Let’s talk about indoor plants, AKA houseplants. Water them when the soil is dry. Don’t put them in front of air conditioners or heating units. Know how much sun each one wants. There, you’ve got almost everything you need to know.
The truth is, most indoor plants sold at shops or online are extremely easy to keep alive. That’s why those shops sell them. The plants on our list do not run the spectrum of hard-to-keep to invincible because the vast majority of plants sold are not horticultural puzzles. They make your home look and feel better, and they do so without a whole lot of work from you.
Yes! If you buy your plant and it only comes in a grower's pot, you'll want to repot it right away. Otherwise, its roots can become compacted and you'll end up stunting its growth. Even if your plant already comes in a suitable home, you'll want to repot it once in a while to make sure you're giving it ample space to grow — you wouldn't wear the same sized shoe if your foot kept growing, would you?
How do I get rid of gnats in my indoor plants?
Unfortunately, gnats may be a consequence of owning houseplants, but proper care and attention can keep the pests at bay. Gnats are drawn to moist soil, so overwatering your plants can create a breeding ground for gnats to lay their eggs. For immediate, short-term solutions, try out a gnat spray, sticky traps, or diatomaceous earth to deal with the nuisances.
Also known as the Elephant Ear plant, the alocasia has long, waxy green leaves with ridged edges. The spines of the leaves are cream-colored, which also deviates outward, adding an interesting look to the plant. The undersides of the leaves are purple because the alocasia just wants to get funky as hell.
With its red, white and green leaves, the stromanthe is sure to add color to a home that's lacking. Just water when you notice the soil is dry, and your plant will thrive (but be sure to rotate your plant over time so it grows evenly). Like its cousin the calathea, the leaves will move with the time of day.
Bring a little tree into your home and it can grow up to three feet. Don't worry about it overtaking your home as it grows pretty slowly. The dracaena has a thick trunk that spawns green leafy foliage that adds a tropical flair to what might be an otherwise urban oasis.
Though green is what we’re all here for, it doesn’t hurt to throw in a contrast color or two. Calathea rattlesnakes' leaves have contrasting markings that look like a rattlesnake, hence its name. They aren’t terribly picky about sunlight or water. They also happen to move around a lot.
There are many different types of Umbrella plants, but the gist is this: given a healthy dose of sunlight, ample watering and room to grow, this small-ish plant will fill out and take up as much space as needed. A bonus of this quick growth is the ability to guide its growth with frequent pruning, as any segments you shear from the body will be replaced in short order elsewhere.
Treat these cacti (which also go by the name Bunny Ears) properly and they’ll live as long as you do. As you might expect, infrequent watering and high, direct sunlight is preferred. Its spines don’t grow far from the pads, and it shouldn’t grow more than a couple of feet tall in a home environment.
Also known as the Chinese money plant, the pilea peperomioides is one of the easiest plants to propagate, or breed new growth. They're very low maintenance, and their circular leaves look a bit like lily pads. The plant is shockingly easy to propagate, making them easy to share with friends.
The rubber tree is a magnificent plant with burgundy-colored leaves that are borderline black. The rubber tree is easy to care for, and because it's literally a tree you're bringing inside, it will make its presence known and help to add substance to an otherwise empty space.
This plant’s leaves can grow extremely large, and their zebra-printed pattern make a decorative addition to your window sill or the corner of a brightly lit room. Place the zebra in your bathroom where it’ll thrive off the heat and humidity of your shower. Another idea: buy a bunch and build a lush little jungle inside.
Quit buying that jarred aloe vera goop and grow your own aloe vera plant. If you have a small cut or burn, break off a tip of the plant to access some of its cooling gel. Be careful though because the toothed edges can be quite sharp. Aloe vera is incredibly easy to maintain, so don’t worry if you lack a green thumb.
Like the peace lily, the anthurium's blooms are not actually flowers but colorful waxy leaves. The plant is almost never without its flashy blooms, and each one can last up to eight weeks before sprouting new ones. It makes a great gift because they're beautiful like flowers but will last for as long as the giftee takes care of it.
Take a look at the bird's nest fern, and you'll feel like you're in the tropics. Its crinkly leaves jut out far and high, in some ways appearing to defy gravity. They're non-toxic, so don't worry if your pets accidentally take a nibble.
