Houseplants add warmth and life to your home!
Have you ever tried to grow houseplants and ended up a frustrated plant parent? Or are you looking for more houseplants, but never know which to buy?
Even if you are already enjoying a healthy houseplant collection, this lens can help you select a new addition! I love houseplants and plants in general. I enjoy growing a variety of plants from perennials to vegetables to (of course) my houseplants. I am a houseplant addict. I find it very difficult NOT to buy houseplants when I see them for sale (I have the same problem with chocolate). My favorites are cacti and succulents. They like to soak up what little sun is available in Western New York...just like me! :P
Why grow houseplants? There's nothing like a living plant to add beauty and warmth to any room of your home. Plants can also add much-needed serenity to your office or dorm room. Want to garden, but live in an apartment/don't have room? Houseplants are the perfect solution! Houseplants can also help purify the air you breathe.
The following is a list of what I consider to be the 10 easiest houseplants to grow, based on my own personal triumphs and adversities in addition to recommendations from books and other gardeners. I have tried to include the origin for most of the plants on my list --- this will give you an idea about the conditions a plant group may prefer. For instance: plants from the tropics like a warm environment with plenty of water and humidity while plants from an arid environment like it hot and dry.
Intro photo: by me.
Click-able table of contents:
Water & light
If you have had problems with houseplants in the past it was likely due to either improper light and/or watering (don't worry, we've all been there). The good news is that these problems are easy to fix! Plants are like people --- each (species) is a little different and has its own quirks. The key is to figure out what makes a plant happy.
Watering: over-watering is the number one killer of houseplants. The majority of plants on my list like to be thoroughly watered (some water starts to seep out of pot) and then left alone until the top inch or two of soil is dry before watering again (check this by sticking a finger in). Resist the urge to over-water if your plant looks sick!! It's always better to under-water as soggy plants can rot, and rot is a death sentence.
Lighting: over the years I have noticed that many houseplant tags are very unhelpful. They carry ambiguous lighting requirements like "provide bright light" or "half-shaded standing place" (huh?).
Here is a list of definitions for the lighting terms I will use:
- Full Sun = directly in front of a window which receives plenty of sun (such as southern or western facing). Also applies to plants placed outdoors in a sunny spot.
- Brightly lit = near a sunny window, but not in direct sunlight for extended periods (like an eastern window). Plants which prefer this light often do splendidly behind sheer curtains.
- Moderate light = 5-8 feet from a window, plant never receives direct sunlight.
And we're off!
These plants were originally from tropical Columbia. Today, they are widely available in a variety of sizes ranging from twelve to forty+ inches high. Peace lilies are characterized by bright green glossy leaves and white flowers with large spathes. So easy to grow! I have four peace lilies, I like how tropical they look and the deep green leaves add a soothing ambiance to any room. They are fast growers!
- Light: brightly lit to moderate light. This genus is well-known for its low-light tolerance, but it usually will not flower under those conditions. In my experience it does best in bright light. Leaves will scorch if given too much sun.
- Water: keep soil moist, but not saturated; leaves tend to wilt easily if allowed to dry out.
Note: peace lilies are often available in a variety of sizes, from less than 12" to well over 2 feet high. They grow quickly so feel free to purchase a smaller size. Click here for more peace lily tips from plant owners.
Image: Flickr Creative Commons via Charlie Brenner
This low maintenance palm is originally from the mountains of Mexico and Guatemala and is one of the easiest for growing indoors. It is a slow grower, but can eventually reach heights of up to four feet (120 cm). I like these palms because they are so elegant in appearance, they are a great choice for any room! Another plus is that they are often sold in a wide variety of sizes...larger plants are perfect for framing a large window or brightly lit entryway.
- Light: moderate light or a semi-shaded position near a window will suit this palm.
- Water: Water two or three times a week --- likes to be kept moist, but be sure to let the top inch or two of soil dry out before watering again.
Houseplant care information - You may find these sites useful :)
- Encyclopedia of House Plants
Here you will find more than 300 various houseplants with descriptions and pictures, botanical and common names, and instructions for cultivation and propagation.
