Tell me your humble opinions about indoor plants

A week ago Saturday, I moved into my very first apartment (woo! for being a grown up!). The apartment actually gets a ton of light (for an apartment, that is) and also has a bunch of nooks and crannies to put plants.

So where do my fellow Dopers stand on indoor plants? What’s good? What’s bad? What’s hard to kill? What takes a lot of work?

Some things that might help with any recommendations: we have no pets, so that isn’t a concern. We’ve got room for all size plants, pots, etc. Also, there are spots that get a lot of light and spots that get a little light- there’s plenty of both.
Basically: what are your favorite indoor plants?

An inddor plant is horrible! You’re keeping the plant, which naturally wants to be outside and roaming free, cooped up inside a tiny apartment! I don’t care if outside plants have shorter lifespans on average, they live a richer, fuller life than their indoor cousins.

::Hoping someone gets the joke.::

Philodendron selloum and dieffenbachia are both light-loving, easy-going plants that will give you a dramatic display.

And for lower light areas: Sansevieria – also a nice dramatic statement but really easy-going.

In my (admittedly limited) experience, the Christmas Cactus is a great houseplant…and by great, I mean “nearly impossible to kill.” I have one at home (over 10 years old) that I can never remember to water, and one in my office (about two years old) that I don’t think has ever seen natural sunlight, and they’re both still alive. Okay, so they’re not all pretty and blooming like the ones in the link - they’re alive, and that’s amazing enough for me. Since you seem to be dedicated to actually caring for your plants (as opposed to my well-intentioned negligence) you might end up with spectacular blooms.

Congratulations on the new place!

I’d suggest you get a peace lily. They are very hardly, flourish in anything except direct sunlight, and will let you know when they need to be watered by drooping dramatically over the pot (“Help! I need a drink!”) – very handy for people like me who do not have green thumbs.

Orchids are way easier than you’d think.
My Phaleanopsis Orchids do very well in a well lit, but no direct sun, location. I water 'm once a week. Occasional fertilizing. They look awesome when in bloom, and they’re in bloom for months and months.
Sometimes you can get great deals on them at of all places Costco.

I used to have a dragon tree plant in my last office. It was small enough to keep on my desk, but they get pretty large over time. Doesn’t take too much maintenace to keep alive, just be careful not to over water.

Whatever, just don’t DARE to try to prune the thorns off of my plant. Dethorning is WRONG :mad: .

twickster, thank you for the suggestions. All three plants that you mention are beautiful! Very lush and tropical looking. Is this typical of indoor plants? I especially like the Philodendron selloum- it seems like that would be beautiful in a big, ornate pot in a corner or something.

Kairos, pink! Pink is my weak spot, in case that wasn’t obvious. I’m definitely going to look into the Christmas Cactus, as I love nothing more than bright pops of color. Well, there is one thing: pink pops of color! (FTR, our kitchen has a pink theme- pink strainer, pink utensils, pink jars, pink candles).

Jodi, Peace lillies are beautiful- so classic looking. I had completely forgotten about them! Thank you for reminding me.

Of course, Jodi and Kairos bring up a very important point that I forgot to mention in the OP: are there many flowering indoor plants? I would definitely prefer smaller, flowering plants for certain areas (like I said, I love color)- the brighter the better.

One more question: where is the best place to buy indoor plants? Do nurseries have a bunch? The only place I can remembre seeing any is at places like Home Depot.

Here are some that I have found to be quite forgiving in terms of light conditions and drought resistance.

Spider plant, spider plant! Good for hanging. Will get bushy.

Pothos (featured on the Wikipedia houseplant page, which may be interesting to you overall) - very pretty, hard to kill. My mother has had one for my whole life that has produced countless cuttings and new plants. It grows in long vines if you let it, you can put it someplace high and let the vines go wherever you want. Just don’t spray it with water (or anything else). THAT’s how you can kill it. Trust me.

Shefflera is also hard to kill and quite spectacular. Mine is still humungous and going strong, after being tended by three different people, having a shelf dropped on it, being ruthlessly pruned, dried out repeatedly, etc.

Snake plant. Grows straight up. A good floor plant.

Ficus, a common office plant. A big floor plant, basically a tree. I think the reason they cally it “weeping fig” is because it drops leaves all the damn time, but as long as you water it before they all fall off, it will be fine.

Cast Iron Plant (or, on preview, a Peace Lily). Bizarrely obsene-looking and beautiful for such an easy houseplant. Exceedingly difficult to kill, hence the name. It will tell you when it needs water by drooping. Then when you water it, it will perk right up.

