One reason foliage plants get along so well with people is that they like just about the same temperature levels - 15 to 29 C degrees. Extremes above and below this range bother some plants more than others, but few can tolerate abrupt temperature changes.

This means you shouldn't subject plants to extreme temperature changes by putting them right next to an air conditioner, heating register or entry door. Move them back from windows on hot days and chilly nights, too. Avoid drafts that can dry out plant leaves.

But you needn't be afraid to move plants briefly, to serve as a centerpiece, for instance.

Humidity
Most foliage plants originally came from steamy jungles, and do best at humidity levels of 30 to 40 percent. In contrast, wintertime relative humidity in a home can be as low as one to nine percent.

When the air is too dry, plants lose moisture much more rapidly. Leaf tips may begin to turn brown because they're losing moisture to the dry air surrounding them faster than they can get it from the roots. Thus, even if your plant's roots were sitting in water, some leaves would be damaged because the roots couldn't keep up.

Instead, you have to get more humidity in the area around - and including - the leaves themselves. The photographs on these pages illustrate one solution - locate your thirstiest plants in an environment with high humidity, such as a bathroom. As you shower, the same humidity that steams up the mirror, also gives the leaves welcome relief.