There is no doubt plants are healthy additions to any home. They increase the oxygen levels. They also provide a psychological benefit by bringing in natural life and can be extremely helpful in uplifting spirits on a cold winter’s day. They remind you of spring, summer, the tropics, and any number of wonderful, natural aspects of life, the universe and everything. Why not, then, integrate them into a home decorating scheme?

Before you do so, ask yourself a number of questions. Do you like plants? Do you know how to take care of them? Do you want to learn how to take care of them? Do you have the time to take care of them?

If you answer “no” to all the above, forget about using plants. They are living beings and, although there are a wide variety of plants who can tolerate neglect and abuse, in the end, they will die. Furthermore, before they do so, they will take away from your house any enhancement or energy they had originally imbued into it.

That said plants are a wonderful addition to your decor. If used wisely, they can enhance a mood, a theme, and a color scheme. They can fill a space, make a statement and/or fulfill some deep subconscious need.

First, understand the needs of plants. Certain plants tolerate bright light, others prefer low light, and still others can live in either or both conditions. Some need to be watered frequently, others do not. Some must be watered from below, others prefer to be sprayed. Read books or ask people at greenhouses, florists or garden centers. Do not ask your local grocer. The plants may be inexpensive there, but they do not focus on plant care and may know next to nothing.

Friends are another source. See what works for them. Note where they have placed certain plants and how they grow. Do you want a plant that takes over an entire space? Hoyas, for example love sunny windows. They are dark green or variegated (white and green). When they receiving the proper amounts and type of light (Some plants prefer morning, others day and others evening light), will produce fragrant night-blooming flowers. They will also take over any window, growing through lacy curtains and pushing their tendrils through hangers and around casements and blinds.

Mothers-in-Law-Tongues are another example of a commonly used plant. It tolerates low light and requires little watering. It can be placed in darker corners and provide an accent point, or simply fill up a space. Cacti can also be neglected. They do, however, like light, bright light. Dark corners are not suitable. The very popular African violet always adds a dash of color wherever it is placed. It comes in a myriad of colors, purple, pink and all shades of blue. It is, however, fussy about its watering. The leaves die if they become wet.

It is essential, to know your plants. Where you locate them is vital to your effect and their continued existence. A tropical plant, although most are grown in North America, is still sensitive to drafts. Do not place it near an entryway where the airflow changes drastically in temperature unless you want to replace it constantly.

It is also necessary to realize plants, like animals, shed, need to cleaned and clipped. Leaves die and fall off, littering the floor and carpet. Like your knickknacks, plants collect dust. They need to be washed off and inspected for insects and fungal problems.

Plants are a joy to see in a home. They add so much aesthetically to a room. They brighten up an environment with color and life. They provide accents and contrasts.

They are beautiful to behold, especially on a cold day. They are also a responsibility. Unlike your furniture, plants are living things with sometimes-specific requirements. If these are met, your home décor can really come alive.