I have never had a “green thumb”, and always had trouble keeping indoor or outdoor plants alive. What are some easy to grow houseplants that won’t die if I neglect them accidentally? What are some of the best tips for absolute beginners who would like to learn how to successfully grow houseplants?
7 Easy to Grow Houseplants for Beginners
- Spider plant
- Snake plant
- Aloe Vera
- Chinese Evergreen
- English Ivy
Some of the easiest indoor plants to grow, require almost no maintenance. Often, when dealing with indoor plants, we have a tendency to overwater the plant, or over maintain the plant. However, most of the indoor plants that are most often seen are easy maintenance plants that require only monthly or bi-monthly care to thrive in your home.
The Spider plant comes in 3 popular varieties in North America, the Variegated Spider Plant, which has lots of offshoots.
The Curly Spider Plant, which looks like the variegated, but with curly leaves, and the Green Spider Plant, which is the rarest of the 3 and hardest to find.
The Spider Plant requires well-drained soil and indirect sunlight. They are best known as window plants and may bloom little white blooms that turn into “spiderettes”, which are offshoots of new growth.
Some of the most well-known varieties of the Spider Plant are the Bonnie Plant, Zebra Plant, Reverse Spider Plant, and Airplane Plant.
The Spider Plant also has air purifying qualities, making it an excellent indoor plant. It doesn’t often need to be repotted, either, making for easy maintenance.
However, it can be potentially harmful to cats, so be sure they don’t chew on the plant.
To summarize, the Spider Plant requires well-drained soil, indirect sunlight, infrequent repotting, and is an excellent window plant. It is an air purifying plant, but be sure you don’t allow your pets to chew on it.
The Snake Plant is another easy maintenance and air purifying plant and is also known as Sansevieria. The Snake Plant doesn’t require lots of light, rarely needs to be watered, and new plants can be started simply by placing clippings into moist soil.
The Snake Plant is also sometimes called the Mother In Law’s Tongue. It will also sporadically bloom small white flowers, but it won’t be on a regular bloom schedule. It will sometimes go several years between bloom cycles.
Your Snake Plant rarely needs to be watered and doesn’t require much light. It won’t have a regular bloom cycle, but can easily start new plant growth by placing clippings in moist soil.
Aloe Vera is a succulent that is ideal for indoor growth. It is often a kitchen windowsill plant for good reason; it can help to quickly soothe and heal burns. Aloe Vera grows best in well-drained soil, and it needs bright light to thrive.
Aloe Vera does best in dry conditions, so it is better to underwater Aloe Vera than to overwater it.
Grow Aloe Vera in well-drained soil in bright light. Keep in a kitchen window planter for use on burns for its cooling and healing qualities.
Do you have a problem with overwatering your plants? Try growing Fittonia, also called the Nerve Plant. Fittonia loves water and grows best in peat-based soil.
Fittonia is a tropical plant that loves moisture so much that you can mist its leaves often without worry. It needs a high humidity environment to thrive, and it can’t tolerate direct sunlight. This plant will do best in terrarium growth atmospheres.
A terrarium would be great for growing Fittonia. It will thrive in high humidity, but it cannot tolerate being placed in direct sunlight.
The Cast Iron Plant, Aspidistra is a lily native to China. This hardy plant is extremely salt and drought tolerant and is a popular container plant.
It can be expensive to buy because it is a very slow-growing plant. The Aspidistra Plant won’t survive being out in the sunshine, but direct sunlight through a window is absolutely fine.
You should only repot the Aspidistra Plant occasionally, as it doesn’t like having its roots disturbed. It grows best in moist soil and is great for Southern American climates.
It is one of the easiest beginner houseplants as far as maintenance and upkeep necessary to grow.
Aspidistra Plants can’t be placed out in the sunshine, but direct sunlight through a window will suit them just fine. This is a beginner's plant because of its hardy nature, and its ability to survive salt and drought with relative ease.
The Chinese Evergreen plant is another slow-growing but very tolerant houseplant for beginners. It can deal well with being forgotten about by the busy homeowner, as it is very tolerant of lack of light and water.
It grows well over almost all of North America because it is super hardy. But make sure your Chinese Evergreen Plant is not overwatered.
The clippings root very easily when placed in water, so it can be quite easy to start new plants to pot. The Chinese Evergreen Plant can resemble a peace lily when fully at growth, so they make a pretty indoor addition.
The Chinese Evergreen will tolerate under-watering much better than being overwatered. It is a very hardy plant that can live without much sunlight or water for periods of time, so it makes it a great plant for beginners, due to its forgiving nature.
English Ivy Plant
This hardy, climbing vine can grow up to 50 ft. In length. The English Ivy plant grows best in moist soil with good drainage, and also prefers indirect sunlight to thrive. It is a beautiful vine that looks great as a window sill climbing vine.
