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Choosing House Plants: By Light Availability

It's tempting to run into a greenhouse and pick up the flowering plants that are set up front as impulse buys-I know I have been there. But when choosing a plant-in particular one that you will grow indoors-you'll find you have better success with houseplants if you buy according to the amount of light you can give your plant. Choosing your plants based on the amount of light you can give will increase the odds that your plant will survive the transition to your home. Here are some light and plant suggestions based on my experience.

Full/High Light:
  • Adenium Obsesum *
  • Chenille Plant
  • Calamondin Orange
  • Kumquat
  • Gloriosa Lily
  • Chinese Hibiscus
  • Amaryllis
  • Jatropha Podagrica-Better known as Tartogo or "Bottle Plant"
  • Kalanchoe
  • Ceropegia Woodii *
  • Jade
  • Madagascar Palm
  • String-of-Beads *
Medium Light:
  • Queens Tears Bromeliad *
  • Ornamental Pepper *
  • Pot Chrysanthemum
  • Columnea
  • New Zealand Tea Tree
  • Fire Cracker Flower
  • Gloxinia
  • Aeonium *
  • Earth Star
Low-ish Light:
  • Cast-iron Plant
  • Tree Ivy
  • Philodendron
  • Aralia
  • Snake Plant
  • Schefflera
  • Baby's Tears
  • Indian Kale
  • Bird's Nest Fern
  • Stag Horn Fern
  • Orchid Cactus

Like I said these are suggestions based on my experience. Note the * next to some of the names those are plant that I'm currently growing in areas where the light level is not the best, yet they're growing great. Don't be afraid to experiment with your houseplants and their placement. I don't consider a plant and location combination a failure until I've killed two of them.

I'm reminded of my time working in a bonsai nursery and seeing a little old lady walk with an enormous Juniper bush potted in a bonsai container in her hand. It turned out she had been given one of this "Mallsai" as a gift thirteen years prior by a friend as a little plant and she had been growing it as a houseplant. We were all shocked to discover that the plant had not only survived indoor cultivation for thirteen years but it had thrived! Everything that I had been taught about bonsai up to that point told me that she shouldn't have had the luck that she did, but if I hadn't seen it myself I wouldn't have believed it.

I'm not saying to go out and dig up your juniper bushes and bring them inside-but don't be afraid to experiment a little and see what you can grow where you've been told you can't.


  1. I am so glad you had this list!
    As for the low light plants i have not seen the tree ivy and i am kinda confused.. it is a tree or is it the type of ivy that grows on a tree because when i googled it i got both.
    But may i suggest another easy one..the miniature lilly. I have had mine for almost 7 years now and have not killed it! i have divided it into probably 20 different potted plants by now (giving it to family and friends for x-mas) and i have seen many beautiful flowers on it. I have grown it everywhere in my house even in the bathroom where we only have a north west-ish lit window that remains covered for the most part. It has been doing wonderful there, i think i might even get a flower on that one soon!.

    Hope to see more of these lists!


  2. Hi Krista,

    Try Searching for "Aralia Ivy" it is a hybrid.

    Hope to get to see a pic of your plant flowering.



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