Translated by Nick R
Would you like to have different types of plants at home? There is a wide variety both to consume and to decorate. Do not wait any longer to have the plants that will bring life and a very striking appearance to your home.
In this blog you will find 5 types of indoor plants. I´ll tell you about the characteristics of each one, the cares they need and how you should sow them. Don’t wait any longer to have the plants that you always wished in your house.
Table of Contents
Why having indoor plants?
These plants are those that over time have been adapting to be cultivated in unnatural environments and in special conditions. These plants are those that over time have been adapting and growing in an unnatural environment and in special conditions. Nowadays circumstances in which people live, such as city stress, air pollution, and others, have increased the interest in having a piece of nature in the home.
Besides, having plants at home can offer great benefits beyond giving color and life to your place.
- They work as natural flavorings; in this way you can avoid the use of artificial flavors that may not be very durable but large pollutants.
- The shapes, textures and colors variety of indoor plants will allow you to combine them in your home and achieve some very satisfactory decoration effects.
- Improve your mood. Caring, watering, pruning, watching your plants grow and bloom can help you reduce affections like depression.
- They purify the air, as photosynthesis allows them to absorb carbon dioxide and convert it into oxygen. In this way, clean energy is created which is necessary for the respiratory process. In addition, they reduce and combat pollution by absorbing harmful gases and transforming them into nutrients.
- They have a wide range of species and varieties that require different degrees of dedication. This will help you to know which plants are suitable for the time you have and want to spend on them.
- Plants moisten the air, thus helping skin moisturize.
- They can provide you with relaxation and calmness thanks to their bright colors. While flowers aroma and green plants, boost the emotional mood. This way you can also increase your concentration and improve creativity.
Basic care to keep in mind before planting your plants
For your indoor plants to be in optimal condition, you must take into account their needs. Classified into lighting, temperature, humidity, irrigation, fertilizers, substrate and transplant.
Light is a fundamental factor for your plants because thanks to it they can perform photosynthesis. Without the necessary light they risk not being able to transform nutrients into organic matter, thus they won’t be able to grow and eventually die.
But don’t be alarmed, even if they require natural light, in most cases, it should not necessarily be direct. Plants in their natural habitat grow in the shade of others and growing them indoors can give them enough clarity, just as it would in their natural environment.
Keep in mind that, even if it’s not direct sunlight, there are plants, of large leaves and dark colors, that need more lighting than others, usually they have lighter leaves or spots of cream color.
Take into account the season and time of day, as the light intensity changes. Long-day plants need 12 to 16 hours of light to grow and bloom. On the contrary, short-day plants can develop and bloom with less than 12 hours of light.
It is recommended to turn the plants at least 45° every 3 or 4 days so that all their leaves can receive some light. In case you leave for holidays, don’t forget them, ask a friend or family member to look after them while you return.
Here’s how you can spot the plants so they get the needed light.
Ideal for plants that require a good amount of lighting and can withstand direct light. They should be placed near windows with good sunlight and with the help of a curtain you can control the intensity of light during sunshine.
These can be flowering plants or species such as bromeliads, which receive a considerable amount of light in their natural habitat.
In places with this feature, you can place plants with a normal need. These species usually have intense green foliage.
You can place them in a room that has good lighting, but not so close to the window as it could burn.
This is the preferred location for those plants that require very little light. They can be placed in dimly lit rooms, in corridors, or in bathrooms.
It is advisable that they receive some natural light but not too much. The peace lily is a plant that works very well for this type.
A good part of indoor plants come from tropical or subtropical areas, which means that the appropriate temperature to have them at home is between 15 and 21 °C. A plus point is that they can tolerate a few degrees above or below the range.
Something that can damage your plants is heating during the winter. While it increases the temperature, it does not increase the humidity and your plants can get harmed easily.
You can water them with warm water to avoid exposing them to sudden temperature fluctuations. In addition, you should avoid taking the plants outside and currents on colder days, they can be seriously affected.
Humidity is the amount of water vapor contained in the air. This is a characteristic that goes hand in hand with temperature because, if it rises, the plant will need a higher degree of humidity and if it falls, it will require a dry environment.
