Houseplants are super trendy right now, and for good reason. They purify the air, they add life and texture to your home decor and it’s so rewarding to watch them grow! They’re a great addition to the minimalist style I love. It can also be intimidating to think about keeping one alive if you’ve never done it before. So I rounded up 8 common house plants that I think are the best houseplants for beginners along with some general care instructions that have worked well for me.
Basics of houseplant care
If you’ve never had a houseplant before, or if you’ve never kept one alive, this list is for you! Until you know the basics of houseplants for beginners, it seems daunting to keep a living plant alive in your home. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll be picking up a new houseplant every time you leave your house.
Most beginners like to start with plants that aren’t super finicky about the amount of sunlight and water they need. Low light plants are great, but some people underestimate the amount of light even “low light” plants need, so that’s one thing to beware of. People also tend to overwater rather than underwater their plants when they start out. Most plants’ roots are susceptible to root rot, especially indoor plants grown in pots. So all plants need to be potted in planters with some sort of drainage and be given an appropriate amount of water for the sunlight they absorb.
Best common house plants for beginners
Here are my favorite 8 easy-to-care-for houseplants and some information on where they live in my home and how often I water them. Hopefully this helps you find plants you can be confident bringing into your home. And I know you can keep them alive!
The snake plant is one of the most common house plants. I am currently up to 4 owning different snakes plants, there are tons of variations of them. These are the best houseplants for anyone and everyone and the number one houseplant I recommend to people starting out with indoor plants. You can’t beat the color, texture and height they add to your home decor and they are just so easy to take care of.
I water mine twice a month but I’ve gone two months without watering with no problems. These things can survive the blackest of black thumbs. They were the first houseplants I got and I have moved them all over my home with no problems. The small one is great as a centerpiece or on shelves and it’s always good to have a plant or two that is big enough to occupy en empty corner.
Snake plants can survive without much light, but like most plants, they’ll do better when they aren’t stashed in a dark corner. Bright indirect light is best for this plant (and most “low light” plants). So keeping it near a window that’s shaded is perfect for this guy!
This jade plant is my second lowest maintenance houseplant. I bought this one in the spring and planted it in a hanging planter outside. It took off over the summer with no attention from me (I live in Missouri) and then I brought it inside in the fall. Since then it has continued to thrive no matter where I place it.
It is a succulent so it loves bright light and I would suggest providing it with a lot of light until it’s well established. Like most of my plants I water this one on the 1st and 15th of each month. If you live in an area with nice hot summers, my secret to keeping any succulent alive is keeping them outside for the summer before bringing them in. They will be so happy to soak up all that sun.
Another tip for all succulents? Keep them right beside a window. These look great as centerpieces on your dining room table, but they’ll crave more sun than they get there.
As you can see, this window in my kitchen is a home to quite a few of my little plants. My aloe isn’t so little anymore though…when I bought him he was WAY smaller. At first he dropped a few limbs but quickly became right at home in this little window. I keep the same watering schedule as the others, every two weeks.
Aloe can get huge – so my goal is to grow him as big as possible. He does need plenty of sunlight, but is still a good beginner plant. And they can grow rather quickly. It’s always a great confidence booster as a plant owner to see your babies growing!
Another thing to note about houseplants is that it’s totally normal for them to get worse before they get better. They usually go into shock for a short time while they adjust to the temperature, humidity level, etc in your home.
At this point in the game it’s really tempting to water them more so they’ll perk up, but most of the time you’ll do more harm than good. I usually give one good watering with some miracle grow to kick start some new growth in my new plants, then resume the normal watering schedule. Typically they’ll come back around!
The pothos plant is another of my favorite fast growing indoor house plants great for boosting a beginner’s confidence! The only reason it isn’t higher on the list is because you do have to pay a little attention to its leaves to decide when to water it. The entire plant will get a little weepy and you’ll know it’s time. I water mine about once a week or whenever I notice that it needs it.
The other great thing about pothos is that they can thrive much further from a light source than most houseplants. Most of my other plants are near windows but I like to balance my plants out around the room and this one helps me do that. Also, they’re really fun and easy to propagate!
This is one of my favorite plants! Mostly because it’s had a hard life and still managed to survive. Most money trees have a braided trunk (like these) but this is the last trunk standing on mine.
Let me tell you about his rough little life. And reassure you that you CAN learn to take care of houseplants. First, it was so small I sat it on my mantel and forgot about it. I remembered him when my husband was taking down part of our mantel and bumped into it while on a ladder. All the leaves immediately fell off. I hadn’t watered it in weeks. I gave him a drink and sat him in a sunny spot.
My toddler could reach that sunny spot and was able to pull the entire tree out of the dirt. So I replanted him again not thinking he had much of a chance but willing to try anyway. Then I put it outside so he could get as much sunlight as it needed to grow. Warning, it gets worse.
One summer night we had a pretty rough storm and in the morning I found him ripped out of the dirt AGAIN. For the third time I replanted what was essentially a bare stick at this point. I left it in the window in our kitchen, safe from toddlers and storms. Since then he’s grown quite a few leaves and is doing pretty good! This is my biggest success (and failure) story!
The point is that money trees are survivors. And if yours grows 6 leaves on a stem, it’s said you’ll be blessed with wealth. I don’t see were this could go wrong! Now I water him every week or two weeks. He prefers a weekly drink, but can last a few extra days if I forget, although he might protest by dropping a few leaves.
This prickly pear cactus has been so fun to grow! A friend gave me quite a few clippings (you can get a couple right here) and you literally stick them in fresh soil, water them once or twice a month and end up with your own cactus. Within a couple week, you’ll see new growth if you keep it in a sunny spot. It’s amazing to me how fast this thing grows!
My friend has had hers for over 10 years. They take it outside every summer and in the fall it is too large to fit back through the door. Pads fall off when they bring it in and that’s where my clippings came from. Goals people. Goals.
I love paying it forward and giving pieces of mine to other friends, too. This is definitely a plant you’ll love to watch grow and can share with your plant loving friends.
I actually ordered my fiddle leaf fig from Amazon and am so shocked that it’s still alive. I’ve heard mixed reviews about how difficult it is to keep a fig alive, but this one is still kicking.
I recommend this one to beginners because of the impact it makes in your home. It’s such a great size for decorating with. Water when the top couple inches of the soil is dry. Every week or week and a half is what seems to work best for us. And as you can see I keep this one right by a bright window.
Mine puts out multiple new leaves at a time, and then it will take a break for a couple months before putting out 3 or 4 more.
Fake plants make a great last resort.
If you’re really sure you can’t handle any real houseplants, grab a fake one. This snake plant is the most realistic bigger faux plant I’ve found. He lives in my toddler’s room and is super convincing. Most of the artificial plants at IKEA are realistic looking enough and can help bring the life and texture that a real plant brings to a space! Nurseries will also usually have some really realistic looking fake plants. And probably more options when it comes to common house plants.
Where to buy common house plants
I’ve had great luck buying plants at local nurseries, IKEA and local hardware stores like Home Depot and Lowes. However look them over really well. I’ve also bought one infested with bugs which was gross. And I’ve even bought a few from Amazon with no problems!
Just pay attention to the health of the plants around the one you’re buying. If they’re all looking a little sad, maybe go ahead and shop for plants somewhere else.
So there you have it…8 of the best common house plants for beginners! For more tips on keeping your indoor plants alive, check out this guide about houseplants for beginners.
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