If you want to liven up your home with plants without them asking for much in return, succulents and cacti are a good bet.
The two easiest houseplants to care for—the snake plant and the ZZ plant—are both succulents. These plants store water in their leaves and stems, so they can endure more neglect than other houseplants.
The best beginner house plant depends on your living conditions and the types of houseplants you prefer.
For example, if you live in a dry climate, a cactus will be a better choice than a fern—and vice versa.
A peace lily is a good choice for high-humidity areas, while the aloe vera prefers low humidity and medium-to-bright lighting conditions.
The most common mistake new plant owners make is thinking that all plants require the same care. This often leads to overwatering plants that prefer their soil to dry out between watering. Or placing a plant in bright light when it prefers indirect light.
To avoid this unilateral approach to plant care, do some research on a plant before you decide to buy it. Various online care guides tell you exactly what your plant needs. Following those care tips could help you maintain your indoor flora, even if you’re a beginner.
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There are so many low maintenance indoor plants. Whether you’re looking for indoor trees, a flowering plant that doesn’t require much care or a plant that’s safe for your pets, you’ll surely find a perfect plant for you among these 16 easy houseplants.
Beginner plant owners should select a plant that can endure almost any condition. The following low maintenance indoor plants fit the profile.
Sansevieria trifasciata, better known as the snake plant or the mother-in-law’s tongue, is extremely forgiving of low humidity and infrequent watering, and can tolerate low light. The only way to kill this plant is by overwatering it, so always allow its soil to dry between waterings.
Although the most common snake plant variety has dark green leaves with light green or yellow stripes, these houseplants come in several colors. Certain varieties have gray or silver stripes, while others don’t have any variegation in their leaves.
Aspidistra elatior looks like a fickle plant, thanks to its beautiful foliage, which is why many new plant owners avoid it. However, this plant is surprisingly easy to care for, and it can survive a surprising amount of neglect.
The cast-iron plant prefers low-to-medium light, without direct exposure to sun rays, as those can burn and bleach the leaves. These plants love a moderately moist soil, so they’re a great choice for folks who tend to overwater plants.
Indoor plants with flowers are often difficult to figure out for new plant owners. For example, orchids—one of the most popular flowering indoor plants—tend to wither away at the slightest sign of neglect. Luckily, wax plants and peace lilies are much more forgiving.
The wax plant (Hoya carnosa) is a vine that produces clusters of star-shaped flowers. These flowers range in color from white to dark pink and have a slight sheen to them. Hoya plants usually bloom in the spring and summer months.
These houseplants prefer bright, indirect light and little watering, especially during the winter. Make sure the soil feels dry to the touch before you water your wax plants and keep them in an airy soil mix.
Peace lilies are the most popular flowering houseplants, thanks to the beautiful white flowers they produce. They have dark green leaves that droop slightly when the peace lily needs watering, so it’s easy to monitor their needs.
(Note: our Leaflet plant care system also tells you exactly how much to water your plants.)
If you notice any yellow leaves, your plant could be getting too much light. The peace lily has thin leaves, so direct sun rays can easily cause damage (such as yellow streaks and brown spots).
Large indoor plants can make for a stunning centerpiece for your home. However, not everyone has the green thumb for the gorgeous but fickle fiddle-leaf fig. Other ficus types, such as rubber plants, and even some large palms, are much easier to care for.
Rubber trees (Ficus elastica) is a tropical plant native to Southeast Asia that can grow up to 100 feet tall when outdoors. And while it won’t grow into a giant tree indoors, you can expect the rubber plant to be 6-10 feet tall, depending on how much space you have (you can prune it and train it to be smaller).
Partial shade, fast-draining soil, and a regular watering pattern are all the rubber Ficus really needs. Make sure to keep this indoor tree away from curious pets, as it is poisonous to cats and dogs when ingested.
A little-known fact about ponytail palms is that they’re not actually a palm but a form of succulent that stores water in its trunk. Thanks to this handy feature, the ponytail palm doesn’t need as much moisture as real indoor palm plants.
Thanks to its tree-like trunk and unique foliage, this plant looks like a tree, especially when it's full-grown. Indoors, the ponytail palm can grow over 6 feet when kept in well-drained soil and exposed to enough bright light.
Low light plants are usually easy to take care of, as they need less frequent watering since they’re not exposed to direct sun. For example, the ZZ plant and the Chinese evergreen do much better in low light conditions than if they were exposed to direct sunlight.
The ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) thrives in semi-shaded areas and is quite tolerant to drought, thanks to its thick rhizomes and stalks that conserve water. You’ll often find this plant in office spaces and areas that don’t get much (if any) natural light.
To avoid giving your ZZ plant too much water, make sure the soil dries out completely before watering it. Watering it once every two weeks is enough, especially during cooler months.
The Chinese evergreen is native to the tropical forests of New Guinea and Asia. This plant thrives in low light, as direct sunlight can damage its thin foliage. It prefers high humidity, which makes it one of the best low-light bathroom plants to own.
You should keep the soil of a Chinese evergreen moist but not overly soggy. The best way to tell whether your plant needs watering is to stick your finger in the soil. You should only water it once the upper two inches of the soil are dry.
If you have mischievous pets, you should keep all plants that could be poisonous to them out of reach. Luckily, many plants (such as the prayer plants, certain succulents, and even some cacti) are completely safe for pets, even when ingested.
Chlorophytum comosum, better known as the spider plant, gets its common name from the small spider-like plantlets it produces. This plant prefers well-draining soil, as too much water can cause root rot and kill it.
Even though it thrives in shaded areas, the spider plant can also grow in direct sun—though its leaves might turn yellow from exposure to sun rays. Spider plants thrive best in a humid room, as they produce more offshoots in high humidity.
The Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii) is a popular houseplant that flowers during the winter months. Although it is a cactus, this plant doesn’t have any thorns and can’t harm your curious pet. Both the flowers and the cactus are non-toxic when consumed.
Unusually for a cactus, Schlumbergera bridgesii prefers high humidity, so you should mist it frequently if you live in a dry climate. It’s best to keep it in partial shade, though it can handle full sun during the winter.
If you want unique plants that are also easy, Crassula ovata and air plants could be exactly what you’re looking for.
Jade plants (Crassula ovata) are succulents with fleshy, oval leaves and thick stems. They are easy to care for, as long as you provide them with enough sunlight and don’t overwater.
You should keep a jade plant in well-draining soil and only water it once the soil is completely dry (too much moisture can cause this plant to rot). Crassula ovata is toxic to cats and dogs, so make sure to keep it out of your pet’s reach.
Air plants are the ultimate set-it-and-forget-it type of plants, especially when kept in terrariums. They don’t need soil to survive and require little care, so long as you provide them with ample filtered light.
To accentuate the unique appearance of air plants, hang them from your ceilings or walls. Or, place them in a wood holder.
Hanging houseplants can make any home look like a jungle, but many require constant care to stay healthy and lush. Luckily, plants like the string of pearls, pothos, and the arrowhead vine require little care but look gorgeous in a hanging basket.
The string of pearls is a succulent easily recognizable by its vines with pea-shaped leaves that resemble pearls. This hanging plant can handle direct sunlight, making it a perfect choice for patios and balconies.
Similar to other succulents, the string of pearls collects water in its leaves and can handle incongruent watering. If you notice its leaves start to look less plump, give the plant a thorough watering—but make sure the soil drains well to prevent root rot.
Arrowhead vines (Syngonium podophyllum) can be trained to be trailing or hanging plants. This plant gets its name from the arrow-like shape of its leaves, which are typically light green, but can range in color from dark green to pink and even white.
These plants love partial shade and can turn yellow if exposed to harsh sunlight. Arrowhead plants rarely get root-rot and prefer moist soil. You can even keep their cuttings in water for months, and they will continue to grow.
Many indoor plants purify the air in your home and can be quite beneficial for your health. Plants such as the snake plant, aloe vera, peace lily, and English ivy produce oxygen at night, so keeping them in your bedroom is beneficial.
The aloe vera is the most versatile plant one can have. Not only does it look good, but you can also use its gel to treat skin rashes, burns, and acne. Its gel is also edible—and incredibly healthy—so some folks put it in smoothies or eat it on its own.
Aloe vera loves direct sunlight, but can also thrive in partial shade. If you notice its stalk stretch out, your plant is probably not getting enough light and should be moved to a brighter place.
The English ivy (Hedera helix) is one of the best indoor plants for clean air. A NASA study found this plant to be the most effective at cleaning benzene from the air (Hedera helix removed 89.8% of benzene in 24 hours). This climbing vine can trail down when in a hanging basket or climb when attached to a moth pole. It tolerates low light, although its leaves may not develop a variegated pattern if it doesn’t get enough sunlight.