Exotic plants in the living room

februari 22nd, 2019 · No Comments

Of course, keeping exotic plants does not have to be limited exclusively to the garden. Exotic plants can also be kept in the living room. In this article we give some recommendations and points of attention. This way you can also enjoy exotic plants without a garden or extend the exotic garden to the living room.


Plants obviously need light. Lots of light! Even places that seem light enough for the human eye are often too dark for plants. Only a few plant species that naturally also occur as undergrowth in dark places will do well a little further away in the living room. In general, the place right next to a window is not an unnecessary luxury. Normally the glass filters all harmful radiation and there is little or no risk of burning. Be careful with any radiators that are placed close by. These provide a very dry air with an increased risk of spider mite. Floor heating is less problematic, especially when you water via the saucer (more about this later).

Which plant?

By paying some attention to the plant choice, you not only avoid disappointments but also prevent an unsuitable plant from wasting away and then appearing ugly in the living room.

A suitable plant can withstand the limited amount of light (relative to outdoors), the constant room temperature (also in the dark winter months) and the relatively dry air.

Because houses used to be much more draughty and only partially heated by a stove or fire, other plants were common than nowadays.  Ferns, for instance, used to be very common as houseplants, but nowadays they are far from easy to keep.

Some very suitable plants for the living room:


  • Chamaedorea-species (Chamaedorea elegans, Chamaedorea radicalis,…)
  • Dypsis lutescens (the popular “Areca”)
  • Howea forsteriana (the well known “Kentia”, also suitable for the more darker emplacements)
  • Phoenix roebelenii (if placed colder during the winter months)

Howea forsteriana, Dypsis lutescens, Phoenix roebelenii

bananas & relatives:

  • Musa acumunita ‘Dwarf Cavendish’ (most sold banana plant, often sold under names as; Musa nana, Musa tropicana,…)
  • Strelitzia reginae ( if placed colder during the winter months for new blossoming)
  • Strelitzia nicolai
  • Alocasia-species (Alocasia calidora, Alocasia portadora,…)

Musa acumunita ‘Dwarf Cavendish’, Strelitzia reginae, Alocasia macrorrhiza

other exotics:

  • Monstera deliciosa
  • Ficus elastica
  • Fatsia japonica
  • Calathea-soorten
  • succulents (Aloe, Agave,…)

Monsteria deliciosa

Some unsuitable plants for the living room:

palms & relatives:

  • Trachycarpus-species
  • Cocos nucifera (the very popular Coconut)
  • Cycas revoluta (needs more light)

bananas & relatives:

  • Musa basjoo
  • Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelli’
  • Heliconia-species
  • Colocasia-species


  • bamboo (air too dry indoors)

Of course this overview is not complete, it only gives an idea! As always, the place of origin gives a good idea of what the plant requires. Plants from typical tropical areas will suffer from too dry air indoors, e.g. for Heliconias. Some plants also need a cool winter. Sometimes for stimulating new blooming such as the Strelitzia for instance, others because of the combination of high temperature and short, dark days that confuse them, such as the Phoenix roebelenii for instance.


Many of the problems with indoor plants are caused by unadjusted watering (often too much!). Be sure to watch our instruction video and give as much as possible via the saucer. Not only does the water evaporate alongside the plant for an improved humidity, but this way you also avoid the annoying sciarid flies that otherwise reproduce in the moist potting soil.


If you do not have a single suitable place in the house, there are still some possibilities. For instance, with a paludarium you can imitate a mini climate. You can also make a mini garden to put on the table.


oa. Biophytum sensitivum

© La Palmeraie

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