Do you feel like your space is drab and uninspiring? Whether you live out in the country or in a city apartment, potted houseplants are a classy and colorful way to add life and make changes to an otherwise insipid interior and improve your health at the same time.
It’s hard to describe how something so simple and discreet can be so beneficial, but at-home horticulture continues to perform on all fronts. And the benefits of owning indoor plants go far beyond enhancing the visual aesthetics of your pad. Houseplants are known to make us feel good both mentally and physically. Not only can their presence significantly reduce stress and anxiety, but houseplants also absorb potentially harmful pollutants, dust, and germs, increase humidity in a given space, and supply more oxygen to a home. In fact, according to NASA researchers (yes, NASA), this purification of the air provided by indoor plants can actually help prevent you from getting sick.
We also find that a small, yet consequential responsibility like taking care of a plant is a calming and therapeutic DIY home project you can tackle in quarantine.
For those getting their feet wet for the first time, you don’t want to start your indoor garden with plants that are temperamental and require a lot of maintenance. Some plants are strict when it comes to watering routines, light exposure, trimming, and pruning, and if you don’t take care of them properly, they will wilt, wither, and perish.
Easy plants for beginners are ones that don’t need much attention aside from a little sunlight and water from time to time. These include greenery such as golden pothos, spider plants, cacti, and succulents, to name a few. Once you get used to the upkeep involved in nurturing an undemanding houseplant, then you can start thinking about adding some high maintenance flora to the family.
Here are the best houseplants for beginners that are easy to grow, easy to maintain, and will improve your overall health and living space. Many of these plants can be found at your local grocery stores, garden centers, greenhouses, and nurseries as they have been deemed essential businesses. However, we’ve included links to where you can purchase them online.
Low-Maintenance Leafy Plants
The spider plant is one of the most recommendable houseplants for beginners because it’s undemanding, adaptable, and adds elegance to your home. Its long, green and white leaves add an organic and natural feeling to any environment, and it removes up to 90% of air pollutants in a room in just a couple of days. It’s a great plant to have perched on a windowsill, on an end table, or even hung up in an open corner.
- Water: Only water if the soil is dry (usually once per week).
- Sunlight: No direct sunlight required, but it will thrive in a bright room.
It’s easy to see why this species is commonly referred to as the snake plant. Also referred to as mother-in-law’s tongue, the succulent snake plant’s snake-like shaped and patterned leaves are aesthetically pleasing and add sophisticated style to any room, from the living room to the bedroom and on to the home office. It’s also incredibly forgiving when it comes to maintenance, as it doesn’t need much sunlight or water to survive. The snake plant is one of the few houseplants that can convert carbon dioxide into oxygen at night, as well as remove toxic indoor pollutants such as benzene, formaldehyde, and more.
- Water: Only water when soil is dry. It’s important not to over-water snake plants as the roots will begin to rot. We recommend every two to eight weeks depending on the size of your plant.
- Sunlight: Indirect sunlight is best.
- Toxic to pets.
Cast Iron Plant
Appropriately named for its ability to survive in a wide range of conditions, cast iron plants are a lush and resilient option for beginning home horticulturists looking for something a little bulkier for their abode or office, as they can live up to 50 years even with persistent neglect. This is also a great option for adding life and decoration to those draftier rooms in the house.
- Water: Once every two to three weeks when soil is completely dry.
- Sunlight: Prefers low light conditions.
Also known as Devil’s Ivy, the golden pothos is one of the best indoor plants, period. The vining plant is one of the most versatile and adaptable houseplants because it will thrive in any light conditions with a minimal amount of water. The golden pothos looks great hanging from the ceiling or stationed on a shelf, and it tops NASA’s list of the best air-purifying plants.
- Water: Seldom, and when soil is dry.
- Sunlight: Direct, indirect, or none will suffice.
- Toxic to pets.
Creative Cacti and Succulents
Cacti are extremely hardy, tough, and adaptable houseplants that can survive in difficult conditions, making them great options for beginners. Cacti comes in a large variety of shapes, sizes, and species, but opuntia microdasys tends to be your most common houseplant as it’s fairly small and is a great-looking decoration for any room. Cacti also are great bedroom plants as they promote better sleep due to their ability to transform carbon dioxide into oxygen while you sleep.
- Water: Only when soil is completely dry.
- Sunlight: Direct sunlight if possible.
The aloe vera succulent is one of the best houseplants for beginners because it’s super easy to care for and it looks otherworldly. It’s a great addition to your kitchen, dining room, or any area with six to eight hours of sufficient sun exposure. As it turns out, aloe vera offers health benefits beyond its renowned anti-inflammatory properties when cultivated, too. It’s a diligent air purifier that will actually begin to show brown spots on its leaves when pollution levels are extreme.
- Water: Infrequently but before the soil is completely dry.
- Sunlight: Direct sunlight if possible, but a well-lit room will suffice.
- Toxic to pets.
Air plants are super low maintenance, but one common misconception about taking care of one is that they don’t need to be watered. They do, just not as often as some of your other in-home foliage. These tropical plants thrive in dry environments, only need to be watered once per week, and don’t even need to be potted in soil to survive. Place the ionantha air plant on a desk or around other succulent plants and it will instantly add a splash of exotic beauty to your home or office space.
- Water: Once per week. You can simply soak in water for an hour.
- Sunlight: Best suited for bright, sunny rooms with adequate light.
Other Easy Plants
The dracaena marginata, or the Madagascar Dragon Tree, is another popular pick for beginners because it can be easily revived if forgotten about and is one of the coolest looking houseplants money can buy. With that being said, it does require a bit more attention in regards to pruning in order to keep it growing straight and healthy, and it also needs consistently moist soil levels. If you’re looking for a houseplant that is larger (can grow up to 15 feet) and you are willing to commit to a little more TLC, the Madagascar Dragon Tree adds a tropical, serene feeling to any setting.
- Water: Often to keep soil moist but never over-water.
- Sunlight: Prefers some sunlight but not direct.
If you are really struggling with keeping your new plants alive, here some sturdier (dare we say unkillable?) options for those of us without green thumbs.
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