Most plants need 40% moisture and plants like cacti or succulents require 30% moisture in drier conditions. You can measure the humidity where you’re going to place your plants with a hygrometer. It can be analog or digital.
In houses that are located in areas of a dry climate or that have heating for the winter, the atmosphere water volume decreases. This is why it is recommended to take precautions to avoid damage.
You can install humidifiers, gather several plants in one place to create a suitable microenvironment, sow the plants in substrates with peat or moss moistened, among others.
The lack of moisture weakens the plants, the tips of the leaves can turn brown or wrinkle, their flowers and leaves can detach. Keep the humidity of your plants at the right level and you will have no worries.
Not only should you keep moisture in the environment, but you should also water your plants. It is something simple but requires attention since each plant has a different need for water. If you overdo it, you will cause the roots of the plant to rot.
With experience, you will get used to and know better the needs of your plants. However, you can keep in mind the following indications if you are not yet an expert on the subject.
Less need for irrigation:
- If the temperature is low
- If the substrate is rich in organic matter
- If the silvers are sown in plastic pots as they do not perspire through this material
- If they have thick leaves like succulents
- If you have recently changed pot
More need for irrigation:
- If the temperature is very high, in summer and spring
- If the substrate is rich in sand and poor in organic matter
- If the pots are made of terracotta as the water evaporates through their pores
- If the leaves of plants are thin and large because they sweat more and lose more water
- If the plants are from marshes
It is recommended to water the plants in the morning when the temperature is milder. Watering your plants at noon can be harmful as it is the hottest time of day and would cause a thermal shock to the plant.
You should also avoid watering the plants at night because it retains moisture until the next day and this can cause fungi. Also, the water you use for irrigation should be warm, it can be rainwater or you should let the tap water stand.
If you go on holiday and there is no one to take care of the plant, you can use a self-watering system. You group your plants in a place that has sunlight, whether it’s fresh or warm. In a bowl, add water and place it about 10 cm higher, at a higher level than the plants.
You put the end of a cord into the container and the other end buries it in the substrate of the plant at a depth of 2 or 3 cm. You must use one cord per plant.
Finally, you should avoid leaving your plants waterlogged or submerged in water because it will cause the roots to rot and the plant may die.
In their natural environment, plants receive the nutrients they need to grow from the substrate and environment they are in. However, having the plants inside the house means they won’t receive the organic matter around them.
This is why you should use fertilizers to provide them with the nutrients they need. You can use organic matter, which is compost with organic waste from your home.
You can also use inorganic matter, that is mineral salts, which contribute to the plant flowering, fruiting and growth. In case you don’t have enough time or room to produce your compost, you can buy liquid compost.
They can be found in markets or in nurseries, and you can dose them with the water altogether. On the package, you should see the doses for your plants.
You can find various fertilizer presentations in the market, the important thing is that you follow its indications. Thus you will avoid causing possible burns and other issues to your plants.
The fertilizer contains macronutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, beneficial for plant development. It also contains small parts of micronutrients like iron and sulfur, which also provide nutrients for the plant. Micronutrients are composed of a total of 14 elements.
If your plants do not have the necessary fertilizer can present symptoms such as slow and faded growth, small yellowish leaves, scarce flowers and possible losses of lower leaves.
The substrate is a mixture of soil and other materials including mineral salts and organic matter. As you know, it is where the plant lives and, moreover, it is its food source.
It performs the functions of retaining water, air and provides anchorage to the plant. In the pots, the amount of nutrients is impoverished, so fertilizer must be added.
It is important that you grow your plants indoors in ready-made soil to avoid harmful agents or seeds of other plants.
There is a wide variety of substrates on the market, you must find the right one for each plant. A good part of them consists of peat along with humus, topsoil, fertilizer, and aerating elements such as perlite, vermiculite or sand.
These are the substrate components:
- Humus: is the decomposing organic matter. It is constituted by vegetable remains and is the main element that provides nutrients to the plant.
