What Makes A Plant A "House" Plant?

Hey Plant Friends! Have you ever wondered why certain plants are sold as "house" plants?

All plants are of course originally outdoor plants. So why are some plants called “houseplants” and how did they end up in our homes? Basically, houseplants are just plants that can survive indoors and are profitable to sell for growers. This usually comes down to a couple of factors:

1) Indoor Tolerant

Indoor environments have low light, mild temperatures, and generally medium levels of humidity. So for a plant to survive indoors, they need to be able to handle those conditions. Many plants that can handle a home environment originally come from tropical forests where they’re used to being under a dense upper canopy and thus receive very filtered light, hence, the prevalence of tropical foliage!

2) Pretty Year Round

If you’re going to keep a plant in your house year round, you want it to be attractive year round. This usually rules out plants with significant seasonal dormancy period, as they’re often bare during part of the year. You also want the foliage to be attractive and interesting enough to stand alone without flowering (which often requires more light than most indoor environments can provide).

3) Easy To Grow

For a plant to be commercially viable as a houseplant, it needs to be fairly easy to propagate and grow. This is why plants with unstable variegation that grow very slowly such as variegated Monstera or Pink Princess Philodendron aren’t often grown by large growers. They just take too long and are too volatile for it to be worth it to grow them commercially on a large scale.

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