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Central Midwest Gardening: Choosing Houseplants for Home and Office

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Get tips for choosing the right houseplants for your desk and the various rooms of your house.


I am highly susceptible to houseplants. I can’t resist the pretty leaves and bright-red flowers of Anthurium, which grow wild under tree ferns in Hawaii; or the fantastic Alocasia ‘Amazonica’, with its dark, glossy leaves and silvery veins.

If I see a staghorn fern in a 4-inch pot, it goes straight to my head and directly into my shopping cart. I love hare’s foot ferns, with their furry rhizomes. When I’m shopping for plants for my flowerbeds, I often find myself picking up peacock plants, crotons, cool succulents, and interesting little palms for my desk. The fuzzy foliage and dainty flowers of African violets are for me an enormous temptation. Of course I also have a few orchids.

Small houseplants are so inexpensive, you can afford to buy them on impulse. They fit neatly on anyone’s desk, in windowsills, on the kitchen counter. They are cheerful companions, adapting happily to the crowded and chaotic conditions among pencil cups, coffee cups and computers, and tolerate irregular watering.

Houseplants sold today will often thrive for at least two years in the pot they’re sold in. You don’t have to dig a hole, buy potting soil or get your hands dirty; just buy a plant that suits your personality and the light conditions on your desk.

Peace lily is called the “closet plant” for a reason, a friend taught me. If you work in a dark cubicle, away from natural light, peace lily is the plant for you.

I buy plants in plastic pots that drop right into pretty cache pots, which make even a philodendron look stylish and up-to-date. Some people say houseplants purify the air, but I know they improve my attitude.

See more Midwest Gardening Articles.