If you’re reading this, you’ve probably spent lots of time trying to figure out the best plants to keep alive with the least amount of effort and knowledge. You’ve probably killed some before (I have killed many) and would like to start a new tradition in your household called, “let’s keep a damn plant alive”. It’s a great tradition, one with a lot of meaning and hard work behind it.
Plants are living things that need the right amount of attention. Some are more extroverted and want your constant care and touch while other are more introverted (hello cactus) and want you to leave them the hell alone. So listen up and find out what are the best options to begin your house plant life.
Let’s get started. What are the top 10 best house plants for beginners?
Jade: Crassula Ovata
One of the most well-known house plants around, Jade is a gem. Great for beginners, the Jade plant should be everyone’s first time. It’s pretty dark green leaves look good with most house decor and raises your sophistication level by ten points.
Watering: Never let a jade plant completely dry out, but also never overwater it. Conundrum? Don’t worry, it’s easy! All you have to do is water the Jade plant when the soil at the top is dry to the touch. If your Jade is losing leaves or they are becoming spotty this is usually caused by too little water.
Sunlight: Jade needs full sun in order to thrive, if they don’t get their proper Vitamin D, their growth will become stunted.
Aloe: Aloe Vera
Watering: Aloe is a succulent, which means it’s able to hold a lot of water. Unlike other plants, Aloe is able to store water in its leaves, which makes it a prime suspect for overwatering. Don’t overwater your Aloe! Only water this once per week. Great for lazy people like myself. If you want to make sure you aren’t overwatering your plant, use the tried and true touch test. Take your thumb to the soil and if it is moist, don’t water. If it is dry, water. Done.
Winter Hibernation Mode: In the winter, your Aloe will go into a sort of hibernation mode, allowing you more free time between waterings. As it gets deeper into the depths of winter, your plant will need less water as it goes dormant. So remember, if Winter is Coming, you don’t need as much H2O. Once every two weeks will suffice.
Sunlight: Aloe Vera loves full sun, so put that thing in the window and let the sunshine in! Try a west or south facing window.
Spider Plant: Chlorophytum Comosum
The Spider plant is another easy access home friend. Known as one of the most adaptable and easiest to grow, this is a great gift for your 5-year-old niece or your 25-year-old boyfriend.
Watering: Provide them with well-drained soil, this plant can take abuse. So don’t worry if you forget to water or water too much. Now, don’t let them become soggy— in fact, you can let the soil dry out between waterings.
Light: Bright, indirect light.
Read about the Spider Plant here.
: Allow the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings. Don’t worry, all you have to do is stick your finger into the soil to find out. Just stick the tip of your index finger to the first knuckle (about 1 inch). Droopy leaves mean you’re not doing it right. Either step back on the watering to add more. Touch the soil to find out.
Sunlight: These need bright and indirect light. What does this mean? Set the plant near a window where the sun’s rays never actually touch the leaves. If several leaves start to yellow, you’ll know the plant is getting too much direct sunlight.
Parlor Palm: Chamaedorea Elegans
Watering: Often at a northern exposure, these plants like bright, filtered sunlight.
Light: These are sensitive to overwatering, so buyer beware. If you are an over attentive plant parent, don’t start with these! They can’t sit in a saturated or water-logged pot, so make sure these drain well. Even moisture is ideal, but if you had to be on the dry side or moist side, err on the dry end of the spectrum.
English Ivy: Hedera Helix
Sunlight: The Brits, as usual, like part to full shade.
Rubber Tree: Hevea brasiliensis
I must admit, I once owned one of the most beautiful Rubber trees around. It was big and glorious and made the house feel like a home. But it died. The rubber plant was one of my unfortunate victims, and I still mourn for my rubber. What did I do wrong? Well, it can be one of the more demanding beginner plants so read carefully.
Watering: Rubber trees need the right balance of water. It needs to be kept moist, and it’s a good idea to wipe clean the big leaves with a damp cloth or a water spritzer. If watered too much, the leaves will turn yellow and brown and fall off (RIP).
Sunlight: Bright, indirect light that isn’t too hot. You can put this in front of a window with sheer curtains for the correct effect.
Snake Plant: Sansevieriea trifasciat
This is probably one of the most tolerant of plants, it’s the coach who always tells you, “you’re doing great, kid! No worries!” Even if you accidentally keep hitting him with the ball. These plants are very straightforward and could be neglected for months at a time. NASA has even shown that these plants are able to keep toxins out of the air, making your air supply clean and healthy.
Watering: You need free draining soil with these plants, you don’t want them becoming soggy. Water them sparingly as it’s better to underwater than to overwater these air filters. About 1/4 cup of water every few weeks will suffice. See? I told you they were easy! Also, let the soil become dry between waterings.
Sunlight: They will survive in low light conditions or full sun! I mean, they are the ULTIMATE plant!
Ficus trees are known as the “office plants”. If you’ve ever been in a cubicle, you’ve probably seen one of these plants. However, for how popular they are, they can be a finicky plant.
Watering: If you are using the ficus tree as an indoor plant, make sure to have relatively high humidity near it. Mist the tree regularly, or you can set it upon a pebble tray filled with water. However, they also don’t like overly wet roots—I told you they were finicky! This is why it is extremely important to check the top of the soil for moisture. If moist, don’t water! If dry, you cam add water.
Sunlight: Most of these trees enjoy direct sunlight that is not filtered, and they also don’t do well in cold temperatures. They need to be kept in temperature above 60 degrees, ideally 70 degrees and avoid all drafts.
Areca Palm: Dypsis lutescens
Watering: Moist, well-drained soil. Don’t let the palm sit in standing water!
Sunlight: Needs filtered light, preferably near a west-facing or southeast facing window. Water them as soon as the soil feels dry, but be careful not to overwater. They also need warm air, so if they are joining you in the winter, be sure to make your house in the 70s—don’t be cheap with the heat!