Plant Parenthood

The 10 Best Indoor Plants for Every Kind of Person


October 28, 2019 Buying Guides By Photo by Chandler Bondurant

Let’s talk about houseplants. Water them when the soil is dry. Don’t put them in front of air conditioners or heating units. Know how much sun each one wants. There, you’ve got almost everything you need to know.

The truth is, most houseplants sold at shops or online are extremely easy to keep alive. That’s why those shops sell them. The plants on our list do not run the spectrum of hard-to-keep to invincible because the vast majority of plants sold are not horticultural puzzles. They make your home look and feel better, and they do so without a whole lot of work from you.

ZZ Plant

For the Clueless Beginner: This plant is almost better off without your foolish hands touching it. Almost. Most notable for thriving in low light areas and with infrequent need for moisture, the ZZ plant is an aroid that evolved in much drier biomes than its cousin plants. This permits it to not give a damn about water for months on end, but you’re better off playing it safe and watering every couple weeks.

Water: Every 2 weeks
Brightness: Low, indirect

Calathea

For the Color-Starved: Though green is what we’re all here for, it doesn’t hurt to throw in a contrast color or two. Calathea and their red-green leaves come in medallion (like the one linked here) and rattlesnake varieties, and they aren’t terribly picky about sunlight or water. They also happen to move around a lot.

Water: Weekly
Brightness: Medium, indirect

Snake Plant

For the Small Apartment: The mighty Snake, like the ZZ, is close to invincibility. It can grow in any and all light and brightness settings, requires infrequent watering and is generally a plant for the DGAF type of person. Another of its features often goes unmentioned — its spread. Its growth trajectory is upward, not outward, making it an ideal plant for lazy plant parents living in tiny apartments.

Water: Every 2 weeks
Brightness: Any

Umbrella Plant

To Sit Next to the Window: There are many different types of Umbrella plants, but the gist is this: given a healthy dose of sunlight, ample watering and room to grow, this small-ish plant will fill out and take up as much space as needed. A bonus of this quick growth is the ability to guide its growth with frequent pruning, as any segments you shear from the body will be replaced in short order elsewhere.

Water: When top inch of soil is dry
Brightness: Full, direct or indirect

Money Tree

For a Gift: This is a plant shop staple, and in being a plant shop staple we can know one thing: it is resilient as hell. While you should give your Money tree a home with decent sun exposure and you should water it when the soil dries out, it’ll still be there for you after you forget about it for a month (or more). It’s also among the fast-growing plant group, so be sure to put it in a spot that gives it room to fill out a bit.

Water: When soil is dry
Brightness: Medium, direct or indirect

Pothos Jade

For the Impatient: By both the Internet and plant shop owners, the tough-as-nails Pothos vine is among the most-recommended house plants you’ll encounter. It requires intermittent watering (but won’t sulk if neglected), fair to middling sun and grows fast. If allowed to, a Pothos vine will conquer corners and side tables in a couple months. If you enjoy the drama of a good climbing vine, this is the place to start.

Water: When soil is dry
Brightness: Low to medium, indirect

Peace Lily

If You Want Flowers: Full transparency: the huge white flowers of the Peace Lily are not technically flowers — they’re bracts (a modified leaf used to reproduce in the wild). However, they look like huge white flowers, and they bloom throughout the year (and a bit more frequently in the springtime). This coupled with the plant’s broad, deep green leaves and general toughness and you’ve got the ideal flowering plant for the plant newb. The plant is also great about telling you what it needs — if the leaves droop, water it; if its leaves begin to yellow, give it less sun.

Water: When leaves droop
Brightness: Medium, Indirect

Bunny Ears Cactus

If You Want a Cactus: Treat these cacti (which also go by the name Angel Wings) properly and they’ll live as long as you do. As you might expect, infrequent watering and high, direct sunlight is preferred. Its spines don’t grow far from the pads, and it shouldn’t grow more than a couple of feet tall in a home environment.

Water: Every 2 to 3 weeks
Brightness: High, direct

Monstera

For that Mid-Century Aesthetic: Monstera Deliciosa goes by many names. Whatever you call it, it’s beautiful, grows quickly and changes shape. The leaves of the Monstera will grow some, begin to develop holes, then completely open up into a wide slated leaf. Unfettered and in a proper environment, they also grow incredibly fast, so be prepared to pare back new growth to save the plants around it.

Water: Weekly
Brightness: Medium, Indirect

Three Low-Effort Houseplants to Combat Winter Blues

Choose the wrong houseplant and routine maintenance becomes a chore — especially in the winter, when dark days compound with busy travel schedules. Read the Story

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