The Q&A Archives: House Plants

Question: What are the best kind of house plants to buy that do not need alot of attention, and that stay green all year around?

Answer: The houseplants you choose should be those that thrive under the light conditions you can provide. Here are a few suggestions for different kinds of lighting conditions:

Low light:
Aglaonema 'Emerald Star'
One of the best plants for poorly lit spaces, the Chinese evergreen bears dark green leaves, 1? feet long and 5 inches wide, in clumps 2 to 3 feet tall. For variegated leaves, choose A. 'Silver King' or A. 'Silver Queen' with silver markings; A. 'Emerald Star' has gold splashes.

Aspidistra elatior
As its common name implies, cast-iron plant is a real toughie and very drought-tolerant. Bearing glossy dark green leaves, 1 to 2? feet long and 3 to 4 inches wide, cast-iron plant may eventually reach 3 feet tall. Plants with white- or gold-variegated leaves are available.

Rhapis excelsa
The lady palm grows slowly to a height of 5 to 12 feet, bearing clumps of fanlike fronds up to 14 inches wide. It tolerates moderate to low light. Even 3- to 4-foot-tall specimens can be rather expensive.

Spathiphyllum 'Domino'
One of the few plants that blooms reliably indoors. It bears long-stemmed white flowers resembling calla lilies or anthuriums. Glossy deep green oval or elliptical leaves grow up to 18 inches long and 5 inches wide. Among named varieties, look for S. 'Mauna Loa' (3? feet tall), S. 'Sensation' (2? feet), and a new hybrid, S. 'Domino' (2? feet), with white-streaked leaves.

Bright light:
Calathea majestica 'Roseolineata'
Prayer plant's leaves curl up at night, like hands folded in prayer. Up to 9 inches long and 5 inches wide, the leaves have pale pink stripes on glossy dark green leaves with purple undersides. The plant reaches 28 inches tall.

Dracaena deremensis 'Janet Craig Compacta'
Shiny dark green leaves, 8 inches long and 2 inches wide, resemble the top of a pineapple. The species reaches 6 feet or taller; the dwarf form D. d. 'Janet Craig Compacta' grows to only 20 inches.

Dracaena marginata
Prized for its sculptural form, this plant's erect stems eventually reach 12 feet tall. Spiky leaves, up to 2 feet long and ? inch wide, are glossy green with purplish red margins; rainbow dracaena ( D. m. 'Tricolor') has a gold stripe.

Peperomia obtusifolia
Trailing peperomia forms a compact bouquet of foliage. Rounded leaves, up to 3 inches wide, have creamy gold and green variegations.

Best wishes with your new houseplants!

« Click to go to the homepage

» Ask a question of your own

Q&A Library Searching Tips

  • When singular and plural spellings differ, as in peony and peonies, try both.
  • Search terms are not case sensitive.

Today's site banner is by Marilyn and is called "Southern Comfort"