The Complete Plant Care Guide: Growing and Nurturing 20 Types of Plant Species 

A plant is a multicellular organism belonging to the kingdom Plantae, one of the five major kingdoms of life. 

Plantae is the second most diverse kingdom after Animalia, with nearly 400,000 discovered and between 5 and 50 million undiscovered species, according to Duke University. 

For a species to be categorized as a “plant,” it must have the ability to make its own food through photosynthesis.

The kingdom Plantae is broadly divided into four plant groups: Angiosperms, Gymnosperms, Pteridophytes, and Bryophytes. 

Angiosperms are the largest group of plants, characterized by their ability to produce flowers and fruits. Gymnosperms follow shortly after, featuring seeds housed in cones or scales. Conifers, cycads, and ginkgos belong to this group.

Pteridophytes and Bryophytes reproduce via spores, with the difference being that Bryophytes lack true roots. 

To date, there are over 620 families and 17,000 genera. We’ll cover 20 of these species, including, but not limited to:  

  • Acanthaceae (Acanthus Family)
  • Araliaceae (Ginseng Family)
  • Asteraceae (Aster Family)
  • Brassicaceae (Mustard Family)
  • Bromeliaceae (Bromeliad Family)
  • Cyperaceae (Sedge Family)
  • Euphorbiaceae (Spurge Family)
  • Ericaceae (Heath Family)
  • Fabaceae (Legume Family)
  • Gesneriaceae (Gesneriad Family)
  • Geraniaceae (Geranium Family)
  • Lamiaceae (Mint Family)
  • Musaceae (Banana Family)

Over 90% of plants follow the same growth stage of germination, seedling, vegetative growth, flowering, fruit development and seed production, and dispersal. 

It begins with the germination of the seed into a seedling, followed by vegetative growth where leaves and stems develop. Then comes the flowering stage, where the plant produces flowers. 

Plants would then develop fruits that contain seeds. These seeds are dispersed by various factors (animals, wind, etc.), completing the cycle and starting anew. 

Plants need sunlight, water, and soil to grow. Requirements differ from species to species, so you can use plant care guides like this one to better understand the plant’s specific needs. Repotting, pruning, and fertilization are equally important to ensure their continued growth.

This post is a complete and detailed guide to plant care, covering the identification of plants and how to care for plants, as well as plant growth stages among others. 

What Is a Plant?  

Plants are eukaryotic, multicellular organisms that belong to the kingdom Plantae. 

They obtain energy and food through a process called photosynthesis, where they convert sunlight to synthesize nutrients from water and carbon dioxide. They use these nutrients to fuel their growth, development, and reproduction. 

The term ‘eukaryotic’ refers to organisms whose cells contain a nucleus enclosed within the nuclear membrane. Humans, animals, fungi, plants, and protozoa fall under this category. 

Plants, in particular, feature a true nucleus surrounded by a double membrane. This membrane houses their genetic material (DNA), where transcription and replication happen.  

Plant cells contain various membrane-bound organelles found throughout the entire plant, from the roots to the leaves to the stems. These organelles serve specific functions depending on their location and specialization. 

Some key organelles include: 

  • Chloroplasts: A disk-shaped plastid that conducts photosynthesis with the aid of chlorophyll, a green pigment that captures light energy. 
  • Mitochondria: Known as the powerhouse of the cell, mitochondria are responsible for cellular respiration. It converts glucose and oxygen into ATP (adenosine triphosphate), an organic compound that stores and transfers energy in cells. 
  • Vacuoles: Large, membrane-bound sacs that occupy up to 90% of the plant’s cells, according to a study published in Plants. It not only stores water, nutrients, and waste products, but also maintains cell acidity and turgor pressure.  
  • Golgi apparatus: Transports, modifies, and packages proteins and lipids throughout the cell. It’s located near the nucleus and the endoplasmic reticulum.
  • Endoplasmic reticulum (ER): A network of membranes responsible for synthesizing proteins and lipids. It comes in two types: rough ER, which has ribosomes and aids in protein synthesis, and smooth ER, which lacks ribosomes and is involved in lipid synthesis and detoxification.

Plants are made up of two organ systems: the root system and the shoot system. 

The root system, made up of roots, supports the plants and absorbs water and minerals. 

Meanwhile, the shoot system, made up of stems and leaves, facilitates photosynthesis, gas exchange, and reproduction. 

It also provides structural support for leaves and flowers, and a means of transporting water, nutrients, and sugars throughout the plant. 

How Are All Types of Plants Classified (Taxonomy)?  

Plants are among the most diverse organisms on the planet, with thousands of discovered species and millions yet to be undiscovered. 

Botanists—that is, scientists who study plants—categorize these species into vascular and nonvascular plants, and further into seed-bearing, spore-bearing, and algae. 

Vascular vs. Nonvascular Plants

There are about 435,000 plant species on Earth, according to the US National Science Foundation. Approximately 94% of these species are vascular plants. 

Vascular plants have a system of tubes that connect to different parts of the plant to facilitate the movement of water, minerals, and sugars. 

Among these tubes include xylem, which transports water and dissolved minerals from the roots, and phloem, which transports sugars from the leaves.

Meanwhile, nonvascular plants lack stems, roots, and specialized tissues like xylem and phloem. Instead, they absorb water and nutrients through root-like structures called rhizoids, and rely on osmosis and diffusion to transport water from cell to cell.  

