We all love to buy new, lush green tropical plants. But what can we do to help maintain the plant’s original lushness and colour? Start by selecting the right plant for the right location.

First, look to the light.

Most plants derive the majority of their energy from the light. Direct sunlight is considered to be an area within two feet of a south or southwest window, a window sill that floods with light or a sunroom.

Cacti, succulents and geraniums thrive in these conditions. Palms also like the sun; however, the intensity of the Yukon summer sun is too strong. During summer months, move your palms to a less-lit area.

Indirect light, or bright light, is any area within four to five feet of an east- or west-facing window, or three to five feet from a south or southwest window.

Indirect light is also considered to be any place where the sun shines into the room for several hours. This area is ideal for the philodendron scandens (heart-leaf philodendron) or the ficus benjamina (weeping fig).

A low light level is considered to be an east-facing window (that receives morning sun for only a few hours) or an area in front of a north-facing window, more than five feet from a south- or southwest-facing window.

Plants that thrive in low light include aspidistra elatior (cast-iron plant), aglaonema “silver queen” (Chinese evergreen), dracaena fragrans “massengeana” (corn plant) or epiprenum (pothos).

Next, acclimatize your plant to your home.

Tropical plants, found in the Yukon, generally have taken a trip from a much sunnier and warmer climate. To produce larger tropical plants, faster, many growers increase lighting in greenhouses by up to 10 times that of a normal home.

It is not possible to re-create these conditions in your home; therefore, your new houseplant may experience a period of shock. Who wouldn’t?

Most retail stores try to acclimatize plants for re-sale. However, no plant can be thoroughly acclimatized until it reaches its final destination. So, be patient. Any new plant will naturally shed a few interior leaves and lose a bit of its natural greenhouse colour while it becomes used to its new home.

Once you have found optimum conditions, try not to move the plant too often (especially larger tropical plants). When plants become used to certain conditions, they like to stay in the same place.

A good example of an acclimated plant is the dracaena marginata. The leaves of a nursery-grown dracaena will point upward, whereas with a fully acclimated dracaena, the leaves lie down.

Finally, learn how to properly care for your new plant. Resource some good plant-care material so that you are giving your new houseplant its best care.

The next time you purchase a new plant, take time do a little research on its optimum growing conditions. By selecting the right plants for the right locations, you’ll be giving your plants the opportunity to thrive in conditions close to their natural environment.

Shari Morash is a gardening enthusiast and an accredited designer. Contact her at [email protected]