How to pick the right indoor or outdoor potted plant

Looking for indoor or outdoor potted plant tips? Since spring is right around the corner, you may be looking for a way to breathe new life into your living space. Spring cleaning helps.

Your property might even feel new again for the upcoming season if you give the walls a fresh coat of paint. But, consider adding some plants to your space to give your home a pop of life.

Potted Plant Tips

For a potted plant to start off successfully, a variety of conditions must be met. These recommendations apply to potted plants both inside and outside:

1. Choose the right pot for the plant.

When choosing a stylish pot for your plant, it is simple to become confused. If you have a specific plant in mind, it doesn’t hurt to coordinate the pot with the plant.

Size is important to the plant but shape, color and design are all up to you. For size, you want a pot that is two-inches larger on all sides than the plastic tray it is sold in.

Any larger and you risk the soil absorbing too much water and rotting your plant’s roots. Then you will likely want a draining pot, one that has holes on the bottom. This helps watering become more foolproof since it lets excess roll right through the bottom.

2. Choose the right tray for the pot.

What might be considered an afterthought, the tray that sits below the pot is actually an important decision. If you’re getting an indoor plant, be sure to stay away from terracotta trays. This type of tray is for outdoors only since it sweats, which can easily damage your floors.

You can use a clear plastic liner if terracotta is a must with your interior design aesthetic, but you have many options available that work with indoor plants.

Plastic trays come in all shapes and colors. These are optimal for indoor use since they won’t mark the floor and won’t sweat when collecting water.

3. Choose the right plant.

You may have your eyes set on a specific plant, but then find out that your desired location in your home won’t provide enough sunlight.

No amount of superhuman gardening skills will keep that plant alive if it isn’t receiving the sunlight it needs to thrive. It’s best not to fight nature and focus on plants that will enjoy the location you choose.

Also remember that the inverse is true as well, not all plants can handle direct sunlight. This is true for both indoor and outdoor plants.

It is best to research your plant, or just ask the gardener at the hardware store. These professionals know everything about the plants they sell and are encyclopedias just waiting for someone to ask.

RELATED: What to Plant in Autumn and Winter

Two schools of thought for indoor success: Easiest / Air-Cleaning

Two schools of thought for indoor success
  • Easiest – Some indoor plants are fool-proof. Desert plants that use cactus-soil mix can often live in any room of the house with any amount of sunlight. Watering is often bi-weekly at best. Just make sure that you have a draining pot and your plant should survive year after year with minimal maintenance.
  • Air-Cleaning – Perfect for the bedroom, plants that boast excellent air-purifying abilities. Some plants do far more than create oxygen. Some, like the snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) are able to absorb airborne toxins like nitrogen oxide and formaldehyde. This makes the snake plant perfect for the bedroom.


Potted plants can be a lovely addition to any home. If you pay attention to the needs of the plant, you can find the right one for any room in the house or any space outside.

With proper care and attention, your plant will live for years to come. And if you see any cause for concern with your plant, seek out your local hardware store’s garden section.

The gardeners your hardware store keeps on staff should be able to help you with any questions you may have.

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