- Sand: provides porosity to the substrate, reduces density and compactness. It allows oxygen and water to reach the roots and prevents waterlogging.
- Fertilizer: fertilizer that increases the number of nutrients.
- Vermiculite: it’s the inorganic material. It absorbs and retains water and nutrients.
- Perlite: is a very porous, inert and white component. It works as a substrate filler and increases its porosity.
- Manure: is fermented organic matter that provides nutrients to plants.
- Tree bark: pieces of crushed and fermented bark that retain water and fertilizer.
There are 2 types of substrate that combine the components mentioned above:
- Vegetable substrate or humus: or mulch, is soil rich in organic substances. It contains peat, sand and fertilizer, in addition to humus. It is recommended to use them after about 3 months of obtaining the plant.
- Peat substrate: New purchased plants usually come in this substrate, so you can use it to sow the seeds of your plants. It is lightweight and economical and provides moisture to the plant.
It is usually very acid so it carries an acidity corrector. It is advisable that the peat substrate is as neutral as possible.
The substrates, nearly always, include some type of fertilizer, as well as vermiculite or perlite. The fertilizer is released faster into the substrate than into the topsoil and is considered to be applicable to the plant after 6 weeks.
Typically, indoor plants are grown in pots and there they’ll develop their roots. For the roots to have enough space and nutrients to feed, they must be transplanted with some frequency into larger pots.
The speed of growth of the plants determines the frequency with which they should be transplanted. It is recommended to do this process in spring.
How do you know if your plant needs a transplant?
- When its roots begin to appear through the drainage holes of the pot.
- When they stick out on the surface.
- When the soil dries quickly.
- When the plant doesn’t develop normally.
The pot you use to transplant should be at least 2 fingers larger than the previous one and should be very clean. The transplant is usually done once a year or every 2 years.
If the plant has already reached its maximum size or the pot is large enough, there is no necessity to transplant. Instead, it is recommended to replace the surface layer of the substrate of the pot, about 3 or 5 cm. Use soil with a supply of fertilizer.
In case the plant has not developed many roots or it is preferable to have it in a small pot, you should make a replant. Take the plant out of the pot, trim the root ball a little (which is the mass of soil left attached to the roots) and put it back in the pot. Fill it with some new soil and compost.
Top 5 indoor plants
Now you know the most important aspects that you must take into account to maintain and take care of your indoor plants. So here you have the top 5 plants that you will love to have in your home.
It is a very broad genus and comprises more than a thousand species, which are divided into 3 groups according to the type of roots: rhizomatous, tuberous, and fasciculate. However, each variety of begonia has some common features, asymmetrical leaves or male and female flowers.
These are evergreen plants, that is, they keep leaves all year. There can be begonias with double or simple flowers and predominant colors such as: red, yellow, white and pink.
Rhizomatous begonias (whose stem is horizontal and underground) can be exposed to light, but not directly. The ideal temperature for this type of begonia is 15 °C. You can place them near a window.
You should water them 1 or 2 times a week, and if it’s too hot, you can water them more often. It is always important to water them in moderation to avoid flooding.
Supply liquid fertilizer or potassium-rich fertilizer every 2 weeks to help it grow. You can transplant them in spring and it is recommended to use peat substrate. Use a pot with good drainage.
Fasciculate (or fibrous) begonias need sunlight but not direct. It can grow properly at a temperature of 15 °C. If it is greater than 20 °C, you must place it in the shade.
This Begonia should be in ventilated environments but without drafts. You can water it 1 or 2 times a week or a little more if the temperature is very high.
It is recommended that you remove the withered leaves and flowers so that they do not affect the other leaves and flowers. During April and September, you can fertilize your plant with liquid fertilizer, or one of your choice, every 2 weeks.
Tuberculous begonias (of thick stem or root) can grow properly in a luminous place, without being exposed to the sun. However, you should reduce watering in the fall until it has completely stopped when the leaves begin to fall.
That’s when you pull out the tubers from the ground to re-sow them and thus reproduce the plant. You should keep them in a dry peat chest of drawers and in a cool and airy place at 15 °C. This way they will not wilt and you can sow them in spring.