Seed-bearing and Spore-bearing Plants (Vascular)

After determining the structure, botanists look into the plants’ reproductive strategies and categorize them into seed-bearing plants, spore-bearing plants, algae, and bryophytes.

Seed-bearing plants fall under the vascular branch, while algae and bryophytes belong to the nonvascular branch. Spore-bearing plants can either be vascular or nonvascular. 

As the name suggests, seed-bearing plants are characterized by their ability to produce seeds. 

This category includes two main groups: gymnosperms and angiosperms. 

Gymnosperms produce ‘naked seeds’ on the surface of the fruit, like what you’d typically see on conifers and cycads. Angiosperms produce seeds enclosed within the fruit. 

Spore-bearing plants, also known as pteridophytes, reproduce via spores. They have a specialized structure called sporangia, which produces and releases spores into the environment. 

Examples of vascular spore-bearing plants include ferns, horsetails, and quillworts.  

Bryophytes and Algaes (Nonvascular)

Nonvascular plants belong to one of two groups: bryophytes, which include mosses, liverworts, and hornworts, and algae, which include green algae (Chlorophyta), red algae (Rhodophyta), and brown algae (Phaeophyceae). 

Algae are predominantly found in aquatic environments, where they play crucial roles in aquatic ecosystems as primary producers. 

Algae can also be found in moist terrestrial environments, such as damp soil, tree bark, and rocks, where they thrive in areas with sufficient moisture and sunlight. 

Botanists have yet to determine the exact number of algae species available. Irish botanist Michael Guiry states that there are anywhere between 30,000 to 1 million species of algae, with a conservative estimate of 72,500 species. 

What Is the Taxonomy of Plants? 

Plant taxonomy refers to the science of naming and classifying plants. 

Swedish biologist and physician Carolus Linnaeus is widely regarded as the ‘Father of Modern Taxonomy’ because he was the first to develop a systematic method for naming and classifying organisms. 

If you’ve ever wondered why animal and plant species have two-part Latin names consisting of a genus and an epithet, you have Linnaeus to thank. He introduced this naming system—called binomial nomenclature—in 1751 in his work in ‘Species Plantarum’. 

This standardized naming system revolutionized the field of taxonomy, providing a universal language for scientists to communicate about organisms. 

Plants are classified into the following taxonomy:

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Phylum: Anthocerotophyta, Bryophyta, Charophyta, Chlorophyta, and 10 others.
  • Class: Prasinodermophyceae, Mamiellophyceae, Chlorodendrophyceae, and 30+ others.
  • Order: Prasinodermatales, Monomastigales, Pyramimonadales, Chloropicales, and 60+ others. 
  • Family: Acanthaceae, Araceae, Bromeliaceae, Oleaceae, Dioscoreaceae, 600+ others. 
  • Genus: Agalmyla, Anthurium, Briza, Camassia, Cyrtostachys, and 17,000+ others.

What Are the 4 Groups of the Kingdom Plantae?  

The kingdom Plantae, which encompasses all known living plants, is categorized into four evolutionary groups: 


Angiosperms are the biggest group of vascular flowering plants, with 64 divisions, 400+ families, 13,000+ genera, and 350,000+ species. It makes up 80 to 90% of green plants, according to Britannica


Gymnosperms are plants that produce ‘naked seeds’, meaning their seeds aren’t covered by fruit or ovaries like angiosperms. Examples of gymnosperms include conifers such as spruces, firs, ginkgos, cycads, and gnetophytes. 


Pteridophytes, also known as cryptogams, are vascular plants that release spores through specialized structures called sporangia. These spores germinate into small, independent gametophytes which eventually produce sperm and eggs for fertilization. 

Ferns, lycophytes, and horsetails fall under this category. Pteridophytes don’t produce seeds. 


Bryophytes are nonvascular plants that consist of mosses, liverworts, and hornworts. They have simple structures, with only one spore-containing organ (sporangium). 

The sporangium produces spores through meiosis, which are dispersed into the environment and develop into gametophytes upon germination. They reproduce either asexually or vegetatively.  

What Are 20 Types of Plant Families?

There are more than 600 plant families, categorized based on shared characteristics like leaf arrangement, flower structure, and reproductive features. Below is a curated list of 20 of the most common plant families: 

  1. Acanthaceae (Acanthus Family)
  • Order: Lamiales
  • Common plant species: Ruellia (Ruellia spp.), Justicia (Justicia spp.), Shrimp Plant (Justicia brandegeeana)

Acanthaceae are dicotyledonous flowering plants with over 220 genera and 400 species. Plants of this family are commonly found in tropical and subtropical regions, with their habitats extending from estuaries and marshes to forests and grasslands. 

They’re known for their diverse and often showy flowers, which attract pollinators such as bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies. 

Their flowers may be arranged in dense spikes, clusters, or racemes, and come in a variety of colors. They’re supported by modified leaves called bracts.

  1. Adoxaceae (Moschatel Family)
  • Order: Dipsacales
  • Common plant species: Elderberry (Sambucus nigra), Guelder Rose (Viburnum opulus), Red Elderberry (Sambucus racemosa)

Adoxaceae is a relatively small family of perennial herbaceous plants. It has five genera and 200 species, most of which are characterized by opposite-toothed leaves, four to five-petalled flowers in cymose inflorescences, and fleshy fruits. 

Two of the family’s largest genera, Viburnum and Sambucus, are woody and herbaceous, while the rest are exclusively herbaceous. 

