indoor plants that repel spiders

Contrary to common belief, the list of plants that can be grown indoors is quite varied and long. There are thousands of flowering plants, non-flowering plants, cacti, herbs, fruits, vegetables and even evergreens that you could grow indoors. So, if you love plants and need to grow them indoors take heart in the news that you have plenty to choose from!

One very important thing you should keep in mind while you decide about the number of plants you want inside your home is that indoor plants will raise the degree of humidity in your home. Hence, this is a good thing if you are living in a dry climate, but not so good if it is already humid. So just remember to use a dehumidifier if thinks get too humid with all your new plants.

While it is true that for your plants to live and thrive indoors they should be adaptable to indoor environment – i.e. less light, drier and cooler environment – it is important that you understand that most plants adapt very well indoors if you are willing to go the extra mile to provide them what they need. Plants also respond very well to love – but as a plant lover and gardener, I’m sure you already know that

Here is a very small list of some of my favorite plants you could grow indoors very easily:

1. African Violets (Saintapaulia)

 

The African Violets are among the most popular indoor plants because they are as easy to grow as they are beautiful. Their flowers last quite long and flowers are known to stay in bloom for several weeks when they are cared for well.

Temperature:

The best temperature for these flowers is 75 degrees Fahrenheit during daytime and about 60-70 at night. They will grow just fine from about 60-80 degrees Fahreinheit (15-27 degrees Celcius).

Water:

The best way to water these plants is at the roots (pouring water on the plant will spot its leaves so avoid water the leaves!). You could pour water in the plate you place under the flower pot and let the plant suck it up. The water should never be cold. Be careful not to over water your plants; ensure that the container allows for adequate drainage.

Soil:

It is best to buy ready-made soil mix from your nearest garden store for they will have missed the right proportions of fertilizer in it. African Violets require a fertilizer high in Phosphorous to bloom. In case your plants are not flowering, the problem would most often be that the fertilizer is higher in Nitrogen than Phosphorous.

Propagation:

You can get new plants from leaf cuttings or from the offshoots (plantlets). When the plants produce these offshoots, you need to remove them and plant them in new containers.

 

2. Croton (Codiaeum variegatum pictum)

 

The Croton is a hot favorite indoor plant because of its exceptionally beautiful foliage. It has great color, grows fast and does not require much attention. These plants love sunlight; hence, you would do best to keep them next to sunny south-facing windows (if you live in the north) where they can get direct sunlight for the better part of the day. Plants that do not get enough sunshine will have smaller and less colorful leaves.

A very important thing to keep in mind is that the leaves of this plant are poisonous. If you have small children or pets that might be inclined to chew on the leaves, this plant is not a good choice for you.

Temperature:

This plant will grow best in environments where the temperature is maintained in the range of 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit (15-27 degrees Celcius).

Water:

This plant is happy in a high-humidity environment. It requires heavy watering, but you should allow the top soil to dry in between while you mist the leaves once or twice a week. These plants will almost “tell” you how much water they need. If the leaves droop or begin to fall it means it needs more water; if the leaves wilt at the edges, it means you are watering it too much.

Soil:

The soil for the croton needs to be moist at all times. Too much or too less and the plant suffers. The good news is that it will not take you too long to understand how much water it likes based on how the leaves look; and once you know that you will have little else to worry about.

Propagation:

Crotons are easily propagated by rooting tip cuttings (new growth cuttings) in the spring or summer. For the plants to ‘catch’ and grow, you will need to maintain a temperature at 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit (21-27 degrees Celcius).

 

3. Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera bridesii)

 

This plant got its name from the fact that it flowers around Christmas; and the flower is a heart-stopping beautiful pinkish-red. This is one of the most unpretentious plants you can grow indoors. It thrives in cool and dry conditions and does not need too much watering either. It can live well in low light conditions, though it needs bright light for a little part of the day. Too much light will burn the cactus leaves; hence, during bright summer days, it will require shading.

Temperature:

The Christmas cactus likes a temperature range of 50-65 degrees Fahrenheit. It should not be exposed to direct heat sources (fireplace), vents or the like.

Water:

The Christmas cactus does not require too much water. However, you need to ensure that the soil is always moist. It is best to keep the pot on a pebble-tray; as the pebbles will absorb water, the plant will get the moisture it requires.

