Beginner Houseplants and Their Care
The 2020 houseplant craze hit me hard. 42 green things later and I'm still an addict in 2022. Here are some plants I would recommend to beginners, as well as where to buy them, general maintenance, and some handy tipes.
I'll be breaking this list down by plant that I personally own to hopefully help you further green up your space, as well as develop a love for houseplants like I have! Please note that I am not a professional plant keeper, despite having 42 plants. If you purchase a plant, you may need to do further research to keep it in the best health.
Monstera plants are gorgeous, grow quite large, and are pretty popular right now. You can find them at just about any plant store, especially in specialty plant shops. While they might cost $50 or more for a smaller plant, these have the potential to grow quite large and provide a lot of greenery for your space. I personally found my monstera at Home Depot.
Monsteras need to be watered moderately, meaning that the soil for this plant should never dry out completely. If you stick your finger into the potting soil of your monstera and it feels dry, start watering again. I personally water mine twice a week to keep it hydrated. You shouldn't be dowsing your monstera in water either, but if you're finding the soil is dry every few days, add more water.
Monsteras also require bright, indirect sunlight. This means that the room your monstera is in should receive a lot of natural light, but never has the sun staring directly in through the window. My monstera is in a room that has north-facing windows that allow for bright, indirect light.
Lastly, your monstera will require a moss pole if you want the gorgeous supported plant you see in the pintrest-worthy pictures. Without a support, your monstera will droop and leaves will break.
Please also note, this plant is toxic to cats and dogs if they were to ingest the leaves.
This plant is nicknamed Mother-in-Law's Tongue because it is hard to kill. They can survive up to a month without water, can go without a lot of sunlight, and will still give you those gorgeous leaves.
The biggest downfall to snake plants are their chance to develop root rot or fungus from over-watering. To keep your snake plant healthy, you should allow the soil to dry completely inbetween watering. Keep your snake plant in a pot that has a drainage hole so excess water can drain out without causing issues. My snake plants are watered once a week with very little water (maybe 1/4 - 1/2 cup) and are kept in indirect sunlight. A great place for a snake plant is on a bathroom counter that has some natural light throughout the day.
Snake plants can be found everywhere these days, including grocery stores. When buying a snake plant, make sure that the leaves aren't drooping. Try gently pulling one of the leaves - if it moves a lot or falls over, the plant has root rot and shouldn't be bought. Chances are, it's companion plants are headed that way too and you should probably go to a different store.
Calathea plants can come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and even colors. One calathea I own is purple, while another is green. Some calatheas even have shocking hues, such as pink, plum, and bright yellow. These plants are gorgeous with beautiful patterns on their leaves.
Calatheas like moist soil, so you shouldn't allow your soil to go dry. They also prefer indirect sunlight, so north or south-facing windows are preferred. If you notice a lot of your leaves are getting brown edges or dying, your plant is receiving too much light.
Calatheas require a bit more work than other houseplants that are available at big box stores. For best health, you should wipe the leaves down often and mist them regularly since they do best in a naturally humid environment. For me, these plants are a bit fussy and I usually forget to water them as much as they would prefer. The bottom half of my calatheas are all suffering from dead leaves, so if you don't have time for a plant that requires this maintenance, skip out on these.
They are safe around children and pets and the different variations are absolutely gorgeous.
Rubber plants are very forgiving for new plant owners. They require low indirect light, making them great for the little nooks and crannies of your home (this does not mean in a room without any windows - they still need light!). They also prefer dry soil inbetween watering, allowing you to truly forget about them for most of the week.
One thing I have noticed about my rubber plants is that the leaves need wiped off pretty regularly to not look dirty and dim. They show all of the dust they have collected, but the leaves are pretty strong and forgiving of rips or tears.
While being incredibly forgiving and low maintenance, these plants are toxic to cats and dogs, so they should be put somewhere they cannot be reached. A great place for your rubber plant would be on a bathroom counter where it can receive light and humidity from your shower.
These plants live 10 plus years with proper care making them one of the easiest plants to keep. You should plan to repot them every other year or so depending on growth.
This plant is the end-all, be-all of low maintenance. ZZ plants are almost indestructible; they can survive low watering, low light, and low humidity.
ZZ plants are gorgeous, but extremely toxic to humans, cats, and dogs. My ZZ plant is on my bathroom counter to keep it out of reach of small hands, while also providing humidity and sunlight.
My ZZ plant was last watered almost a month ago because the soil is kept moist from the humidity of our showers. It's not so much as dropped a single leaf! Even if it's not in your bathroom, it needs very little water every other week or so.
These plants are pretty easy for beginning plant enthusiasts, making them easily found at common grocery stores. If you are interested in getting a ZZ plant, make sure that the stalks seems strong and the leaves are not wilting. The leaves on the lower part of the stalk will naturally fall off after 6 months or so, even with the best care as part of the plant's life cycle.
All stores seem to carry different variations of pothos these days. They are extremely resilient and easy to care for. They are also easy to propagate, making them even more accessible.
My recommendation is to get onto a Buy Nothing group on Facebook and see if anyone is giving away any pothos propagations. Chances are, you can get a baby pothos for free because of their easy propagation.
Pothos can survive with very little sunlight, over-watering, or under-watering. They might not grow long and trail without the right conditions, but they will certainly survive. They should be watered when the soil is dried out. Signs of over-watering include yellowing leaves, while underwatering will have your leaves curling up and wilting.
I have pothos plants sprinkled around my house and am often propagating a few at a time. They look best when many little plants are added to the same pot to give them a fuller look. They hardly ever need repotted either. To keep your pothos full, prune away the longer vines so that growth is supported closer to the roots.
Pothos are also toxic to cats and dogs.
These six plants are gorgeous, mostly easy to care for, and can usually be forgotten except for a once-a-week watering schedule. You can find each of them for relatively cheap at different box stores, or you can support local nurseries that also sell house plants.
I've personally shopped at Eagle Rock Nursery in Idaho Falls, and Paradise Nursery in Rexburg to find plants that have received a bit more specialized care than the ones available at Walmart. I've had my fair share of Walmart plants too ;)
If you have a favorite house plant, what is it? How many plants do you have in your home? Let me know in the comments what ones you would recommend because I'm on a mission to turn my home into a jungle.