When choosing a houseplant, consider how it will fit in with your decor, for example houseplants with:
Rounded, full and prolific leaf coverage look good in a cottage.
Strong large leaves such as the Rubber Plant Fiscus elastica 'Robusta' look good in a room with Mediterranean theme.
Few leaves that have strong lines, such as the Yucca Plant Yucca elephantipes 'Spineless Yucca' or Yucca aloifolia 'Spanish Bayonet' look good in a room with a Spanish/Mexican theme.
Pay attention to the pot, make sure the color and shape fits in with the theme of your room. That said, certain plants favor certain types of pot, for example cactus looks good in a terra cotta pot.
Often the houseplant you buy will be in a bland plastic container. This means you will have to buy a separate pot to blend in with your room decor, which leaves you with two repotting options:
You can repot your plant into your new pot.
You can place the plant in its existing container into your new pot.
In either case, detailed instructions for repotting can be found in the Soil and Containers page.
Another important factor determining the type of plant and its placement is the availability of light. You can find a useful tip for determining the light level in any room in the Lighting Tips page.
Although all plants need light, their tolerance to lighting varies considerably, fortunately for the novice grower, some plants like Mother-In-Law's Tongue Sansevieria trifasciata, are virtually indestructible and will grow in a brightly lit or fairly shady room.
In general, the light requirements for the three categories of houseplants can be illustrated as follow:
Temperature is another important factors to consider before you purchase a houseplant, as is the amount of wind or breeze. A lot of plants will not tolerate the cold, or a cold breeze.
The safest and quickest way to figure out where to put a plant is to do a little research and find out where it thrives naturally. The plant will survive in any room that approximates its natural growing conditions.
You can find this information for home plants with Plant Spot free on itunes.
If interior decorating is "not your thing", help is at hand...
Orlando Hamilton, who is also known as "Florist-to-the-stars", is a plant stylist whose celebrity clients include Madonna and Sylvester Stallone and whose work has appeared in Elle Decoration, Vogue Italia, and other publications has written a book which offers a way to look at houseplants as decor and presents ideas for integrating them into various interiors.
Using a number of color photographs, Hamilton shows you how to incorporate houseplants into contemporary styles such as Mediterranean, fusion, and minimalist. Other sections include color and scent; shape, pattern, and texture; pots and containers; and lighting.