Want to add more greenery to your home? Read all about the best indoor plants for beginners!
Hello from another sunny day in Chicago! Today is a very special post because it was mostly written by ADAM! I get a lot of questions about our house plants and I always laugh a little bit when people ask me, because that is truly Adam’s wheelhouse. Ever since we moved in together, he has taken the lead of filling our home with greenery, taking care of them, and generally being their plant parent. It has been so fun to watch, and now I’m a little plant obsessed, too!
Not only do house plants look pretty, but there are actual studies out there about how plants in your home can boost your mood, reduce stress levels, improve air quality, and increase concentration/productivity. Hence why I have a mini snake plant on my desk 😉 This article links to a lot of great studies if you want to learn more, too!
But where do you start? Trust me, I get it – I always found it overwhelming, too. There is so much information out there, it’s hard to know where to start. So, without further ado, I’m going to let Adam give you all of his insights on the best houseplants for beginners, a few plants that require more attention if your’e feeling adventurous, tips and tricks for taking care of them, and more!
Best Indoor Plants For Beginners
ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas Zamiifolia)
The ZZ plant is one of our favorites because of how unique the leaves are! ZZ plants have root bulbs that are different that many other plant roots and occasionally poke through the soil surface. These are GROWERS if put in full sun light and ample potting space, but they will also thrive in a low sunlight room such as a bedroom or bathroom. Keep out of reach of small children and animals, ZZ plants are slightly toxic if consumed.
Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera Deliciosa)
Aloe Plant (Aloe Vera)
Aloe is a tried, true and easy succulent that does great indoors. They are hardy succulents meant to live in the desert so they thrive on low amounts of water and can live in virtually any room with any light conditions. We have an aloe plan in our bathroom that stays dark virtually all day and with consistent watering it does fantastic. Aloe plants are also great to have in the kitchen as a first aid backup. Just tear off one of the stems and apply to burns! In the winter you can water these plants once a month or so, twice a month in the spring/summer.
Jade Plant (Crassula Ovata)
Another easy succulent that thrives in virtually any light environment, the jade plant is beautiful and long lasting with little effort! These plants are slightly toxic to humans and animals if consumed, make sure to put on a shelf where animals can’t reach. Similarly to aloe plants, Jade is easy to grow and needs less water in the winter (once a month), and more in the spring/summer (twice a month).
Agave Plant “Cream Spike” (Agave Parryi)
While these plants might be better known for their large “cousins” in the agave family who make tequila, these little plants are such cute succulents for the home! Just like aloe plants in their requirements for light and water, agave plants are easy to maintain with monthly watering in winter, and bimonthly in spring/summer.
Snake Plant (Sansevieria Trifasciata)
There are many different types of snake plants but virtually all of them act the same in their need for water and sunlight. (They don’t need much!) Snake plants come in lots of different looks and names, we have “Mother in Laws Tongue” and “Moonshine” variety. These plants need water once a month in the winter and twice a month in the spring/summer. Slightly toxic to animals/children.
This succulent looks different than its typical cactus sisters and brothers! Calathea plants don’t require a lot of water or sun light but have these beautiful striped leaves. We keep ours next to the snake plant in the kitchen and the two of them are best buddies! Water twice a month with good drainage, easy peasy.
Additional easy plants
Even though we have a lot, we most certainly don’t have ALL of the easy options out there! A few other internet favorites are the Cast Iron Plant, Ponytail Palm Tree, Peace Lily Plant, Spider Plant, and Lucky Bamboo Plant!
Best Large Indoor Plants That Require More Attention
Yucca Plant (Yucca Gigantea)
Yucca plants are large succulents that are used to living in desert environments so they thrive on small amounts of water on a monthly basis. However, because of their desire to grow and expand, they need lots of sunlight and space. These plants are beautiful and a great conversation piece. The ends of the leaves can be sharp, avoid these with small children.
Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus Lyrata)
Fiddle Leaf Figs can come in tree or bush form and take more attention that your typical house plant. This plant grows to be tree height and has beautiful large leaves. Fiddle leafs are picky about their sun intake and so you need to make sure they have partial sun/partial shade to maintain good health. The soil should be allowed to dry out between watering, especially in winter months. Slightly toxic to animals.
White Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia Nicolai)
White Bird of Paradise are gorgeous tropical plants that require weekly attention. These plants need weekly water and full/partial sunlight when indoors. If taken outdoors during the summer they can bloom beautiful white flowers, hence the bird of paradise name! Misting the plant can also help during growth periods as these plants are used to being in tropical environments.
Don’t forget about succulents and fake plants!
If you’re still worried about taking care any of those plants, go for some really simple succulents or fake plants! There are so many beautiful faux plants out there now – we get complimented on our big tree all the time, but it is 100% fake 😂 It’s just nice to have such a big pop of green against our white walls!
Care Tips For Indoor Plants
How To Water Indoor Plants
The most important aspect of any house plants health is water intake and drainage. After purchasing a house plant, be sure to repot the plant into a planter that has drainage holes for water to exit. This is important for the water to drain AND makes it easy to know when to stop watering a plant.
Water the plant under a faucet until water drips from the drainage holes. Wait for the dripping to stop then replace the plant. Any plant that is in a container without drainage holes runs the risk of plant rot/mold developing inside the planter. You can use drip drays under plants to avoid any extra drainage but never allow plants to sit in water.
The best house indoor house plants are succulents. Succulents thrive with less water. Less water = lower maintenance. Aloe, Jade, Agave, ZZ, Snake, and Yucca plants are all succulents that can live with water as little as once a month.
How To Remember When To Feed Plants
One of the main killers of house plants is over watering. Succulents can go several weeks without water but an easy way to test if your plant needs water is to feel the soil. Put your finger in the soil up to the 2nd knuckle. If the soil is dry, the plant needs water. If the soil is damp, wait a few days.
How Much Sunlight Plants Need
While every house/apartments light source will be different, we have tried to pick plants that do best when using a few of our best practices regardless of location. Most house plants do well in partial sun/partial shade areas away from windows. Over exposure to sunlight can lead to “plant burn” or plants drying out faster than they should. Research the level of sunlight your chosen plant will need and plan accordingly.
Where Plants Shouldn’t Be Located
Every plant has different needs when it comes to sunlight, but finding the perfect spot for each can be hard. We typically lean towards spaces that are “partial light/partial shade” because of how much light our place gets. Some plants shouldn’t be placed in direct sunlight indoors because the combination of light and the window acts as a heater. Plants can suffer from sunburn too! In addition, avoid putting your plants near windows with cold drafts.
What Plants Are Poisonous to Animals
Whenever you purchase a new plant, ALWAYS google to find out if they are poisonous to animals and/or small children. While this is obviously incredibly important, it also doesn’t mean you can’t purchase that plant. It just means you have to be careful of where you place it! For example, our ZZ Plant, Jade Plant, and Snake Plant can all be toxic to dogs if they are consumed, but we keep them high up where Luna definitely can’t reach.
Our Fiddle Leaf Fig is technically within reach for Luna, but she has shown absolutely zero interest in ever interacting with it. That being said, we make sure she is blocked off from it when we leave the house – just in case she changes her mind when we’re not around to keep an eye on her.
We have started using an app that we love call Planta. You can choose the plants that you own and track each plants health, watering, fertilizing, etc. This really helpful when keeping track of watering schedules for multiple different plant species!
PS. You might also like Advice For First Time Home Buyers!