How to Choose the Right Plants for Your Home


With the many options for interior design and décor, it can be difficult to know where to begin when it comes to making your space your own. Cost is a factor, and if you rent, your options may be limited. Home is where the heart is, but how do you make your place feel more like home?

It is no surprise that houseplants are having a moment. Millennials and the other younger generations are going green and reviving the plant industry by making humble houseplants trendy. According to the National Gardening Association, the influence of Millennials and Gen Z caused sales of plants in the U.S. to increase by almost 50 percent to a staggering $1.7 billion.

Many of these houseplant enthusiasts enjoy showcasing their green thumbs on Instagram, and once you take a look, the appeal of plants is impossible to deny. Plants add beauty and interest to any space, and that is just scratching the surface.

Plants cleanse the air, produce oxygen and lift mood. If you are happy and you know it, most likely you have plants or spend time outdoors. In fact, caring for plants can be meditative and relaxing, provided you get the right plant for your home and habits.

Plant Pitfalls

Some of us have experienced the disappointment of a plant that dies on our watch. Sometimes it feels like neglect. You wonder when you watered it last or if you watered it too much. Other times, it might have had too much or too little light.

Since plants are alive, the death of a plant can be extremely disappointing. You may have even felt guilty if your plant failed to thrive. However, the problem is typically a result of the right plant in the wrong place or vice versa.

Just like their outdoor counterparts, indoor plants can be plagued by pests. Common pests include aphids, mealybugs and mites. The best prevention is to check plants before you bring them inside for webbing, tiny green bodies on the undersides of leaves and a white cottony appearance on leaves.

Does this all sound complicated- light, direction, pests and pets? Don’t worry. We will help you figure out how to pick the right plant to cherish instead of having it perish.

Questions That Need Answers

How Much Time Can You Commit?

Even though plants aren’t the same level of commitment as a pet, plants do have needs. Before you even start perusing pics of plants and imagining them brightening up your home, ask yourself an honest question. How much time are you willing and able to commit to your plant?

If your answer is not much, that’s okay! That doesn’t put you in a plant predicament; it just means you need to consider that when choosing your plant friend. Likewise, if you want to nurture your plant, you need to choose a plant that will flourish with extra attention.

How Much Light Do You Have?

The other questions pertain to your home environment. Let there be light because all plants need some light, but how much? Different plants have different light needs, and some can adapt and survive in dark places where there is only ambient or fluorescent light.

We can obviously look and see light, but how do we know how much light we have? Good news, there is a device that will take the guesswork out of determining your light situation. A light meter can be a wonderful tool for a plant enthusiast, and many inexpensive light meters are available for purchase online.

Once you measure the light with your light meter. The unit will be measured in “footcandles” or fc. Bright light is 400 to 800 fcs. Medium light is 250 to 400 fcs. Low light is 50 to 250 fcs. These light measurements will help you select the right plant for your place.

What Direction Does Your Compass Show?

Another consideration regarding light has to do with direction. If you don’t know north, south, east and west, grab a compass and prepare to learn about the windows in your home and where the light falls. Many phones have a compass built in.

Most houseplants do best when placed near eastern or western facing windows for indirect sunlight for a good portion of the day and ambient light for the remainder. Southern light is the strongest, and for sun-loving plants like aloe that’s where they want to be.

Most plants will get scorched if you place them where the sunlight hits them directly. Many plants that get scorched have leaves touching the windowpane.

Signs that your plant may be perishing due to excess sunlight are wilting, foliage curling down, yellowing, stunted growth and telltale brown, pale or translucent spots on the side of the plant the sun hits directly. If you notice any of that happening, move that plant and get it out of the way of the sun’s bright rays.

Do You Have Children and/or Pets?

The perfect plant must be safe for everyone in the home. If you have children and/or pets, you don’t want to worry about harm coming to them from ingesting part of your plant. It might sound crazy, but kids and pets are known to make poor choices when it comes to what they may decide to taste.

It is better to be safe than sorry, so always check to see if a plant is toxic to kids and animals. If it is, don’t take a chance; choose a different plant.


Like the famous song says, “I will survive,” and these plants can almost take whatever gets dished out by you or the universe. Golden pothos is one such plant. This plant does best in indirect, medium sunlight, but it can also thrive in minimal light in unexpected places like bathrooms.

These golden pothos plants can survive in many environments and can withstand neglect. They rarely experience root rot and cleanse the air of toxins. However, they possess toxins of their own that can harm curious children and pets if ingested.

For a non-toxic plant that can also handle a variety of light, soil, moisture and other environmental conditions, the buxom spider plant looks cool and thrives without threatening kids or pets.

If you feel like you might neglect a plant, the snake plant has a reputation for being impossible to kill. It thrives in bright light but can also do well in shade. It is mildly toxic to pets but unlikely to do much more than cause gastrointestinal discomfort.

For those of us who are looking for a pet-safe, easy-care plant but are a bit forgetful, peperomia come in a variety of colors and can withstand going without water. They can also be displayed in hanging pots, which is so chic!

Sun Worshippers

Like the aforementioned aloe plant, succulents need sun. Hens-and-Chicks are succulents that are available in many varieties and colors. They love bright light. Best of all, they are easy to propagate, so you could move the chicks to new pots. You could have a house full of these pretty plants if you don’t overwater. Allow them to dry slightly between watering.

Another sun-worshipping plant to consider placing in a south-facing window with plenty of sun is the popular jade plant. The jade plant isn’t a cactus, but it is a succulent because it is drought resistant. It can live for decades if it gets four hours of sunlight a day. Buy a heavy pot, so the slow growth doesn’t make it topple.

If you are lucky enough to have six hours of direct light in your home, pretty jasmine can add layers of beauty with its delicate white flowers and intoxicating scent. However, make sure you remember to water it. The soil should be kept moist and never dry out completely. True jasmine is not toxic to pets, but make sure you check the scientific name as some varieties that are also called Jasmine are toxic.

Safety Dance Plants

For homes with children and pets, plants need to be completely safe. Plants are supposed to add beauty and not danger to your home. It is important to check on the safety of a plant because many plants are toxic if ingested.

Have no fear, we have selected some safe plants to suggest. Bird’s nest ferns are not poisonous to dogs, cats or humans and can handle low light. Even better, these plants can grow on lots of things in nature, so you can get creative with how they are displayed in your home. Make sure you water these plants weekly.

A legend among houseplants for its ability to survive the worst care, the parlor palm is also not harmful to people or pets if ingested. Another perk is that it can tolerate low light, indoor conditions including drought, and it can grow to be six feet. The best perk is that this hardy palm is also an excellent air purifier.

For an easy-to-care-for, pet-friendly plant, the money tree won’t hold it against you if you accidentally ignore it for a bit. It will bounce back and won’t take it out on you, your kids or your pets.

The greatest news of all for pet parents is that all air plants are safe for kids and pets. They also don’t need to be rooted in soil, so the sky’s the limit as far as your creativity with air plants is concerned.

These are just some of the options to help you on your quest for adding plants to your home. However, you may find that you prefer to switch things up regularly. That shouldn’t mean that you have to be without flowers or plants.

If you would like to add flowers or plants to your home but don’t know where to begin, our florists at Rose Cart of San Jose in Campbell, CA, can create arrangements or choose plants to help you add color to your life and make your home your own.

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