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Easy-Care Foliage for Indoors

About now, I really need the green that herbs and tropical houseplants offer.

Even if your green thumb is more olive brown, you can grow one of these plants indoors to help contrast all that white outdoors.

When selecting a houseplant, consider first where you would like a plant. There is a plant for just about every location.

Scan these and determine how much light you can offer, then choose what level of care you can provide.

Zamioculcas zamiifolia

  • Known as ZZ Plant
  • Light: any type of light, house temperatures
  • Water: keep slightly moist all year but will tolerate occasional drought
  • Fertilizer: during growing season from spring through summer
  • Size: mature height 3 to 4′ and grows faster in brighter light



  • Light: High light of a southern window
  • Temperature: Warm in growing season, in winter keep cooler and water less
  • Water: keep evenly moist and spray often; use a humidity tray if kept in arid location but do not allow to stand in water
  • Fertilizer: feed at half recommended strength once a week
  • Size: will become tree-like over time. When up-potting, use a well-drained potting mix.

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Chlorophytum comosum

  • Known as Spider Plant
  • Light: Place in a sunny East or Southern window
  • Water: allow soil surface to dry between waterings
  • Fertilizer: use a mild fertilizer once a month in summer
  • Winter care: reduce watering and food in winter
  • Unique propagation: runners produce “pups” that can be easily rooted

Adiantum capillus-veneris – perhaps a bit more challenging

  • Known as Southern Maidenhair or Venus’ Hair Fern
  • Light: bright indirect light as set back from a south- facing window
  • Water: keep consistently moist and do not let soil dry out; however, plants should not be allowed to sit in water. Mist daily and use a humidity tray to create ambient humidity around plant.
  • Fertilizer: fertilize once a month with a water soluble plant fertilizer
  • Size: prune out brown or dying stems with small pruners or cuticle scissors to keep the plant looking fresh 

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Not to be confused with Northern Maidenhair Fern, Adiantum pedatum, which is cold-hardy in the Berkshires.

Most tropical ferns do well in bright bathrooms or near kitchen sinks due to the humid conditions. Decorative moss or wood chips over the top of the soil surface will help keep soil moist as well.

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