  1. Arecaceae (Palm Family)
  • Order: Arecales
  • Common plant species: Coconut Palm (Cocos nucifera), Date Palm (Phoenix dactylifera), Fan Palm (Livistona spp.)

Arecaceae is a family of perennial flowering plants with over 184 genera and 2,400 species. It’s the fourth largest family in the monocot order, right after Orchidaceae (26,000 species), Poaceae (12,000 species), and Cyperaceae (5,000 species). 

Plants of this family have large, compound, evergreen leaves arranged at the top of a branchless stem. 

  1. Araceae (Arum Family)
  • Order: Alismatales
  • Common plant species: Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum spp.), Philodendron (Philodendron spp.), Elephant Ear (Colocasia spp.)

Araceae is a family of monocotyledonous flowering plants with 140 genera and 4,000 species. 

Most Araceae plants are grown as ornamental house plants due to their striking foliage and unique inflorescences. 

They’re known for their spathe-and-spadix flower structures, surrounded by a spathe. 

  1. Araliaceae (Ginseng Family)
  • Order: Apiales
  • Common plant species: Ginseng (Panax ginseng), Ivy (Hedera spp.), Devil’s Club (Oplopanax horridus)

Araliaceae comprises more than 50 genera and 1,400 species, which include trees, shrubs, vines, and herbaceous plants. 

One well-known Araliaceae genus is Schefflera, commonly known as umbrella plants, which are popular for their large, compound leaves. 

Another notable genus is Panax, which includes the ginseng species known for their medicinal properties.

  1. Asteraceae (Aster Family)
  • Order: Asterales
  • Common plant species: Daisy (Bellis perennis), Sunflower (Helianthus annuus), Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum spp.)

Asteraceae is one of the largest and most economically important plant families, with over 1,600 genera and 23,000 species. 

Plants of this family have an inflorescence structure known as a capitulum, which features tightly packed clusters of flowers on a shared base. 

  1. Brassicaceae (Mustard Family)
  • Order: Brassicales
  • Common plant species: Mustard (Brassica juncea), Broccoli (Brassica oleracea), Cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata)

Brassicaceae is another economically important family of flowering plants, commonly used as a source of food. It has over 330 genera and 3,700 species, with the most notable being broccoli, cabbages, radishes, and cauliflower. 

Brassicaceae plants are characterized by four-petaled flowers grouped in a cross shape, hence the alternate name “cruciferous” plants. 

  1. Bromeliaceae (Bromeliad Family)
  • Order: Poales
  • Common plant species: Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides), Pineapple (Ananas comosus), Guzmania (Guzmania spp.)

Bromeliaceae is a family of herbaceous evergreen perennials with leaves arranged in a spiral or rosette pattern. 

It has more than 3,000 species across 56 genera, with the majority native to the tropical New World and the West Indies. 

Pineapple and Spanish moss are the most economically valuable species of the family. 

  1. Campanulaceae (Bellflower Family)
  • Order: Asterales
  • Common plant species: Canterbury Bells (Campanula medium), Balloon Flower (Platycodon grandiflorus), Lobelia (Lobelia spp.)

Known for its bell-shaped flowers, Campanulaceae is a family of flowering plants with over 90 genera and 2,000 species. 

It’s distributed worldwide, though it’s mostly common in temperate regions in the Northern Hemisphere. 

Plants of this family are mostly cultivated as garden ornamentals.

  1. Crassulaceae (Stonecrop Family)
  • Order: Saxifragales
  • Common plant species: Echeveria (Echeveria spp.), Jade Plant (Crassula ovata), Stonecrop (Sedum spp.)  

Crassulaceae is a family of mostly succulents and low shrubs, consisting of about 30 genera and 1,400 species. It’s the largest family in the order Saxifragales, which itself consists of 15 families.

Crassulaceae plants commonly feature five succulent leaves and one to two stamens. The leaves are usually arranged in rosettes or opposite pairs. 

They’re commonly grown in gardens, rockeries, and containers, as well as indoor houseplants. 

  1. Cyperaceae (Sedge Family)
  • Order: Poales
  • Common plant species: Yellow Sedge (Carex flava), Softstem Bulrush (Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani), Star Sedge (Carex echinata)

Cyperaceae is a family of grass-like herbaceous plants with over 100 genera and about 5,500 species. 

Most of these plants are found in wet regions and wetland habitats, such as marshes, bogs, and riverbanks. 

They have solid, triangular stems with linear leaves, and small inconspicuous flowers arranged in spikelets or clusters.

  1. Euphorbiaceae (Spurge Family)
  • Order: Malpighiales
  • Common plant species: Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima), Castor Bean (Ricinus communis), Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia milii)

With over 7,500 species across 300 genera, Euphorbiaceae earned its place as the fifth-largest family of flowering plants. 

Plants of this family are cultivated for their ornamental value, medicinal properties, and as sources of rubber and oil. They produce a white acrid, poisonous milky juice fluid known as latex, which can be toxic or irritating if handled improperly. 

  1. Ericaceae (Heath Family)
  • Order: Ericales
  • Common plant species: Rhododendron (Rhododendron spp.), Heather (Calluna vulgaris), Blueberry (Vaccinium spp.)

Ericaceae is a plant family of mostly shrubs and small trees. It has 126 genera and some 4,000 species distributed across the globe. 

Members of this family thrive in barren lands with acidic, poorly drained soils. They have simple leaves arranged oppositely along the stem, and bell-shaped flowers grouped in clusters or racemes. 

