Best Indoor Plants for Beginners
By Jessica Kendall
In our last Houseplant 101 post we talked about the best houseplants for low light situations. In this article we’ll introduce you to some plants that are great for those just starting out with houseplants. The great news? A lot of these plants overlap with the houseplants we recommend for low light situations!
The Top 10 Houseplant Varieties for Beginners:
The Sweetheart Hoya’s heart shaped leaves make this plant an instant hit. It will tolerate low light, but will grow better with some exposure to sunlight. It requires very little attention and, like most succulents, only needs to be watered once or twice a month. If the soil is nearly dry, it’s time to water. Succulents are very tough plants, but the number one reason that succulents don’t make it is over-watering. Their roots are very susceptible to root rot, so it’s important to make sure the soil drains very well. This is why succulent and cactus soil always contains a heavy balance of small rocks.
Previously covered in our “Low Light Houseplants” blog, Snake Plant is a nearly-indestructible plant that will almost always survive, even if you can’t remember the last time you watered it…
Jade is another great succulent option. Said to attract money and wealth, this plant has pleasing waxy dark green foliage, and can grow to be quite massive or be easily shaped by trimming new growth. Like other succulents, it can tolerate lower light but will grow better with exposure to sunlight.
(Tip: Wondering if your succulent needs water? Succulents hold all of their water in their leaves – it’s why they’re squishy and thick! Succulent leaves will be firm if the plant does not need water – because the leaves are full of water – and will be quite soft if they do need water – because the water stored in the leaf has depleted. If you find your leaves are squishy and you’ve been watering it recently, it’s likely the plant is experiencing root rot.)
Spider Plant might be called the rabbit of the houseplant world – it reproduces like crazy! You’ll see healthy spider plants producing “pups” that can be removed and transplanted to become new plants. Spider plants like low-light, and are also subject to root rot, so water them once the soil is nearly dry, but don’t let the soil dry out completely.
These houseplants produce showy white flowers and can grow up to three feet tall. Peace Lilies can tolerate lower light and will even thrive under grow lamps. They can grow quite large, both vertically and horizontally. Much like succulents, Peace Lily will tell you when it needs water. Keep an eye on your plant, and when you notice that the foliage is starting to droop a bit, it’s time to water. Peace Lilies will also benefit from having its foliage spritzed with water in the summer.
Fiddle Leaf Fig
One of the most in-demand plants at this time, Fiddle Leaf Fig is certainly a stunner. A member of the Rubber Plant family, Fiddle Leaf Fig is both easy to care for, and a big statement-maker. You’ve probably seen this plant in many different settings – from corporate offices to trendy plant posts. With the potential to grow up to six feet tall, the Fiddle Leaf Fig is a perfect floor plant. This plant does need sunlight, and prefers a filtered bright window. Fiddle Leaf Fig wants water once the top inch of its soil is dry, but don’t let it dry out completely before watering.
Another succulent, Aloe Vera is not just beautiful and easy to care for – it’s also useful! The gel-like substance contained within the leaves is used frequently to help treat sunburn. Did you know that Aloe plants themselves can get a tan? If you notice that your aloe leaves (while healthy and well) are turning brown shade, move them a little ways away from their source of light and they will revert to that beautiful minty-green color once again.
The coloring of these plants set it apart from the majority of houseplants. In general, most houseplants are mainly made up of varying (and beautiful!) shades of green. Prayer Plant can be found with shades of reds, pinks, and bright yellows running through them, as well as varying shades of green from deep to almost white. They only grow to be about 8 inches high on average, so they’re a good option for smaller spaces like desks and shelves. Prayer Plant will tolerate lower light areas and prefers to be out of direct sunlight (too much direct light can scorch the leaves). These plants like to be well-watered. Avoid watering if the top inch of the soil is still moist to avoid fungal problems and gnats, but don’t let the plant dry out. Water a little less often in winter.
Money Tree Plant
Most often seen with decorative braided trunks, these plants are said to bring good fortune. These trees don’t like too much direct sun and should be rotated if placed in direct sun. They can tolerate fluorescent light, so if you don’t have a lot of natural light this might be the perfect plant for you. Money Tree should be given a good drink of water once the soil has dried out, but don’t let it dry out for long periods. As the plant grows, you can continue to braid the trunks by braiding and tying them loosely, or let them grow naturally.
Maybe the easiest of all houseplants (right up there with the Snake Plant), Golden Pothos is a very forgiving plant for those just learning to take care of houseplants. Pothos will tell you when it’s getting too much water by yellowing its leaves, and it’ll tell you when it’s not getting enough water with browning and crunchy dead leaves, but the plant itself is quite hardy and will survive as you learn. The vines can grow to be very long in a relatively short period of time, so it’s perfect for anyone wanting to have lovely drapey greenery in their space.