Coleus is traditionally an outdoor plant, but a friend of mine pulled one out of the garbage and brought it over. We pruned off the ends, re-rooted them and planted them, and soon were over-run with coleus. It’s the only pink plant I’ve ever made grow, and it was very easy. So if you’re feeling adventurous, try one in a pot.

Ivy is good. It grows outdoors everywhere in England so obviously it doesn’t need a lot of light (snerk). Up here in Canadia people grow it in pots a lot. Also hard to kill.

If you have a lot of light, and like to cook/eat, you should consider planting some herbs and salad greens. They need a LOT of light, and pretty deep soil, but are the most materially rewarding of all indoor plants!

In general, if it is getting tall and straggly, you can cut off the ends and re-root them (ie put them in water until they root, then plant in soil) and the plant will be more bushy. Keep this in mind with your Pothos and Shefflera specifically (and you must do this with your basil if you’ve got it). It’s a matter of taste whether/how much you want to do this.

Also, keep this in mind: plants are cheap, and they die sometimes. It’s okay. You’re not a murderer. So don’t worry too much about killing them, it happens to everyone despite your best efforts. Just replace them. Eventually you will have lots that you can’t kill.

Wherever you see them. Up here they sell them at green grocers, big chain grocery stores, Canadian Tire, etc.

When purchasing, look for new growth (look in the centre of the stem, where the leaves come out). Get the ones with lots of teeny tender green leaves coming out. (Also FYI, when you’re keeping them, keep an eye on the new growth - if there is none, you have a problem, and you can spot it faster this way than waiting for them to die.)

If you feel sneaky you can snag clippings from plants you see, and root them at home. Some of my favourite plants have arrived in my life this way.

But I don’t want my plants to get hit by cars, or get attacked by dogs! Besides, my plants have been indoors since birth and don’t really miss the outdoors.

Anyway… I second pothos as being impossible to kill. I’ve had mine for almost a year - probably the longest I’ve kept any houseplant.

I inferred from your OP that you might be looking for “statement” plants, so recommended these three on that basis.

I’ve got a Philodendron Selloum that’s about 20 years old and huge. Keep in mind they’re relatively unportable after they hit a certain size – I move mine twice a year (out to the front porch in the spring; back up to the bay window in my bedroom in the fall) and it’s a big event each time.

A lot of flowering indoor plants get really picky about light and humidity. But if you want color, I’ll second the vote on Coleus. Gorgeous and way easy. Just keep the flowers pinched off.

That being said, I know people who have successfully kept pots of impatiens going all winter long.

Another cool thing you can do is plant bulbs for forcing indoors. Come early spring, you can have daffodils, crocus, hyacinth, tulips, whatever. Hugely curative for the February blahs – assuming you live someplace where Feb. is as blah as it is in NE Ohio.

Veterinary point of view:
If you have pets, avoid plants that are toxic if ingested. :smiley:

I recommend you buy cheap small plants, establish a basic watering/fert schedule, and replace the ones that don’t make it.
Better yet, get cuttings from friends - a lot of my plants here in the office are from folks who left the job and just left the plants.
I’ve also found plants (and pots) in the garbage when folks move out.
Avoid plants that require special care.
Some folks will say a certain plant is simple, and you won’t able to keep it alive - and the other way around.
Decide in advance what - if anything - you want to do in terms of fertilizing, repotting.
Get yourself a nice watering can with a large spout - a nice tool will make watering less of a chore.
Be wary of large, pricey tropicals - many are grown under conditions your apartment can’t replicate.
(13 pots and a planted aquaria presently visible here in my office!)

Travel around. There’s a lot of variety. I’ve found stuff at Home Depot that I don’t find at the nice local nursery and vice versa.

The local nursery is more expensive, but one of my main reasons for going there is because I’m an idiot when it comes to plants and there are people there who can answer your questions. . .like “what kind of soil should I get” and “can I transplant this now?” and “how easy is this to kill?” and “can this thing be an indoor plant?”

Have you considered African violets? A lot of people say they’re difficult to kill but I haven’t had any problems with mine. The only time I’ve ever lost one was when we moved. My mom had my plants in her car and forgot to take one out, so it cooked to death. I have four now, one that has gorgeous pink blooms; the others are purple. My favorite one (the pink one) is in my east-facing kitchen window and loves it there. The most important thing with African violets is to water them from the bottom. There are special pots with one pot set inside another one like this that work great. That site also has some good tips for keeping African violets, I see.

Um, that should read “difficult to keep.” Sorry. Apparently some of us find it difficult to put thoughts into logical written form. (I previewed, too.)