Age-Old Wisdom meets Modern Tools
Our Favorite Indoor Plants for Beginners
Have you caught the houseplant bug? See our list of favorite easy-care houseplants and find the right one for your indoor space.
What Makes One Houseplant Easier Than Another?
All the houseplants on our list are easy to care for and largely fool-proof. Even so, some can be trickier than others. For this reason, we’ve divided the list into two categories: Very Easy and Easy (With a Twist).
Whether a plant is “easy-care” or not comes down to what conditions the plant can tolerate and how much attention it needs:
- Does it thrive in both bright and dim lighting?
- Can it tolerate being overwatered one week and underwatered the next?
- Is it sensitive to tap water, low humidity, or other factors that come with being indoors?
- Does it need special care during the winter?
…and so on!
Easy-Care Houseplants for Your Home
With that in mind, here’s our list of some of the easiest houseplants for beginners and fanatics alike.
These plants are pretty much bulletproof. They’re easy to find in stores (and thus, easy to replace if worst comes to worst) and don’t require much more than a basic level of care. They also have the ability to bounce back from common problems such as over- or underwatering, improper lighting, and fluctuating temperatures.
Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
Thanks to its hardy and prolific nature, the spider plant is a long-standing staple among houseplant-lovers. They thrive in bright, indirect light, but will grow happily in a dimmer location, too. After a while, spider plants will produce a chain of white flowers and “pups”—baby plants that hang down from the mother plant and add another element of interest.
See our Spider Plant Growing Guide for more information on caring for these plants!
Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana)
Ever seen those bundles of living “bamboo” for sale at the local supermarket? That’s lucky bamboo—a popular houseplant that is said to bring good fortune. In truth, this plant isn’t a type of bamboo at all, but has a similar look to the real thing and is nearly as difficult to kill. (As far as luckiness goes, you’ll have to find out for yourself!)
What makes lucky bamboo so easy is its toughness and adaptability. It can survive in a vase with just a bit of water and a layer of pebbles, or it can live comfortably planted in a pot of moist soil. It also doesn’t mind low light, though it will look its best when kept in a bright area and watered regularly.
Pothos or Devil’s Ivy (Epipremnum aureum)
Another classic, this vining plant looks best when it’s allowed to drape down a bookshelf or stretch around a bright window. With good care, it seems to just grow on forever! Readily available, tolerant of almost any lighting, and forgiving of most watering habits, pothos is a great houseplant to start out with. Plus, it’s super easy to make cuttings of pothos to share with friends.
For added interest, keep an eye out for varieties such as ‘Marble Queen’ or ‘Pearls and Jade’, which have attractive, green-and-white leaves.
Cast-Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior)
The name says it all—these plants are tough as, well, cast iron! This hardy houseplant will thrive in parts of the home where others wouldn’t. Obstacles like low light, low humidity, and less-than-ideal watering habits are shrugged off by the cast-iron plant.
Cast-iron plants produce large, dark-green leaves on thin stems, which gives them a very tropical look. Variegated types—either with off-white stripes or spots—are also available, for added interest.
Cast iron plant. Photo by Nino Barbieri/Wikimedia Commons.
Easy (With a Twist)
These plants, though still very easy, can occasionally present problems for beginners due to their sensitivity to some aspects of care—watering especially. But as long as you can adapt your watering habits to their watering needs, these plants are otherwise care-free!
Jade Plant (Crassula ovata)
The jade plant is a long-lived, slow-growing succulent that is well accustomed to warm, dry environments, like the inside of a home. With proper care, jades tend to form a thick, tree-like trunk, grow no more than a few feet tall, and live for generations.
The beauty of the jade plant is that it doesn’t ask for much—just bright light and the occasional deep watering. It also doesn’t mind being pot-bound (in fact, keeping jades a little constricted will keep them small and more manageable), so repotting is an infrequent practice.
The thing that puts jades a step above “very easy” is that they are quick to drop their leaves if watered improperly, kept in too little light, or exposed to cold temperatures. Jade plants require infrequent but deep waterings to thrive. Read more about their care in our Jade Plant Growing Guide.
Some species of jade plant can develop colorful foliage in bright light. Photo by Mauricio Acosta Rojas/Shutterstock.
Snake Plant or Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Sansevieria spp.)
Simple, yet stately, the snake plant is a hardy houseplant that tolerates low light and prefers infrequent watering. Place it in a dim corner where no other plant will survive and it will stand there, upright and happy as ever (though a bright location will really bring out its true colors).
Thanks to its pointed, tongue-shaped foliage, this plant also commonly goes by the name Mother-in-Law’s Tongue. Snake plants come from semi-arid parts of Africa, where the climate is temperate and somewhat dry, so keep in mind “less is more” when it comes to watering this plant.
Today, there are quite a few oddball Sansevieria available. ‘Whale Fin’ (S. masoniana), for example, produces large, mottled leaves that resemble fins sticking out of the water. Sansevieria cylindrica has—you guessed it—cylindrical leaves that look like green spikes emerging from the earth.
Read our Snake Plant Growing Guide for more advice.
Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii)
Thanks to its penchant for wilting when thirsty, this plant has been labeled a drama queen by some. We, on the other hand, recognize that the peace lily just knows what it likes… and happens to be very expressive about it.
The peace lily is a moisture loving houseplant, preferring not to dry out too much and wilting rather extremely if “neglected.” It readily bounces back to life, however, when rehydrated.
With its love of moisture and humidity, and the fact that it does very well in low-light areas, the peace lily is a great houseplant for a dim bathroom or kitchen. At the same time, its pickiness can be a source of frustration for those of us who aren’t consistent with waterings.
See our Peacy Lily Growing Guide for more information about this attractive plant.
Cacti & Succulents (Including Aloe vera)
When you live in an arid environment, you need to be very good at storing water. Cacti and succulents have excelled at this by developing thick, fleshy foliage that is perfect for holding onto moisture during periods of drought. This makes them a great houseplant choice for those of us who can be a little forgetful when it comes to watering (we’ve all been there), as they thrive on neglect.
Provided you keep these desert plants in a warm, bright area and are mindful of watering too much, they make for very easy houseplants. Overwatering is by far the number one issue with houseplants in general, but especially with cacti and succulents. They should be kept in well-draining soil and only watered when the soil has mostly dried out.
Other Easy Houseplants for Your Collection
There are a ton more easy houseplants out there! If none of the above piqued your interest, consider trying one of these instead:
- Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema spp.)
- Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera spp.)
- Corn Plant (Dracaena fragrans)
- Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia spp.)
- Dwarf Umbrella Tree (Schefflera arboricola)
- Garden Croton (Codiaeum variegatum)
- Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)
- ZZ Plant (Zamioculca zamiifolia)
What’s your favorite easy-care houseplant? Let us know in the comments.
Find more houseplant types and care tips: