Indoor plants are a fantastic way to add a touch of nature to your home, improve air quality, and even boost your mood.
But with so many different plant varieties, choosing the right one is overwhelming. Don't worry, though! This article guides you through the best indoor plants for beginners. These plants are easy to care for, resilient, and will brighten your space. We'll also share tips on keeping your indoor plants healthy and thriving.
You don’t need a green thumb to find that perfect plant!
Which Features Should A Beginner Look For?
As a beginner, you should choose indoor plants that are easy to care for and thrive in the conditions of your home. Look for these key features when selecting indoor plants::
Choose plants that require minimal attention and tolerate periods of neglect. Plants like snake plants, Pothos, and spider plants are all low-maintenance options.
If you don't have access to a lot of natural light in your home, look for plants that cope with low-light conditions. For example, ZZ plants and peace lilies can survive in low-light areas.
If you have asthma or allergies, look for plants that are good at removing toxins from the air, which can improve indoor air quality. Plants like snake plants and peace lilies are known for their air-purifying properties.
Choose plants that are safe and non-toxic to cats and dogs, if you have pets. Some popular pet-friendly options include spider plants and ponytail palms.
Consider the size of the plant and the space where you plan to keep it. If space is limited, choose a smaller plant, like a succulent or a small cactus.
The Best Indoor Plant For Beginners
Many indoor plants are great for beginners. Here are some of the best options:
1. Snake Plant
This plant is a low-maintenance option that tolerates various lighting conditions. It's also known for its air-purifying properties.
"Popular for beginners due to its resilience. It’s drought tolerant and versatile with lighting as it can tolerate low light to even full sun when acclimated. They also don’t usually have many issues with pests," says Paris Lalicata, Plant Education + Community Engagement Associate, The Sill.
The snake plant, also known as Sansevieria and mother-in-law’s tongue, is a popular indoor plant native to Africa. It's a hardy, low-maintenance plant that adapts to different lighting conditions, making it an excellent choice for beginners.
The snake plant has tall, upright leaves that grow up to several feet tall, and they're often marked with variegated patterns of green and yellow. Some varieties have leaves that are a solid green color. The leaves are fleshy, thick and store water, meaning the plant survives for long periods without moisture.
Snake plants are versatile and used in many different ways. They can be planted in pots of various sizes and shapes: from small terracotta pots to large ceramic planters. They're also commonly used in modern, minimalist decor styles, as their sleek lines and sharp angles complement those aesthetics well. Snake plants are used as stand-alone plants or grouped together for added impact.
Why It’s Good for Beginners
Snake Plants have thick, succulent-like leaves that hold onto water.
Snake plants are extremely low-maintenance and tolerate low light, bright light, and everything in between. You only usually need to water them once every two to four weeks, although that does depend on the size of the pot and the amount of light they're receiving. "Snake Plants have thick, succulent-like leaves that hold onto water," adds Vanessa Jovel Byrnes, Founder of Living With Green. They're also excellent air purifiers, removing toxins like formaldehyde and benzene from the air.
Pothos is another easy-to-care-for plant that grows in low light and needs watering only once a week. If the humidity in your home is low, this tropical plant sometimes enjoys a light misting as well. It's perfect for hanging baskets or training to climb up a trellis or wall.
Pothos, also known as devil's ivy, is a popular indoor plant that's native to the Solomon Islands. It's a fast-growing vine with long, trailing stems that reach up to 10 feet in length. The leaves are heart-shaped and are variegated with shades of green, yellow, and white, or they are a solid green color.
Some varieties to check out include golden Pothos or silver Ann Pothos.
One thing to note about Pothos is that they're toxic to pets if ingested, so if you have pets in your home, keep them out of reach.
Pothos are versatile and often grown in hanging baskets, allowing the vines to trail down and create a cascading effect. Pothos can also be trained to climb walls or wrap around trellises or moss poles.
Why It’s Good For Beginners
Pothos are great for beginners because they're so easy to care for. They tolerate a wide range of lighting conditions, from low light to bright, indirect light. They're also forgiving when it comes to watering, and they go several weeks without water. While they will wilt without regular water, they bounce back quickly when you give them a drink. Pothos plants are also known for purifying the air and removing toxins like formaldehyde and benzene.