  1. Fabaceae (Legume Family)
  • Order: Fabales
  • Common plant species: Pea (Pisum sativum), Bean (Phaseolus spp.), Clover (Trifolium spp.)

Fabaceae is the third-largest plant family with about 670 genera and 19,000 species. They can be found across the world, with a concentration in tropical and subtropical regions. 

The most well-known species of Fabaceae are soybeans, chickpeas, lentils, peanuts, and alfalfa. All these plants feature pea-like flowers and pods containing seeds.

  1. Gesneriaceae (Gesneriad Family)
  • Order: Lamiales
  • Common plant species: Gloxinia (Sinningia speciosa), African Violet (Saintpaulia ionantha), Lipstick Plant (Aeschynanthus radicans)

Found in tropical and subtropical regions, Gesneriaceae are characterized by their tubular flowers with intricate patterns. It has over 140 genera and 3,500 species. 

Plants under this family are popular in gardens, greenhouses, and indoor houseplants because of their ornamental appeal and ease of cultivation. 

  1. Geraniaceae (Geranium Family)
  • Order: Geraniales
  • Common plant species: Cranesbill (Geranium spp.), Geranium (Pelargonium spp.), Erodium (Erodium spp.)

Geraniaceae is the largest family in the order Geraniales, with over five genera and 800 species. Most are cultivated for their attractive flowers and foliage. 

Geraniaceae flowers typically have five petals and are arranged in clusters. Their foliage varies among species, some with simple leaves while others are compound or lobed, green or variegated.   

  1. Lamiaceae (Mint Family)
  • Order: Lamiales
  • Common plant species: Basil (Ocimum basilicum), Peppermint (Mentha x piperita), Lavender (Lavandula spp.)

Lamiaceae is a family of 7,000 species across 236 genera. Most of these species have aromatic scents, with square stems and opposite leaves. 

Plants of this family are used in culinary, medicinal, and ornamental applications. 

Many of our favorite herbs belong to this family, including mint, basil, thyme, rosemary, and oregano. 

Other species, like lavender and sage, are used in traditional medicine for their antimicrobial, inflammatory, and calming effects. 

  1. Malvaceae (Mallow Family)
  • Order: Malvales
  • Common plant species: Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis), Hibiscus (Hibiscus spp.), Cotton (Gossypium spp.)

Malvaceae contains 244 genera and over 4,000 species, with the most well-known being okra, cotton, cacao, and roselle. It’s among the most economically rich plant families in the world, with the cotton industry alone reaching a $38.54 billion valuation in 2021. 

Malvaceae plants have palmate leaves, which are either lobed or divided. Their flowers are large and attractive, and their fruits develop into capsules that split open when they mature to release the seeds.

  1. Meliaceae (Mahogany Family)
  • Order: Sapindales
  • Common plant species: Neem (Azadirachta indica), Mahogany (Swietenia spp.), Cedar Mahogany (Cedrela odorata)

Meliaceae is a family of trees and shrubs, consisting of 50 genera and over 600 species. 

Members of this family are cultivated for their timber and medicinal properties. 

Trees like mahogany and cedar are prized for their durable timber, which is used in woodworking projects. 

Meanwhile, neem oil produced by neem trees is used in traditional medicine, as well as cosmetics and skincare products.   

  1. Musaceae (Banana Family)
  • Order: Zingiberales
  • Common plant species: Banana (Musa spp.), Plantain (Musa x paradisiaca), Ensete (Ensete spp.)

Musaceae is a small but agriculturally valuable family with three genera and about 90 species. 

The most well-known genus of Musaceae is Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana, which produce varying cultivars of banana. 

Musaceae plants are characterized by their large, herbaceous stems known as pseudostems, and large, paddle-shaped leaves.  

What Types of Plants Do People Grow?

People grow various types of plants for different purposes. 

Most cultivate them for their fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts, all of which provide nutrients and vitamins necessary for a healthy body and mind. 

Of all the 400,000-some species of plants we’ve discovered, at least half are edible to humans. We cultivate only a couple thousand of these plants. Popular examples include wheat, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, apples, and bananas.

People also grow plants for their medicinal and therapeutic properties. These plants, aptly named medicinal plants, are used in traditional medicine, herbal cosmetics, or pharmaceutical applications. 

Opium poppy (Papaver somniferum), for example, is used in the production of opium-derived drugs such as morphine, codeine, and heroin. These byproducts have potent analgesic (pain-relieving) properties, which can be used to treat severe or chronic pain.

Beyond these two applications, people also grow plants for their aesthetic value. 

Ornamental plants add beauty to parks, gardens, and indoor spaces. Trees and shrubs add structure and visual interest to landscapes, while house plants like pothos and snake plants add life and color to a space. 

What Types of Plants Are Grown in the Garden?

The beauty of gardens is that they offer endless possibilities for plant cultivation. With the right soil, expertise, and care, a gardener can raise delicate annual flowers to towering trees and everything in between. 

