How to care for indoor plants

How to care for indoor plants

House plants are excellent for the indoor gardener, allowing one to grow plants year round. Tall or large-leaved house plants, such as ficus, can provide interesting focal points while smaller varieties of indoor plants, like herbs, are commonly used to fill in empty areas. Good indoor plants add to the home’s ambiance. Therefore, it’s important to match both the plant’s features and growing requirements to its indoor setting. While there are numerous types of house plants to choose from, some good indoor plants to start with include pothos, dracaena, philodendron, snake plant, spider plant, and fern. These are all considered easy plants to grow.

With its heart-shaped, apple green leaves splotched in white, pothos makes an attractive indoor plant. Closely related to philodendron, pothos adapts well to both bright conditions as well as low light. It also thrives with average indoor temperatures and moist, humus soil. Pothos can even be left to grow in water. Dracaena, also known as corn plant, is also grown for its attractive tall foliage, which resembles corn stalks, and is edged in red. Dracaena is a good indoor plant for focal interest and is easy to care for.

Philodendron is one of the most commonly grown indoor plants, with the climbing varieties quite popular. Philodendron is suitable for growing in various conditions and handles occasional neglect with ease. This plant is great for adding height in hanging baskets or climbing poles. Another plant tolerant of neglect is the snake plant, or mother-in-law’s tongue. Its tough, sword-like leaves make an interesting accent to nearly any home décor. Snake plant will even root easily should a leaf break.

Spider plant is considered one of the easiest indoor plants to grow. It’s an extremely adaptable plant, growing in a wide range of conditions. The small spiderettes, which hang down from the mother plant, are its most attractive feature. While some might argue otherwise, growing fern plants indoors is relatively easy. Given the proper care, a fern will grow vigorously, providing textural interest with its feathery-like fronds. There are numerous types of fern so finding one that suits various indoor settings should not be difficult.

There are a number of other good indoor plants for the home as well. However, their care may require a little more effort. Two plants that bear mention here include the ever-popular Christmas cactus and the hibiscus. Christmas cactus makes an excellent house plant but requires moderate care. Given the proper conditions, however, Christmas cactus will reward indoor gardeners with attractive, brightly colored blooms. The hibiscus also produces profuse blooms when cared for properly but is highly sensitive and quite finicky.

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Discussion Comments

@Iluviaporos – Well, cacti are fairly popular as small pot plants and they need quite a bit of direct sunlight. Bonsai trees are another example.

Really, you just have to pick the right plant for the right spot, which is what you’d have to do in the garden anyway. Some areas in the house are going to receive more light than others (and this is going to depend on the time of year as well).

If you are worried about a plant not getting enough sunlight, you can always do what my mother does in the winter, which is put several of her potted plants out in sunny windows and move them around during the day a couple of times to ensure they get enough sun. She doesn’t do this every day, but her plants grow very well, so I guess she does it enough. lluviaporos July 6, 2014

@croydon – Actually sunlight is usually the limiting factor when it comes to traditional indoor house plants. They are usually ferns and plants that thrive in the undergrowth because they aren’t going to get much direct sunlight. Plants won’t thrive under electric lights unless they can get the sunlight they need to convert into sugars.

You don’t have to limit yourself to purely decorative plants indoors. There are lots of options for growing edible plants or medicinal plants or herbs indoors and often it’s easier to grow them there than to grow them outdoors.

Chili peppers are a really good option. A couple of years ago I grew a pepper plant that produced so many peppers I had enough to dry them in a bundle. It even looked really pretty as an indoor plant, with the bright red of the fruit and the glossy leaves.

There are some cherry tomatoes that are bred specifically to be indoor plants as well. And almost anything can be grown in a container with access to enough sunlight.

Not everyone has a natural green thumb, but that’s ok because there are plenty of hard-to-kill houseplants that come to the rescue when you want to add some greenery to your home. Don’t be fooled by their delicate appearance, they are more durable than you think; some can even withstand some serious neglect.

Regardless of if you are into gardening or not, bringing plants into the home has a way of freshening up your space. Besides being pretty to look at and boosting your home’s aesthetics, there is something about plants that make us feel at ease. It’s no wonder why tons of people want to fill their homes and offices with luscious green leaves. Luckily, there are several types of houseplants that can fill your home and require little work to keep them alive. Although taking the time to care for a plant can be super rewarding, we understand it’s easy to forget to give your plant the TLC it needs. That’s why we are sharing some the best indoor plants that don’t require much attention at all.