- The Home Plants
A short list of plants that can be grown indoors --- not all are necessarily houseplants, but can be grown indoors.
- House Plants Reviews
Information on Types of House plants for your Indoor Gardening and How they can Compliment your Indoor Home Garden. You also can get Best Landscaping Ideas and the best Garden Tools to use.
- Popular Houseplants and Their Preferred Growing Conditions
Here we present a short list of tough plants for those who have limited time to care for houseplants. These plants require minimal water and can survive in a variety of conditions.
- House Plants
Designed to familiarize you with the basic aspects of tropical plant care rather then attempting to acquaint you with specific cultural requirements of the more than 250 commonly grown plants in the foliage industry.
- University of Illinois Extension: Houseplants
Features information on Houseplant Needs, Selecting Houseplants, Caring for Houseplants, Types of Houseplants, Plant Health, and Vegetative Propagation.
Chlorophytum comosum "Variegatum"
A very common and popular houseplant which is widely known, spider plants are graceful and rewarding to grow. They are fast growers and can tolerate occasional neglect. First introduced in the mid-nineteenth century --- originally from subtropical South Africa. You often cannot tell from photographs, but spider plants have glossy leaves. I like how elegant these plants look in person, despite their messy appearance in photos! Also, these plants will eventually produce little runners that can be potted up.
- Light: Brightly-lit, but can tolerate a little direct sunlight.
- Water: 2-3 times per week during summer. During winter, water about once a week, allowing soil to almost dry out between watering.
These are beautiful plants that are very easy to grow and stunning while in flower. It's very common to see these plants for sale during the holiday season, when you do, be sure to stock up! Flowers are available in shades of pink, red, white, yellow, orange, and purple. Tip: you can easily propagate these plants by snipping off a branch segment. Cool fact: this plant can live for over 50 years and has been known to live for over 200 years. A versatile plant -- you can keep yours neat by pruning or let its branches hang gracefully over the pot. Also a beautiful plant for a hanging pot!
Getting your Christmas cactus to bloom is EASY: during the warmer months in your area, place your cactus outside in a protected shady spot. Keep your cactus outside until the end of summer, then bring indoors and limit artificial light exposure. These plants take cues from the amount of daylight vs. darkness they receive. Do not move your cactus after it sets buds as this can cause buds to drop off.
- brightly lit location. Some direct sun all year is fine.
- keep the soil moist, but not wet. Allow the soil to dry out between watering. As with all cacti, rainwater is best when available. Be sure to use well-draining media.
Note: there are also closely related Thanksgiving cacti and Easter cacti, which bloom at Thanksgiving time and Easter time, respectively. Care requirements are the same for all.
Crassula argentea (syn. ovuta)
Originally from South Africa, jades are beautiful plants that can live for years and become very large. Well-known and widely available, jade plants are also easy to care for and rewarding to grow. There are also mini forms available called "baby jades." They need sunlight to thrive however, if your jade becomes elongated or leggy it needs more light. Make sure potting soil is fast-draining. I have three jade plants, all of which are still quite small, but are growing fast! I hope they can one day become large tree-like plants.
- Light: full sun. As previously mentioned, give as much sun as possible. During the summer, all my succulents and cacti go outside to an area that is protected from harsh afternoon sun and strong wind. In the wintertime, I place my jades on a sunny-as-it-gets-in-winter windowsill.
- Water: during the growing period (spring and summer) water 2-3 times a week, but decrease water to only once or twice a month during the winter. Remember, your jade needs a winter rest and if you water too much in the winter, the growth will not be strong and vigorous because there is not enough sun of you live in a temperate area.
This plant has its origins in the subtropical areas of Asia and Australia, where it can grow into a large tree. Almost impossible to kill, it can last for years and years with good conditions. If you want a bushier plant, pinch out apical shoots. There are many different varieties available, including some with larger leaves and variegated forms. Very attractive with its star-shaped palmate leaves, it is also a rapid grower. I have seen these plants used for bonsai.
- Light: brightly lit --- and can benefit from a spell outside during the summer in a shady protected spot.
