8 Easy Indoor Plants for Beginners and Practical Tips on Caring for them

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For when you’re tired of killing all your plants, here are some tips and low maintenance houseplants for beginners.

Maybe this is just me but as I’ve gotten older, the desire to have houseplants has grown stronger and stronger. They add so much to any room’s decor. However, I do not naturally have a green thumb. I definitely have the problem of giving plants too much attention. I guess I suffocate them with my love. *sigh*. This means I needed an easy indoor plant for a beginner.

A plant that isn’t easy to kill. Granted, one of the things I’ve learned from being a plant mom is that I need to take a step back and let my plants thrive on their own. I guess maybe this is good advice for when I have children one day. Maybe? As a disclaimer, I’m aware that having a plant and having a child isn’t the same thing. 

The first plant I put my heart and soul into was an African violet. Needless to say, it didn’t make it out alive. It definitely got root rot since I overwatered it. I also didn’t have it in the right place in my apartment for it to thrive. 

Even though this plant ended up dying, I did learn some valuable lessons for my next plant babies. The most important lessons were how much water my plants need and how much sunlight they need. 

Basically, you don’t get to choose where your plant is going to be in your home. It chooses for you. 

Even though I killed my first few plants (we don’t have to talk about how many), I was determined to get it right because I love how plants look in homes. It brings some of the outside inside and it adds that extra touch that other home decor can’t provide. 

Now that I’ve figured it out, I wanted to give you some tips on how to take care of plants when you’re a complete beginner. Trust me, I know how frustrating it is to kill plant after plant but it does get better. I’ve learned how to make plants thrive and so can you.

Indoor plants can naturally purify the air of your home 

There are many benefits to having houseplants. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing and enhances that classic look in your decor, but plants also clean the air of your home. 

According to Time, “one famous NASA experiment, published in 1989, found that indoor plants can scrub the air of cancer-causing volatile organic compounds like formaldehyde and benzene.” Apparently, the soil also plays a part in cleaning the air so it’s good all around. 

Formaldehyde is found in household products, fuel-burning appliances (i.e. gas stoves), and pressed wood products (i.e. shelving, cabinetry, furniture, etc.). Benzene on the other hand is found in cleaning products, paint strippers, or gasoline. 

Now that isn’t to alarm you. Most of our homes have safe levels of formaldehyde and benzene. As long as you have good ventilation you should be alright. With that being said, it doesn’t hurt to add some plants to your decor to freshen your air naturally. I will admit that you have to have A LOT of plants to make any significant impact but any little bit helps in my opinion.

Lighting for your plants

One of the most important aspects of being a plant owner is how much light it needs. This is one of the reasons my African violet died. It wasn’t getting enough sunlight, plain and simple.

As a beginner, one of the hardest things for me was trying to decide where to put my plant. There are so many resources out there nowadays but most articles don’t tell you what they mean by indirect sunlight. 

If you asked me 2 years ago, anywhere in my apartment had indirect sunlight, right? When the sun is out, it lights up the whole apartment. That’s indirect … 

If you aren’t catching my drift, that was not correct. So to help someone just starting out, here is what all these lighting suggestions mean:

  • Direct Sunlight — plants would thrive in a south-facing window with all the sun. It should get at least 5-6 hours of sunlight. There is nothing blocking the sun. 
  • Bright Indirect Sunlight — plants would thrive with either an east-facing window, a sheer curtain blocking the sun, or further away from the window
  • Medium Light — these plants like the west or southeast-facing windows
  • Low Light — these plants are good in the bathroom or offices. Really, any room that doesn’t get a lot of natural light

Hopefully, this makes it a little more clear when reading labels or looking up how much light a plant needs online. I know these terms confused me in the beginning. Plants want to stay alive as much as the rest of us so you’ll see the leaves turn towards the light so they can get as much light as possible to survive. This is also an indication that your plant isn’t in the most ideal spot. 

Watering and Soil 

watering a spider plant. Knowing how much water to give your plant is essential.

When it comes to watering my plants, I’ve learned that plants don’t need nearly as much water as I think. At least not the plants I have. The plant will also let you know when it needs some water.

If your plants need some attention, a good indicator is if the leaves start drooping or if the soil is starting to pull away from the pot. Watering is something that I can’t give generalized advice on since it varies from plant to plant. Don’t worry though, at the end of this post, I will give you a list of easy indoor plants for beginners and I suggest how they should be watered. 

However, watering it isn’t enough. The soil is also an essential element. If you buy your plant at the store, it’ll have the right soil but it’s something to be aware of when you get to the point when it’s time to repot your plant. 

The most important thing is that the soil has to be strong enough to hold the plant but also drains well so the roots aren’t sitting in water. This could cause root rot. In this sense, underwatering is better than overwatering. Plants can’t come back from root rot but they can bounce back from being a little dehydrated. 

There’s other components too but I wouldn’t worry about it as a new plant owner. Top soil wouldn’t be good for indoor plants as a rule of thumb. You should definitely buy potting soil. 

Pro Tip — if you are hard-boiling eggs, keep the water! Many plants love the calcium that leaks from the eggs during this boiling process. Just make sure the water is at room temperature before you use it.

Choosing the right plant 

When it all comes down to it, it’s important to find a plant that is going to fit your lifestyle. For example, I like to travel so I don’t want to have plants that I have to constantly water. I only water the plants I currently have roughly every two weeks. 

I also live in an apartment that doesn’t get that much natural light so I had to take this into account. Make sure you assess your home’s light before buying a plant. I mean if you’re really into it, you can get plant lights and all that jazz but personally, I think that kills the plant aesthetics a little. 

Lastly, I currently don’t have any pets but there are a good amount of plants that are poisonous to animals if they digest them. So if your furry friend likes to get into things they aren’t supposed to, it is probably best to avoid these types of houseplants. The ASPCA has a comprehensive list of plants that are toxic to cats or dogs.

