I’ve put these houseplants into table form below, so that you can find information about each one at a glance.

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The idea of growing plants indoors goes back in history at least as far as ancient Egypt, where archeologists have discovered artwork depicting houseplants in urns and troughs. The ancient Greeks and Romans often had atriums in their homes. Roman Emperor Tiberius liked his vegetables. So much so, that he had to have an Armenian Cucumber (photo at left) every day, even when they were not in season. His gardeners planted the cucumbers in wheeled carts. They were wheeled indoors at night when the temperature was too cold for them and back outside during the daytime.

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(Click to enlarge)

Name

Origin

Mature Size

Care

Propagation

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Pilea involucrata
(Friendship Plant)
Central and South America Up to 12 inches

Regular potting soil
Moderate to bright light; no direct sunlight
Keep soil evenly moist
Place pot on a tray of wet pebbles
Average to warm room temperature

Cuttings will root easily in potting soil

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Clivia miniata
(Kaffir Lily) South Africa Up to 18 inches Regular potting soil
Keep soil evenly moist
Provide a cool, dry rest for 6-8 weeks in fall to initiate blooming
May move plant outside to accomplish this, but bring in before first frost
Bring back inside and keep relatively cool until midwinter
Then increase watering and
provide normal room temperature
Will bloom in March or April By division
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Of special
interest to children (Rub the leaves to release the scent)
Pelargonium spp. (Scented-leaf geraniums come in
many different fragrances,
including lime, lemon, pine, and chocolate)
South Africa Up to 18 inches

Regular potting soil
Bright light to full sun
Allow surface of soil to dry between waterings
Average room temperature

By stem cuttings in coarse sand or potting soil
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Of special
interest to children (Tiny plantlets grow along the edges of the leaves and easily fall off, rooting where they drop) Kalanchoe daigremontiana
(Mother of Thousands)
Madagascar Up to 30 inches

Use a sandy medium, such as cactus potting mix
Grows best in bright light; will take some direct morning sun
Average room temperature
Likes dry soil; water only when very dry

Plantlets from leaf edges
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Of special
interest to children (When touched,
leaflets fold up and leaf stem collapses) Mimosa pudica
(Sensitive Plant)
Central- and South America Up to 24 inches

Regular potting soil
Bright light
Keep soil evenly moist
Average room temperature

By seed
(Sow in early spring
Soak seed in water overnight
Barely cover seeds with regular potting mix
Keep medium moist and warm
Seeds germinate in about a week)
Image Zantedeschia rehmannii
(Pink Calla Lily)
South Africa Up to 16 inches Regular potting soil
Bright light
Keep soil evenly moist
Average room temperature By bulblets Image Aechmea fasciata
(Urn Plant)
Brazil Up to 20
inches

Orchid potting mix
Bright light, some direct sun OK
Keep plant's "urn" filled with water at all times and change it weekly; Keep soil lightly moist
Average room temperature

Blooms once after about three years, then dies
Allow plant to die back naturally
Plant will then produce two or three "pups" (sprouts)
Remove when they are about five months old and plant in their own containers
Image Cyperus papyrus
(Egyptian Paper Plant; used to make paper in ancient Egypt)
Egypt/Africa Dwarf form up to 24 inches Regular potting mix
Full sunlight to low light
Keep soil wet at all times
Can be grown with roots in standing water
Average room temperature Divide plant in spring Image Acalypha pendula
(Dwarf Chenille Plant)
Java/New Guinea Up to 12 inches

Regular potting mix
Bright indirect light
Keep soil evenly moist
Average room temperature

By stem cuttings in coarse sand or potting soil Image Isolepis cernua
(Fiber Optic Grass)
Southern Europe/Northern Africa Up to 12 inches

Regular potting soil
Bright light to full sun
Keep soil wet at all times
Average to warm room temperature

Divide plant in spring Image Kalanchoe tomentosa
(Pussy Ears)
Madagascar Up to 12 inches

Cactus potting mix
Bright light to full sun
Water thoroughly, but allow top to dry out between waterings
Average room temperature

By leaf cuttings in coarse sand or potting soil in spring or early summer

Image Strobilanthes dyerianus
(Persian Shield)
Myanmar Up to 24 inches

Regular potting soil
Bright indirect light
Water thoroughly; allow soil to dry out between waterings, but do not allow it to dry out completely
Normal room temperature

By stem cuttings in water or in coarse sand in spring

Note: When potting house plants with fresh potting soil, no fertilizer is generally needed during the first year. Thereafter, timed release fertilizer is a good choice. Be sure to follow label directions.

Photos are courtesy of wikipedia.org and used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.