University of Georgia
Indoor plants make an aesthetically pleasing addition to any home décor while cleaning the air and getting rid of pollutants. Many plants can survive indoors, but with the help of University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, you can make sure your indoor plants grow and stay healthy.
Plants that grow well indoors
The best kinds of plants to keep in a home are those that can thrive in small amounts of light.
“Plants that are adapted to low-light conditions and only need a small amount of light work best indoors,” says Bodie Pennisi, a UGA Extension horticulturalist. Interiorscape plants like ficus, peace lily, aglaonema, philodendron and ivy all grow well indoors with low lighting.
Although it is better for plants to live in warm conditions rather than cold, indoor plants like those above are fine at room temperature and do best when they are by windows. Plants undergo limited photosynthesis indoors and should be placed near eastern or western windows, which provide the most sunlight, says Pennisi.
Containers and watering
Selecting the right container for indoor plants is also vital to their survival. Containers made of plastic, terracotta or clay are all good for indoor plants.
More importantly, choosing the right size pot for the size of your plant will help it stay healthy. Adequate space allows plenty of room for roots to spread and grow. If a pot is too small it may restrict roots and limit top growth.
It is also important for the pots to drain well and have some kind of vessel to catch excess water.
Poorly draining pots can cause root problems and fungi due to excess moisture and poor aeration. This causes stress, hinders proper growth and may eventually cause a plant to die. Pots with draining holes help reduce the damage caused by too much water.
The most common way people kill plants is from overwatering, Pennisi says. In fact, it’s better to underwater rather than overwater and flood the plant. If a plant is actively growing, water and fertilize it regularly, or one to two times per week. If the plant is not growing actively and staying close to the same size, it can be watered less.
When a plant is growing successfully, it may eventually outgrow its planter and need to be repotted.
“If the plant is too large for the pot, the root system will circle around the bottom of the pot and become root bound,” Pennisi says. “If the plant is too large for the pot, the plant may also tip over.”
Healthy plants make healthy homes
Plants not only provide an aesthetically pleasing addition to a home, research shows they purify the air and get rid of VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, too.
“Plants absorb VOCs and pollutants and metabolize them in their leaves and soil, cleaning the air,” Pennisi says.
(Allie Byrd is a writer with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)