A plant lover’s garden features a mix of plant types, including flowers, shrubs, vegetables, trees, herbs, ornamental grasses, and more. Here are some of the most common types of plants grown in the garden, categorized via plant families: 


Solanaceae (Nightshade family) 

  • Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum)
  • Pepper (Capsicum annuum)
  • Eggplant (Solanum melongena)

Cucurbitaceae (Gourd family) 

  • Cucumber (Cucumis sativus)
  • Squash (Cucurbita pepo)
  • Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus)

Brassicaceae (Cabbage family) 

  • Cabbage (Brassica oleracea)
  • Broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica)
  • Carrot (Daucus carota)  

Fabaceae (Legume family) 

  • Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris)
  • Pea (Pisum sativum)
  • Lentil (Lens culinaris)

Asteraceae (Aster family) 

  • Lettuce (Lactuca sativa)
  • Artichoke (Cynara cardunculus)
  • Corn (Zea mays


Rosaceae (Rose family) 

  • Apple (Malus domestica)
  • Pear (Pyrus communis)
  • Strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa)

Citrus family (Rutaceae) 

  • Orange (Citrus sinensis)
  • Lemon (Citrus limon)
  • Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi)

Anacardiaceae (Cashew family) 

  • Mango (Mangifera indica)
  • Cashew (Anacardium occidentale)
  • Pistachio (Pistacia vera)

Ebenaceae (Ebony family)

  • Persimmon (Diospyros kaki)
  • Date (Phoenix dactylifera)
  • Avocado (Persea americana)  

Musaceae (Banana family) 

  • Banana (Musa acuminata)
  • Plantain (Musa paradisiaca)
  • Banana flower (Musa spp.)  


Pine family (Pinaceae) 

  • Pine (Pinus)
  • Spruce (Picea)
  • Fir (Abies)

Maple family (Sapindaceae) 

  • Maple (Acer)
  • Oak (Quercus)
  • Chestnut (Castanea)

Bean family (Fabaceae) 

  • Locust (Robinia)
  • Mimosa (Albizia)
  • Wisteria (Wisteria)

Palm family (Arecaceae) 

  • Coconut (Cocos)
  • Date (Phoenix)
  • Areca palm (Dypsis lutescens)


Lamiaceae (Mint family)

  • Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
  • Mint (Mentha spicata)
  • Oregano (Origanum vulgare)

Apiaceae (Umbelliferae or Carrot family)

  • Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
  • Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum)
  • Dill (Anethum graveolens)

Asteraceae (Compositae or Daisy family) 

  • Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)
  • Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus)
  • Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

Myrtaceae (Myrtle family) 

  • Bay laurel (Laurus nobilis)
  • Lemon thyme (Thymus citriodorus)
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)  

Amaryllidaceae (Amaryllis family)

  • Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)
  • Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
  • Catnip (Nepeta cataria)


Asteraceae (Aster Family) 

  • Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)
  • Daisy (Bellis perennis)
  • Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum spp.)

Orchidaceae (Orchid Family) 

  • Phalaenopsis (Phalaenopsis spp.)
  • Cattleya (Cattleya spp.)
  • Dendrobium (Dendrobium spp.)

Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)  

  • Buttercup (Ranunculus spp.)
  • Delphinium (Delphinium spp.)
  • Clematis (Clematis spp.)

Liliaceae (Lily Family) 

  • Daylily (Hemerocallis spp.)
  • Tulip (Tulipa spp.)
  • Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)

Brassicaceae (Mustard Family) 

  • Garden Cress (Lepidium sativum)
  • Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)
  • Wallflower (Erysimum spp.)

What Types of Plants Are Grown Indoors?

Indoor plants are a great option for those who have minimal yard space or simply want to add a bit of life and color to a home. They’re generally easy to take care of and provide lots of mental and physical health benefits, from reduced stress to improved indoor quality. 

Whether you’re a seasoned plant enthusiast or a beginner, there are dozens of indoor plant types to suit your preferences. Here are some of the most common plants grown indoors: 

Low-Maintenance Plants 

These plants are perfect for beginners or busy homeowners who sometimes forget to water their plants. 

They’re usually tolerant of low light conditions and infrequent watering, plus they don’t take much effort or experience to keep alive. 

Succulents and cacti fall into this category, as well as various anthurium plants. 

Examples include: 

  • Snake Plant (Sansevieria)
  • ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)
  • Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
  • Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum
  • Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

Flowering Plants

Flowering plants add a splash of color to a home. The flowers they produce are often bright and fragrant, adding to the atmosphere and aesthetic appeal of an indoor space. 

Caring for indoor flowering plants isn’t as easy as caring for other types of houseplants because they often have specific requirements to encourage blooming. 

Some species demand extra attention to watering schedules, light exposure, and fertilization, while others are sensitive to environmental factors such as temperature and humidity. You may also need to regularly prune or deadhead the plant to keep them looking their best. 

If you don’t mind the extra effort, caring for indoor flowering plants can be incredibly gratifying. 

Examples of indoor flowering plants include: 

  • Orchids (Orchidaceae)
  • African Violet (Saintpaulia ionantha)
  • Bromeliad (Bromeliaceae)
  • Jasmine (Jasminum)
  • Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum)


Instead of growing herbs from a grocery store, why not save a couple of dollars and grow them yourself? 

Basil, mint, parsley, rosemary, thyme, and most other common herbs thrive in indoor environments as long as they’re given sufficient sunlight and water. 

Place them near a window sill and regularly spray them with water and you’ll have a near endless source of herbs right at your fingertips. 

If the pot is getting a bit crowded, you can pull out some of the herbs and dry them for later use. 

Foliage Plants

Unlike flowering plants, which are cultivated primarily for their blooms, foliage plants are prized for their lush and showy leaves. The leaves come in varying shapes, sizes, and colors, so they’re an easy way to add interest and texture to an indoor space. 

A good majority of indoor foliage plants thrive in low-light conditions, making them well-suited for indoor environments where natural sunlight is limited. Many of them are also low-maintenance and forgiving of occasional neglect.

