The 6 Best Houseplants For the Green Thumb Newbie
These plants will have your apartment looking like it was decorated by Mother Nature herself.
We’ve all seen those photos on Instagram and Facebook, the ones with those lush, green indoor plants spilling all over the kitchen and living room of some loft in the city or adorable home in the suburbs. Although indoor gardens seem to be trending, people have been using plants and succulents as a way to decorate their homes for years now. An indoor urban jungle is a perfect way to add a little loveliness to your home without breaking the bank.
In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, plants also reduce the carbon dioxide levels in your home and boost your mood. If the thought of taking care of plants fills you with more anxiety than excitement, we’ve come up with a list of plants that are harder to kill than your nail-biting habit from grade school.
1: The Aloe Plant
In addition to having a cool, edgy texture and look, chances are one of your favorite moisturizers or sunburn creams is made with this plant (hello, aloe vera). Since it’s technically a succulent, it’s best to water your aloe plant until it soaks through to the bottom of the pot, then once the soil is dry again (which takes a surprisingly long time) water it again. The aloe plant is dormant in the winter, so it requires water even less often during those cold months.
2: The Snake Plant
Simon Wheeler Ltd
The snake plant is commonly known as the “mother-in-law’s tongue” plant due to the sharp nature of its leaves. It's an eye-catching option, and just like the aloe plant, it only requires being watered when the soil is dry.
3: The Dracaena Plant
UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 27: Dracaena (Dracaena marginata), Asparagaceae. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)
DEA / C. DANI
Dracaena’s are the perfect plants for a bright windowsill in your office or apartment, but they can also thrive in darker settings. This plant removes pollutants like benzene and trichloroethylene from the air, so do your best to keep its soil moist to keep reaping its benefits. If you do happen to neglect your dracaena for a period of time, don’t fret; this species responds quickly to proper care.
4: The Air Plant
Sir plant in mason jar, shot in natural light.
Air plants are by far the easiest plant to take care of on this list. The plant doesn’t need soil at all. Yes, you read that right — no soil required! Air plants are epiphytes, which means they grow on other plants or objects and have no attachment to the ground or other base sources. In nature they obtain moisture from rain or water vapor, so just spritz this magical plant once or twice a week and you’re good to go.
5: The Bamboo Palm
A Small Potted Bamboo Palm Isolated on White
The bamboo palm is the definition of indoor jungle goals. It can grow anywhere from four to 12 feet, making it a showstopping fixture in any home. What sets the bamboo palm apart from other palm trees is its ability to grow even in low-light conditions.
6: English Ivy
Candles and trailing plants in concrete pots arranged on ledge
Debbie Patterson (c) Dorling Kindersley, Adobe Photoshop CS4 Macintosh
Spruce up your fireplace or bookshelf with this beautiful hanging plant. Although it requires a decent amount of light, English ivy is similar to the aloe and snake plant when it comes to hydration. Simply allow the soil to dry out a bit on top before watering it again.
Succulents and Cacti
Packing your bags and heading off on vacation doesn’t have to mean you return to a house full of dead plants. Choose the right low maintenance houseplants, and you can take off for even a few weeks without losing a single leaf.
Keep the home fires burning with this colorful succulent. As leaves mature, they shift colors from green, to gold and orange, and finally ripen to bright red. Bright light coaxes the best leaf hues from indoor plants. The thick leaves hint that you can leave this plant for a week or two with no watering worries. The formal name for this beauty is Crassula capitella ‘Campfire’.
Just give this sturdy succulent bright light, and you’ll be on your way to a happy, healthy houseplant. Aloes need watering only every couple of weeks or so, which means you can take more than a weekend away with no worries. Well-draining soil provides the right rooting environment for this low maintenance houseplant.
Flattened paddle leaves give this succulent a playful feel and bring strong architectural interest to any setting. Indoors, give this South African native bright light, and water only when the top inch of soil is dry. Low thirst means you can skip town for a week or two with no thought for watering. Also known as dog tongue, desert cabbage and paddle plant, this plant is known botanically as Kalanchoe luciae.
Known botanically as Hoya, wax plant is one of those houseplants that always makes you look good. It’s next to impossible to kill—unless you water it too much. This plant is a succulent, able to store water in its thick leaves and stems. It grows in low light, but you’ll get to see its waxy blooms in a high light setting. Feel free to leave this one for a week or more without water.
Tanzanian Zipper Plant
This cutie may resemble a cactus, but it’s actually a type of euphorbia—Euphorbia anoplia, to be exact. Euphorbias are cactus cousins known for retaining water. The thickened stems on the zipper plant hold enough water that you can slip away for a rela two-week trip. Give this plant bright light for best growth.
Dry soil and bright light keep this cute cactus looking its best. It’s so notoriously easy to grow that it’s one of the most widely grown cacti worldwide. Expect your plant to form clumps as it ages, producing “babies” along its base. Botanically, it goes by Mammillaria spinosissima.
String of Buttons
The stems on this succulent pierce the center of each leaf, stacking them up like buttons on a string. The thick leaves hoard water, so you can get away for a rela two-week vacation without a second thought for this houseplant. Stems tend to trail, making this a good choice for hanging baskets. Botanically, this quirky plant goes by the name Crassula perforata.
You’ll be growing living history when you add sago palm to your home. The leathery leaves have a delicate, fern-like appearance that disguises the plant’s rugged personality. This beauty is a living fossil, a leftover from dinosaur times. You’ll see best growth in bright light, but it survives in low light. The easiest way to kill it is overwatering.
Also known as snake plant, Glowee is a living nightlight. Give it a little natural sunlight each day, and you’ll be rewarded with a soft green and gold glow as night arrives. Glowee is a succulent, so it doesn’t need much water to keep it going. Keep soil on the dry side. This plant can tolerate very low interior light levels, although the glowing effect diminishes.
With ZZ plant, you can take off for a year and return home to find it looking perfect. It needs that little water. The thick leaves have a natural shine, and it’s happy in any light, low to bright. The only drawback is its slow growth rate, which means it might cost a little more at the nursery (because it takes longer to grow). The double Z stands for Zamioculcas zamiifolia.
Owl’s Eyes Cactus
Cactus are famous for needing little care, and owl’s eyes is no exception. Give this woolly cactus a bright, south-facing window and sharply draining cactus potting mix, and you’re good to go. Water sparingly, and keep it in a pot that’s just a bit wider than the cactus itself. It’s also goes by the name owl eye pincushion. In botanical circles, it’s called Mammillaria parkinsonii.