First, you’ll have to evaluate your space: is it a room that gets direct sunlight, indirect sunlight or stays shady? Plants like yucca, ponytail palm and jade love a sunny room while other species like pothos, prayer plants and dracaena prefer shadier areas.

If you rather be on the safe side and are looking for a zero-maintenance plant, then artificial plants are for you. However, if you want to give live plants a go, scroll through our list for the best houseplants!

How to care for indoor plants

The paddle plant is a bold succulent that has big, round leaves with pink tips. These plants favor bright light so you can have it sit right on a sunny windowsill to soak in all the rays. These also like to be on the drier side, so don’t worry if you forget to water from time to time — they can take it!

How to care for indoor plants

Having a full and vibrant palm in your home is always a nice addition and the lady palm is a great one to start off with. Unlike other types of palms, this one is easier to care for and only needs indirect sunlight.

How to care for indoor plants

Add this little guy to a shelf and watch it trail down. Make sure that you place it in bright, indirect sunlight and water every one to two weeks.

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How to care for indoor plants: Indoor plants are such ornaments that make our houses more livable. They give pleasant feelings when we stay at home. They help us relaxing our mind and more focusing in our work. Plants are supporting us for a better living. They provide us most importantly with oxygen, then food, shelter, clothing, and many more things. Man could not survive in the earth without plant. So plants are blessing of God. We can decorate our home with plants with other furniture. But for getting proper services from the decorative plants we have to take proper care of them.

How to care for indoor plants

Without taking proper care they won’t be able to survive inside the house. For taking care of the indoor plants we can take some steps like:

Watering the indoor plants

Plants mostly needs water to survive. But it is hard for plants to tolerate both excess and lack of water. So it is very important to maintain the appropriate quantity of water in the media. Media can be soil, rock or sometimes only water. Soil should be kept moist time to time. Not wet. Excess water creates stress to plant. Plants may not be able to handle the water logging and the roots may die.

How to care for indoor plants

On the other hand if the soil is too dry and becomes hard it will create drought condition. Plant will die for lack of water. So if the water is standing not sitting then excess water needs to be removed. If the soil become lighter in color it has lack of water so should be watered immediately. For succulent plants gap between two watering time should be lengthy.

To determine how much water is
existing in the soil we can examine by poking the soil with our finger. If the
finger goes inside the soil easily then there is sufficient water in the soil.
Next watering can be delayed. Again if the finger doesn’t go inside then the
soil is very hard and suffering from water lacking. For moisture determination
also moisture meter can be used. Water should be in room temperature that is
been used for plants. Not too warm or cold. The plant pot should have a good
drainage system in it. Mostly for drainage pots contain hole at the bottom.
Excess water leach out for that hole.

Proper humid condition

Plants need proper humidity around. Like human plants also feel suffocation. Indoor plants also. As we know that plants has transpirational activities. So it is very important for plants to have proper space around them to release the vapor. If the environment around is too humid then the plant will find difficulty to release its vapor. Then it will face suffocation. That is a threat for plants life. Plants should be placed at a location where aeration is available. For example like under the fan or front of window where gentle breeze blows.

Transpiration is a metabolic process of plants. They have to perform it for proper growth and development. Adjusting the humidity during summer and winter have different practices. In summer humidity is higher in the air then the winter. Winter carries dry air. Plants can easily transpire the excess water. And in summer it is little difficult to adjust the humidity. Vaporization is higher at this stage. In rainy season it is much more difficult to adjust the humidity.

Sunlight for indoor plants

Indoor plants are mostly not light requiring. As they are placed inside the house they need less light to develop. But for photosynthesis and energy production plants needs light. If the plant id light requiring it needs to be placed next to the window. Especially south and east facing window. Some plants are shade loving. They prefer to be inside the home where sunlight do not come. Balcony is also a great place for sun loving plants to grow.

It’s a pleasure to enjoy the sunlight with the plants in the balcony in early morning. For sunlight plants should be placed in one place. It is not recommended to move the plants again and again here and there. Plants need light for a specific time in a day continuously. Also they need a dark period continuously. So it is not wise to move the plants place to place. It causes disturbance to the plants.

