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The world of gardening and houseplants can be pretty daunting for beginners since there are just so many plants out there. Additionally, inexperienced gardeners may inadvertently kill their houseplants, and frequent strings of plant deaths can certainly turn anyone off from home gardening. Here are some of our favorite houseplants for beginners to ease your way into gardening at home.
Anything can be a houseplant, really, as long as it’s grown indoors. Thus, the massive array of options available to gardeners can get overwhelming at times. When choosing your first houseplant, we recommend asking yourself these questions:
If you plan on growing your own indoor herb garden, your plant choices are far more limited. If you have curious pets or children, consider looking into non-toxic houseplants to ensure their safety.
Some houseplants can grow quite large, while others stay on the smaller side throughout their lifespan. Larger plants may need pruning to keep them from growing out of control, and plants that grow quickly will need repotting more often.
Generally, houseplant candidates thrive in temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, grow compact, and can handle indirect sunlight.
Overall, succulents are a generally safe choice for hardy houseplants that do well with bright light and warm temperatures. However, these plants are also great options for beginners:
The Hoya and its varieties are known for their large, bright green leaves. These plants are incredibly hardy and drought tolerant, meaning they’ll do just fine if you forget to water them on occasion. Hoya plants like the Hoya Wayetti, Hoya Australisis Lisa, and Hoya Kerrii Heart prefer warmer temperatures of about 75 degrees and bright, indirect sunlight. If you’re a succulent expert looking to get into other kinds of plants, these babies are a perfect way to start!
A smaller variety of Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, the Snake Plant has beautiful emerald leaves with light green or yellow outlines. Because of its hardiness, this plant is perfect for beginners– it only needs a little water once every seven to ten days. To help this plant thrive, keep it in a pot with a drainage hole and sandy, well-draining soil. Light-wise, you’ll have to be a bit more careful, as the Snake Plant’s leaves are incredibly tender and will burn in direct sunlight. For best results, keep this plant in indirect sunlight or partial shade.
Native to Florida, the Caribbean, and Mexico, the Peperomia is a vibrant yet resilient plant that works well both indoors and in tropical outdoor environments. The variegated Peperomia features bright, yellow-green leaves with a deeper green in the center and has the same care requirements as its traditional form. All you'll need to help this plant thrive is six hours of moderate light (light shade works best), well-draining soil, and a regular watering schedule. This plant’s compact nature and tendency to grow upward makes it an excellent plant for any home or apartment.
A perennial from Brazil, the “White Butterfly” is most recognizable for its massive leaves, shaped somewhat like butterfly wings. As it grows, newer, smaller leaves stand out as bright emerald green, then become paler as they get larger. Large leaves on the Syngonium White Butterfly are nearly white, with patches of darker greens around the edges. Since this plant is from a tropical area, it thrives in warm climates commonly replicable in the home. It thrives in full sun, with water once every few days. This plant requires well-draining soil.
A type of monstera, the Philodendron Adansonii has massive, naturally-occurring holes in its leaves, hence the nickname “swiss cheese.” Like the other plants on this list, the Philodendron Adansonii naturally comes from a tropical environment. It needs warm temperatures, full to partial sun, well-draining soil, and water when the soil is dry. This plant is perfect for large homes, as it can grow up to eight feet tall and three feet wide indoors. Outdoors, this plant truly lives up to its name as a Monstera and can grow even taller, reaching up to thirteen feet tall!
The Calandiva is a type of succulent in the Kalanchoe family, known for its colorful blossoms in a rainbow of colors. Available in orange, purple, red, and white, this succulent is a popular gift and can brighten up any room with its bright flowers and thick green leaves. Like all succulents, Calandivas need well-draining soil, bright but not direct sunlight, and the occasional watering. This succulent is also an excellent starter houseplant for apartment owners since it is relatively compact and will only grow to about eighteen inches tall.
As a member of the Asparagaceae family, the Dracaena Sunray Cane features narrow, sword-like leaves with yellow or light green centers and deep green outlines. This houseplant looks like a small tree and thrives in tropical environments, making it suited for the indoors as long as your house doesn’t get below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep it in loamy, porous soil on a windowsill that receives bright, indirect sunlight. Water it whenever the soil is dry to the touch.
The Pothos has large, wide leaves that look silver-gray in the sunlight, earning it the title “Silver Splash.” Like the other plants on this list, the Silver Splash Pothos doesn’t need much water and is highly adaptable to its environment. To help this plant thrive, water once every one to two weeks (whenever the soil feels dry) and keep this plant in indirect sunlight. The Pothos, in particular, will tell you when it needs more light based on the color of its leaves–if they’re very light, it needs some sun!