The Q&A Archives: House Plant Help

Question: I live in an apartment and I am hesitant to put plants on my patio because I have had some stolen. I would like to have them on the inside, but I don't really get a lot os sunlight coming in. What kinds of plants can I get?
thank you

Answer: There are lots of plants you can grow inside and you'll want to make your choices depending upon the amount of light the plants will need. The following plants will grow in low light conditions:

Aglaonema (Chinese Evergreen)
Chamaedorea elegans (Neanthe Bella Palm, Parlor Palm)
Nephrolepsis exaltata (Boston Fern)
Philodendron scandens var. oxycardium (Heart Leaf Philodrendron)
Sansevieria trifasciata (Mother-In-Law's Tongue, Snake Plant)
Spathiphyllum sp. (White Flag)

medium light
Anthurium sp. (Anthurium)
Ardesia crispa (Coralberry)
Asparagus densiflora 'Sprengeri' (Asparagus Fern)
Asplenium nidus (Bird's Nest Fern)
Begonia sp. (Begonia)
Chlorophytum comosum (Spider Plant)
Cissus rhombifolia (Grape Ivy)
Cordyline terminalis (Ti Plant)
Cycas revolute (Sago Palm)
Dieffenbachia amoena (Dumb Cane)
Dracaena (Dracaena)
Ficus elastica 'Decora' (Rubber Plant)
Ficus lyrata (Fiddle Leaf Fig)
Maranta sp. (Prayer Plant)
Peperomia obtusifolia (Peperomia)
Platycerium bifurcatum (Staghorn Fern)
Pleomele reflexa (Pleomele)
Schefflera actinophylla (Brassaia actinophylla) (Umbrella Tree)
Schefflera arboricola (Hawaiian Schefflera)
Scindapsus aureus (Pothos)
Syngonium podophyllum (Nephthytis)
Tolmiea menziesii (Piggyback Plant)
Tradescantia zebrine (Inch Plant)

bright light

Aphelandra squarrosa (Zebra Plant)
Araucaria heterophylla (Norfolk Island Pine)
Beaucarnea recurvata (Pony Tail Palm)
Crassula argentea (Jade Plant)
Dizygotheca elegantissima (False Aralia)
Euphorbia millii splendens (Crown of Thorns)
Ficus benjamina (Weeping Fig)
Gynura aurantiaca (Purple Passion Plant)
Hedera helix (English Ivy)
Helxine soleirolii (Baby Tears)
Hoya carnosa (Wax Plant)
Pittosporum tobira (Pittosporum)
Podocarpus macrophyllus (Podocarpus)

Many houseplants suffer from too much or too little water. Often people want to adhere to a schedule, but this usually does not work. Several factors influence the frequency of watering, including type of plant, temperature, humidity, light, pot size, plant size, potting mix and drainage. The best method for determining when to water is to test the soil with your finger to a depth of two inches. If the soil is dry, it probably needs to be watered. Check your plant regularly. Wilting plants often indicate they need water, but sometimes it can be a symptom of over-watering.

Take care not to over-fertilize your plants. Plants should be fertilized only when they are actively growing.

Most houseplants will not need to be fertilized more than once every 1 ? 3 months, between March and September. During the short days of winter, plants experience a rest period and usually need very little or no additional fertilizer. This schedule is sufficient to maintain their health.

If you fertilize more frequently, the plants may outgrow their pots and space too soon. Also, plants may be damaged with too much fertilizer, especially when their growth rate is slowed in dim light. Too much fertilizer can burn roots.

We recommend a commercially available fertilizer. Specially labeled fertilizers for houseplants work well. A good ratio to choose is a 1:2:1, such as 5-10-5 or 10-20-10. Also a balanced ratio is good, such as 10-10-10. Follow the directions on the label. Never use a stronger mixture than what is recommended.

Fertilizers may be liquid, powder or tablet. Also, slow-release forms can be mixed into the potting soil at planting time or applied to the surface. Most last 3-4 months.

Best wishes with your new houseplants!

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