The Texas A&M University Extension office cautions against using tropical plants for indoor settings. These plants, while tolerant of heat, are not well suited for the average home conditions presented in Texas. Instead, choosing the best indoor plants relies on examining your available space, lighting and time that can be devoted to the care of the plants. Choose plants based on a certain set of requirements and your own aesthetic preferences. The best indoor plants are the ones that meet your individual needs.
Strawberry geranium, Saxifraga sarmentosa, is native to low altitude rocky, shaded cliffs in Asia. These conditions are hard to replicate outdoors in most areas of Texas, but the strawberry geranium is a solid indoor plant choice. This plant is also called the strawberry begonia, though the common names are something of a misnomer - Saxifraga sarmentosa is neither a member of the geranium or begonia families. The strawberry begonia's distinct, oddly shaped white and yellow flowers appeal to many gardeners. This plant does best in well-drained soil, moderate temperatures and partial shade to bright, indirect sunlight.
The friendship plant, Philea involucrata, grows to about 1 foot in height. Native to central and south America, the friendship plant is so named because it is extremely easy to propogate from cuttings, which can then be distributed to other gardeners. The leaves of this plant are highly textured, with shades of gold, purple and bronze marking the dark green background. Friendship plants thrive in partial shade, moderate moisture and high humidity. It grows up to 1 foot in height and is relatively fragile for a house plant, and should not be moved frequently. The friendship plant is considered a relatively low maintenance indoor plant listed by Texas A&M as perfect for average indoor home conditions.
The lemon cactus, also called the Barbados shrub and lemon vine, is believed by some to be the ancient ancestor of all cacti. A waxy climbing vine, the lemon cactus has sharp, spiny leaves and grows to heights of 30 to 40 feet when left uncut. Thriving in USDA hardiness zones nine through 11, the lemon cactus produces bright white or pale yellow blooms. An abundance of fragrant flowers appear in late summer or early fall, particularly when the plant is grown under optimal conditions. Optimal conditions for the lemon cactus include full sun to mild shade, well drained soil and dry conditions. This plant requires little to no care and prefers temperatures from 70 to 99 degrees in the daytime.