3. ZZ Plant
The ZZ plant is a hardy, low-maintenance plant that thrives in low-light areas and only needs watering once every few weeks.
"Popular for beginners due to its resilience. It’s drought tolerant and versatile with lighting as it can tolerate low light to bright indirect light. The ZZ plant is also fun for beginners because it is so easy to propagate by either taking stem cuttings or using just a single leaf," says Lalicata.
The ZZ plant, also known as Zamioculcas zamiifolia, is a popular indoor plant native to eastern Africa. It's a hardy plant with thick, waxy leaves that grow up to three feet long. They are deep green and have a beautiful glossy sheen.
ZZ plants are toxic to pets if ingested.
In terms of styling, ZZ plants are great for adding texture to a room. They look great in modern or minimalist decor styles, as their sleek, shiny leaves add a touch of elegance to any space. You can plant ZZ plants in small pots for desktops and shelves or in larger pots as statement pieces in a room.
Why It’s Good For Beginners
ZZ plants are great for beginners because they're slow-growing and easy to care for. They tolerate low light and only you need to water them every few weeks. In fact, one of the most common ways to damage a ZZ plant is by overwatering as they’re susceptible to root rot. ZZ plants are also known for their air-purifying properties, removing toxins like xylene and toluene.
They are perfect options for travelers, under waterers, or those who wan’t to be able to not think twice about plant upkeep.
"ZZ’s grow from rhizomes that store water under soil even when the soil is dry. They are perfect options for travelers, under waterers, or those who wan’t to be able to not think twice about plant upkeep," adds Jovel Byrnes.
4. Peace Lily
This plant is a great air purifier and thrives in low-light conditions. It's also known for its beautiful white flowers.
The peace lily, or Spathiphyllum, is a popular indoor plant that's native to tropical regions of the Americas and southeastern Asia. It's a hardy plant with glossy, dark green leaves and white flowers that resemble calla lilies.
Peace lilies are toxic to pets if ingested.
Peace lilies are great if you wish to add a touch of elegance to a room. They're often planted in floor pots or on pedestals, where their long, dark green leaves fan out and create a dramatic effect. Peace lilies are also used as tabletop plants or as part of a grouping with other plants to add visual interest.
Why It’s Good For Beginners
Peace lilies are great for beginners because they're very forgiving and easy to care for. "The Peace Lily is known for their over-the-top ways of letting you know they need attention, specifically by flopping down in the most dramatic of ways when in need of water which is great for beginners to know exactly when to water the plant. They're also low-light tolerant so beginners can easily find a good spot in the home for it. If given optimal conditions, they’ll even reward you with their beautiful white blooms," explains Lalicata.
Peace lilies are also great air purifiers, removing toxins like formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon monoxide from the air.
5. Spider Plant
Spider plants are easy to maintain and produce small white flowers in addition to their signature "spiderettes," or baby plants.
The spider plant, also known as Chlorophytum comosum, is a popular indoor plant that's native to tropical and southern Africa. It's a fast-growing plant with long, thin leaves that are usually variegated with shades of green and white.
Spider plants can be used in many different ways. They look great in hanging baskets, where their long, thin leaves trail down and create a cascading effect. Spider plants are also planted in pots and used as tabletop plants or to add visual interest to bookshelves and other surfaces.
Why It's Good For Beginners
They tolerate low light to bright, indirect light and only require sporadic watering. Spider plants are also known for their air-purifying properties, removing toxins like formaldehyde and xylene from the air.
Another great feature of spider plants is that they produce "spiderettes," or small plantlets that you can easily propagate and grow into new plants.
Philodendron - Large heart-shaped leaves bring a bold, tropical flair to your space. This fast-growing, easy houseplant can be trained to climb or styled in a basket as a hanging plant. "A classic beginner-friendly trailing plant that is resilient and tolerant of low light conditions. It can even tolerate drought for a short period of time, especially when placed in lower light. Normally when placed in bright light the vines can grow very quickly which is great for any beginner trying to get the “jungle” vibe in the home," says Lalicata.
