The Ultimate Guide to Houseplants

by | Last updated Mar 25, 2022

Houseplants Guide

Houseplants are a great way to brighten up any room, and they also have some major health benefits. If you’re new to houseplants or just looking for some new inspiration, this guide is for you. I’ll share my favorite tips for keeping your plants healthy and happy, as well as some of the best kinds of plants to grow indoors. Let’s get started!

What are houseplants and why should you have them?

If you’re like me, you probably spend a lot of time in your home – and you want your home to be a place that welcomes you and makes you feel comfortable. Houseplants can add some great decoration while also increasing humidity and providing oxygen. They can also provide us with the means to reduce stress and improve our mental and physical health.

Houseplants are much more than decoration – they can improve our health. According to the NASA Clean Air Study, houseplants can reduce some of the most common pollutants found in our homes such as benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene. They also increase oxygen levels and humidity, which can help to ease breathing problems. Studies have also shown that just having houseplants in the room lowers stress levels.

Houseplants filter out some of the chemicals found in our homes, while providing more oxygen and improving indoor air quality.

When it comes to houseplants, you’ve got quite a few options. Not every plant works for everyone and it’s important to find one that fits your needs and lifestyle. Here are some of the best kinds of plants to grow:

How to choose the right plants for your home

When you’re first starting out, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the types of houseplants available! If you keep a couple of things in mind when selecting your plants, you should be able to narrow them down based on size, location, and light needs. Here are a few factors that will help you decide:

Size – Some houseplants can grow up to 3 feet tall, so consider where you plan to put your plant before you select it. Also, try to match up the size of the pot with the size of your home or office space. If you have a small apartment or dorm room, you’ll probably want to avoid large plants. However, if you’re able to give the plant some room to grow, bigger isn’t necessarily better!

Location – If your plant is going in a living room or other common space, make sure it’s somewhere where everyone can enjoy it. If the plant is in a private office or bedroom, you can opt for a smaller plant or a more unusual variety.

Lighting Requirements – Houseplants come with a wide range of light needs, so know what your plant requires before you bring it home. Don’t place plants with low lighting requirements next to windows that only receive direct sunlight for a few hours each day! A good rule of thumb is to find a plant that’s native to your area, and select one with similar lighting needs if you’re unsure.

Types of Houseplants

Indoor plants come in many shapes and sizes but mainly come down to a few different types of plant species. Succulents, cacti, and tropicals are all examples of types of plants that thrive indoors. There are thousands of houseplants to choose from – you’re sure to find at least one that will suit your needs.

succulents
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Succulents – If you’re looking for a small plant with low maintenance, you might want to try a succulent. Succulents are water-storing plants that have thick leaves or stems, which makes them more likely to survive long periods without being watered. They come in all shapes and sizes so there’s something for everyone! A few of my favorites are Aloe , Fenestraria (baby toes), and Lithops .

cacti
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Cacti – If you love the look of cacti but don’t want prickles all over your house, you can always opt for a cactus plant instead. Cacti come in all shapes and sizes and bloom year-round. I love how colorful some of them can be! Some great choices for cacti are Hatiora ( Easter Cactus), Epiphyllum (Orchid Cactus), and Hylocereus (dragon fruit).

tropical houseplants
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Tropicals – If you’re looking for a larger plant that’s easy to care for, it’s hard to go wrong with tropical houseplants. They add such a beautiful natural look and come in all thicknesses and colors. I love Anthurium, Philodendron, Clivia, Spathiphyllum (peace lily) and Ficus.

indoor palms
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Palms – There’s no denying that palms make a great addition to any indoor space. Not only do they look incredibly elegant, but they also help filter toxins from the air, making them especially perfect for the bedroom. Most palms come from areas with high humidity and indirect sunlight, so you’ll need to mimic these conditions as closely as possible. Lucky for you, most palms aren’t too difficult to care for and can grow up to 30 feet tall! My favorites are Rhapis (Lady Palm), Dictyosperma, and Kentiopsis.

ferns
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Ferns – You can find ferns everywhere from the woods to your local Home Depot. These plants are super easy to care for, making them great choices for beginning houseplant owners! Most ferns come from tropical environments with high humidity, so you’ll need to make sure they’re never allowed to dry out. You can even keep them in your bathroom to add some humidity back into the air! My favorites are Pteris (brake ferns), Nephrolepis (sword ferns), and Davallia.

