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Choosing a Houseplant

Updated on March 21, 2011

Houseplants are commonly kept for their attractive foliage and flowers. They have had a remarkable rise in popularity, both as a decorative aid and as an absorbing hobby. Success with houseplants, often ascribed to a "green thumb," is actually earned by providing them with "indoor weather" that suits their natural preferences. Add to this a reasonable diligence about maintenance, and good results are assured.

Choosing a Houseplant

It is best to begin a collection of houseplants with plants of easy culture that are well adapted to the available growing conditions. After having success with "easy-growing" plants, such as philodendrons, the indoor gardener is usually ready to try his hand with showier, more demanding plants. To assure healthy growth of such plants, it is often necessary to adjust the available light, humidity, or temperature. Plants that originated in the tropics adapt well to the warm temperatures that prevail in modern homes. There is, however, considerable variation in their preferences as to night temperatures, light, and humidity. Tropical rain forest plants grow well in environments with high temperatures, low light, and high humidity, while upland tropical plants prefer cooler nights, stronger light, and moderate humidity.

Before buying a plant, you should learn its botanical name, for its common name may be used for several different plants. Knowing the correct name of a plant enables one to learn about its culture by consulting a reference book or a plant dealer.

Before buying, you should examine the plant for insects and diseases. This does not mean, however, that you should always reject a plant because it has a few yellow leaves, for all plants lose old leaves now and then. If the plant is bought on a cold day, it should be wrapped well to prevent it from being nipped by frost on the way home. On a hot day, plants should not be placed in the trunk of a car because they may be damaged by heat.


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    • Golfgal profile image

      Golfgal 7 years ago from McKinney, Texas

      From one green thumb to another. hooya.