Food of the indoor plants

Plants also need food. Water is the
prerequisite but they also need nutrients. Major nutrients like nitrogen,
potassium, phosphorus are very essential to plants for survival. So regular
induction of nutrients into the media is necessary. Plants show symptoms like
yellowing of leaves, defoliation, deformative structures at nutrient lacking.
Plants should be under regular observation to know the needs of nutrient.

Knowing the types of indoor plants

Knowing about the plant chosen for indoor decoration is another criteria for taking care. It is not possible to care properly without knowing about the plant. It can be sun loving or shade loving, it can be water loving or drought loving, it can be warm loving or cold loving, it may grow tall or dwarf. Various types of characters exist in plant. Knowing about them before decorating is important for the designer. By knowing all thing maintenance will be easy.

Reshaping the indoor plants

Plants grow at their own way. They do not maintain any proper size and shape. And this may create a haphazard look to the plant. It can spoil the decorum of the house, giving a massy look to the place. So regular training and pruning practices are essential for managing proper outlook of the plant and house. Some plants grow vigorously, some grow slow. Vigor plants need reshaping at regular interval. Extra branches should be removed, dead branches, dead leaves or flowers need to be removed.

How to care for indoor plants

Plants shouldn’t be bushy in look, should be lighter. It also ensure proper aeration to the plants. Transpiration accelerates. For decoration topiary can be a great idea. These practices should be executed by skilled hands or the plants will be destroyed. It will be a great loss for the house as it will lose its decorating apparatus.

How to care for indoor plants

There are many benefits to keeping indoor plants. They can purify the air and lift your mood. These indoor plants are low maintenance, stylish and cozy, adding a touch of nature to your home.

Here are 10 indoor plants that are so easy to take care of.

1. Aloe

Aloe doesn’t need a lot of watering. Let the soil dry out and put it in a warm place with plenty of light.

How to care for indoor plants

2. Lavender

Lavender is beautiful and hearty. Just put it in a sunny spot and water infrequently.

How to care for indoor plants

3. Mother in laws tongue/snake plant

Snake plant or mother in law’s tongue is stylish and robust. It can tolerate low light and dry air.

How to care for indoor plants

4. Spider plant

Spider plants are popular hanging and potted plants. They just need light and water. They are easily propagated by placing the plantlets in water or soil.

How to care for indoor plants

5. Peace Lily

Peace lilies are stunning and come in white, pink or purple. They only need low light, moderate temperatures and moist soil.

How to care for indoor plants

6. Succulents

Succulents are versatile and lovely. There is an abundance of varieties and they need very little care. They are great for terrariums or as stand alone feature plants.

How to care for indoor plants

7. Cactus

Just like succulents, cacti are adaptable, varied and strong. Just plant them and leave them alone, watering them rarely.

How to care for indoor plants

8. Heart leaf Philodendron

These plants thrive in any space. Low or bright indirect light is best. Let them dry out before watering again.

How to care for indoor plants

9. Pothos

Pothos comes in many colors and thrives in low light, which makes it perfect for darker rooms.

How to care for indoor plants

10. Herbs

The best indoor plants are the ones you can eat. Nothing beats potted herbs for fragrance, well being and practicality. Put them on a window sill in the kitchen and water every other day.

How to care for indoor plants

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If you make your own coffee in the morning, chances are you’re only making the same boring kind everyday. Now it’s time to put an end to the cynical habit and turn you into an instant coffee connoisseur.

For those who don’t know, there are officially 38 different ways to make coffee. All, except decaffeinated versions will give you the same buzz that can either make you extremely productive or give you anxiety.

The only difference here is taste. And when it comes to coffee, taste matters. A lot.

Most of the methods and ingredients from the chart above dates back hundreds of years and have been traditionally passed down from generation to generation. Hence, it’s actually possible to tell where a person came from based on the type of coffee he or she drinks!

So, you have a rubber plant, and you want to help it thrive. We can help with that, but first…what on earth is a rubber plant anyway? The popular houseplant known as the rubber plant (i.e., Ficus elastica) is not, in fact, a fake plant made of rubber, but rather a tree-like plant native to Southeast Asia that produces a white latex sap. Although the Ficus elastica is not the primary source for natural rubber (that would be the Brazilian rubber tree, Hevea brasiliensis), it is very hardy and can even be used to make living bridges. (Pretty cool, right?)

