- Always make sure your pots include drainage holes to prevent root rot
- Ensure you have a proper light source (whether it is natural or artificial)
- Set up a proper watering schedule you can commit to
Now that you’ve set yourself up for success, I suggest the following plants for beginners:
Devil’s ivy or pothos is arguably one of the easiest houseplants to take care of. It is popular for its trailing vine with pointed, heart-shaped, green leaves and sometimes variegated with white, yellow, or pale green. Personally, I have brought my pothos hanging basket back from the dead many times! It has survived all my abuse and still loves me despite my occasional shortcomings. Light: bright, indirect light. Water: allow soil to dry between waterings.
- Next, is the snake plant or sansevieria which consists of either stout, cylindrical spears or flat, thick, upright, pointy leaves that spring from the sandy soil. Sansevieria cylindrica can be braided or left in their natural fan shape and come in many shapes and sizes depending on how you like them. Best of all, they can be almost entirely ignored and still thrive. My sansevieria laurentii is forgiving and almost enjoys neglect. Light: bright, filtered light. Water: once monthly.
- Then there is the cast iron plant or aspidistra, which is a great find for beginners. Like their name suggests, they are hardy plants. I gave an aspidistra to my aunt years ago. She has gone on vacation and forgotten about watering it, but each time she returned, it was still good as new. Light: semi-shade to bright but not direct sun, ideal for dimly lit rooms. Water: keep soil moist throughout spring and summer, and reduce watering in the winter. Allow soil to dry between waterings.
- Known as the ZZ or zuzu plant, zamioculcas zamiifolia is a relative of the peace lily and a wonderful addition to a novice plant owner’s home. This plant is slow-growing and can survive under the fluorescent lights common in many apartments. I keep my ZZ plant in my dimly lit bathroom, and it loves it! They can be slow growers, but the more light they have, the more growth you will see! Light: diffused light. Water: once monthly or longer.
- Last on our list is the Chinese evergreen or aglaonema. A very decorative and popular houseplant, aglaonema is also extremely low-light tolerant, and one of the only plants I know to still grow well despite having less light. From dark green to silver variations and even some with tones of red and pink, this plant will effortlessly add to your home's decor. I keep my sparkling Sarah aglaonema in an auto-watering pot so it can drink whenever it likes, and it has remained extremely happy and even more gorgeous than the day I got it. When it looks sad, I know it’s time to refill the water canister. Light: bright, indirect sunlight. Water: moist soil during the spring/summer and thoroughly in the winter.