For sowing, you must have them at a temperature of 18 to 20 °C and when seeing roots, you can transplant them in individual pots. In this process, it is recommended to use plant substrate or fertile mulch in pots of 15 to 20 cm.
Make sure to be careful about watering and temperature. Your begonias can lose vigor if exposed to high temperatures or excessive watering.
You can place them in cool places without direct exposure to the sun, it can cause burns, dehydration, and finally the plant’s death.
The plant could suffer from molds and parasites, make sure it dries enough and increases ventilation, without drafts.
These plants are characterized by the shape of their flowers, similar to a shoe. A good part of the species of this plant is herbaceous and some appropriate hybrids have been chosen to adapt indoors.
Calceolaria plants are grown indoors and are biennial. This means that they bloom 1 year after being sown and die. You can buy mature ones, but they may last for a few months only.
They are characterized by their bright and intense colors, yellow or orange for example. On the flower petals, there are some splashed freckles of stronger colors. It has broad leaves and intense green and its size go from 30 to 60 cm.
The cultivation of these plants is by means of seeds that are sown in a chest of drawers near a warm window. You should spread the seeds in the substrate and then cover them with a newspaper. So they will be in the dark until they germinate.
During the planting process, the substrate and the environment must be moist, and it takes place from March to June. When the plants start to come out you should remove the newspaper.
During the months of August and September, they can already be handled. At this time you must transplant them into pots of 7 to 10 cm. It is important to use a fertile mulch (substrate) to ensure their growth.
The watering is done 3 times a week, and in spring and summer to prevent the surface of the mulch to dry. It is important that the substrate is not too dry or too wet. It should keep the air cool and a temperature of 13 °C.
It is recommended to apply liquid fertilizer or the one you prefer every 2 weeks. You can put your plant in the gloom or protect it from the sun; with a humid environment too. That way you can guarantee its good growth.
You can cut the flowers that are wilting so that your plant always looks beautiful. On the other hand, in autumn and winter, it is recommended for plants a temperature of 7 °C and sufficient watering to keep the substrate moist, which may be done each 4 or 5 days.
Your plant should be located in cool, bright places, with no drafts and no direct sunlight. If exposed to these conditions, their leaves will turn yellowish and brown-edged.
Be careful in very warm environments, your plant could be affected by the green aphid. A good insecticide will help you fight this pest and prevent it from appearing again.
Jade plant or crassula ovata
This genus of plants gathers about 150 annual and perennial species. They are succulent plants capable of adapting to various environments and with various forms.
A good part of these plants are erect, however, they can also be bushy, crawling and climbing. Its leaves are usually opposite to each other and covered by hairs or a waxy layer.
The leaves and stems of this plant are fleshy and accumulate water. Its flowers are star-shaped and can be very small and very showy. For its elegant appearance, it is quite used for interior decoration.
Its size varies between 30 to 90 cm approximately. It is a plant that stands out for having a green and sometimes reddish color. Flowers may be white or rosewood.
You can grow the jade plant with cuttings or seeds. As for the cuttings, you should take them from the adult plant with a length of 10 to 15 cm and with 2 or 3 pairs of leaves. Let the surface of the stem dry and sow it 5 cm deep in a mixture of sand and peat.
You can do this between May and July. The important thing is to keep the substrate minimally moist and at a constant temperature of 21 °C.
As for the seeds, you can sow them in a seedbed with 1 part of sandy substrate and then apply 2 parts of mulch. Both to sow the seeds and for their transplantation.
This is important so the plants have good drainage. You can do it in May or October.
It is vital that the substrate is moist and at a temperature of 15 to 21 °C. When they have grown enough for handling. You should transplant them into individual pots. And if the roots have grown too much, you can transplant them back to a larger pot.
Irrigation will be abundant from April to May and only when the substrate is dry. You must soak the mulch, let the water drain and when it dries, repeat the process.
The ideal pots for these plants are low and about 15 cm in diameter. It is recommended that you place them in sunny spots, at a temperature of 21 °C. Remember not to water the plants in the hottest moments of the day or they could die.