At home, these beauts boast large, dark green leaves and can be maintained as a medium-size houseplant or grown to impressive heights for an indoor statement piece; outdoors, these guys can grow up to 50 feet tall. But no matter how large you let yours grow, the rubber plant promises to be an eye-catching addition to your collection. That said, you should know that rubber plants are poisonous to pets, so they’re not a great choice if your furry friend has a habit of munching on houseplants. Still ready to run out and buy one? Read on for the rundown on rubber plant care, courtesy of the plant experts at the Sill, so you can keep your new houseplant happy and healthy. Spoiler: These low-maintenance plants are unlikely to give you a hard time.

How to care for indoor plants

Sunlight

Water

Compared to other houseplants, rubber plants are relatively low maintenance when it comes to watering. A good rule of thumb is to water your rubber plant every one to two weeks, but let the potting soil be your guide: It should dry out completely in between waterings. Of course, the amount of sunlight your plant gets will influence how quickly the soil dries out, so you can expect to water it slightly more often (i.e., once a week) if it’s getting loads of bright light. Not sure if you have your rubber plant on the appropriate watering schedule? The experts say to pay attention to the leaves: Yellowing leaves and wet potting mix is an indication of overwatering, while crispy, curling leaves are a sign of a thirsty plant. (Note: Leaf drop, on the other hand, means your rubber plant needs more light.)

Temperature

Because the rubber plant is native to Southeast Asia, it does prefer warm, tropical climates. That said, the rubber plant is fairly flexible though and will fare just fine in moderate temperatures of 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. In other words, a rubber plant kept indoors will be happy all year long, so you needn’t change the thermostat on its account.

Humidity

As with temperature, the rubber plant does not have any strict humidity needs—just avoid keeping your plant in the direct path of an air conditioner and it will be fine. Though not ideal, a low humidity environment isn’t a deal-breaker; in this case, you may just need to water your rubber plant slightly more often.

How to care for indoor plants

5 Common Problems of Rubber Plant Care

We covered some of these above, but here’s the breakdown of problems you might encounter with a rubber plant, plus solutions to get your plant back on track.

Problem: Yellowing or dropping leaves and wet potting mix.
Solution: Your rubber plant has been overwatered; To avoid root rot, go easy on the watering as soon as you notice this problem.

Problem: Leaves are crispy and curling inward and potting mix is dry.
Solution: More water! (This is an indication of underwatering.)

Problem: The color of the leaves is starting to fade.
Solution: Move your rubber plant to an area in your home where it will get more light.

Problem: There are scale or mealybugs on your plant.
Solution: Start treating the plant as soon as you notice the problem by giving it a weekly spritz with horticultural oil and regularly wiping it down.

Problem: Your beloved plant is irritating your skin.
Solution: Wear gardening gloves whenever you prune a rubber plant, as the latex sap can irritate sensitive skin.

How to care for indoor plants

Potted miniature roses are an insanely popular gift for plant lovers. Ranging in color and bloom size, miniature roses look lovely when kept indoors. While the plants may bloom prolifically throughout the longer daylight hours, many miniature roses may begin to fizzle as cooler temperatures arrive in the fall. By learning more about the needs of these mini roses, growers will be able to keep healthy plants all season long. Read on to learn about miniature rise indoor care.

Are Mini Roses Indoor Plants?

When it comes to a miniature rose, indoor care can be frustrating. Many growers have experienced the decline of these once beautiful potted plants. Like other types of rose, miniature roses will need a cool period that is similar to what they would experience naturally. In most cases, this is simply not achievable indoors. While growers are able to briefly enjoy the blooms of their mini rose houseplant, the best option is to transplant it into the flower garden.

As with many roses, miniature varieties are exceptionally cold tolerant. Most of these plants will have no issue acclimating and continuing to grow once planted into the flower garden. To do so, harden off the rose plant over time and allow it to become accustomed to the outdoor temperatures and conditions.