How to take care of your indoor plants

It’s exciting to bring a new plant home, but plants aren’t always as easy to care for as we’d like them to be. Good news: you don’t have to be a botanist or an expert gardener in order to keep your plants happy and healthy! Here are the things I do every day with my plants at home.

Water – This is probably the most important thing to take care of, so I always start by making sure my plants have enough water. You can keep an eye on your plant’s soil, but it’s always good to check the instructions that came with your plant too. For example, some plants require soaking in water for a certain amount of time each week, while others only need water every few weeks.

Lighting – I try to be as consistent as possible with the lighting requirements that came with my plants. This might mean moving them so they get sunlight earlier or later than usual, or moving lights if the plant is too close or too far away from a window. If you’re home lacks sufficient natural light your best bet would be to invest in indoor grow lights.

Soil – Choosing the right soil for your houseplants is one of the most important things you can do. There are many options but we always opt for an affordable organic option. Learn more about the best soil for indoor plants here.

Humidity – Most houseplants love humidity, so I try to mist them with a spray bottle at least once a day. If the plant is large or has particularly thick leaves, it might not be necessary to mist it as much.

Fertilizer – This isn’t essential for all plants, but if you have some that need extra nutrients, I like to use an organic liquid fertilizer. Fertilizer can be tricky because you want to avoid over-fertilizing your plants, so I only do it about twice a month.

What kinds of houseplants are easiest to take care of?

When it comes to taking care of houseplants, some plants are easier than others! Plants like aloe, cactus, and succulents are naturally low-maintenance. Bamboo plants need to be watered every few days; spider plants only need to be watered around once a week; ficus trees can occasionally dry out between watering.

As you can see, there are many different types of houseplants that you can choose from! If you’re new to plants, make sure to do some research before choosing the right plant for your space.

Best houseplants for beginners

As I mentioned before, there are so many different houseplants out there to choose from. If it’s your first time while plant shopping, you might be overwhelmed by the sheer number of options. Here are some great plants for beginners that are easy to care for!

aloe
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Aloe – Aloe is one of my all-time favorite indoor plants. It’s great for kids because they love to play with the gel inside of the leaves, and even across your skin if you injure yourself. This plant only needs water every few days, so it works well in offices or places where you can’t spend much time caring for plants.

snake plant
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Snake Plant – Another great choice for beginners is the snake plant, or mother-in-law’s tongue. This plant has tall and narrow leaves and only needs water every few weeks. It’s also great for people with pets because it can survive in low light areas and doesn’t require frequent watering.

bamboo
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Bamboo – Bamboo plants are beautiful but difficult to care for, so they’re best suited for people who are more experienced with houseplants. They need to be watered just once a week, and can go longer periods without food. I recommend having another plant on hand in case your bamboo dies – you’ll want something easier to take care of right away!

cactus
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Cactus – Cactus is another great beginner plant that only needs water every few weeks, and requires lots of sunlight to thrive. I recommend putting cactus in a pot where it’s easier to reach the water spout, which is usually located at the bottom of a container.

The importance of watering your plants properly 

One of the most important things to remember when caring for houseplants is that they need a balance of water and sunlight. Plants can suffer from root rot or wilt if they’re over-watered, while underwatering can lead to yellow leaves and growth problems.

The best way to determine how much water your plants need is by checking the soil. Stick your finger about one to two inches into the soil, and if it feels dry, you should water your plant. If it’s moist, wait a few days until watering again.

If possible, try to use a container with a spout near the bottom to make it easier for you to pour, or invest in a self-watering plant stand. Doing so will save you the hassle of having to remember when to water your plants each day!

Houseplants are a fun way to add personality and life into any space, while also purifying the air. However, it’s important that you understand how much light and water your plant needs before bringing it home!

