Best House Plants for People with a Brown Thumb
So, you just moved into your new apartment. You’d like to decorate your space like a pro but you’re missing one final touch: a little leafy friend! A houseplant is a perfect addition to transforming an impersonal living space into a cozy home.
But, like some of us, you may have some difficulty keeping your potted pal alive and well. If you have a brown thumb and manage to kill the simplest of organisms, this article is for you. We’ve outlined some low-maintenance yet tasteful house plants which will survive even the most clueless gardener’s mishaps.
After reading through our recommendations, be sure to check the dependable Old Farmer’s Almanac Growing Guide, which has a comprehensive guide on how to care for each of the plants on our list.
Sometimes referred to as “devil’s Ivy” due to its extreme resilience, pothos is nearly impossible to kill. Pothos does best in a hanging planter. This allows the plant to grow elegant, hanging vines and keeps it out of the way of dogs and cats. This is, unfortunately, one downside to this otherwise ideal houseplant: it’s poisonous to furry friends!
The jade plant is a favorite among succulent enthusiasts and gardening novices alike. This pretty little evergreen is often considered a symbol of luck and prosperity. As a succulent, jade does best with sparse watering and plenty of sunlight. If you live in an area with little natural light, consider purchasing a grow light. Artificial lighting is a good solution for people who have a passion for plants but live in a place where sunlight is scarce.
The snake plant is sometimes referred to as mother-in-law’s tongue. This is due to its leaves’ sharp, pointed form and its tendency to criticize you on the tidiness of your home and how well-behaved your children are (okay, maybe the last two are exaggerations). In any case, this plant is native to West Africa and doesn’t enjoy being overhydrated. We suggest investing in a small indoor watering can for plants like these to avoid overwatering. Overhydration is bad for all of the plants on our list and can cause diseases such as root rot.
The spider plant’s long, leafy look can add a gentle touch of green to any room in your home. And despite its creepy name, this plant won’t bring any arachnids into your apartment. In fact, NASA has conducted studies which prove that the spider plant, along with the snake plant and the golden pothos, filters the air indoors. To keep this air-filtering buddy fresh and fit, be sure to trim off dying leaves with a tool like this handy micro-tip pruning snip.
Just like jade, aloe vera is a succulent, which means you should only water this spiky plant when necessary and provide it with plenty of light. Aloe vera is beloved for its medicinal purposes. The slippery gel which you can harvest from its leaves can be used as a treatment for skin conditions such as acne and psoriasis. These sweet and simple ceramic planter pots have a drainage hole, which is useful for avoiding overwatering.
Lavender is simply too versatile and aesthetically refreshing to exclude from our list. It’s playful light-purple stalks and pleasant scent make it a favorite for any kitchen or bedroom. The flowers can be used for a plethora of DIY projects. Find the perfect recipe or DIY craft to get the most out of your lavender plant with this Lavender Lovers Handbook by Sarah Berringer Bader, an experienced lavender farmer from Oregon, USA.
English Ivy is a classically beautiful plant with dainty hanging vines. It adds an unparalleled charm to any home, despite its reputation as an invasive species in some regions of the world. However, when contained to a hanging basket, this plant won’t bring any harm to your other plants. Be sure to provide some support to English Ivy’s vines if necessary with this mini trellis.
If you’re feeling a bit ambitious and have some extra space in your home, then maybe a ficus tree is the right choice for you! This leafy tree offers a great splash of green into any room that needs a somewhat larger decorative solution. Be sure to give the ficus tree plenty of indirect sunlight. Invest in a nice misting bottle to get the perfect balance of hydration for the ficus tree; this provides additional moisture during dry spells without over watering your plant.
Ah, the classic cactus. A favorite among young adults just starting to branch out into the world of horticulture, this prickly plant is notorious for being difficult to kill. The stubborn, rough nature of the cactus makes it a symbol of perseverance (and the perfect complement to a pet hedgehog). Try your hand at growing your own with this cactus growing kit.
Okay, maybe you’re looking for something totally different to add a unique, natural flair to your space. Tillandsia, also known as air plants, require very little maintenance. They are special because they require absolutely no soil. That’s right, just plop them in a simple glass terrarium, mist them with water every couple of days, and enjoy the simple beauty of any of the many variations of this plant species. One last tip: be environmentally friendly and aim for buying plants which have been cultivated, not harvested from the wild. Harvesting these plants from the wild can damage or disrupt the ecosystem, so be environmentally-friendly and purchase cultivated tillandsia.