On the indoor gardening stage, plants such as peace lily, Boston fern and sansevieria are veterans, tried-and-true performers that require little fussing over.
But there are scene changes afoot; new plants and ideas are making indoor gardening a more exciting show.
So what's on the playbill?
Quirky succulents, spring bulbs, small trees, even outdoor plants, such as blue fescue grass, begonias, flowering maple and lobelia — all are suggestions from Tovah Martin, a horticulturist in Roxbury, Conn., and author of the new The Unexpected Houseplant (Timber Press).
"Not everything translates, but some plants make the leap indoors without a whimper," Martin says. She also suggests fragrant plants like lavender, Constantinople narcissus and night-blooming jasmine.
There are some eye-popping new offerings on the market for indoor gardens, agrees Doug Jimerson, garden editorial director for Better Homes & Gardens magazine.
"Some of the most exciting things are new color forms of classic varieties like Chinese evergreens, imported from Thailand, that have boldly patterned red, cream and green leaves," Jimerson says. "For years, they were only available with green or mottled leaves."
Contemporary living spaces could be enhanced by a single dramatic tree. Figs and palms are common choices, but Martin suggests dwarf citrus and coffee trees, and even little conifers for a chilly alcove.
Grasses like rye, wheat and sedge can create bold living art indoors when planted in intriguing containers made of pottery, wood or metal.
Martin started making terrariums as a child and has more than 20 in her home. Don't put succulents under glass, she warns: "They won't work in a terrarium over the long haul. Succulents like dry, arid conditions." Ditto cacti and herbs. But anything that likes high humidity and low light will thrive: mosses, creeping fig, miniature ivies and orchids.
Get creative when thinking about containers for a terrarium: cake stands, apothecary jars, cookie jars, fishbowls. Search tag sales and off-price stores for inexpensive, out-of-the-ordinary receptacles, but make sure you can stick your hand inside easily. A simple glass plate can serve as a lid.