- Water: keep the soil moist at all times --- allow the soil to dry out between watering in the winter. Note: if the leaves begin dropping, the plant is getting too much water. Brown leaves indicate that the plant is too dry.
Note: tends to be a leaner, so be sure to rotate on a regular basis. :)
Snake plant (mother-in-law's tongue)
One of the most resilient plants I have ever grown. The leaves are very thick and succulent-like. Snake plants are well known and widely available at all times of the year. My local discount store always has snake plants for sale. There are many varieties available, the most common are upright or form tight leaf rosettes. Most have variegated, striped, or mottled deep green leaves.
- Light: does best in bright light, but can tolerate low-light or moderate light positions, can also tolerate some direct sunlight, very versatile.
- Water: requires moderate watering, allow the soil to dry out between watering. Do not allow water to sit in the rosette or the plant will rot!
An orchid that is easy to grow? Sure! This genus is relatively easy to care for --- maybe not as neglect-tolerant as the plants on my list so far, but worth the extra work for its beautiful blossoms. Available in a variety of sizes and colors, the moth orchid has a flowering period of up to a year. I have been seeing many varieties of these orchids for sale, even an adorable mini version. My local Lowe's store always seems to have a good selection.
- Light: as much indirect light as you can manage, but NO sunlight.
- Water: weekly during flowering.
Tip: the secret is providing your orchid with warm days and cooler nights, humid conditions are essential, so stand the pot over a tray of damp pebbles.
More on moth orchid care from the American Orchid Society.
A beautiful plant with variegated leaves, brings a tropical and exotic look to any room of your home! Dieffenbachia originated in the tropical rain forests of Costa Rica and Venezuela. Variegated plants need more light because each leaf has less chlorophyll. I have noticed that placing this plant in brighter light results in larger white patches on the leaves. Please note: this plant has a poisonous sap.
- Light: brightly lit with plenty of indirect light.
- Water: plenty in the summer, keep the soil moist, but not soggy.
Tip: this is another plant that will benefit from being placed outside in a protected, shady spot for the summer.
Ficus elastica robusta (older variety: Ficus decora)
You may remember your grandmother owning one of these bold plants! An old favorite, and for good reason, the rubber tree is originally from the moist tropical regions of India and Malaysia. It has distinctive, deep green glossy leaves. In its natural habitat this "tree" can reach heights of 90 ft. (30 m)! Modern cultivars can grow up to 30 ft. (10 m) indoors and can adapt to a wide-range of conditions. However, it is essential that you keep your rubber tree out of dark spots and away from drafts.
- Light: brightly lit area with some direct sun every day.
- Water: be careful not to over-water as the rubber tree is susceptible to root rot. Water thoroughly, but allow soil to dry out between watering, water no more than once a week in winter.
Tip: the cooler its environment, the less water this plant should receive. Never allow the pot to sit in water for more than an hour. There are many plants available from the genus Fiscus --- most of which are fuss-free! :)
This lens was awarded with a purple star on 20 April 2011. I am honored. THANK YOU readers and Squidoo!
Let me know what you think or share a story! :) I love hearing from people who have visited my lens.
Share your stories!
Soumya sinha on September 29, 2018:
Thank u..for these informations...I've all these plants.Please share how to care calatheas plant.Its not growing properly
Kathleen Cochran from Atlanta, Georgia on March 24, 2016:
My jade keeps getting white stuff on it. All my friends can grow ficus, but me. What's the trick?
Ajit Kr.Dubey on December 10, 2015:
Great information for harbl medicine here!
myspace9 on June 18, 2013:
Beautiful lens and I love indoor plants.
NibsyNell on March 10, 2013:
Plants really cheer up a room! And the easier they are to look after the better! :)
JimHofman on March 04, 2013:
Great information here! We have most of the plants on your top 10 list. Pothos and Dracaena Marginata are also pretty easy to grow.
wordpress-guru on February 19, 2013:
great lens !
anonymous on October 28, 2012:
@MayaIxchel: Search pet TickleMe Plant to grow the only house plant that moves and closes its leaves when you TIckle it!
anonymous on October 28, 2012:
Search pet TickleMe Plant to grow the only house plant that moves and closes its leaves when you TIckle it!
elyria on September 15, 2012:
I only tried to grow rubber tree so far.
