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House Plants: Plant Care

A great way to add some color to a room is by putting in some houseplants. While there are many beautiful plants out there, some are better suited to life indoors than others. Here is a guide to the most popular indoor house plants out there.

If you're not a big fan of dying flowers that need to be repotted, then you may prefer a plant that does not flower at all. In fact, most of these plants require very little plant care, making them ideal for first time plant owners.

Aloe Vera: A favorite of many plant owners, the aloe plant is known for its healing and soothing properties. If you have a minor burn or infection, just snip off a piece of this prickly green plant, squeeze out the juice and apply it to your wound. Large aloe plants prefer lots of sun while smaller plants need a bit of shade on hot days. Allow the plant to become slightly dry between waterings so that you don't over water it.

Spider Plant: This spiky green plant has leaves with dark green edges and light green centers. Proper spider plant care means placing the plant in a location where it can receive bright light but is not exposed directly to the sun. To promote the growth of the plant, make sure you water it well. When you don't want the plant to grow as much, allow the soil to become a bit dry in between waterings.

Ficus Plant: A dark green leafy plant, the ficus requires a lot of sunlight but moderate amounts of water. If you have the plant outside, then water it sparingly when the temperatures start to dip.

English Ivy: There are many different types of this ivy available, all with different leaf appearances and sizes . Generally speaking, though, english ivy plant care requires you to keep the plant in full to partial sunlight and give it moderate amounts of water.

Jade Plant: This plant is actually a shrub with thick branches and oval, jade-green leaves. It is considered to be a succulent plant because it stores water in its stems, leaves and roots. Proper jade plant care consists of keeping the plant in bright sunlight and watering it once a week in the spring and summer months to promote the growth of the plant. During the winter, it is acceptable to water the plant only once a week, removing any excess water from the pot's saucer. However, if you keep your plant in a location with dim light, you will need to slowly introduce it to full sunlight since the plant can get a sunburn.

Bamboo: These large plants have tall shoots and dark green leaves. They can also spread quite easily when planted outside, so part of your bamboo plant care will require you to take precautionary measures, such as building a barrier in the soil. Most bamboo varieties need direct sunlight. However, newly planted bamboo as well as fargesias and thamnocalamus bamboo prefer some shade. To help your bamboo grow nice and tall, water the plant a lot (about twice a week), especially during hot or windy weather. Once your plant has reached the desired height, you can cut back on the watering. Keep in mind, though, that newly planted bamboo can suffer from too much or too little water.

Flowering Plants
If just plain green plants are too boring for you, then you'll probably want to get a flowering plant. The bright and lively colors of these plants can help add some pop to every room you put them in. However, it is important to note that, since most of these plants originate from warmer climates, they are considered to be tropical house plants and therefore thrive in warmer temperatures.

Chrysanthemum: These brightly colored shrubs produce flowers in the bunches. Chrysanthemums are also known to effectively remove benzene (a carcinogen) from the air. These plants need lots of sunshine, should be planted in soil that drains well and watered in moderate amounts.

Mauna Loa: Also known as a peace lily, these striking flowers are marked by their single large, oval, white spathe. This flower prefers partial shade and lots of water. Since it does not grow well in temperatures below 59ºF (15ºC), the mauna loa makes a great indoor plant.

African Violets: These small, star-shaped bright purple flowers will help bring a punch of color to any room they're in. However, they do have special needs and require a fertilizer that is designed just for them. They also need lots of bright light exposure, about 14 hours a day. If getting this much light naturally is a problem, you may want to invest in a grow light to give your plants the extra hours of light they need.

Amaryllis: Originally from Africa, the amaryllis has large, star-shaped flowers, which you can get in different colors, and leafless stalks. Although you can plant them outside, your amaryllis will need to be brought inside at the first sign of frost. If you live in growing zones 9 through 11, though, it should be okay to keep your amaryllis outside all year long. It is best to avoid direct sunlight when the plant is flowering. The soil should be medium-moist but be careful not to over water your plant.

Venus Fly Traps: If you want a plant that's a bit of a conversation piece, then the venus fly trap is for you. Each bright green leaf of the plant has a trap at the end of it that somewhat resembles a mouth. The trap produces a sweet smelling nectar to attract insects. Once an insect comes into contact with one of the trigger hairs on the trap, the trap snaps shut and begins to secrete an enzyme that will dissolve the insect. After a few days, the trap will reopen to catch another dinner.

These plants need a warm, humid environment with lots of bright light, although it shouldn't have direct sun exposure. The plant is also sensitive to water, so it is best to use distilled water, rain water or tap water that has been standing in an open container for a day or two.

Poinsetta: A popular gift at Christmas time, the poinsetta has gained a bit of notoriety as being a poisonous house plant. However, recent research has shown that the plant may not be as poisonous as was previously believed. These plants have a star shaped flower that you can find in a variety of colors (red, green, pink and white are the most common). Proper poinsettia plant care involves moderately watering the plant and keeping the plant in a sunny spot with little to no draft.