I don’t know about you, but plants are one of my most frequent impulse purchases. I’ll literally be leaving the grocery store, bags in hand, and suddenly grab a fern from right by the doors and circle my way back to checkout. If you could bring plants on planes, I would probably buy them while traveling too. Needless to say, I’m very into having my very own urban jungle. Which is why I put together this guide of the best indoor plants for beginners.
This whole “problem” I have was made even worse when the lockdown happened in London. I know I’m not alone here. I think most of us made some questionable purchases during the great quarantine of 2020. Mine just so happened to be plants. Lots of them. We went from having a modest 10 or 15 plants scattered around the flat to nearly 40 right now. (I mean I did preface this with saying it was a problem, did I not?)
Plants used to be soooo intimidating for me. I would literally only buy succulents and when I finally bought an aloe and I thought I was branching out! However, once I put my big girl pants on I realized I was missing out on a whole world of indoor plants for beginners like me, and you might be too!
You don’t need to be an expert to have thriving indoor plants for beginners.
I don’t think I have any more or less of a “green thumb” than the average person, but I’ve managed to keep almost all of our plants alive for quite some time. Some even survived a move a few months ago!
What matters the most is consistency. If what you want is a plant that you can just buy and never touch again, going the faux plant route might be for you! But if you’re willing to commit just a bit of time and effort, the payoff will be amazing. I swear, there is nothing more satisfying than going to water a plant and suddenly noticing that a new leaf is coming in. I want you to experience this joy too!
Also, let’s be honest, plants look cute as hell! Plants are one of the best ways to make your home homier. Especially if you snag some cute pots.
The Sill is my absolute favorite online shop for this, and I’m forever bummed that they aren’t in London. Every plant they sell comes with a pot of your choosing and they are Chic. As. Hell. Plus, new customers get 10% of their first order!
I’ll link as many of these beginners indoor plants as possible from The Sill, along with my personal favorite pot to match each one. (For the ones that aren’t available on The Sill, I’m linking to Bloomscape—another great online plant shop option.) If this inspires you to pick up one or two new plant babies from them, show me how they look by tagging me on Insta! I’ll be insanely jealous but will also happily live vicariously through you.
The absolute best indoor plants for beginners:
All of these plants are ones that I have currently thriving in my northern facing flat, which means there is very little direct sunlight! I do keep on top of their care but I’ll also sometimes totally drop the ball for over a week, and all of these guys have held up, so that feels pretty good to me. Let’s get into it.
1. Snake Plant
The number one PERFECT indoor plant for beginners has to be the snake plant. They say that the snake plant is actually harder to kill than it is to keep alive.
To prove this, I have a snake plant that was drooping and on death’s doorstep only last month (after over a year of neglect). It was shrivelled to the point of pity and Daniel was adamant about throwing it out. Instead, I cut every single stock down to about two inches, changed the soil out, and it literally grew back better than before with absolutely no effort. I mean, that’s how resilient these guys are.
Technically the water schedule for most plants varies throughout the year, but on average the snake plant only needs to be watered roughly once every three-ish weeks.
They look super cute in any space. And as a bonus, they filter out toxic air pollutants, so they can be great to keep in the bedroom, where you arguably do most of your breathing. (That feels weird to quantify, but its true!)
If I could, I would get this dreamy snake plant and pot combination. I’m legitimately obsessed with this pot and want to find one in London for my own apartment.
2. ZZ Plant
ZZ plants are probably one of the best plants to go for to give the illusion that you are a plant goddess. In other words, they don’t look like every other plant that everyone already knows about! Also part of the succulent family, ZZ plants only require you to water them once every month or so.
These guys thrive best in lower light and genuinely just like to be left alone. As I mentioned our flat is north facing, so it only really gets indirect light, and after I moved our ZZ plant to a corner of the living room that literally gets no light at all, it actually started growing new stalks!
If I could live my dream life in my dream apartment I would get this unbelievably chic ZZ plant and pot combination. I am practically drooling thinking about how cute this would look on my vanity or as part of a drink cart!
3. Rubber Plant
The rubber plant was my first foray into the larger and tree-like variety of plants.
Rubber plants also help improve air quality, so are great to have in the house. I have two rubber plants, and I would personally recommend getting a more mature one if you can so that you have lots of larger leaves. It gives off a tropical vibe and also becomes a really nice statement for the room it’s in.
Another great thing about rubber plants is that they also only need to be watered every couple of weeks, being kept damper in the summer and dryer in the winter. Their growth does speed up with light, but ours only get direct early morning light for a couple hours and have still taken off this summer.
Also, a really fun rubber plant bonus tip that made me feel like plant royalty! If any of your new leaves are struggling (think: looking brown and withery), or you just want a fuller look to the plant, you can snip them off right where they connect to the stalk. Once the cut dries up, new growth will start coming in from all other leaf points down the stalk, and you don’t even have to do work for that to happen! (Although you may have to wait for spring and summer months to see quicker progress.)
Aloe plants are a fantastic choice for a beginner plant parent. They’re part of the succulent family, but because of their distinctive look, and their height, they look much more exciting in your home than the average succulent. Aloe offers tons of benefits to the skin, and you’ll find it listed in many skincare products, especially those that deal with acne. You can also obviously use aloe to treat sunburns!
Aloe plants are incredibly low maintenance, only needing to be watered roughly once a month or so. Like many of the plants on this list, they also thrive best in indirect light, great for city dwellers like myself.
Pothos are one of the best indoor plants for beginners because they’re almost too easy to keep alive. Honestly. And they grow so fast that it’s almost problematic.
But, the beauty of a fast growing Pothos is that they are incredibly easy to propagate (regrow). We have four different Pothos in our flat, one of which came from us propagating one of the other ones!
Like most plants on this list, they work to purify the air in your house, but as an added bonus they reportedly also help alleviate eye irritation from prolonged screen use! This is obviously key in the times of WFH and corona.
Pothos only need to be watered every 1-2 weeks depending on the time of year and your location. One of the absolute greatest things about Pothos as well is that they actually prefer indirect sunlight, so they couldn’t be better as an indoor plant, especially for beginners! I’m dreaming about this Pothos and pot combo right now. I feel like it would look perfect styled on a bookshelf… Now I just need to get myself a bookshelf…
Get out there and buy some indoor plants for beginners!
I am so excited for you to have the rewarding experience of keep plants alive long enough to see them start growing. It’s magical.
Like I said, it doesn’t take much to keep these five easy to grow plants alive. One or two watering days per month comes out to about 10 minutes of work for a whole lot of calming, cozy greenery!
Then, once you’re up and running with your new plant-filled urban oasis, be sure to check out my post on Winter Indoor Plant Care to help your plant babies thrive all winter long.
If you’re thinking you’re ready for the commitment, The Sill actually has a Potted Plants for Beginners monthly subscription box featuring many of the five indoor plants for beginners featured here. Plus, they also have faux plants in case you need to work up to watering responsibilities!
I can’t wait for you to start developing your green thumb. Get out there and get planting these indoor plants for beginners, and let me know how it goes!