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Woman potting plants.

Best Houseplants For The Climate You Live In

Molly Grace7-Minute Read
May 28, 2020

Houseplants have always made for beautiful home decor, but finding the perfect pick can be tricky if you aren’t super knowledgeable about what species will thrive in your home.

If you’re a budding green thumb hoping to be the perfect plant parent, here’s everything you need to know about picking the plants that will love to live in your home’s environment.

Environmental Factors To Consider When Choosing Houseplant Species

Plants are like any other living thing: they can only survive and grow in certain circumstances. What can make plant husbandry confusing for newbies is that every species of plant has slightly different needs and can react to various environmental conditions (both inside and outside your home) in different ways.

When you’re choosing the types of plants you want for your home, you’ll need to keep the following factors in mind.

Light

First, you’ll want to think about how much sunlight the inside of your home gets. Do you have a sunny, west-facing window that soaks in rays all afternoon? Or is the light that your windows bring in fairly limited? Does your area tend to be more overcast or rainy, meaning your home gets little natural light at all?

These are the questions you’ll want to ask yourself. Some plants need lots of direct, bright sunlight, while others prefer more shade. Be sure to choose a plant that is suited to the amount of natural light your home has to offer.

Temperature

Many of the most popular houseplants are tropical plants, so they’ll do best in warmer environments. That doesn’t mean you have to replicate the warmth of a day at the beach in your home (which would be uncomfortable and expensive), but you do want to make sure that temperatures don’t drop too low, especially if you turn your thermostat down while you’re gone during the day or at night.

In general, a good temperature range should be around 70 – 80 degrees during the day and 65 – 70 at night. You’ll want to avoid letting your home’s temperature drop into the 50s, and anything below 50 degrees Fahrenheit can seriously harm your plants.

If your home tends to be on the cold side, you might prefer a hardier, cold-weather plant that can withstand and thrive in your home’s environment. When selecting plants, be sure to think about the temperature your home tends to range in.

Humidity

Plants tend to like the humidity; high humidity allows them to hold onto water, since it isn’t being leached back into the atmosphere as quickly. To ensure your plants are sufficiently hydrated, you should keep an eye on the humidity levels in your home.

You should aim for a relative humidity level of at least 40%, though you should try to get it higher if you can. Purchasing a humidifier and running it in the room you keep your houseplants can help.

While it’s important to know the conditions a type of plant is best suited to, plants can often do well in a variety of environments, and just because you can’t perfectly mimic the conditions of the climate a species of plant originated in doesn’t mean you won’t be able to successfully grow it in your home. Be sure to learn about the range of environments a plant can do well in when making your selections.

Best House Plants For Dry Climates

If you live in a dry area (or just tend to forget to water your plants – no shame, it happens), you’ll want to pick a hardier plant that doesn’t need constant watering or that holds onto water really well.

Cactus

Cactus plants in orange planting pots.

Succulents like cacti are known for being good dry-weather plants. These plants store water within their leaves and stems, making them fairly drought-resistant and perfect for indoor gardeners who want a low-maintenance plant.

Clivia

Clivia Plant with bright orange bloom.

These beautiful flowering plants can stand a little dryness, and can be a great choice for plant parents in drier areas who want to add a little color to their homes.

Clivias like to dry out in between waterings, so you don’t have to worry if your house is on the dry side or you forget to water. In fact, to get Clivias to flower, gardeners are instructed to keep the plant in a cool spot and refrain from watering for up to 90 days.

Best House Plants For Humid Climates

If you live in a more humid climate, you’ll have no problem finding a plant that suits your home and will find it easier than those in dry climates to keep almost any type of plant alive and thriving.

Ferns

Fern in a Distressed pot.

Ferns are happiest when they have a plentiful, constant supply of water to keep their soil nice and moist. This means that you don’t want to let the soil dry in between watering, so those with drier homes might have a difficult time meeting this plant’s hydration needs.

The bathroom is a good spot for a fern – it will love the humidity as long as you can provide it some indirect sunlight.

Peace Lilies

Potted Peace Lily

Peace lilies aren’t as sensitive to dryness as ferns are, but their soil does need to be kept consistently moist. Peace lilies are tropical and love the humidity. You might consider regularly misting their leaves with filtered, room temperature water (these plants are sensitive to some of the chemicals in tap water).

Best Houseplants For Hotter Climates

While most houseplants tend to prefer warm weather, if you live in an area of the country that experiences a lot of heat, you’ll want to make sure you’re choosing plants that can withstand that.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera Plant

Another succulent, aloe vera is a great houseplant for gardeners who need a plant that will stand up to hot, dry climates.