The great thing about the English Ivy Plant is its’ ability to disguise unattractive features. The English Ivy Plant looks great on a trellis, but when growing indoors, focus on a pot with a stake or mini topiary frame to showcase the climbing beauty.
The English Ivy plant actually grips onto the material that it’s climbing by mini roots that clasp onto the sides of buildings or fences, and grasps onto topiary frames, allowing you to grow a great looking ivy in a pretty shape.
Once established and healthy, your English Ivy plant, can withstand dry conditions without issue. They grow best in moist soil and are great indoor and outdoor plants that can serve multiple purposes for a room or landscape.
Quick Few Tips to Help Maintain Your Houseplants
When watering indoor plants
Your potted plants can develop root rot and fail if there is not adequate drainage from your pots. Your plants' roots shouldn’t be sitting in pooled water unless it is a specific type of plant that calls for its roots to be submerged.
Most of your common houseplants simply call for a moist level soil, so drainage is fundamental to the success of your plant health.
Some plants like having their leaves spritzed, especially if they’re of the tropical variety, but some of your more arid climate growth plants won’t take well to the additional moisture.
Be sure to take note of the watering instructions with your plant so that you don’t overwater your plant and cause damage to your houseplant.
Potting and Repotting Your Houseplant
Some houseplants need to have root separation and repotting annually. Other houseplants don’t require repotting but every few years.
Depending on the level of root growth, you’ll need to give your plant plenty of space for its’ roots to grow, because repotting some plants can cause them shock, and risk damage to an otherwise healthy plant.
Most often, you can simply place your plant in a pot with a good base of potting soil, stabilize your plant with your hand, then loosely pack potting soil around your plant to hold it nicely inside its’ pot.
Most potting soil is semi-moist right from the bag, and your new potting may not require additional water.
If the potting soil isn’t as moist as you would like, start with a small amount of water from a watering can. It is easy to add more water, but it takes more effort to dry out your overwatered potting soil.
Always be careful when repotting your houseplants not to damage the root system. Some houseplants can grow fairly complex and tangled root systems.
You’ll need to take special care not to rip and tear the plant roots apart when you are separating multiple adult plants from one another and it may prove to be challenging.
However, if you take your time and carefully separate the root systems, you’ll be rewarded with double the healthy houseplants.
Direct and Indirect Sunlight Requirements
Always pay attention to the light requirements on your houseplant. While some plants will thrive in a window sill, other houseplants will not be able to withstand that level of sunlight and could suffer tremendous damage if placed in a high direct sunlight area such as a window sill.
Indirect sunlight is often notated on plant care tags, and that simply means that if the plant receives a few hours per day of direct sunlight, it should respond positively and not suffer leaf damage.
Remember that your houseplant is going to thrive if you follow its’ care instructions to the best of your ability. Some hardy plants really don’t require much care at all, while other houseplants, such as orchids, require a seasoned green thumb in order to survive. There are several houseplants that will do best with very minimum watering and maintenance, and actually won’t fare well if you over maintain them.
General House Plant Maintenance Tips
While there can be exceptions with any houseplant, generally these seven plants will be a breeze for even first-time plant owners to maintain.
If all of the plant care instructions are followed there is no reason why you can’t grow lush, beautifully green houseplants even if you have been unsuccessful at doing so in the past.
Generally speaking, all of these plants have very basic care requirements, and are not particularly prone to diseases or pests, making them ideal growth for indoors.
When clipping your plants during annual care, don’t forget to take note of how to start the new growth of your plant. Some houseplants can start new growth by simply placing your plant clippings in water, allowing the plant to begin new root growth.
Other houseplants specify placing your clippings in moist potting soil to allow the clippings to take root. These new rootlings will be fine if, once they have root growth, you allow them to continue growing in the same pot, as long as it has ample room for root growth for long enough to stabilize.
Most houseplants require an annual trim to ensure that old, dead matter is removed from your plant, allowing new, green growth to occur and adding to your houseplants lush, green appearance.
If you do not remove the old plant matter, you risk stunting new growth on your houseplant. Once a simple trimming of old-growth takes place, you may be surprised to see how quickly your houseplant starts to grow and fill out.
Although not everyone has a “green thumb”, if you are willing to follow plant care directions, and can patiently await growth, any of the plants on this list would be an excellent addition for your home.
These are some of the hardiest and minimal maintenance plants in North America and can be grown well, even by the newest plant growers. A helpful idea may be to leave the plant care tags in your pots until you are absolutely sure of all of the specific requirements for your new potted plant.
This will ensure that if you are unsure of how to proceed in plant care, you have a reminder to assist you in staying the course.
But, if you follow the recommended care guidelines for your houseplant, there is no reason you can’t have a lush, green and healthy houseplant that will thrive and give you years of enjoyment and cleaner, fresher, indoor air.