House plants are good for us. Not only do they look good, but they keep us healthy too, absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, which we breathe. Houseplants even remove harmful toxins from the air – research conducted by NASA shows houseplants can remove up to 87 per cent of air toxins in 24 hours. Other studies suggest house plants help to improve concentration and productivity, reduce stress levels and cheer us up, making them perfect for growing at home and at work.
Whether you live in a small flat or a large house, you can grow a wide range of houseplants, from huge plants with large leaves to tiny cacti and succulents. Most species are easy to care for and can be used in a variety of situations. Browse our collection of features, projects and videos on growing house plants, below.
Discover house plants to grow:
- Chlorophytum comosum ‘Variegatum’
- Crassula x rupestris f. marnieriana ‘Hottentot’
- Neoregelia carolinae ‘Rafael’
- Hoya bella
11 house plants to try
House plants are becoming increasingly popular, with rarieties and new cultivars coming on to the market. Browse our list of 11 to grow.
Unusual house plants to grow
If regular houseplants aren’t your thing, why not try something a little different? Choose from curious succulents and plants with intriguing names, such as the fishbone cactus and staghorn fern.
House plants with large leaves
Many large-leaved house plants are native to tropical rainforests and therefore require similar conditions indoors, such as plenty of light (but not direct sunlight) and high humidity. These conditions can easily be created in the bathroom or kitchen, but in other areas you may need to maintain humidity by misting the leaves or sitting the pot in a tray of moist pebbles.
Watering house plants
All house plants need water to keep them alive, but how much depends on their country of origin and the environment they evolved in. For example, a plant native to the jungles of South America will need more water than a cactus from the Mexican desert. Knowing how much water to give your plants is key to their survival.
Feeding house plants
The roots of garden plants can spread through the soil to find nutrients, but pot-grown house plants are completely reliant upon us for the minerals they need. Find out how to feed them, to keep them healthy.
Easy orchids to grow
Orchids are increasingly popular houseplants and you’re likely to find several different types for sale, in addition to the much-loved moth orchid, Phalenopsis. Many of them are easy to grow in most homes, producing gorgeous displays of exotic blooms.
Fabulous plant shelfies
As your house plant collection grows, so does the opportunity to create a truly stylish indoor display – whether you’d like them to take centre stage, or mingle seamlessly with existing decor.
We’ve enjoyed checking out the photos posted on Instagram with #plantshelfie, and bring you 10 of our favourite displays including windowsill arrangements, ladder shelving and metal grids.
Growing cacti from seed
Raising cacti from seed is simple and rewarding. What’s more, many seed companies sell packets of mixed cacti seed, so you’re never quite sure what you’re going to grow.
Growing carnivorous plants
Carnivorous plants, such as pitcher plants (Sarracenia) and Venus flytraps (Dioneaea muscipula), are unusual and fascinating plants to grow, and are especially popular with children. They are an excellent choice for a conservatory or sunny windowsill.
Must-have house plants
There’s such a wonderful variety of house plants available to buy, you may be spoiled for choice. Discover our pick of the best house plants to grow, for the perfect indoor displays.
Create a bottle garden
Terrariums, or bottle gardens, are easy to create. You can plant in virtually any glass vessel, though closed ones are best for moisture lovers and open ones best for plants that enjoy drier conditions. Don’t worry if you can’t find what we used – look in charity shops, garden centres, your kitchen cupboard or on the internet for something that appeals.
Streptocarpus is easy to propagate from leaf cuttings. Summer is the best time to do it, as plant cells divide quickly, promoting growth. You don’t need a lot of kit – just a pot filled with sieved compost, a plastic bag, a piece of string and a good sharp knife.
Three-in-one house plant display
In this No Fuss video guide, Kevin Smith combines three house plants in a single container. It’s ideal for a cool area without too much direct sunlight, such as a porch. Whichever plants you opt for, be sure that they all enjoy the same growing conditions.
Cacti and succulent terrarium
Cacti and succulents make attractive, low-maintenance houseplants. To ensure they really draw the eye, you can plant various species in a terrarium. Watch this practical video guide with Kevin Smith, BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine, to find out how to do it.
Five succulent container displays
Succulents are the perfect plants for growing in pots and containers, making for a stylish, low-maintenance display. Discover stylish and creative ways to grow them, in our collection of beautiful container displays.
Looking after orchids
In this video guide, Alan Titchmarsh explains how easy it is to look after moth orchids (Phalaenopsis). He explains how to water plants correctly and gives tips on pruning once all the flowers have dropped off, to encourage more to grow.
Six scented house plants
We’ve come up with a list of fantastic house plants that will provide fragrance. Some are subtly scented, while others have a more intense perfume. Bear in mind that the fragrance from most house plants comes when the plants are in flower. For a longer season of scent, choose a variety of fragrant plants that bloom at different times.
Carnivorous plant pot display
Carnivorous plants are easy to grow in containers and can help control whitefly in the greenhouse, or fruit fly in the home. In the example given below, we’re growing sarracenias and cobra lilies in an old ceramic sink, which will spend most of the day in full sun.
Repotting a cactus
Cacti such as rebutia and mammillaria make attractive, low-maintenance house plants and are perfect for a bright, sunny windowsill.
Taking stem cuttings from dracaena
Dracaenas rarely branch out, so cuttings of various heights are usually planted together for a bushier effect. The practice of taking stem cuttings is useful for rejuvenating overgrown dracaenas, or generating new plants to give to friends.