Growing plants can be intimidating for a beginner, but it shouldn’t be. The following list contains 20 beginner houseplants that are perfect for a newbie who may be a bit nervous about taking on the task of growing a living thing.
1. Snake Plant
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The Chicago Tribune recommends the snake plant for newbies because it is very forgiving. If you are someone who kills plants because you always forget to water them, this is the plant for you.
There are many varieties of the snake plant. The most common are Sansevieria trifasciata and S. zeylanica.
The look of this plant is sword-like leaves that are green with green bands.
This is one of the beginner houseplants that is incredibly difficult to kill. You can put in the sun, but if you don’t have a fully sunny spot, it’ll do fine in partial sun.
As for water, you should let it dry out completely before watering. This means you can go weeks without giving it a drink and it’ll be fine.
2. Spider Plant
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The spider plant is one of the top beginner houseplants and for good reason. It is easy to grow and even repopulates itself.
When healthy, this plant grows plantlets called pups that you can remove and plant in their own pot. You can easily get a house full of spider plants if you want.
The spider plant does nicely in baskets as it develops arching leaves that hang down. It will also produce white flowers in summer.
You can easily move this plant around if needed because it is quite adaptable. One of the nicest things about this plant is that it doesn’t require a lot of sun. It is a good plant to put in the bathroom or another room where you don’t get a lot of natural light.
When it comes to watering, you want to keep the soil moist in summer. In winter, it will go dormant, so you can let it dry out a little before watering.
The spider plant will give you some signals if you are not meeting its needs. The pups won’t develop if overall health is not good. If you overwater, it will wilt. If you underwater, the tips of the leaves will brown.
3. Aloe Vera
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Aloe vera is one of the best beginner houseplants to grow. Not only do you have the chance to grow something beautiful but it is also beneficial.
You can use the slow from inside the leaves to treat skin irritations, such as burns. Aloe also has health benefits when consumed. It is a very useful succulent.
Aloe vera should be in a bright room, but you don’t want to put it in direct sunlight. It can also do fine in low light conditions, but you should try to avoid it if possible.
As with most houseplants, you need to ensure the soil drains well since too much water can rot the roots. You won’t need to water this plant often either.
Water only when the top third of the soil is dry. This could mean watering only every few weeks depending on your home environment.
4. Golden Pothos Vine
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As a vine, this is a great choice if you want a hanging plant. It is also a very fast grower, so you can go from a small clipping to a bountiful vine in no time. The leaves will be yellow and green. You will know you are on the right track with care if the leaves have a mottled look.
Luckily, the golden pothos vine is pretty easy to grow. It loves bright light but can handle low light. If you want those mottled leaves, though, set it in a bright room.
As for water, you can do it once a week or every other week. It doesn’t need a bunch. You will know when it needs watering because the leaves will get droopy. You can even wait for this signal before watering.
5. Lucky Bamboo
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Lucky bamboo is on this list because when you know its needs, it is fairly easy to care for. However, it can be a little finicky. This would be a good choice if you want to get serious about growing plants and feel you can devote some attention.
This isn’t actual bamboo. It is a dracaena plant. Lucky bamboo is a common office plant because it does well in poor air condition and with minimal lighting.
It will let you know if it needs more light by growing towards the light source. If you see this, move it closer to a window.
You should put it in indirect sun and use well-draining soil. You can also put it in water with some rocks to stabilize it. The plant will live longer in soil, so keep that in mind.
You will need to water often if you plant it in soil because it needs to stay moist. The good thing about it is that if you overwater it, it will get mushy and yellow, so you will know right away to let up on the watering.
6. Jade Plant
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A jade plant has a woody stem with thick, waxy leaves. It is from the succulent family and can grow to be quite large. You will know you are doing an excellent job taking care of it if it does get big.
Growing conditions are fairly typical for succulents. You want indirect sun. It doesn’t need a lot of light.
Make sure to put it in soil that drains well. Only water when the top inch dries out. This is typically once or twice a month. In the winter, you will water less often as it goes dormant.
