireplaces or heat registers.

Step 3

Provide tropical houseplants with a humid environment. If the room is dry, place the tropical houseplant on a tray or plate filled with pebbles and water. Put the planting container on the pebbles, and keep the pebbles wet, but don't allow the water to touch the bottom of the container. Allowing tropical houseplants to sit in water can cause root rot.

Step 4

Water tropical houseplants according to the instructions on the tag. If your tropical houseplant didn't come with a tag, a good rule of thumb is to water only when the top of the soil feels dry to the touch. Never overwater tropical plants because too much moisture can cause root rot. Always water tropical houseplants with room-temperature water.

Step 5

Feed tropical houseplants once a month during spring and summer, using a water-soluble houseplant fertilizer. During fall and winter, water only once every other month. Or if you prefer, you can fertilize the plant with a slow-release fertilizer every two to three months.

Things You'll Need

  • Tray or plate
  • Pebbles
  • Water
  • Water-soluble fertilizer or slow-release fertilizer


  • West Virginia University: Caring for Houseplants
  • University of Georgia: Growing Indoor Plants with Success
  • GardeningKnowHow: Care of Houseplants: The Basics of Growing Houseplants
Keywords: tropical houseplants, tropical house plants, growing tropical houseplants

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.