Ready to start your own urban jungle? Becoming a plant parent has become increasingly popular in recent years, with many people around the world proudly raising plants to make their space greener, literally.
Whether it’s food, lifestyle, or decor, people are increasingly looking for ways to live in a way that’s more natural. With a collection of amazing house plants, you can bring the joys of nature directly into your home.
Being a plant parent can look daunting, but don’t fear! We’ve created this guide to help you learn the basics of houseplant care and provide some great recommendations for plant options for your space.
Whether you’re a new plant owner, or someone looking to expand an already expansive collection, this article can provide great insight into some pretty interesting plants and basic houseplant care. Let’s get started!
Best Overall House Plants
If you’re looking to start your houseplant adventure, these are some great, low maintenance starter plants to consider!
If you’re someone who has struggled with houseplant care in the past, you should have no issues with a classic snake plant! Snake plants, also known as Sansevierias, are some of the easiest house plants to take care of, capable of surviving pretty much anywhere.
Snake plants need to be watered every 2-8 weeks, depending on their environment. You won’t want to overdo the watering here- make sure the soil is totally dry before re-watering. These plants also prefer medium light, though they can thrive in high light and low light conditions.
These plants don’t have any extra care in terms of humidity or temperature, so you’re good to house this plant pretty much anywhere. Just keep them indoors- like most house plants, these won’t fare well outside in winter months.
A ZZ Plant is another great choice for beginners! Also called the Zanzibar Gem, this tropical plant is known for its bright, waxy green leaves. These plants are a favorite among beginners due to their tolerance for neglect- these plants can continue to thrive despite a lack of watering or low light conditions.
This means care for these guys is pretty easy. Do you best to water every 2-3 weeks- feel free to wait until the soil is bone dry. They also have no preference for lighting- but do try to keep them by some indirect light.
One important thing to note is that ZZ Plants are toxic if consumed- keep this plant away from pets if that’s a concern for you. As an extra precaution, wash your hands after handling this plant to avoid any potential skin irritation.
The Pothos plant is a great plant to brighten up your space, especially if you like the look of vines! This beginner plant can grow quite long, offering a very cute look if placed on a high shelf or hanger to allow its vines to trail.
Also known as Devil’s Ivy, these plants don’t require super intense care. They actually thrive in dyer soil, so water it lightly, only if things are feeling super dry. Their ability to thrive in low light also makes them great for a bathroom or office.
These plants are also not pet-safe, so keep them away from your animals! Ingesting their leaves can lead to vomiting and irritation, and the sap is known to cause skin irritation.
Best Budget House Plants
If you’re decorating on a budget, consider these low-cost plant options:
The Pilea Peperomioides is on most plant lovers wish list! This plant has a wide variety of nicknames, also referred to as the Chinese Money Plant or Coin Plant. These plants are characterized by their wide, round leaves.
These plants are easy to care for. They prefer indirect sunlight and need to be watered every 1-2 weeks. Just be sure to allow their soil to completely dry out before watering.
The Bird’s Nest Fern is a tropical houseplant known for its wavy-edged leaves that add a fun, fresh look to any space! They require a little bit of upkeep to keep them happy, but they are brilliant when they’re living a healthy life.
As a tropical plant, these guys require warmth and moisture. They’re a perfect plant for a bathroom that stays moist often. A humidifier can also do wonders to help this plant thrive.
However, they require sufficient light, so be sure to keep it by a window, not in direct sunlight. Keep their soil moist, but be mindful their soil doesn’t get too wet or bogged down with water.
The Hoya kerrii, most commonly known as the Hoya Heart, is easy to care for and makes an adorable contribution to any plant collection. This plant would make the perfect Valentine gift for any plant lover in your life, known for its iconic heart-shaped figure.
These plants are also fairly low maintenance, making them a great beginner succulent. These plants do love some sun but can continue to thrive even in indirect sunlight. Watering should be sparse, as succulents are great at storing water. Only water when your soil has completely dried out.
Best Premium House Plants
For the more experienced plant owner, these premium options can bring some great life to your space:
Orchids are a tricky plant to master, but they can be well worth the work! These gorgeous flowers make a great addition to any plant collection.
The purple orchid, also known as the Phalaenopsis orchid, is one of the easier varieties of this plant. This plant prefers bright, indirect sun and needs to be watered every 1-2 weeks. This plant also prefers a humid environment and will suffer in dry air. If you want to be the ultimate plant parent, consider investing in a humidifier to keep this plant happy year-round.
Don’t be alarmed if you’re waiting for your orchid to bloom, and nothing is happening. When indoors, orchids will bloom once a year, for 1-3 months at a time. Afterward, the flowers will wilt and disappear until they rebloom again.
The Monstera, also called the “swiss cheese plant,” has become increasingly popular in recent years. These leaves, infamous for their unique ridges and holes, have become a popular fashion print, leading to their popularity among houseplant owners.
Monsteras prefer a warm environment, regular watering, and medium-bright indirect light. Be sure not to place these in direct sunlight, as their leaves are prone to burns. Their leaves will also have to be regularly dusted, which will also work to prevent any pests.
With proper care, monsteras can grow quite large, so ensure you have adequate room!
The Fiddle Leaf Figs are another popular plant breed. These bushes are characterized by their broad, vivid green leaves with prominent veins. These plants can be fickle when it comes to temperature and lighting, so proper care is key.
Your Fiddle Leaf Fig plant will need to be watered every 1-2 weeks, and they prefer indirect sunlight. Much like Orchids, they also prefer a bit of humidity, making a humidifier a worthwhile investment.
Your Fiddle Leaf Fig plant can grow from a small bush to a full-on tree with proper care! Much like a Monstera, be sure your plant has adequate room to grow. However, you can always trim leaves and branches to scale back, so it still fits your home.