For best results, this should be done at least one month before the first anticipated frost date in your area. Dig a hole that is twice as wide and twice as deep as the root ball of the plant. Ensure that the rose is planted in a well-draining location that receives ample sunlight each day.

How to Care for Indoor Mini Roses

If planting outdoors is not an option, there are some steps to take to keep your miniature roses indoors healthy. Above all, a steady routine of maintenance will need to be established. When growing miniature roses indoors, it will be imperative that growers remain dedicated to watering, fertilizing, deadheading, and pruning their plants.

By supplying the plants with ideal growing conditions, indoors gardeners are able to reduce the occurrence of disease or infestation of troublesome pests, like spider mites.

As the plant grows, make certain to repot it, as needed. Allowing the plant ample room in the container will be important in the production of flower blooms.

If booking your dream Mediterranean vacation isn’t in the cards this very minute, you can invite that charming seaside lifestyle into your home with an indoor olive tree. In the right environment, these majestic shrubs can be extremely easy to care for—just think of the dry regions they naturally call home if you want a few ideas. However, at the end of the day, olive trees aren’t really intended as indoor plants. They’re fruit-bearing trees that need to be pollinated like any other. That said, these hardy plants can prosper indoors for a few years if you follow these key tips.

  • Botanical Name: Olea europaea
  • Common Name: Olive tree
  • Plant Type: Perennial evergreen tree or shrub
  • Mature Size: 5–30 feet tall
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, direct light
  • Soil Type: Non-stratified and fine-textured soils
  • Soil pH: 5.5–8.5
  • Toxicity: Non-toxic

Plant Care

How to care for indoor plants

If you’re living in an apartment that receives no natural sunlight, an olive tree probably isn’t the best choice for you. However, if you can place your plant near an open window, letting it get a bit of air, you have the potential to promote healthy growth for at least a few years.

For the first year with your indoor olive tree, make sure you water it weekly or every time you notice the top two inches of soil feeling pretty dry. After the tree is fully integrated and established in its pot, feel free to water only once a month. However, make sure you really water it. It's a good idea to drench the soil with a hose, and let all the excess water run out of the bottom of the pot.

Since olive trees aren't used to water regularly, giving it a good drink will help rehydrate them. A thorough watering also lets the plant get rid of built-up salts and chemicals from the water and soil.

Best Growing Conditions for Indoor Olive Tree

Olive trees can be a little contradictory: They need sun but not too much. The most important thing to note before bringing home your indoor olive tree is that it needs sunlight, air, and movement.

If you want to go above and beyond, take your plant outside every few months, and wash it down completely, including the undersides of the leaves where pests can accumulate. Plus, since olive trees need fresh air, you're killing two birds with one stone by bringing it outside for a bath.

Don't put your olive tree in direct sunlight while it's outside because even just a few minutes in bright sun can burn it. Try to leave it under a bigger tree or in the shade.

Olive Tree Varieties

Because olive trees have been cultivated for thousands of years, you’ll find quite a variety of them. The two overarching types are fruit-bearing trees and fruitless ones (also called sterile trees).

Common varieties include Arbequina, which is native to Spain's Catalonia region and is best for small spaces because it matures to only a few feet high, and Mission, which was originally grown in Spain but, since the 1700s, has made its way to California. Also popular is Manzanilla, which is especially beautiful with its billowing branches full of bright-green, perfectly oval olives, and Greek Amfissa, which produces delicious purple olives. However, the latter isn't great as a houseplant because it grows quite quickly.

How to Propagate Indoor Olive Tree

Propagating an olive tree is actually pretty easy because the plant cuttings require very little effort, apart from weekly waterings. It’s also a fun project to do if you’re new to the gardening game. Luckily, there’s not much to it: All you need is a mature vine with a tiny root node protruding out of it.

Step 1: Start the process by preparing the container where your new olive tree is going to live. Fill an 8-inch nursery container with fine-textured soil. Making sure the soil is fine is key because it'll be soft enough to protect the delicate roots.

Step 2: Using sharp gardening shears, snip off a healthy 8-inch branch from a mature olive tree. Make sure you cut it about an inch or so below a leaf node, and then remove all leaves from the branch.

Step 3: Poke a hole in the soil, and insert the cutting, cut side down, into the pot. Then, pack the soil around and above the stem with your hands.