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Peperomia is available in a variety of colors and shapes. There are over 1,000 species with the most popular being p. caperata and p. argyreia.
Each plant has ornate leaves, making it one of the prettiest houseplants for beginners. It will grow to about a foot, so make sure it has a good space to sit.
The peperomia is quite adaptable to its environment, so it is pretty easy to grow. You don’t need to put it in direct sun, but you should keep it in a bright room. It does grow fine in fluorescent light, which makes it ideal for the office.
It needs soil that won’t hold water, so use soil mixed with gravel. Water it only when the top five inches of the soil dries out. Don’t expect to have to water very much unless you are in a dry atmosphere.
8. ZZ plant
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The zamioculcas zamiifolia has waxy leaves that are pointy and sharp. It will bloom with white flowers in the summer if it is healthy and ready.
One note about this one is it is poisonous to humans and pets. You must keep it out of reach of children and animals, and after touching it, always wash your hands.
The ZZ plant is probably one of the easiest beginner houseplants to care for if you are a newbie. It doesn’t need a lot of light and should be out of direct sun. If you have a secluded, shaded corner, it will thrive there.
This plant doesn’t need or want a lot of water. You will only water it when the soil is completely dry. It won’t harm it to wait until it looks dried out. It will also let you know if you water it too much by turning yellow.
9. Ponytail Palm
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Not a palm tree, this plant gets its name from the thick trunk-like stem and spiky thin leaves that hang off the end and look like a ponytail or palm tree.
It is a warm-weather plant, so you can set it outside during the summer if you want. It does love the sun, so put it in a bright room. However, it can get by on just half a day of sun.
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While the name seems like this would be a fussy plant, the fittonia is not too bad. It comes in a variety of colors and features veined leaves.
You’ll want to put this somewhere it will get bright light. If it doesn’t get enough light, the color will fade on the leaves, so you’ll know to move it.
This plant does best in peat soil with good drainage. It loves humidity, so you can mist the leaves regularly, which makes it ideal if you are someone who wants to fuss over your houseplants daily. Water it fully only when the soil is dry.
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Dracaena comes in a range of varieties and grows like a tree. It has a thick stem and leaves that sprout vertically from the end. The coloring is yellow or green. This is another member of the agave family.
It will do best in bright sun. If it doesn’t get enough sunlight, it will grow more slowly, so watch out for slowed growth as a sign you need to move it to a brighter area.
You’ll want to keep its soil moist but not overly wet. If you overwater, it will develop yellow leaves and start to droop.
You will want to fertilize it regularly. In spring and summer, fertilize every two weeks. In the fall and winter, it will go dormant, so you don’t need to fertilize.
12. Desert Cacti
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There are many different types of cacti that are all pretty easy to grow. They are quite forgiving, but if you give them some attention, most will develop beautiful flowers.
Cacti can have spines or prickly fuzz. They may have leaves or a thick body. Some are tall, while others grow in different shapes or in a ball. You can make a whole indoor collection of just cacti if you wish.
One important thing to know is this is a slow-growing plant. It is also native to desert locations, so it will need bright lighting and very little water. You also want to be sure it has sandy soil that drains well. You can usually buy soil specifically made for cacti.
13. Tradescantia Zebrina
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The tradescantia zebrina is a very pretty option in beginner houseplants. New growth will come in purple and turn green as it ages. The plant may also bloom in the spring or summer with flowers that are purple, pink, or white.
This is a great basket plant, as its striped leaves will hang down over the sides. You can even put it outside to get it some bright sun. If inside, make sure it is in a bright room.
You want to keep the soil moist and never let it dry out. This is another plant that likes humidity, so you can mist it often, especially if you live in an area with low humidity.
14. Cast Iron Plant
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The cast iron plant or aspidistra elatior gets its name because it is very hardy and almost impossible to kill.
If you are a beginner without any experience growing anything, this is the plant for you. If you are someone who thinks they have a “black thumb,” try out the cast iron plant.