MintySea on September 14, 2012:
I am so bad with plants, but if I could grow house plants they would be ones I could eat.
chas65 on September 08, 2012:
Maybe some of these will help us be more successful, or we just have a brown thumb.
Deborah Swain from Rome, Italy on September 07, 2012:
fabulous lens! did you know that the spider plant is particularly effective against emissions from computer terminals?
Kirsti A. Dyer from Northern California on August 13, 2012:
Great reviews of houseplants. I've got a spider plant and a rubber tree plant now from your list.
MayaIxchel on July 23, 2012:
Thanks for the great info! I love houseplants, they really make a house a home. Living in 'the land of eternal spring' doesn't hurt when growing plants!
Rose Jones on July 01, 2012:
Wonderful lens, pinned to my How does your Garden Grow lens and Squid Angel Blessed.
anonymous on May 25, 2012:
Lucky621 LM on April 29, 2012:
Great info - I have just moved and am looking to purchase plants for my new home - most rooms don't get a lot of direct light - so this list is very helpful. Thanks!!
JoshK47 on April 01, 2012:
Excellent information here! Thank you for sharing! Blessed by a SquidAngel!
anonymous on March 27, 2012:
Dropping back to see how your 10 easiest plants are doing....beautifully, I see!
DeannaDiaz on February 23, 2012:
Very nice lens! I have a beautiful flowers growing outside and I just learned their name- Peace Lilies!
Rosaquid on February 20, 2012:
Very nice lens!
xanthoria24 on February 17, 2012:
Thank you for including the scientific names. I'm always having a hard time finding them at the store. As a botanist I much prefer scientific names over common ones.
Frischy from Kentucky, USA on February 12, 2012:
I love your plant selections! Over the years I have gotten away from growing houseplants due to other responsibilities. Your lens has reminded me how much I have always enjoyed them. I think I will replace some of the plants I have lost over the years now that I think about it. Thank you!
Fay Favored from USA on January 31, 2012:
I used to have plants in every room of my house; just love them. Haven't been successful in all the choices here, but that doesn't stop me from trying.
EileenSmith LM on December 24, 2011:
I've always wanted to keep houseplants! Perhaps now's a good time to start. Thanks for the good info. (A fun tidbit: I once gave a family some a peace lily plant after they lost their mother. They over-watered the poor plant and nearly killed it. But thankfully it survived in the end!)
MadHaps LM on November 07, 2011:
You are right over watering is major reason house plants die except for the Spath (Peace Lily) loves to be over watered. The Sans is a great plant just to neglect and it still looks happy. But please do not buy your Orchids from a department store, find an orchid grower and you will have more success. See my first Lens, 'Orchids of the Americas'. Great house plant choices.
NightMagic on October 25, 2011:
I have some of the plants you mentioned. I'm going to try the ones that I don't have in my apartment. Good Lens.
Pam Irie from Land of Aloha on October 16, 2011:
Great ideas and tips for easy houseplants. :)
Spikey64 on October 03, 2011:
I have been looking for houseplants for my home you have given me some great tips. Thanks.
Renaissance Woman from Colorado on July 24, 2011:
Great lens! I love growing things and appreciate the health benefits of plants in my home. Right now I have a couple of rubber plants, a schefflera, a palm, and many different cacti in my home. The challenge for me is keeping my cats from eating them and digging in the dirt!
sousababy on July 08, 2011:
@poutine: Hey, if Poutine says these are excellent, then I'm sold.
sousababy on July 08, 2011:
The peace lilies, jade and umbrella tree are my favorites. It seems I am given African violets and fresh flowers more than anything. I once had an 'Ivy' - I think it was a German Ivy and it lasted forever, it seemed. I barely watered it either, but I gave it to a relative since my cat treated it like an appetizer.
wayne_luvinlife on July 07, 2011:
I have peace lilies outside but rather fond of the moth orchid may try that one inside.
gogolf162 on July 06, 2011:
I think I am going to have to get some new plants now. Thanks for the info.