Why Should I Invest in Plants?
There are tons of benefits to filling your house with some lovely new plants! Besides the obvious visual appeal, bringing in a little green can help create a sense of calm and freshness. And I mean freshness in the most literal sense.
Through photosynthesis, house plants work to actively increase the oxygen in your home and absorb harmful pollutants and gases. In fact, a study by NASA revealed that house plants could remove 87% of toxins found in your air in as little as 24 hours. Your new plant friends won’t only make your space look great-, they’ll make the air a little bit cleaner too!
House plants can also help you de-stress. There are tons of studies that support the idea that nature is beneficial to our overall health. A 2010 study showcased that participants who spent daily time in nature had lower blood pressure and stress levels. While going to the forest daily may be impossible for city-dwellers, building your own little forest in your apartment can hopefully have a similar result!
Raising house plants can be a small spot of peace and refuge. There is also a sense of satisfaction that can come with keeping your plants alive and watching them thrive! Caring for a living thing is rewarding, giving off a sense of purpose that can bring peace.
Plants are also pretty! They are an easy way to jazz up any living space. Different plants and pot options can add some design accents to any space. If you want a new look in your home, some plant friends can be a great place to start.
Caring for the Best Indoor Plants
Before we dive into our plant recommendations, we should cover some basic houseplant care. Though these tips will vary from plant to plant, these are good things to keep in mind for general care.
Consider Your Soil
Though most purchased plants will come in some kind of soil, it’s good to know what to look for when it comes time to re-pot or transfer your plant into a beautiful new pot.
Soil needs can vary depending on the individual plant. General potting soil mix is best suited for a wide variety of house plants- it’s succulents and orchids that tend to need something more specific. However, you can find their mixes labeled in most garden centers or plant shops.
Potting mix is generally designed for house plants, with a fluffier texture that maximizes drainage and aeration. Consider mixing a few smooth stones in with your potting soil to keep dirt from becoming densely compacted to encourage drainage.
Watering Your Plants
There can be a lot of anxiety and doubt when it comes to properly watering your house plants. Some people tend to think they aren’t watering enough. If anything, the average plant owner tends to water too often, providing a little too much love to their plant babies.
Though drainage can help combat this to some degree, overwatering is a very common error plant owners make and is often the cause of plants not thriving.
As a general rule of thumb, most plants need to be watered every 1-2 weeks when the soil is dry. As a test, stick your finger into your potted plant. If dirt sticks to your fingers, your plants should be fine. However, if the soil is dry and doesn’t stick, it’s time to water.
Though tap water is fine, some plant owners do prefer to water with distilled water. You could look into our top list for great water brands in 2020 if you want to serve your plant babies the best of the best!
Lighting is another area that can lead to the downfall of beginner plant owners. Many people aren’t aware that different plants require different kinds and amounts of lighting depending on their climate. If your plant isn’t thriving in a particular spot in your home, consider moving it to new areas with more or less light to see if it has any effect on your plant’s happiness.
North facing windows tend to be the dimmest, best for plants that don’t need a ton of direct sunlight. For more neutral plants, east and west-facing windows provide bright exposure, but not for the entirety of the day. For house plants who need plenty of light, a south-facing window tends to be the brightest.
Keep in mind, these kinds of lighting do depend on your geographical location and the layout of your home. Neighbors blocking your windows, shady trees, and other factors can also affect the light your plant’s need.
Pots & Drainage
The right pot size, along with good drainage, is essential to keeping happy plants. The correctly sized pot will allow your plants to grow and expand their root systems as needed. Drainage can help to ensure their soil doesn’t become overly soggy or too dense. It’s also the best way to avoid the dangers of overwatering.
It can be tempting to buy a pot for its cute look, but it may not be best for your plant’s health. If you’ve found a great pot with no drainage, consider sizing up to place your plant’s drainage pot within it. This way, your plant can be sitting in a good drainage pot and saucer, but you still get your decorative pot’s desired look.
As your plants grow, you may need to size up their pots to better fit their roots. If your plant looks too big for its pot, or if roots are beginning to emerge through the drainage holes, it’s time to source your baby a bigger home.
Don’t Forget the Plant Food!
Knowing when your plants require plant food can be difficult. There’s no clear indication as to when your plants need some fertilizer. Instead, you’ll need to plan your own fertilizer schedule.
As we’ve said before, different plants have different needs, so your fertilizer amounts and frequency will vary from plant to plant. In general, most common house plants can find some great benefits from a general houseplant fertilizer.
There are many different fertilizers to choose from. Liquid fertilizers can be added to water during your watering cycle, once or twice a month. Granular fertilizers are granules that you can mix into potting soil. Slow-release fertilizers often come in pods or capsules that you stick into your potting soil and can be easy to set and forget, replacing as needed.
Consider incorporating fertilizer into your soil any time you re-pot for an extra boost in plant nutrition! Look up the needs of your plant breeds to find an ideal schedule for use throughout the year.
Avoiding Pests and Disease
Despite your best efforts, house plants can still be affected by a wide variety of common pests and diseases. Be sure to regularly look over your plants for signs of deforming.
There are a handful of common signs you should keep in mind while making your inspections. Leaves with holes along the edges or centers indicate an issue with pests. Brown spots on leaves can be burned from direct sun or can be diseases like leaf spot. Black spots can also indicate rot, and a grey film can be a sign of mold in a humid environment.
Like your regular fruits and vegetables, you should consider “washing” your plants, especially new ones, to avoid pests and diseases. When you bring new plants home, consider wiping down the leaves and roots to avoid potential issues/
Common cures include the clipping of deceased parts, wiping down plant leaves to remove pests and coatings, or spraying with different mixtures as treatment. Your treatment method will depend on the issue. Check out resources like this one here to find appropriate treatments.