Not only is this thing hard to kill, but also it can live up to 50 years.
It has green, pointed leaves that are long yet wide. They stand straight up and begin to hang down as they age.
This is a slow-growing plant, but it isn’t needy. It can do just fine in low light with low humidity. It isn’t sensitive to temperature and only needs water every other week when the soil dries out.
15. Fiddle Leaf Fig
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The fiddle leaf fig is part of the ficus family. It grows tall in a column and has big, waxy leaves. The leaves have a fiddle shape, which is where it gets its name.
We put it on our list because it is one of the most popular beginner houseplants and growing one is a great way to learn about plants. With that in mind, this is for a beginner who has a strong interest in gardening and who is willing to deal with a plant that can be finicky.
To begin, this plant will grow based on how happy or unhappy it is. If it is not getting what it needs, the leaves will yellow and start to fall off. If it is incredibly happy, it will grow a lot and get huge.
You probably want to find a good middle ground, unless you have a large space in which it can live.
As far as care, keep it in a bright room and give it plenty of water, but don’t let the soil get too wet. Never allow the soil to dry out. You need to water regularly and watch it to see if it’s happy. Also, keep it away from drafts and ensure you mist the leaves if you have low humidity.
16. Guzmania Bromeliad
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The guzmania bromeliad is unique looking. It has flat, green leaves that sprout right above the ground and a tall flower stalk that will grow out of the middle of the leaves. This plant has a long life span and is part of the pineapple family.
You want to keep it in a bright room, but don’t set it in direct sunlight. Plant it in an orchid medium for best results.
Water it only about once a month. Also, ensure the soil drains well. Standing water will rot the roots.
17. Moth Orchid
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The moth orchid is one of the prettiest beginner houseplants on this list. It will bloom twice a year, and the blooms can last up to four months. It also can live for decades.
You’ll want to plant this in sphagnum moss, fir bark, or clay pellets. Do not use soil. Don’t put it in direct sunlight, but make sure it is in a bright area.
You should only water it when the planting medium turns completely dry. This is common with orchids who do not like a lot of water.
The moth orchid will let you know how it’s feeling. If it is healthy, you’ll see rich green leaves that look like leather. If it is not happy, the leaves will wrinkle up or wilt and change color.
18. Money Tree Plant
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The money tree plant or pachira aquatica is well known for its braided trunk, but if you want that look, you will have to braid the trunk yourself. You do this by training the plant as it grows. That may be too much work for many beginners, though. It will grow just fine naturally
It has bright green leaves and will get to be quite tall. This is one of those plants that is an excellent choice for the bathroom because it loves humidity and doesn’t need bright light.
You should plant it in sandy soil that drains well. Only water it when the top two inches of soil are dry.
19. Zebra Plant
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The zebra plant gets its name from the white bands it gets on its glossy green rosette leaves. The leaves are plump because this is a succulent. It is one of the perfect beginner houseplants if you don’t have a lot of room because it stays small.
The growing conditions are typical for succulents. You want indirect sun. The best thing about the zebra plant is it will tell you what it wants. You simply read the leaves. If it needs less sunlight, the leaves get white or yellow. If the color fades, it needs light.
The soil should dry out before you water it. It also isn’t too fond of high humidity, so make sure there is plenty of ventilation or even a fan blowing near it. Make sure to plant it in well-draining soil. Cacti medium works well. Also, fertilize it in the summer.
20. Air Plants
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Air plants or tillandsia are a bit of an oddity. They don’t grow in soil. Their main need is air. There are over 600 varieties in all shapes, sizes, and colors.
You will need to water these plants. About once a week, you dip them in some water and let them sit for about an hour. After watering, let them dry out and put them back in their home.
You can keep them in partial shade or under artificial light. They don’t need or want the sun.
Beginner Houseplants Wrap Up
There is a little something for everyone on this list of beginner houseplants. New growers of all types should be able to find one or many of them they want to try.
Do you have a favorite houseplant that is good for beginners? Let us know in the comments below.