Wendy Leanne from Texas on July 03, 2011:
I managed to kill an umbrella tree. The longest I've ever managed to have a houseplant is about 2 years. I may try a couple other plants on your list.
poutine on June 20, 2011:
Excellent choices for indoor plants.
Wedding Mom on June 17, 2011:
I have a few peace lilies at home, I didn't know that they'll be great indoor plants. I thought they might die if I placed them inside for a longer period of time and I'd end up feeling bad about it. Thanks so so much for sharing this great lens of your! Well done!
ChrisDay LM on May 17, 2011:
Nice lens - there's no doubt that plants give a feel-good factor (however, I can't cope with indoor hyacinths!).
Anthony Godinho from Ontario, Canada on May 04, 2011:
Many of these plants look familiar to me because my mom loves plants and growing up she had many of these. Actually she still has plants and is very good with them. Nothing like having plants that don't require too much maintenance and easy to keep alive! Well done lens!
tssfacts on April 28, 2011:
You make me want to go out and get another plant. There is just such a homey feeling about a home that has plants inside and out. Great job.
pheonix76 (author) from WNY on April 27, 2011:
@Ramkitten2000: I have to agree with you there and will be adding it to my new honorable mentions list!! My top 10 list are all plants that I have attempted to grow. Cheers!
dahlia369 on April 27, 2011:
Nicely done & great resource. ***Angel blessed*** and featured on "My Life with Angel Wings" lens ... :)
Deb Kingsbury from Flagstaff, Arizona on April 26, 2011:
Lots of good, easy-to-grow (and keep alive) houseplants here, but, for me, it's philodendron. I started with one, took cuttings and put them in water, they sprouted roots, I re-potted them, and now I have philodendrons all over the house. They can even withstand a couple of weeks with no water if I'm away.
NYThroughTheLens on April 23, 2011:
Great lens! I love the list and this is bookmark-worthy.
Bellezza-Decor from Canada on April 21, 2011:
Beautiful houseplants! I have a green spider plant, not the variegated, that grows and grows all through the winter indoors!
Linda Hahn from California on April 20, 2011:
So lovely and green to visit this lens again!
pheonix76 (author) from WNY on April 20, 2011:
@kathysart: Don't feel too bad! I have killed every fern that has entered my house, except for a Boston fern. They are commonly found in stores, but are VERY picky. They need warmth and humidity. Thanks for visiting!!
Tiffany3 on April 20, 2011:
I have been wanting to get spider plants. My mom always had them.
kathysart on April 20, 2011:
I just got a maiden hair fern... and it is already dead! Waa! Gonna stick with easy to grow plants from now on!
ohcaroline on April 15, 2011:
I've grown all of them except the snake plant. I don't care for it...but it is virtually impossible to kill one of them. I like all the rest of them and have grown them at one time or another. Lensrolling to my Succulent Plants lens. This is an excellent lens.
sukkran trichy from Trichy/Tamil Nadu on April 13, 2011:
i love home gardening. some of your tips are very useful. thanks for this informative lens.
Kimsworld LM on April 11, 2011:
Nice selection of easy to grow house plants. I have most of these and have great luck with them. Another nice EASY plant is Aloe. I have tons of it and snake plants too.
hlkljgk from Western Mass on April 11, 2011:
we've grown most of these - and since they aren't shriveled up, i'd agree :)
KimGiancaterino on April 08, 2011:
Very helpful list. I need to stick with pet friendly indoor plants. My cats like to nibble on leaves. I'm growing a few of these plants outdoors with great success too. I'm always giving jade plants away.
Paul from Montreal on April 07, 2011:
I like your selections, will be referring to this lens again.
TriviaChamp on April 07, 2011:
This is very well done and informative. Well done! Blessed.
pheonix76 (author) from WNY on April 06, 2011:
@ElizabethJeanAl: Thank you!!
ElizabethJeanAl on April 06, 2011:
Lensrolled to Hardy House Plants
pheonix76 (author) from WNY on April 02, 2011:
@WeirdStuff: I agree!!!
WeirdStuff on April 02, 2011:
Home with lot of plants always feels more cosy!