Aloe vera - Low-maintenance and drought-tolerant, with the added benefit of soothing sunburns!
Cast iron plant - The Aspidistra’s name comes from the fact that it’s virtually indestructible.
Jade plant - An easy care succulent that’s also said to bring good luck and prosperity to your home.
Parlor palm - "The Parlor Palm is a favorite easy-care palm with tropical fronds known for its air-purifying qualities. It is prized for being one of the most easy-care Palms for Palm lovers as it’s not too finicky about needing higher humidity or frequent waterings," says Paris Lalicata
Chinese evergreen - An excellent air purifier with beautiful variegation, the Aglaonema houseplant will bounce back after a little neglect.
Dracaena - One of the easiest houseplants to grow, dracaenas come in several varieties with colors ranging from dark green, lime green, and even red.
If you don’t trust your green thumb yet, stay clear of these high-maintenance plants until you have more experience or time to dedicate to plant care:
Fiddle leaf fig
Zebra plant (Aphelandra)
Though these plants can require a little more attention that others listed above, Paris Lalicata belives that any plant can thrive in your home — even if you're a beginners.
"To be honest, I don’t think that there is technically any plant that is not good for beginners," says Lalicata. "Plant choices for beginners are completely dependent on the environmental conditions their space provides, how much time they are willing to spend to care for it, etc. While there are plants targeted for beginners due to their versatility and ability to be drought tolerant or low-maintenance- a beginner could find the same joy growing a more “difficult” plant if their lifestyle and environment allows."
Plant choices for beginners are completely dependent on the environmental conditions their space provides, how much time they are willing to spend to care for it, etc.
For example, Lalicata points out that the infamous Fiddle Leaf Fig wouldn’t technically be categorized as a beginner plant due to them being finicky. "However, if a beginner happens to have the ideal conditions to keep a Fiddle alive and can water accordingly they can successfully grow the plant and keep it happy," explains Lalicata.
Lighting And Watering Needs
When caring for your indoor plants, take a minute to consider their lighting and watering needs. Most indoor plants prefer bright indirect light, while others, like the cast iron plant and peace lily, tolerate low light conditions. Direct sun or direct sunlight harms some indoor plants, so choose a spot with the right lighting conditions for your plant.
In terms of your growing medium, always opt for a well-draining soil mix that won't hold too much water and cause root rot. Your pot should have drainage holes. Many beginners also choose self-watering pots so that plants can regulate their own water intake. Just don’t forget to refill the reservoir on a regular schedule.
Expert Tips on Helping Your Houseplans Thrive
Paris Lalicata, also gave use some advice for beginners on how to keep your houseplants thriving. Here are Paris' top three tips:
Get to know your plant and find balance! Beginners tend to either over-love their plants or even neglect them by accident in fear of doing something wrong. The best thing a beginner can do is assess their environment (light, temperature and humidity) and research the plant of interest to understand its care and native habitat so they can replicate it in the home.
Keep your plants as close to a window as possible! Light tends to look brighter to our eyes when in a room and plants end up being placed too far away from the windows. Ideally, plants should be placed directly in or no more than a few feet from a window depending on the window size and exposure.
Understand how to water! One of the main reasons plants can die is due to not watering them properly, especially overwatering. It’ll be best to get to know your plant, its general watering needs/schedule and check the moisture of the soil to know when to water your plant.
Don’t water on a schedule. Let the plant speak to you! Every home environment is different, especially when taking in seasonal factors like AC, heating, and changes to sun exposure. Checking the soil of your plants every few days is best for determining if it is time to water. Most plants like to dry out a bit in between watering, but research the watering preferences of your plant to determine how dry the soil should feel before soaking again. In addition, most (not all) plants will sometimes wilt and appear less perky when thirsty. You could always wait for that slight droop before watering to ensure that the plant is getting thirsty.
Buy plants for your lighting situation, not because you like the look. For example, most tall plants have grown that way because they are growing towards the light. Unfortunately, this means most taller plants wouldn’t be the best options for low light areas.
Get your weekly fix of interior design inspiration
Delivered to your inbox every Saturday morning