Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

Indoor Potted Plant Identification

By Cecile LeBlanc
Indoor potted plants
regentag 2 image by Melanie Vollmert from Fotolia.com

Thousands of plants have been cultivated to grow indoors. Identifying house plants requires looking closely at their overall appearance and growth habits.

Flowering or Not

striated orchid image by Earl Robbins from Fotolia.com

Some house plants have been cultivated for their flowers. In these cases, such as orchids, flowers will be the main method of identification. Some plants, such as philodendrons, will be identified by their foliage.


Aloe Plant by Window image by kellykramer from Fotolia.com

Succulents are a popular group of house plants known for fleshy leaves or stems. Succulents grow in many forms including compact florets, clumps of sword-shaped leaves and regular stem and leaf form. Aloe and jade plant are two examples.


Christmas cactus flower
amaranthin flowers of "december" pot plant image by Maria Brzostowska from Fotolia.com

Desert cacti are easy to identify with spines, needles or hooks coming from fleshy stems. Forest cacti, or Christmas cacti, have smooth, fleshy stems with brilliant flowers.


Fern leaves
fern image by Alistair Dick from Fotolia.com

Some ferns have sword- or button- shaped leaves, while others have the more typical finely divided delicate fern leaves.


calathea zebrina image by Alison Bowden from Fotolia.com

Climbers will send out runners or tendrils as they grow. Zebrina and English ivy are two examples of climbers.

Small to Large

coleus image by Keith Pinto from Fotolia.com

Houseplants have different growth habits. Coleus is an example of an herb-like or small growth habit, coffee plant is a bush and some indoor palm varieties grow to tree-size.


About the Author


Cecile LeBlanc, from Flagstaff, Ariz., has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has been published in the “Arizona Daily Sun” and “Flagstaff Business News” newspapers and “Mountain Living” magazine and “Scholastic Science Magazine.” She has an M.S. degree in ecology from U.C. Davis.