Sprouting upwards amid the silver-and-green leaves is a pink bloom that is sure to catch anyone's attention. The bromeliad is a tropical family of plants, and each species varies in look and care. (You can even grow a pineapple.) It's a fairly fuss-free plant, so you'll be rewarded with a beautiful plant despite little work.
This ficus is a bit more complicated to take care for because of its fickle needs. It thrives in warm, humid climates, and it has to be watered fairly often to keep the soil moist. Plant experts will immediately recognize the ficus’ lettuce-like leaves, and it’s a bit of a flex if you can keep this plant in good condition. Heads up: don’t get this if you have pets as it can cause mouth irritation and a bad reaction if eaten.
By both the Internet and plant shop owners, the tough-as-nails Pothos vine is among the most-recommended house plants you’ll encounter. It requires intermittent watering (but won’t sulk if neglected), fair to middling sun and grows fast. If allowed to, a Pothos vine will conquer corners and side tables in a couple months. If you enjoy the drama of a good climbing vine, this is the place to start.
This is a plant shop staple, and in being a plant shop staple we can know one thing: it is resilient as hell. While you should give your Money tree a home with decent sun exposure and you should water it when the soil dries out, it’ll still be there for you after you forget about it for a month (or more). It’s also among the fast-growing plant group, so be sure to put it in a spot that gives it room to fill out a bit.
Monstera Deliciosa goes by many names. Whatever you call it, it’s beautiful, grows quickly and changes shape. The leaves of the Monstera will grow some, begin to develop holes, then completely open up into a wide slated leaf. Unfettered and in a proper environment, they also grow incredibly fast, so be prepared to pare back new growth to save the plants around them.
Full transparency: the huge white flowers of the Peace Lily are not technically flowers — they’re bracts (a modified leaf used to reproduce in the wild). However, they look like huge white flowers, and they bloom throughout the year (and a bit more frequently in the springtime). This coupled with the plant’s broad, deep green leaves and general toughness and you’ve got the ideal flowering plant for the plant newb. The plant is also great about telling you what it needs — if the leaves droop, water it; if its leaves begin to yellow, give it less sun.
As fun as this little guy looks, its sap is toxic when ingested. The pencil-like stems can be attractive to pets and kids, so make sure you keep the pencil cactus out of reach. These make a great gift to help someone add a pop of color to their living environment.
First-time plant owners should go with a philodendron heartleaf, a quick-growing plant that grows heart-shaped leaves. It'll endure as much, or as little, sunlight you give it, and it won't mind if you neglect watering or changing its soil for a while. Before you know it, the vines will start spilling out of the planter, but don't fret — that's what makes this such a sought-after houseplant.
The ponytail palm’s leaves grow out like a bundle of hair — hence “ponytail” in the name. The plant doesn’t require much upkeep, and it can tolerate being left alone for a bit. Don’t expect the palm to grow to extraordinary heights anytime soon — it’s a slow grower, but you’ll be happy with this little guy at any size.
There’s something fascinating about the way each paddle of the prickly pear cactus grows out of another paddle. The prickly pear cactus is a desert plant so it thrives in hot, dry climates. If you notice your little guy starting to wilt in the winter, don’t worry — it’ll rebound once spring hits.
The mighty Snake, like the ZZ, is close to invincibility. It can grow in any and all light and brightness settings, requires infrequent watering and is generally a plant for the DGAF type of person. Another of its features often goes unmentioned — its spread. Its growth trajectory is upward, not outward, making it an ideal plant for lazy plant parents living in tiny apartments.
This plant is almost better off without your foolish hands touching it. Almost. Most notable for thriving in low light areas and with infrequent need for moisture, the ZZ plant is an aroid that evolved in much drier biomes than its cousin plants. This permits it to not give a damn about water for months on end, but you’re better off playing it safe and watering every couple weeks.
The ficus category of houseplants encapsulates a wide selection of plants. The Audrey, otherwise known as the Ficus Benghalensis, is the national tree of India. As you can tell by the size of the photo, this isn't exactly the kind of tree you'd see outside, but it does give you the opportunity to grow something of the like inside. And if you're looking for an actual Audrey tree, you can get that, too.
When soil is dry
Bright, indirect or direct
The 15 Best Places to Buy Houseplants Online
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If you can't make it to your local nursery, there are some great websites that sell and ship plants directly to your door.