The right plant is going to vary for everyone. Here is a list of beginner-friendly plants. All of these are low maintenance and can handle the learning curve of a new plant owner. 

Now there are an endless amount of plants so again, you need to find the right one for you. The plants I have in my apartment right now are the spider plant and a pothos but more on that later. 

8 Indoor Plants for Beginners

1. Spider Plant

The spider plant is one of the plants I have in my apartment. It has been incredibly easy and I haven’t had any issues since day 1. It likes bright indirect light and well drained soil. The spider plant is one of those plants that you let the soil dry out between waterings. 

I mention the spider plant first because it’s adaptable and can grow in almost any environment. This was the first plant that I had that gave me the confidence to get another plant. 

2. Pothos/Devil’s Ivy

Pothos can survive in low light which makes them great as an office plant. This one has a long wine hanging off the table that it is placed on.

The pothos is the other plant I have in my home. This one wasn’t as quick out of the gate as the spider plant but once I figured out its watering needs, it really started to thrive. The great thing about pothos plants is they do best in indirect bright light but can survive in low light as well. 

A lot of people actually have pothos plants at their desks in my office for work. I know a few pothos plants that are placed far away from a window and are still thriving. 

They also aren’t picky with their soil needs. It can even grow in a vase of water. I have mine in soil and I only water it when the soil completely dries out. 

I will note that this is one of the plants that are toxic to pets so if you have a furry family member, you may want to stay away from this one. 

3. Snake Plant

I feel like I constantly see snake plants in home decor magazines and on Pinterest nowadays. It seems to be the popular plant right now. I can see why because they are super easy to care for and can even survive weeks without water. They are also a plant that likes to dry out between waterings and are toxic to animals. 

These plants can survive in low light which makes it easy to find a place for it especially since it can survive in indirect bright light as well. The only thing you have to worry about is root rot so make sure the soil is a good draining soil and you should be all set. 

Experts suggest that you water this plant from the bottom of the pot if possible. 

4. Succulents and Cacti

There are a variety of succulents and cacti. These plants are great for beginners.

These are pretty obvious. They don’t need a lot of water; they just need a sunny spot. You should try to mimic the conditions of their native environment as much as possible. It’ll vary depending on what cacti or succulent you get so it’s important to know not all of these plants come from the desert. 

Most of these do well on a sunny windowsill. Just make sure you don’t overwater it or forget about it for weeks and it becomes dusty. 

5. Cast Iron Plant

This plant is really hard to kill. It can withstand a lot of neglect and can live for 50 years! Talk about a return on investment! For those of us that like to see the plant growing to know that we’re doing well will struggle though because this plant is a very slow grower. It does like well-draining soil and you only have to water it when the soil completely dries out. 

The great thing about this plant is that it is a good hallway or corner plant because it does well in low light, unlike many other plants. So my fellow apartment dwellers with bad lighting can rejoice with this one. 

6. Money Tree Plant

This plant is known to bring luck and wealth so I had to include it. It’s also popular because it is said to bring positive energy to your home. Feng shui anyone? Indoors, this tree can grow up to 6 feet. If you think that is tall, outside it can be up to 60 feet tall! 

Fun fact, the braided trunk is done at the nursery when the tree is young so you wouldn’t see a braided trunk in its natural habitat. Unlike a lot of the other plants on this list a sandy, peat-moss soil is best. 

This tree likes to be watered when the top 2-4 inches of the soil is dry. Make sure to water it thoroughly when it’s time. It also does need bright indirect light and 6 six hours of it. It’s actually a great bathroom plant if you get a decent amount of light in there because it likes the steamy humid environment. 

7. Lucky Bamboo

Lucky bamboo sitting on a shelf. These are great plants for beginners.

I’m also including this one because it is known to bring good luck, happiness, and prosperity. Maybe it can bring you good luck in becoming a successful plant mom! Apparently, this is even more so for lucky bamboos that are gifted but who says it can’t be a gift to yourself?

It prefers bright indirect sunlight but for this plant, less light is better than too much. If it starts growing towards the light that’s a good indication it needs more in its life. The roots are red so that means the plant is healthy so don’t be alarmed. 

They are known for being indestructible and can survive in both water or soil. If you’re potting it in soil, the soil should be kept moist but it should be well-draining soil so the roots aren’t soaked.  In water, you can add pebbles or just leave them in a vase of water. Just make sure it has at least an inch of water at all times. It is also good to change the water weekly. 

The only downside of the lucky bamboo is that it is super sensitive to chlorine so you shouldn’t water it with tap water. 

8. Peperomia

Three types of peperomia. Peperomia are great beginner-friendly indoor plants.

The neat thing about peperomias is that they come in a variety of colors including red, purple, and green. They are low maintenance but another slow-growing one and can be toxic to pets. They are pretty tolerable and can deal with a lot of neglect. 

It likes bright indirect sunlight and for the soil to dry out completely between waterings. It does need a good draining pot. If it’s not getting enough light, you’ll be able to tell because the colors will fade. 

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you can find one plant that piques your interest from this list. Again, there are so many different types of plants to choose from so you have to find one that works best for you. With watering, I’ve learned that less is more is better for your plants. They don’t need as much water as us after all. 

As far as the ones that are toxic to animals, don’t be too alarmed. My parents have cats, pothos, and snake plants, and our cat is fine. I just wanted you to be aware just in case you have a curious pet. 

Let me know in the comments below what plants you’ve grown in the past. Which ones were you successful with and which ones did you have to part ways with? Do you have any plants now that are thriving from this list?

Until next time,

8 Easy Indoor Plants for Beginners and Practical Tips on Caring for them

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