Pot-Perfect Houseplants

Zahra Ali explains what considerations you need to think of when selecting new houseplants - and a list to start you off

Pot-Perfect Houseplants
Houseplants are a perfect way to bring nature indoors – but only if you know which plant to keep where in the house. This guide will help you find pot-perfect plants that will make your house greener and healthier.

Often, one finds that people are discouraged after growing houseplants with initial failure. This doesn’t have to be the case. With a basic knowledge of the origin of the plant, and the temperatures and humidity levels in different parts of your house, you can grow happy plants very easily.


Most house plants may seem purely ornamental. But actually, they work as airborne pollutant removers – constantly. Chemicals from cleaning products, air fresheners, new furnishings and other sources fill up our air all the time. House plants clean our air and add oxygen along with moisture to make the air more breathable for us. Green shades moreover are soothing visual cues for the mind and soul. Looking at green foliage keeps us calm and energetic.

There are different ways of selecting a houseplant. You may be attracted to or looking for a certain quality. Flowers, foliage, height or maintenance could be soe of the elements that you would be considering. Here are some ideas.
Most house plants may seem purely ornamental. But actually, they work as airborne pollutant removers - constantly


Large and Small Foliage

If you have large rooms, adding large foliage is a great way to brighten them up. These plants have a stunning, bold appearance and in terms of varieties, they offer many options.

Crystal Anthurium has striking foliage with dark green leaves and white veins. The young leaves are pink-bronze.

The Good Luck Plant or Lord Robertson has cream and green foliage that turns red as it matures.

The Rubber Plant is known for its bold, leathery and glossy green foliage that never fails to impress.

If you want to add softness to a corner or have only a small space available, these plants may well be perfect for you.

Begonia is a fuzzy-looking flowering plant that has dark green, rounded leaves with red undersides.

Plants with unusual colours

For white and cream, you could consider the Candle Plant, Swedish Ivy, the Inch Plant/Wandering Jew, the Goosefoot Plant, the Dragena, etc.

For yellow and gold, you might want to look at the Croton, the Boat Lilly, the Schefflera, the Sanevieria etc.

For red, pink and purple you have the Persian Shield, Oxalis, West Indian Holly, Painted Leaf Begonia etc.

Persian Shield


Location could be an important consideration for you. Some of the points to keep in view while selecting a location for your plant include temperature, light and humidity. Tropical species like hot and humid conditions but others might not! Here are some ideas for different locations of the house.

A sunny window

Bougainvillea makes a perfect plant for a sunny window sill. There are so many colours available now. The Chinese Hibiscus is another plant with beautiful rose-like flowers. Coleus offers a variety of shades and textures – and grows beautifully in full winter sun, but only in indirect summer sun. You can grow all sorts of seasonal flowers, herbs and vegetables too.

Full Light

If you have a garden area or a window that receives full sun in winters but is secure from the harsh midday sun, then these plants will perform well: Peppers, Silver Jade, Wax Plant, Petunia, Lemons etc.

Medium Light

If your rooms or balcony receive a short spell of full sunlight, grow Dracaena, Painted Drop Tongue, Philodendron, etc

Low Light

You might want to consider the Tree Philodendron, Cast Iron Plant, Silver Net Lead, Sweet Heart plant and Schefflera for growing in conditions of low light. This means a spot which is far away from the window.

Spider Plants and Foxtale Ferns are both eye-catching plants with different effects but both are ideal for a sitting area or a dining room. Bedrooms can host a Song of India plant or an Asparagus Fern Plant in medium-sized pots. Small plants like Coleus and Gooseberry Foot also look good in decorative pots. Large rooms can accommodate Ficus, Crotons, Peace Lillies, Palms and Swiss Cheese Plants while warm and humid rooms can look better with Peacock Plants, Angel’s Wings, Zebra Plants and Net Plants – which are now widely available in Pakistan thanks to nurseries importing these from Thailand.

House Plants for Beginners

The Mother- in-law’s Tongue Plant is an upright, thick-leaved succulent plant with dark green leaves and gold or yellow edges. It will keep multiplying on its own and once a year you will have to divide it and repot. The Spider Plant also comes in many varieties now and is one of the easiest plants to grow. Yucca is a beautiful plant that has brown stems and long, narrow green leaves.

Aloe, Crown of Thorns, Zebra Haworthia, various cacti and Snake Plants can be neglected and they will forgive you for it.


There are many more options for you out there. Begin with a few plants and try to observe how they grow and react to different environments. Make an effort to do your research and find out more about a plant’s area of origin. When you’re considering a new plant, you need to think very carefully about where it fits in your home.

Some of the plants in my own house include Desert Rose, Champa, Water Plants, vegetables, herbs, ferns, cacti, lillies and a few others. So visit a nursery today and find your own favourites. Happy Growing!

Zahra Ali is a sustainability educator, writer and environmentalist. She blogs at cropsinpots.pk. Send in questions about gardening to Zahra@cropsinpots.pk