In addition to being easy to care for and an interesting addition to your home decor, aloe vera has another famous benefit: the gel produced within its leaves. Cut a leaf lengthwise and use the gel inside to help relieve the pain from minor burns and scrapes.

Lady Palm

Potted Palm Plant.

This heat-loving palm can make a gorgeous and leafy addition to your home. They thrive in warm interiors and only need to be watered once their soil has dried – however, when they are watered, you should water deeply, so that the roots are well-soaked.

Best Houseplants For Colder Climates

While most popular houseplants tend not to be too fond of colder temperatures, it’s possible for those who live in regions that experience longer winters and periods of colder weather to find a hardier plant that will thrive in their home.

Jade Plants

Indoor potted jade plant.

While this succulent doesn’t like to be too cold, it can tolerate the nightly temperature dips that homes often experience, especially in winter, better than some other plants. During the day, jade prefers an environment between 65 – 75 degrees, but it can handle a nightly dip down to 55 degrees.

English Ivy

English Ivy in a pot.

English Ivy is hardy – so hardy, in fact, that it’s considered by some to be an invasive weed for its ability to crowd out other plants and prevent growth. However, when kept indoors, it’s a pretty and easy-to-care-for plant that can easily withstand cooler temperatures.

Best Houseplants For Bright Light

If you have lots of bright, sunny windows in your home, you’re in luck – your list of options for suitable houseplants just got way bigger.

Yucca Plants

Potted Yucca Plant

Yucca is a pretty, leafy plant that prefers bright, indirect light. As long as you give these guys sufficient light, you’ll find them to be easy plants to care for. They’re fairly drought-resistant and like to dry a bit in between watering. Just watch for overwatering.

Culinary Herbs

Culinary Herbs potted.

If you’ve got a sunny window in your kitchen and a love for fresh cooking, an indoor herb garden can make for a beautiful and delicious addition to your indoor plant collection. Make sure they’re in a window that gets sun the majority of the daytime, and put them in pots that allow for good drainage.

Best Houseplants For Low Light

As we all learned in elementary school, light is the main ingredient for keeping a plant happy, so those with less natural light in their homes might think that they’re consigned to a plant-less indoor life. The good news: there are plenty of plants that do well without tons of sunlight.

ZZ Plants

Potted ZZ Plant.

In addition to having a fun, ’80s-rock-band-sounding name, ZZ plants are gorgeous, hardy and a great option for plant parents who don’t get a ton of natural light in their homes.

It’s hard to kill this low-maintenance plant, so if you’re a little forgetful when it comes to plant care, the ZZ plant should be a good fit for you.

Chinese Evergreen Plants

Chinese Evergreen Plant

Another easygoing plant, Chinese evergreens thrive in shadier environments. If you can provide it a warm, humid climate, these plants are an easy grow, regardless of your home’s light conditions.

Dracaena Plants

Potted Dracarna Plant on table.

Another well-named plant (it’s also known as the dragon plant), Dracaena prefer filtered bright light, but they also can live in lower-light areas just fine. They aren’t fussy and are fairly flexible when it comes to the range of temperatures they’ll grow in.

All-Around Toughest House Plants

As we’ve seen, many of the popular house plants are fairly adaptable when it comes to the types of environments they can grow in. But if your gardening thumb is more brown than green, you might be thinking, “OK, but what is the toughest, hardiest plant that I couldn’t kill if I tried?” Here’s how you can create a low-maintenance indoor garden.

Snake Plants

Snake plant potted in decorative pot.

Snake plants are immensely forgiving. Forgot to water it for a few weeks? No problem. Their beautiful, tall leaves hold up, no matter how much you neglect them.

These plants like indirect light, though they can adapt to a variety of sunlight environments. They need watering sparingly; it’s best to let the soil dry in between watering.

Cast Iron Plants

cast iron plant

Unfussy, easy-to-care-for and nearly impossible to kill, cast iron plants are great for newbie gardeners who don’t want to have to spend a lot of time caring for their indoor garden.

Cast iron plants don’t like direct sunlight, prefer to dry out between watering and can survive in a huge range of temperatures – they can even tough it out in temperatures below 50 degrees.

Spider Plants

Spider Plant

This is another tough-guy plant. Spider plants like indirect light, only need moderate watering (though you should avoid letting the soil dry out completely), and do well in most indoor climates.

As you begin to cultivate your indoor garden, you can save yourself a lot of heartache by not just considering which plant you like the look of most, but which plants will survive and thrive in your home’s environment as well.

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    Molly Grace

    Molly Grace is a staff writer focusing on mortgages, personal finance and homeownership. She has a B.A. in journalism from Indiana University. You can follow her on Twitter @themollygrace.