Soil:

This is one plant that will thrive in any type of soil. Use a good quality potting soil that drains well. For best results you should apply a weak solution of liquid houseplant fertilizer every 2-3 weeks.

Propagation:

Take Y-shaped cuttings from the stem tips and root them for propagation. Mix equal amounts of moist peat and perlite or sand and keep it moist – not wet; wet would rot the cuttings. As soon as the cuttings are rooted, place them in a very loose mixture of good potting soil.

 

4. Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis)

 

These plants are easy to care for, beautiful, and slow growing. They look great in a container and they offer a long list of health benefits as well. Because they are excellent for soothing burns – they are also called popularly ‘the burn plants’. Aloe vera is an excellent antiseptic as well and the inside clear flesh can be made into healthy smoothies (just avoid eating the outer green skin because it’s a strong diarrhetic).

Temperature:

Aloe vera requires a temperature range of 50-65 degrees Fahrenheit. It should not be exposed to direct heat sources (fireplace), vents or the like. It requires plenty of sunlight, but not direct sunlight.

Water:

Water the plant just enough for the soil to remain moist. Allow the top soil dry (1-2 inches). Do not allow the water to sit because the roots of this plant rot easily; water even less during winter months.

Soil:

Use a well-draining potting mix which is especially used for all types of cacti. It is important that the soil does not waterlog or the roots of the plant will rot. \

Propagation:

You can obtain leaf cuttings for propagation. Cut about 3 inches of the top part of the leaf and allow it to rest for a few days; when the callus is formed at the place of the cut, remove it. Dip it in rooting hormone and bury the cut side in a cacti potting mix. Maintain the soil moist – not wet. The new plants will get roots in 2-3 weeks.

 

5. Green Dracaena (Dracaena deremensis)

 

This is a very beautiful plant with large, long green leaves with white stripes. These plants are unassuming and though they thrive in medium to bright light, they seem just as happy in low light conditions. This is an excellent choice if you are looking for an indoor plant that adds beauty to your home. It can grow 3-10 feet tall with luxuriant upright foliage (most won’t exceed 2-3 feet in height).

Be aware that this plant’s leaves are poisonous if chewed by children or pets. Hence, if you have either, ensure that they do not have ready access to the plant.

Temperature:

The Green Dracaena is happiest if the temperature is maintained at 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. It does not tolerate cold or dry heat.

Water:

This is a plant that does not require too much watering. Allow the top soil to dry between watering. Water once every 2 to 3 days. Ensure that water never saturates the soil or the leaves will wilt and roots will rot.

Soil:

Use a well-draining humus-peat-loose soil that does not hold water. Earthworms are excellent helpers in the soil of this plant. Top with fertilizer every 2-3 months. You will need to repot this plant every 2 years. Keep the soil’s pH between 6.0 and 6.5.

Propagation:

This plant can be propagated by stem/ tip cutting, air layering or by potting root basal shoots during spring, and/or later summer.

 

6. Geranium (Geranium dissectum)

 

These are wonderful flowering plants that come in blue, pink, red and purple with long term continuous flowering. These flowers will grow happily in any soil as long as you do not flood it with too much water. For indoor planting the dwarf variety are the best choices. The plant lives for about 18 months and for the majority of this time they bear lovely flowers.

Geraniums love the sun and hence, require plenty of direct sunlight. This is why these plants thrive best if they are placed on the sill of the window. The plant will start flowering somewhere during mid-summer and will continue flowering until the first winter days. To ensure that it continues to bloom, cut the old blooms as soon as they die.

Temperature:

For best results, keep the temperature below 70 degrees Fahrenheit for this plant. They can resist the cold very well, but not too much humidity or heat. Keep it away from any direct vents of heat.

Water:

Geraniums do not like too much water. Keep the soil just a little moist, never soaked. Use pebbles to ensure that the soil drains well. You could water the plant once 2-3 days.

Soil:

Use compost rich soil if you want the flowers to be happy and flowering throughout the year. Add fertilizer once in a month or two. Geraniums will tolerate poor soil, but in such a case it would not flower as long. For best growth and flowering tenure the plant should feel happy.

Propagation:

For propagation, cut off 3-4 inches of the old plant and bury the cut ends into moist soil. Do not keep the soil wet or in 1-2 weeks the cuttings will root. Transplant the plants in a container during spring.

