Get an Instagram-Ready Indoor Jungle
Green up your interiors with our guide to choosing the right houseplants for every room
If you’re like me, you want to be surrounded by plants all the time—even indoors. And this isn’t an impossible goal! It doesn’t matter if you’re in a small apartment or a spacious manor. There are houseplants for every area in your home. It just takes a few moments of planning to keep them happy and growing. By understanding your spaces, selecting plants that fit those locations and your personality, you’ll have a thriving indoor jungle in no time.
Know Your Space
Before choosing plants, you’ll need to know what you’re working with. We might be in our homes every day, but we don’t look at them the way a plant does. For example, how often do you pay attention to how light and air flow through a room? These are things often taken for granted.
Let’s start by assessing your space for growability. This can be broken down into two important aspects: light and airflow.
Light is your first consideration. Without it, nothing else matters. In any room, make a note of both the size and direction of the windows.
South-facing windows provide the greatest amount of natural sunlight, especially during the winter.
Plants that prefer low-light conditions may do better in north-facing windows.
An east-facing window, which only brings in early morning sunlight, can be perfect for partial-shade plants.
Some indoor plants prefer indirect lighting, while others need full sun conditions. Whichever window you decide to use for your plants, keep this golden rule in mind: All plants should be located as close as possible to windows.
If you find your natural lighting isn’t adequate, you can supplement your lighting with grow lamps. There are a wide variety available on the market today.
Most of us have central heating and cooling systems. A plant in line with one of the vents for those can rapidly dry out. And that won’t be great for humidity-loving tropical species.
Any moving air creates a drier location. To gauge airflow in your spaces, dampen your hand and hold it in the space you’re thinking of placing a plant. If there is regular airflow, the side from which the air’s blowing will feel cool due to evaporation.
Plants that like higher humidity may require special adaptations. A pebble tray under a plant can provide humidity via evaporation. Placing a humidifier in a particular room can increase the humidity for the whole room. And, don’t forget your bathroom is often humid after you shower, an actual indoor jungle, making it a great spot to grow ferns!
Pick Your Indoor Jungle Plants
Once you’ve established the airflow and light conditions of your interior spaces, you can match the plants you personally enjoy growing to the spot where they will be happiest. If you can’t find the perfect site, you’ll need to develop a location for that plant to thrive.
There are many plants, such as cast-iron or snake plants, which work very well in low-light spaces. Pick shade-loving species for these, and you’ll seldom go wrong.
Some plants, like crotons, prefer lots of sunlight to develop vibrant coloration. Place these in your south-facing windows and bright spaces. They’ll take full advantage of that natural lighting.
Do you have a dry location? Pick a plant like tillandsia that can tolerate dry conditions. Tillandsia plants are also great for hanging locations if you’re lacking shelf space.
Want something that’ll soak up moisture in the bathroom? Go for a spider plant, as it loves the humidity. For something unique, consider a framed moss wall as a green, living wall decoration.
Finally, consider yourself as a future plant parent. Are you the type that wants to baby your plants, fawning over them and caring for them daily? If so, picking a higher-maintenance maidenhair fern is right up your alley. If you’re more of a laissez-faire plant owner, picking a hardy snake plant or ZZ (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) plant might be more your style.
Location, Location, Location
Choosing the right plants for the right location is paramount to your plant’s health. Here is a list of areas with six suggested plants to try in those sites. Sometimes a sun-loving plant can get too much sun or a plant that likes shade is in a spot that’s too dark. If your plants don’t seem to be doing well, you can either move them and give them a try somewhere else or change the conditions a tad, such as adding a sheer curtain on a south-facing window.
South- or west-facing windows
- African violets
- baby rubber plants
- Boston ferns
- butterfly palms
- fiddle-leaf figs
- spider plants
- fiddle-leaf figs
- snake plants
- Boston ferns
- cast-iron plants