How to identify my house plants

Written by linda richard
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How to identify my house plants
Purple coneflower (echinacea) is easy to identify and recall. (Flowers image by sival from

Houseplants can improve air quality and the health of millions in industrialised countries where people stay indoors. If you want to cut indoor ozone with houseplants, identify the plants so you can take care of them as recommended.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Identify houseplants when you purchase them. Keep a log or book with the name tags taped to the pages so you can refer to them years later.

  2. 2

    Look at a website that provides a plant encyclopedia with pictures to compare your plant with the photo. Guide to Houseplants has only houseplants, divided by foliage, flowering and succulents. This is a good place to start.

  3. 3

    Learn easy identification of houseplants so you can recall the names. Easy identification uses the common name and not the scientific name, and houseplant lovers recognise the names of these plants.

  4. 4

    Identify houseplants by flowers. Some flowers reveal the names of the plants: trumpet vine, bird of paradise, goldfish plant, candy corn and shrimp plant are common names for plants identified by the shapes and colours of the flowers. Cigar plant, lady slipper orchid and bottle brush are plant names derived from the flower shapes.

  5. 5

    Identify houseplants by the shapes of the leaves. Learn some common names of houseplants named for the leaves. Arrowhead plant, corn plant, elephant ear, baby's tears and spider plant are easy to identify by leaf shape. Fiddle-leaf fig and peacock plant are also named for the leaf shape.

  6. 6

    Learn the common names for houseplants named for the colours of the leaves. Aluminium plant, Joseph's coat, polka dot plant and copper plant are identifiable by the leaf colours.

  7. 7

    Smell or pinch houseplants to learn easy identification. Coffee plant and root beer plant smell just like you would expect. Rubber plant has a sticky sap.

  8. 8

    Identify houseplants by fruit. Jerusalem cherry, coral bead plant and ornamental chilli pepper are easy to learn.

  9. 9

    Take a leaf or flower to a nursery or garden shop if you have difficulty identifying your houseplants. You may be able to match the leaf or flower with display flowers and plants, or you may ask for help.

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