 

7. Bonsai Plants

 

Growing bonsai plants is a very satisfying and rewarding hobby. Literally translated as “tray planted” this is an ancient Chinese art, which was perfected by the Japanese. It involves efforts that patiently dwarfs trees and trains them to grow and bear fruit in a tray. You can literally engineer the way the tree grows and looks in the tree, which makes this hobby attractive, relaxing and extremely rewarding. The dwarf trees will bear dwarf fruits over years of training, which would fill your heart with joy to see. This is not a quick way to grow plants – but extremely rewarding. It takes 3-15 years to grow a bonsai in the desired shape.

 

Temperature:

The optimal temperature required by bonsai trees depends from tree to tree. However, the best bet is to keep them in an environment that is between 55-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Bonsai plants love sunlight, so it is best to place them where they get sunlight for the better part of the day. If you cannot offer it enough natural light, use a sunlight lamp.

Water:

The bonsai trees require everything in minimal quantities; even water. Since they are planted in a tray, you need to take care not to flood them. The soil needs to be mixed with pebbles to ensure proper drainage.

Soil:

Less is more in this case. The Bonsai trees are systematically dwarfed by cutting roots, and fertilizing it less often than regular indoor plants. Apply fertilizer lightly every 2-3 months. The plant requires pruning and trimming at regular intervals.

Propagation:

The method of propagation depends from tree to tree. Some would propagate from seeds; while some other would propagate from cuttings and/or rootings.

 

8. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

 

This is one of the most popular plants grown indoors the world over. There are many variants of the plant, which makes it a very attractive option. It has long, thin green leaves with a cream color strip running through its midst. These plants grow up to one foot tall and about 2 feet wide with thick, green foliage. The leaves are long, thin and very beautiful. The baby plants that grow at the end of the stems make the plant look like it holds spiders all around it; hence, its name.

Temperature:

The Spider Plant is happiest in an environment that stays between 60-80 degrees. It can withstand a little more heat, but not cold. It requires medium sunlight. Hence, if there is too much sunlight in your areas, shade the area.

Water:

This plant does not require too much water. You will need to keep the soil moist and evenly watered. Too much water and the plant will wilt. Water it once in 2-3 days.

Soil:

The spider plant requires high quality potting mix soil. Fertilize the soil once in 2-3 months or top it up every month.  Ensure that the soil is properly aired and drained.

Propagation:

For propagation remove the plantlets at the end of the stem and pot them in good soil that is maintained with minimum moisture. The baby plants root readily within a week.

 

9. English Ivy (Hedera helix)

 

This is a most common outdoor plant in many areas. However, it can adapt very easily indoors as well. It can be grown easily in pot from where it can climb around the room or window. For best effect train the plant into topiary form. It grows fast, can be easily trained and requires very little pampering. Trim it if you want it to stay small. Most people prefer to mold it into wide variety of topiaries.

Beware that this plant’s leaves are poisonous; keep children and pets away from this plant.

Temperature:

This plant grows best in environments that are 55-70 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a sturdy plant that does not respond too well to extreme heat. It loves sunlight but not too much direct light.

Water:

This plant does not like too much water, but requires it steadily. The best is to always have water in the plate below the pot so it can pull up as much water as it requires. The soil should never become waterlogged.

Soil:

Use a good potting mix that can drain well. The plant needs water, but it requires the soil to stay moist not wet.

Propagation:

The plant propagates easily through cuttings. Take a few cuttings and bury them in moist soil. You will have roots in a couple of weeks.

 

10. Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)

 

This is a handsome plant that has leaves shaped as long green swords with yellow outline. This plant is so unassuming that many compare it to plastic plants – that is how low attention it demands. It is almost indestructible and hard to kill. It grows to up to 4 feet tall and looks exceptionally beautiful.

Temperature:

The best temperature for these flowers is 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit and requires low to medium light. However, it does not really complain if it is exposed to high level sunlight or heat.

Water:

The best way to water these plants is once in 2-3 days for it does not need much watering. It would be good if you let the first 1-2 inches of the soil dry before your watering schedule. Overwatering would lead to root rot.

Soil:

The plant benefits from using high quality potting mix soil. Fertilize the soil once in 2-3 months or top it up every month.  Ensure that the soil is properly aired and drained. Too much water can kill the otherwise very sturdy plant.

Propagation:

You can get new plants from leaf cuttings or from the offshoots (plantlets). When the plants produce these offshoots, you need to remove them and plant them in new containers.