How Can I Identify My Tropical House Plants?


You have fallen in love with a colorful flower at the local farmer's market, purchased it and now enjoy having it in your home. But how do you take care of it if you don't know what it is? You think it is a tropical plant but are not quite sure what the name of it is. Fortunately, there are several sources you can go to in order to give your beautiful new plant the name that belongs to it so that you can find out how to care for it.

Things You'll Need

  • Online access
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Camera

Take Notes

  • Write down all that you notice about your plant. Note what kinds of leaves it has. Are they glossy like most tropical plants? Do the leaves have holes? Are they elongated? Notice if your house plant has a fragrance or not. Also, write down what the flowers look like if there are any. It may even have a fruit, so that could also help in identifying it. Do not taste it until you find out what plant it is, as some tropical plants are poisonous. You can also take a photo of your plant to help you identify it. Take a picture from different angles so you have more information to go by.

  • Use a plant reference book or go online to try to identify your plant. There are sites, such as,, and, that let you search by pictures or plant attributes. They also will show you pictures of all the plants that fit in that category. They usually give the scientific name, as well as the common name, for the plant. You can find out much more information on the plant than just the name. You can also find what family of plants it belongs to. You should be able to narrow down your search to a few similar tropical plants and identify your plant from the pictures on the site.

  • If you are unable to find out the name of your tropical house plant, another suggestion is for you to take the pictures of your tropical plant to a garden shop. Most garden shop staff members have extensive knowledge of house plants and can either identify it right away or help you look it up. They can also give you hints about how to take the best care of your tropical plant.

Tips & Warnings

  • Never eat a plant until you are sure what it is. It may contain toxins.

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  • Photo Credit HOUSE PLANT image by brelsbil from anthurium image by Unclesam from woman working on laptop #9 image by Adam Borkowski from Flowers for Sale at the Corner image by evillager from
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