ZZ plants, for example, can live for weeks without water or sunlight. Pothos and spider plants are equally hardy, tolerant of irregular watering and low-light conditions. These characteristics make them perfect for offices, bathrooms, and rooms with few windows. 

That said, not all foliage plants are as forgiving. 

For example, Boston ferns shed their leaves without high humidity, warm temperatures, and lots of filtered right. Banana plants wilt without frequent watering (once every two to three days), while fiddle leaf figs adapt poorly to even the slightest change in their environment. 

So the next time you think of bringing a foliage plant, ask or look up their care requirements. Consider factors such as your home’s lighting conditions, humidity levels, and the plant’s maintenance level before you bring it home. 

Hanging Plants 

If you want to add vertical interest to your indoor space, you may want to get yourself a hanging plant or two. 

Hanging plants grow in containers that you can suspend from hooks, ceiling mounds, or hanging baskets. Their foliage cascades downwards in an elegant and eye-catching manner, making the space appear more dynamic. 

Examples of hanging plants include: 

  • String of Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus)
  • Philodendron (Philodendron)
  • Peperomia (Peperomia)
  • Sword Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)

How Do All Types of Plants Grow?

Regardless of the species, plants more or less follow the same life cycle. 

Botanists identify the development stage of this life cycle via the BBCH scale.  

Developed in Germany in 1974, the BBCH scale, which stands for Biologische Bundesanstalt, Bundessortenamt und CHemische Industrie, is a numerical coding system used to standardize the description of plant growth stages. 

The scale divides the plant growth cycle into several main stages, each with further subdivisions. For example:

  • Stage 00-09: Germination
  • Stage 10-19: Leaf development
  • Stage 20-29: Formation of side shoots
  • Stage 30-39: Stem elongation
  • Stage 40-49: Vegetative plant parts
  • Stage 50-59: Inflorescence emergence
  • Stage 60-69: Flowering
  • Stage 70-79: Fruit development
  • Stage 80-89: Ripening
  • Stage 90: Senescence

The specific timing and details of each stage vary depending on the plant species and environmental factors such as light, temperature, and water availability. 

You can find a detailed discussion and analysis of the BBCH scale in the official publication of the Federal Biological Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry. 

Here’s a summary of these stages: 

Stage 00-09: Germination

Germination marks the start of a plant’s life cycle. It begins when a seed absorbs water, thus triggering embryonic growth and cell division within the seed. The embryo pushes out a root tip to anchor itself in the soil and shoots upwards towards the sunlight.  

As this process unfolds, the seed also produces its first leaves, called cotyledons. The cotyledons provide nutrients to the developing seedling until it can photosynthesize on its own.

Stage 10-19: Leaf Development

After some time, the seedling begins to produce true leaves. These true leaves gradually increase in size, complexity, and function. 

Leaves develop a green pigment called chlorophyll, which is responsible for photosynthesis. They use this pigment to gather sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water for glucose production and plant development. 

Stage 20-29: Formation of Side Shoots

During this stage, the plant begins to produce side shoots, also known as tillers. They emerge from the base or nodes of the main stem and contribute to the overall branching and thickness of the plant. 

This stage is particularly relevant in grasses in cereals, as it determines the plant’s final yield.  

Farmers and agronomists closely monitor tiller development and implement practices to encourage tillering, such as providing adequate nutrition, fertilization, and water.

Stage 30-39: Stem Elongation

This stage monitors the growth of a plant’s stem. The internodes (spaces between the leaves) get longer, making the plant bigger and taller. The topmost part of the main stem called the apex, controls this elongation process through the production of a plant hormone called auxin. 

Auxin helps the cells in the stems stretch, pushing the plant upwards toward the light. This stretching not only helps the plant get more sunlight for photosynthesis but also positions its flowers or seed heads in the best spot for pollination.

Stage 40-49: Vegetative plant parts

Stages 40 to 49 focuses on the growth and development of a plant’s vegetative parts, such as leaves, stems, and roots. 

During this period, the plant grows further in size, number, and complexity. This growth is fueled by the accumulation of essential nutrients and energy reserves.

Leaves continue to expand and develop, increasing their capacity for photosynthesis, while stems and roots develop additional branching.

Stage 50-59: Inflorescence Emergence 

Some time after developing the leaves, stems, and roots, the plant focuses its energy on producing inflorescences—structures that hold the plant’s flowers. 

These structures can take on various forms depending on the plant species, from clusters to spikes to umbels, racemes, and cymes. 

This marks the beginning of the reproductive phase, as successful development sets the stage for pollination and fruit production.  

Stage 60-69: Flowering

After developing inflorescences, the plant enters the flowering stage. 

Flowers within the inflorescence open and reveal their reproductive organs in preparation for pollination.  

As a refresher, pollination is the process in which pollen is transferred from the male reproductive organ (stamen) to the female reproductive organ (pistil). 

This process involves the assistance of pollinators like bees, butterflies, birds, and other insects, as well as the wind and other environmental factors. 

Stage 70-89: Fruit Development and Ripening

As the seeds within the flowers mature, the surrounding structures start to change to form the fruit. 

The fruit undergoes several changes throughout its development; it starts off small and often green, then gradually grows larger and changes color. It also turns soft and, more often than not, sweet and edible to make it more appealing to animals. 

If the fruit doesn’t get eaten, it falls to the ground and starts to decay, planting seeds into the soil.  

