Have a Green House

Charlie ThigpenEnjoy Easy Indoor Plants. 

by Charlie Thigpen   

Photography by Chuck St. John   


If your home is looking empty after removing all the holiday garland, you might want to invest in a few interior plants to fill the space. Houseplants will make your home more attractive, and these living plants purify the air and remove toxins. In fact, research shows that hospital patients with indoor plants in their rooms reported lower stress levels than patients without plants. So if plants make your home more beautiful, purify the air, and reduce stress, then the little bit of maintenance required to grow them is well worth the effort.


Know Before You Grow

All plants need light, but some need less than others. Before you buy an interior plant, know its light requirements. Put a sun-loving plant in a dark room, and you’ll soon have a dead plant. Also, know a plant’s water requirement and try to get on a watering schedule. Most plants need water no more than once per week, but a few plants, such as ZZ plant or Lemon-Lime Dracaena, might need water only once every two to three weeks. A reputable plant dealer will be able to guide you on a plant’s light and water needs.


Need Some Height? 

A couple of trees that work well indoors are Ficus Alii and fiddle-leaf fig. Both trees need to be placed in areas that receive several hours of sunlight daily. Ficus Alii has long, narrow leaves and the fiddle-leaf fig, also in the Ficus family, has large, fiddle-shaped foliage. Both trees can make a statement and add height to your home’s interior.


Mid-Sized Plants 

Aglaonema or Chinese evergreens are low-light foliage plants that typically have variegated green and silver leaves. There are many different selections and all are outstanding air purifiers. ZZ plant, often called “easy ZZ,” sports glossy, deep, green leaves. It will thrive in low light situations and requires very little water. Lemon-Lime Dracaena has chartreuse and green margins that run through the leaf. They also call for infrequent watering and moderate light.


Low Growers and Trailers

Not many ferns do very well in the home since most need high humidity, but the rabbit foot fern is happy indoors when kept evenly moist and given moderate light. This fern gets its name from the fuzzy runners that tend to creep over the edge of its pot. Neon and Satin pothos are creeping or trailing plants that are simple to grow. Neon has bright chartreuse foliage and Satin has green and silver leaves.


Want Some Color?

Bromeliads can have red, orange, purple, or yellow blooms that are long-lasting. They also have bold foliage. Most plants purify the air during the day, but bromeliads release oxygen at night, making them great plants for a bedroom. The Phalaenopsis orchid, sometimes called the beginner’s orchid, also produces long-lasting, elegant blooms. Water them once weekly and place them close to an east-facing window, and you can enjoy flowers for six to eight weeks. Fittonia, also called nerve plant, has small, discrete clusters of white blooms, but its beauty lies in its showy, variegated foliage. The leaves can have bright pink, red, or white venation. This small foliage plant works well in small planters or baskets for a little pop of color.


All the plants mentioned above are easy to grow when placed in the right environment. Try a few of them, and enjoy the beauty, clean air, and sense of calm that they can bring to you and your home.

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