Houseplants have been having a vogue the past few years, and about a third of houseplant sales are to millennials that generation born between about 1982 and 2000. These young adults love houseplants because you don’t need a yard to grow them, they are easy to care for and bring nature into your home.
While some houseplants can be fussy, most are easy to grow, if you give them what they need. Here are five easy houseplants that are perfect for absolute beginning gardeners—and a bonus list for those slightly more advanced.
Snake plant (Sansevieria)
Snake plant offers a tall element to your houseplant line up. With 70 species within the houseplant genera, they can grow from 8 inches to 12 feet tall! Most of the ones I’ve seen in homes top out at about 2 feet. Like other members of the succulent family, snake plant (aka, mother-in-law’s tongue) likes a loose soil that drains easily. You don’t want to over-water this plant—in fact, you can leave it sit for weeks at a time in moderate or even low-light and it will be perfectly happy. It’s best light situation is in a bright room but with indirect light. The strappy leaves usually have cream or gold edgings, making this an elegant exclamation point in your plant collection.
Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
If you like to propagate plants, spider plant is the one to get. A healthy spider plant will produce lots of babies (spiderettes) during winter that you can plant up and give to friends. The quintessential 1970s plant, spider plant looks great in a hanging basket (macrame, anyone?). It likes a bit more water than succulents, but don’t drown it. Most easy houseplants do well if you let them get dry between waterings. Spider plant likes bright light but not direct sunlight and an occasional misting of the leaves. They do well in slightly cooler temperatures, too.
Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
With its bright green and variegated leaves and trailing habit, pothos is a great plant for those seeking a jungle look in their space. Under ideal conditions, pothos can grow 10 feet long, wind around windows and doors and add a real nature feel to your home. Pothos is an easy houseplant that purifies the air, too. It can handle a variety of light situations, but likes a medium to bright room best. You don’t want to let it dry out too much, so be sure to water whenever the soil is dry an inch down in the pot. (You may want to water pothos on a schedule to make sure it’s not getting too much or too little.)
Split-leaf Philodendron (Monstera deliciosa)
If you want a houseplant that has a little heft and is still easy, consider monstera or the split-leaf philodendron. This plant makes a statement, growing up to 8 feet tall as a houseplant. (In the wild, it’s up to 60!) You will want to add a stake or other stabilizer to keep the plant upright as it grows. The beautiful large and split leaves have led the plant to be called “Swiss cheese plant.” When growing it, choose an ample pot with a drainage hole and fill it with a housplant potting mix with plenty of peat for drainage. Place the plant in a bright room — the ideal situation is a spot with morning sunlight. Make sure there is room for the plant to grow and consider rotating it from time to time, if leaves seem to be reaching for light. Water the plant when the first two inches of soil are dry and give it a weekly mist during the winter. One potential problem with monstera is mealy bugs, so keep an eye out for them and treat immediately. Minnesotan Amy Andrychowicz has a great blog post about dealing with mealy bugs on her Get Busy Gardening website.
Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis)
One of the most well-known plants for its medicinal uses, aloe vera rounds out our list of easy houseplants. Aloe is used in a variety of skin-care products and it is said to have healing properties. As a houseplant, it has a fleshy, spiky look. The plant is made up of leaves and has no stems. It is similar to other succulents in its care requirements. It likes to be potted in a loose soil mix (a commercial cactus or succulent mix is a good choice) and watered deeply but infrequently — one website suggests every three weeks. The touch test is another good way to see if it needs water. The planting mix should be dry 1 to 2 inches below the top of the pot before you water. Place your aloe in a room with bright indirect sunlight. In the wild, aloe will occasionally flower, but it is rare for a houseplant to do so.
And a few more…
Which are your favorite easy houseplants?