Stage 90: Senescence

No life is eternal, and that sentiment extends to plants. 

Senescence, also known as biological aging, involves the gradual deterioration of the plant’s tissues and organs. 

It may be triggered by factors such as environmental stress, hormonal changes, disease, and nutrient deficiencies. It’s also influenced by genetic factors, as some plants naturally live longer than others even when infected by disease or living in poor conditions. 

As plants deteriorate, the nutrients accumulated in their tissues are released back into the soil. And the cycle of life starts all over again. 

What Is the Photosynthesis Process for Plants to Grow?

Photosynthesis is the biological process in which plants convert sunlight into sugar, which serves as their primary source of energy. 

It follows a basic three-step formula: light absorption, transfer of electrons, and carbon fixation.  

Step 1: Light Conversion 

Photosynthesis starts with the plant converting the sunlight into oxygen and chemical energy, resulting in the production of glucose. This conversion takes place in the chloroplasts, specifically in the light-absorbing pigment chlorophyll. 

Step 2: Transfer of Electrons

The converted energy drives a series of chemical reactions, starting with Photosystem II (PSII), then moving through the Electron Transport Chain (ETC) before finally reaching Photosystem (PSI). 

PSII splits light energy into water molecules, releasing oxygen and generating electrons. 

These electrons then travel through the Electron Transport Chain, which transfers electrons to ATP (Adenosine triphosphate) and NADPH (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide Phosphate) molecules. 

These electrons eventually reach the PSI, where they get another energy boost from the sunlight. 

Step 3: Carbon Fixation

The aforementioned molecules—ATP and NADPH—gather carbon dioxide from the air and turn it into glucose. The plant uses this glucose to grow new leaves, stems, and roots, and even produce fruits and seeds. 

What Are the Life Stages (Growth Stages) of a Plant?

Plants have five primary growth stages: germination, growth, flowering, seed formation, and seed dispersal. 

The cycle begins with germination, where the seed absorbs water and begins to sprout. 

This fragile sprout then enters the growth stage, producing leaves, stems, and roots. During this stage, the plant photosynthesizes to support the plant’s growth. 

As the plant matures, it reaches the flowering stage. Flowers attract pollinators like bees and butterflies, who unwittingly facilitate fertilization. 

The pollinated flower transforms and produces fruits or pods that contain the plant’s next generation—seeds. 

The seeds are dispersed to new locations with the help of the wind, water, animals, or gravity, beginning the life cycle anew. 

How Do Plants Propagate?

Plant propagation is the process of creating new plants. This can be achieved through sexual and asexual methods. 

Sexual propagation involves seed or spores, while asexual propagation involves cuttings, layering, division, grafting, and budding. Among these, spores are the only method of plant propagation that can’t be facilitated by humans. 

Here are the common methods of propagation: 

  • Seed germination: Involves planting a seed in soil or water to induce germination. 
  • Cuttings: Involves taking a portion of a plant, such as a stem or leaf, and placing it in a suitable growing medium to develop into a new plant. The cutting forms roots and develops into a genetically identical clone of the parent plant. 
  • Layering: Burying the stem of a plant in the soil while still attached to the parent plant. Once established, the new plant can be severed from the parent plant and transplanted elsewhere. 
  • Division: Separating mature plants into smaller sections, each with its own roots and stems. 

How to Grow All Types of Plants? 

Plants grow their best when their soil, water, and sunlight requirements are met. Here’s how all types of plants grow: 


If you want your plant to thrive, it’s vital to learn about its preferred soil conditions. 

Different plants have different soil needs. For example, some plants prefer well-draining soil, while others prefer moisture-retentive soil. Tropicals that live close to the beach like sandy soils, and water-loving species like clay soils.  

You can easily find a plant’s soil requirements online or in plant care manuals. You can also ask your local nursery or garden center for advice. 


Like most organisms on earth, water is the lifeblood of plants. It plays a vital role in various physiological processes, including germination, photosynthesis, nutrient uptake, and propagation. Without it, plants—and all life on earth, for that matter—would cease to exist. 

Just like soil, plants have different watering needs. 

Species adapted to arid environments, like succulents and cacti, require infrequent but deep watering to mimic their natural habitat. They’ve evolved to store water in their fleshy leaves and stems, allowing them to withstand long periods of drought. 

The same can’t be said for water-loving species like ferns and bog plants, which thrive in consistently moist soil. These plants demand more frequent watering to maintain optimal hydration. 

And then you have plants with moderate watering needs, which encompasses most garden veggies and flowering plants. They prefer consistently moist but not waterlogged soil, so they need to be watered once every week or two. 

Plant guides, gardening books, and online resources can help you determine just how much water the plant needs. 

Generally, though, plants with thick leaves need less watering, while plants with thin leaves need consistent moisture. 

Over time, you’ll develop a sense of how often and how much water your plants need based on their individual requirements and environmental conditions.


Sunlight is the driving force of photosynthesis, which fuels a plant’s growth and development. Understanding how much sun a plant needs is an important part of plant care, as too much or too little can be detrimental to a plant’s health. 

Plants that require full sunlight, like tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers, need at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight each day. Place them in a location where they can access the most sunlight possible, like an open area or a south-facing window.

Plants that prefer partial sun or shade need filtered sunlight throughout the day. These plants often have thin leaves, making them especially susceptible to leaf scorch. They need around 4 to 6 hours of sunlight per day. 