Step 4: Mist or lightly water the plant every day (unless the soil is already moist from the last time you watered it). This part may be kind of annoying, but it's the best way to ensure successful propagation.

Step 5: A few months later, the branch should have quite a few well-established roots. Once the roots are long and strong enough (if it looks as though the current nursery pot is too small), transfer it into a gallon-sized pot with the same type of soil. Water your plant once a week for the first year or so.

Common Growing Problems

The most common threats to olive trees are pests and disease, particularly scales, tiny hard-shelled insects.   There are many types of scales, and they all love olive trees. Unfortunately, they can cause a lot of damage to your tree because their mouths are quite sharp. When they latch onto the leaves and stem of your tree, they usually end up piercing them, which inhibits the tree’s growth.

Another insect that can cause a lot of harm to your tree is the spittlebug. On its own, it doesn't do much, but most spittlebugs carry a dangerous bacterial pathogen, Xylella fastidiosa. Once your plant is infected with it, it won't live much longer. In fact, in parts of Italy and Spain, the pathogen has wiped out entire groves of ancient olive trees.  

How to care for indoor plants

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Growing tired of a lifeless interior? Or maybe your room’s a blank canvas ready for its first dash of color. The best indoor plants can add just the right amount of intrigue—they’re free-form and organic yet clean and sculptural; they delight with their unpredictability yet reassure with their steady presence. And their life span, thankfully, is much longer than that of cut flowers. But when considering plants in a room’s design, there are a few things to take into account. Architectural Digest caught up with horticulturist Dennis Schrader from Landcraft Environments in Mattituck, New York, to get the dirt.

“You have to think of the container it’s going in like a piece of furniture,” Schrader says. “It should match the interior.” As for the plant, you’ll want to coordinate that as well. Below is a guide to some stellar finds and their respective requirements, but first, what if you choose to incorporate more than one plant into your design scheme? Schrader advises grouping plants the way they naturally grow. “You don’t want to put a fern next to a cactus,” he says. And what’s more, plants that grow together will have similar needs, making it easier on the caretaker. As for how many to include, he says, “That all depends on how many you want to take care of.”

Finally, location should be dictated primarily by the plant’s light requirements and then by the owner’s taste. Try a plant here or there and see what looks good to you, and don’t be afraid to move it around over time. For smaller indoor plants, Schrader says, “you can use them as a table setting, then move them to a window sill later on.”

Here, we've rounded up the very best indoor plants, complete with pro plant care tips from Schrader and two other experts, Sprout Home founder Tara Heibel and Tassy de Give, who launched the Chicago-based garden shop’s Williamsburg, New York, location.

1. Fiddle-Leaf Fig Tree (Ficus Lyrata)

This shrub boasts a long, elegant stem and branches with broad, leathery leaves. For placement, Schrader suggests “under a skylight or next to a window.” In other words, it needs as much sun as possible. Schrader suggests pruning the top branches when it grows above the window frame.

Fiddle-Leaf Fig Tree Care: Water once a week, or more if it’s winter and the air in your home is dry.

How to care for indoor plants

Fiddle Leaf Fig

2. Split-Leaf Philodendron (Monstera Deliciosa)

Favored by Henri Matisse, this plant has a distinctive leaf that looks as though it’s been gently cut into by a careful hand. Schrader says you can cut off the top—as long as it has air roots attached—and replant it, meaning if you buy one of these, you could easily have more, if you’d like.

Split-Leaf Philodendron Care: Water once a week.

How to care for indoor plants

Monstera Deliciosa

3. Meyer Lemon Tree (Citrus X Meyeri)

This tree bears its namesake Meyer lemons, believed to be a hybrid of lemons and mandarin oranges with a subtler, sweeter flavor than lemons. But these trees don’t stop at fruits: “When they bloom you have this beautiful fragrance of citrus flowers,” says Schrader. Meyer lemon trees do well indoors as long as they have lots of sun.

Meyer Lemon Tree Care: Water weekly.

How to care for indoor plants

Meyer Lemon Tree

4. Kentia Palm (Howea Forsteriana)

The fronds of this plant spring to great heights from the soil, then lean forward, quietly shading the ground beneath. “It looks great in a big urn,” says Schrader, noting that it should be given lots of space, as it can grow up to 10 feet with a broad reach.