From April to August it is advisable to feed the plant with liquid fertilizer (2 drops in the irrigation water) or the one of your choice. This should be done once a week.
From September you can reduce the fertilization to suspend it completely in November. During November until mid-March keep the plants dry. And in November make sure they have a temperature of 13 °C. So you get them to bloom in spring.
Remember not to overdo the watering, or the stems and leaves could rot. It is important that the water is not stagnant, especially when it’s cold. Besides, it is recommended to let the mulch dry between one watering session.
Avoid cold air drafts, this can cause the leaves to fall. Beware of pests such as cotton cochineal, this can affect the plant.
You can eliminate it with systemic insecticides or with cotton soaked with denatured alcohol.
The species of this genus are cacti that can reach remarkable dimensions and even, adopt an arboreal aspect. They are easy to plant and can prosper in bright, sunny environments.
Its trunk is elongated and globose, they can also have a path of thorny ribs. In these ribs are the thorny bumps, from which emerge star-shaped thorns.
These plants produce an abundance of scented flowers and colors that vary in shades of pink. They open at night and half an hour after sunset. They can last all night and the next day.
In a seedbed sow the seeds and cover them with a thin layer of substrate for cacti. Keep the seeds in the shade and moist until they can germinate. They should be at a temperature of 18 to 24 °C.
If the roots occupy the entire seedbed, you should transplant the plant, preferably in spring. Use a substrate for cacti or a mulch mixed with coarse sand.
In summer it is important that you have the plant in a bright spot and exposed to the sun, with a temperature of 15 to 24 °C. You should water it letting dry the substrate between one irrigation and the next, avoiding the water to stagnate.
From April to September it is recommended to fertilize the plant every 3 or 4 weeks. You can use liquid fertilizer dissolved in water. In autumn and winter, your plant will be at rest.
That means, you must keep it at a temperature of 7 to 10 °C, water it moderately from November to March and place it in a bright place. If possible, you can also put it in the sun.
Don’t overdo the watering as it can cause your plant to rot and look loose. If your plant has a strange shape or does not bloom, it means that it does not have enough light.
Take care of the cotton cochineal, you can remove it with an insecticide or a cotton soaked in alcohol.
It is a genus comprising about 100 species and some of these are well known, such as the Thunbergia alata, also known as the poet’s eye. These plants are characterized by their rapid growth and the decorative value of their flowers.
They can have different colors such as white, yellow, orange, blue, violet, among others. The stems are supported by funding that you can plant in the pot so they can cling. You can even have the crop in hanging pots.
Through sowing, species such as Thunbergia alata and gregorii can begin their life cycle. During February and March, spread the seeds on the surface of the moist substrate.
Place the pot or container with the seeds for 1 week in a place that ensures adequate humidity and a temperature of 18 to 24 °C, until its germination.
Young plants that are 10 or 12 cm tall and at least have 2 or 3 leaves can be transplanted into 8 cm pots individually, usually in March. Use a fertile mulch and rubble (set of stones) to facilitate drainage.
During spring and summer, you should maintain a temperature of 21 to 24 °C. If it is higher than that level, ventilate the place where you have the plant. You can take it outside, but you must place it in a bright place and protect it from the direct sun.
In autumn and winter, it is important to maintain a temperature of 16 °C and not less than 10 °C. Your plant could lose almost all the leaves if exposed to very low temperatures.
It should receive light, but not directly. Water moderately, and keep the substrate minimally moist. Spray warm water on the leaves if the day is very hot.
Don’t exceed watering in winter as the leaves could lose color and fall off, and the roots wither. Avoid exposing your plant to a lot of light because the leaves can burn.
It is advisable to cut the leaves that have already wilted, so you can have a prolonged flowering. Beware of pests like the green aphid, it can attack your plant.
While it is true that you must keep in mind several aspects to keep your plants in optimal condition, they are not difficult to follow. The important thing is that you feel comfortable and happy with your indoor plants.
Go ahead and get as many as you can, start with the ones I have shown if you wish. They will give your home an incomparable view. Your friends and family will urge to have plants like yours.