If you follow us on Instagram, you know that we’ve become full blown Plant Ladies. We get so many questions from those of you who aren’t sure where to start, so we wanted to share our favorite houseplants for beginners!
Brittany and I are hardly experts when it comes to the best indoor plants, but over the last year we’ve learned enough to graduate to a moderate level. Most of what we’ve learned has been through trial and error, so we want to share some of our (limited) knowledge to give you the confidence to grow your plant collection too. See what I did there?
Houseplants for beginners: Care tips
To get the best results, you will need to know a few things to take care of your plants. At first, these terms felt really daunting. I’m not a farmer! But, I quickly realized these care tips aren’t as complicated as I once thought.
- Light: Have you heard that you should put certain plants in a south facing window and panicked? While knowing what direction your windows face can be helpful, it shouldn’t be a barrier for you. To begin just start with direct and indirect light. Think direct = right in front of a sunny window and indirect = near a sunny window but not directly in the path of the light.
- Watering: If you are worried you will forget to water your plants, the good news is plants require much less water than you’d expect. I tend to overwater, and this trick has saved me from drowning my plants. Stick your finger a few inches into the soil (about to your knuckle). If your finger comes out relatively clean, it’s time to water. If your finger comes out with soil on it, it doesn’t need water.
- Fertilizing: There are a million different ways you can fertilize your houseplants. If you are just getting started, we recommend using this Miracle-Gro liquid fertilizer once a month. As you learn more about plants and how they grow, you may find you only need to fertilize in the warmer months when the plant is typically growing.
5 best houseplants for beginners
While we are no plant experts, we have found that these houseplants are the best for beginners because they are hearty, don’t require a ton of attention, and will still give you the results you want. These beginner plants are all about building confidence that you can keep a houseplant alive. That feeling of seeing new growth on your plants is what is going hook you and turn you into a plant lady!
Snakes are the ultimate houseplant for beginners. They don’t require a ton of light, and actually can grow in dark locations with artificial light. Snakes don’t like a ton of water and really only need to be watered every few weeks or even once a month. They grow vertically and look great in narrow spots, like next to a bookcase or dresser.
Jade is actually a succulent. Typically, I don’t have much success with succulents, but somehow I’ve had lots of luck with this variety. Jade is perfect for a sunny location and likes direct light. Like most succulents, it doesn’t need much water and mine likes to be watered once every two weeks.
Dracaena is a great indoor plant for beginners because it is so tolerant to almost all conditions. It also can help purify your air and is said to remove toxins like formaldehyde and carbon dioxide. I have two different varieties that I’ve had for about two years and I’m impressed with how hearty they are. All three have survived my overwatering, with little damage. Both get indirect light, although can handle direct light. I’ve found the ones in a south facing window have flourished.
Pothos is another clarifying plant. If you are looking for a trailing plant, this is your gal. They like bright, indirect light and like the soil to completely dry out before watering. I check this one weekly, but tend to water every two weeks. In the summer it tends to need water more often since the heat dries out the soil more quickly. And, if you’re looking for a way to hang your pothos, this DIY plant hanger works perfectly!
ZZ Plant or Zanzibar Gem is another ultimate beginner plant. In addition to the typical roots you’d expect, ZZs also have rhizomes that look like large bulbs at the base of the stem. These rhizome tubers store water, so they only need to be watered occasionally. Speaking from experience, the only way to mess up a ZZ is to overwater it. It can handle most light situations and is happiest in indirect light.
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5 HousePlants for beginners to avoid
If the five houseplants for beginners above inspire confidence, these next five plants will crush that confidence faster than their leaves can wilt. In our experience, these plants require a greater degree of care and know how (most of which we are still trying to fine tune ourselves!). We suggest you find your footing with the easier plants, and make it a goal to work your way up to these divas.
Dieffenbachia is a very finicky plant. It doesn’t like it’s soil too moist or too dry, and it’s leaves will wilt to show you just how unhappy it is. But, water it too much, and it’s leaves will quickly yellow. It is tropical, so it likes humidity, but this can be trickier to achieve in some climates.
Fiddle Leaf Fig
Fiddle Leaf Fig are the hottest plants in all home design. Do not be fooled! This plant is incredibly fickle and requires a high degree of know how to keep it happy. Just save yourself the stress and buy a fake one. I’ve had this 4′ Faux Fiddle Leaf Tree one for almost 2 years and I love it! It’s leaves look realistic, I can put it in a dark corner of the stair landing and the only care it requires is dusting!
Zebra Plants are so pretty! Their leaves have gorgeous strip patterns on their leaves, which is how they got their name. This was actually one of the very first plants I ever got. I had no idea how difficult they were, and through an entire year of trial and error, I can proudly say it’s flourishing. My zebra plant is my biggest plant parent accomplishment, but it was a hard fought battle. In hindsight, I wish I had started with an easier plant and worked my way up to a zebra.
Polka Dot Plants
Polka Dot Plants are one of the cutest plants I’ve ever seen. The pink is so unique and pretty. However, it is a princess. I successfully killed one, and am now working on keeping this one alive. Dialing in the amount of water and light she likes has been an undertaking, and just when I think I’ve found the secret formula, another leaf wilts. But, if you follow us on Instagram, you know that my cat, Louie, has other plans. He knocked it off a shelf recently and I’m trying everything I know to do to nurse it back to health.
Ferns are so cool! They have been around since prehistoric times, so you’d think they’d be really hearty and easy to grow. I mean, if they’ve existed on Earth for that long, you’d think they could exist in my house. For whatever reason, I cannot keep a fern alive. Now, I know this speaks more to my abilities than ferns themselves, but I can personally say, these are not plants for a beginner. My ferns baffle me because their leaves get extra crispy and die, but they still sprout new stems. How can it simultaneously die and have new growth?! My fern saga is a story for another day, but I can confidently say, they are not for beginners! However, there are other varieties of ferns, and I’ve finally cracked the code of my asparagus fern!
I hope this helps give you the confidence to buy your first houseplant! Like any hobby, it can be challenging at the beginning, but that makes it all that more rewarding when you have success.
What are your favorite houseplants for beginners? Tell us which plants you love (or avoid)!