Why it’s important to give your plant some sunlight every day

Most plants require a specific amount of sunlight to thrive. Check which plants will grow well in your area, and try to give them as much natural light as possible. If you live in an apartment or other place where plants might not get enough sunlight each day, here are some ideas for how to naturally increase the amount of light they’re exposed to:

Choose a south-facing window or sunroom. During the winter months, let as much sunlight in as possible! Use mirrors to reflect light from the windows onto your plants. If you’re out for part of the day and don’t want your houseplants to dry out, invest in a self-watering plant stand that will monitor moisture levels.

It’s important to make sure your plants get enough natural light for at least half of the day (if not more!). If your apartment or house doesn’t have many windows, look into getting a grow light that is specific to plants’ needs!

Most Popular Houseplants

Nowadays, indoor plants are about as common as the coffee pot on the kitchen counter. With the growing popularity of indoor plants a few species have pulled ahead as fan favorites. This list includes some of the most popular houseplants that are on the market today.

spider plant
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Spider Plant

One of the most popular houseplants on the market is the spider plant. It’s great for beginners because it doesn’t require much effort to keep them alive, and they’re especially good at purifying air. They can be kept in bright or moderate light, but not direct sunlight.

snake plant
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Snake Plant

Another great choice for beginner plant enthusiasts is the snake plant. It might be hard to believe by looking at it, but this plant can survive in almost anything. The snake plant does best when kept outdoors in the shade during summer months, then inside near a sunny window during winter. They can also handle being under fluorescent lights!

monstera
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Monstera

Monstera is a plant that’s growing in popularity for many reasons. First, it can grow up to five feet tall and doesn’t need much water. It also happens to be one of the best plants at filtering out harmful chemicals from your home!

peace lily
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Peace Lily

For those who prefer to have lush greenery in their home without having to spend too much time caring for their plants, the peace lily might be your best option. This plant is also great at purifying air and can tolerate low light. However, it’s important to remember that peace lilies are poisonous if eaten, so they should be kept out of reach from children or pets!

Wrapping Up

Now that you are well versed in the types of houseplants, how to choose one and how to care for them, we can confidently say you can add a fun and outdoorsy touch to your home. Remember, these plants will also purify the air so it’s important to have them in any room of the house!

To wrap up our indoor plant guide, here are some of the most common questions that come up when people are looking to buy a houseplant.

FAQs

What are the health benefits of houseplants?

Houseplants have been proven to reduce stress, better your mood, help you sleep better and boost your mental health. Read more here.

What is the easiest houseplant to take care of?

When it comes to taking care of houseplants, some plants are easier than others! Plants like aloe, cactus, and succulents are naturally low-maintenance.

Do I need to put my houseplant in direct sunlight?

Most plants grow best when they have at least 6 hours of bright, indirect sunlight each day. However, there are only a few types of plants that can handle being in direct sunlight. If you notice your plant is getting burnt leaves, try moving it to a shadier area.

How often should I water my houseplant?

Most houseplants require watering once every 1-3 weeks depending on the type of soil and exposure to sunlight they have. Again, if you can see or feel that the soil is dry, it’s time to water!

What type of soil should I use for houseplants?

Typically, most household plants do best with a mix that is equal parts (by volume) peat and sand and then some fertilizer mixed in. This mixture allows for proper drainage and aeration, which can help prevent root rot. Don’t be afraid to experiment with other types of soil, such as cactus potting mix.

What type of pot should I use?

This question is really dependent on your preference and the style that you’re going for in your house or apartment. Typically, you’ll want to choose a pot that compliments the decor and style of your home (if it’s an indoor plant). However, if you’re looking to add a pop of color or design you can opt for a different type of pot.

What is the best way to propagate my plant?

The best types of propagation involve allowing your root system to grow in a container full of moist soil so new roots begin growing off the bottom and new leaves start growing out the top. These new plants can then be cut off and either transplanted into their own pot or given to friends and family!

If you’re looking for a way to add life and beauty to your home, look no further than houseplants. With so many types of greenery available on the market today, we hope this guide has inspired you to bring the outdoors in!

Shelbi Clifford

Shelbi Clifford

Hi, I'm Shelbi! I am the founder of Houseplant Advisor - a blog for all things houseplants. Whether you are looking to add some green to your home or want to learn about how plants can help improve air quality in your space, Houseplant Advisor is here with the answers. Do you have any questions? Feel free to reach out and ask me anything!

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