Meanwhile, plants that tolerate minimal or no direct sunlight thrive in shaded conditions. Ferns, hostas, and certain types of moss fall under this category. Full-shade plants often grow naturally in wooded areas or under dense tree canopies where sun exposure is limited. 

What Are the Signs to Look for When a Plant Is Not Growing?  

If you’re new to growing plants, identifying normal from abnormal growth can be a bit of a puzzle. Here are some tell-tale signs of poor plant growth: 

Yellowing Leaves

When plants age, their leaves turn yellow and fall off. This is natural and of no concern. But if your plant is displaying an abnormal amount of discoloration, you’re looking at a potential problem. 

Yellowing leaves are a common sign of underwatering, overwatering, nutrient deficiencies, or stress. Symptoms like wilting, spots on leaves, browning tips, or pest infestations can provide clues about the underlying issue. 


When plants don’t get enough sunlight, they tend to stretch or lean towards a light source. This phenomenon is known as etiolation. It’s the biggest sign that a plant isn’t receiving sunlight in its current location. 

Plants that don’t receive enough sunlight often appear leggy, pale, or limp, and exhibit slow or stunted growth. Remedy this by placing them closer to their light source and turning their pot once every week so the entire plant gets an equal share of sunlight. 

No New Growth 

Even as they mature, plants continue to produce new growth in the form of leaves, stems, or flowers. 

So if your plant doesn’t display new growth or produces significantly smaller leaves, you might be dealing with nutrient deficiencies or environmental stress. 

Lack of essential nutrients, such as phosphorus, potassium, or nitrogen, can impair the plant’s metabolic processes, leading to stunted growth. 

The same is said for extreme temperatures, humidity fluctuations, and poor air circulation. 

Leaf Drop 

Plants drop their leaves primarily due to two reasons: natural senescence and environmental stressors. 

Senescence is a part of the natural cycle; older leaves yellow, wither, and fall off to make way for new growth. 

Environmental stressors can also trigger leaf drop, but it’s not a natural occurrence. Inadequate light, improper watering, extreme temperatures, and nutrient deficiencies all contribute to the premature falling of leaves. 

Identifying and addressing these stressors is key to minimizing leaf loss and ensuring the plant’s continued growth. 

How to Care for All Types of Plants?  

Plants are living organisms, and they need proper care to grow happy and healthy. Without your continued support, they may struggle to thrive in a home environment. Indoors, it’s up to you to give them what they need. 

Proper sunlight and watering are vital for a plant’s health. Place the plant in an area with adequate natural light, making sure they receive the right amount depending on their species. Some plants thrive in bright, indirect light, while others may require direct sunlight. 

Water them consistently but avoid overwatering, as it can lead to root rot and other issues. Stick your finger in the soil to check moisture—if the top inch or two is dry, it’s time to water. 

Additionally, consider the type of soil and fertilizer your plant needs. Most prefer balanced fertilizer, but some require specialized fertilizer formulated for their particular growth habits.

Repot as necessary, usually once every year or two. Choose a slightly larger pot than the current one and use fresh potting soil. Cut off rotting or dead roots before transplanting the plant into the new soil to prevent disease and minimize stress. 

If you want to expand your garden, look into propagation methods like stem cuttings, leaf cuttings, or division to create new plants from existing ones. Propagation not only multiplies your plant collection but also promotes healthier, more robust growth in your existing plants. 

Finally, position your plant in an area where pets and young children can’t reach. 

Lots of plants have toxic properties that may pose a risk if touched or ingested, potentially causing adverse reactions or poisoning. It’s your duty to research the toxicity levels of your plants before bringing them into your home.  

How to Identify All Types of Plants? 

Knowing how to identify a plant can be helpful when you come into possession of an unknown plant or encounter an interesting one in the wild. Here’s how to identify a plant: 

Observe the Growth Habit

Examine the plant’s growth habit, including its shape, size, and structure. Is it a shrub, a tree, a succulent, or a herbaceous plant? 

Consider the Habitat

Use your surroundings to determine the plant varieties that surround the region. Take into account its natural habitat, including its soil type, moisture levels, and sunlight exposure. Certain plants are adapted to specific environments, which can help narrow down identification. 

Look at the Leaves

Take a look at the plant’s leaves, shape, color, texture, and arrangement. Are they simple or compound? Broad or narrow? Opposite or alternate? 

Broad, wide leaves may indicate a tropical plant, while triangular leaves may indicate herbaceous plants. Succulents have thick, waxy leaves.

Note the Stem and Bark

Look for distinct characteristics on the plant’s stem or bark. 

Soft, flexible branches are common on herbaceous plants, while woody plants have sturdy, rigid stems. 

Also pay attention to any thorns, spines, or prickles on the stem, as these can be important identifying features. 

Notice the Fruits

If the plant has fruits or flowers, examine their size, shape, and arrangement. 

Small, berry-like fruits narrow your identification to the Solanaceae family, which includes tomatoes and peppers. Large, fleshy fruits are characteristic of plants in the Cucurbitaceae family, such as cucumbers and melons. 

Figuring out the fruit’s edibility can also aid in identification. Blue, purple, and black-skinned fruits are often edible, while green, yellow, and white berries are usually poisonous. 

Determine the Scent

Take note of the scent emitted by the plant’s leaves, flowers, or fruits. These scents can be characteristic of a certain plant species. 

For example, strong citrus fragrances are common in the Rutaceae family (Citrus family), while the pungent, cooling scent of menthol is distinctive to plants in the Lamiaceae family (Mint family).


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