Identifying houseplants: how to find your plant


I am a student of agricultural sciences and a real country kid. At home, I love tending my small vegetable garden and spending time out in nature. When not outdoors, I love to write. Beyond gardening and writing, however, I am particularly passionate about wildlife.

Favourite fruit: currants and raspberries
Favourite vegetables: salsify, savoy cabbage and potatoes

You have several plants in the house, but do not even know what they are? Our tips will help you identifying your houseplants.

Plants on windowsill
Bought a new houseplant but are unsure which plant it is? [Photo: Shannon West/]

Plants in the apartment are simply a great eye-catcher and invite to start a collection with their cosy aura. But often you have one or another roommate, which does not have a name at all – from acquaintances the plant was given without much explanation, or the little plate with the name of the plant has been lost. This means we are constantly finding plants in our homes that we are unable to identify. However, the correct determination can be of great importance: Based on this, you can find out, for example, whether it is a poisonous houseplant, or give the plant the right care in case of disease. Also, when repurchasing your favourite plant, it would not be a bad thing to know the right name. Learn our best tips for identifying houseplants here.

Plant identification is an art in itself – fortunately can learn them quickly and easily even amateur gardeners. We have the most common methods for the identification of houseplants picked out for you and reveal you exactly how to assign the right name to your unknown plant can.

Identifying houseplants by features

What is the name of this plant again? Anyone who has ever asked themselves this question should perhaps take a closer look at their green roommate: Many genera and even individual plant species can be wonderfully identified by laypersons using features such as leaves and flowers. Based on these features, you can quickly find the right plant on websites as well as in plant identification books. In the following, we will tell you what special features you need to look out for.

magnifying glass on plant
A lot of plants are not that hard to identify [Photo: real_content/]

Identifying houseplants by leaves

Houseplants are especially often kept for their beautiful leaves – but they also play a major role in plant identification. With good observation skills, you can already draw good conclusions about the plant genus and even the species from the leaves. Particular attention should be paid to the shape of the leaves, but also their size and arrangement. In addition, the colour (especially with variegated leaves), but also the grain of the leaves can provide information about the plant.

We have compiled a list of representatives for different leaf forms you below.

Heart shaped:


  • Small leaves: jade plant
  • Medium sized leaves: orange tree, lemon tree, ruber plant, croton (variegated leaves), ZZ plant

Rounded: Pilea, mind-your-own-business

Triangular: Triangular lucky clover

Longitudinal: Dracaena, spider plant, cast-iron plant, strap plant, Sansevieria, agave, amaryllis

Fan: Ginkgo

Sanseveria plant in pot
The leaves of Sanseveria, for example, are strikingly elongated [Photo: Aquarius Studio/]

Identifying indoor plants by flowers

The identification of flowering plants is often somewhat easier since the flower is ideal for determining the species. The main feature in the classification of houseplants by their flowers is the number of petals. Here, as a rule, a distinction is made between four-, five- or multi-leaved flowers. Sometimes it also happens that the plant is decorated not by a flower, but a striking bracts. The bright colour, which many people find particularly fascinating about the pretty flowers, can also be an important indicator. Lastly, the shape of the flowers and the individual petals can also play a role: Bell or butterfly flowers, fused or free-standing petals are just a few of countless variations that can be determined.

Anthurium leaves
Although they look like it – the red leaves are not flowers [Photo: Nitiphat/]

Identifying houseplants with apps

You do not always have the time or inclination to spend a long time looking in books for the right plants. Fortunately, plant identification has also reached the age of digitalization and some apps make our search easier. Especially for beginners and indoor gardeners without a green thumb, this version of plant identification is perfect. By taking a photo of your plant and uploading it to the app, it determines the houseplant on its own. A little tip: Identification works best when the plant is photographed against a neutral background, such as a white wall.