Inspired @ Home

Inspired @ Home

How to Pick the Right Indoor Plants

By: Staff Published: June 22, 2023

You want to have a home full of leafy and floral plants like the gorgeous, lush interiors you’ve seen on social media. But you think you have a black thumb, or you’re just not sure how to start your plant collection.

You’ve come to the right place. We’ll walk you through all the best beginner plants, from the hard-to-kill to the easy-to-propagate, so you can create the plant-filled house of your dreams.

Why does it matter which plants you choose?

You might think any indoor plant will work for you, but you should think about your wishes for your selections and their potential consequences.

  • You don’t want your plant to die, and it could if the conditions in your home aren’t a good match for its needs — or if the plant requires more work than you’re prepared to do.
  • You want to keep your kids and pets safe. Some plants, as attractive as they are, also are toxic if eaten.
  • You want to use a planter you love, and the plant you place in it should be able to thrive.
  • You want your plants to be happy in your space.
  • You want to fit your plants to your lifestyle — just like a pet! After all, they’ll become living members of your family.

These are just a few reasons to be careful with your plant decisions.

ladder shelf with plants

If you live in a small space, choose plants that you can display on shelving.

What should you consider?

While a lot of plants do thrive inside, you’ll need to weigh other factors beyond their suitability to a confined life. We suggest asking yourself the following questions to help you narrow down your choices before you go to your local nursery or garden center. That way, you’ll be less likely to get overwhelmed or be tempted to bring all the plants home with you!

  1. How much space do you have? If you live in a small apartment, skip the large tree and a cartful of flowering houseplants. However, if you envision decorating your sunroom with plants, go for it! (We’ll give you other tips on which ones to choose later.)
  2. Do you have pets or kids? How old and how active are they indoors? If they’re young and tend to run around a lot, sturdier plants or ones you can keep completely out of reach will be your best bet. Also, do research or inquire at the nursery to learn which plants are non-toxic. If your favorite plants are toxic, you might still be able to have them. Just be mindful of where you put them in your home.
  3. What is the light like in every area of your home you’d like to add a plant to? Some plants require direct sunlight for a certain number of hours per day, while others do better with indirect sunlight or even low light. Keep in mind, though, that some plants can do well on a rotation schedule of no light and natural light. It will just mean you’ll have to play plant mover on a regular basis.
  4. What kinds of plants speak to you? Delicate? Blooming? Cactuses? Palms? Tall ones or sprawling ones? Spend some time browsing inspiration and see what appeals to you most. Maybe create a Pinterest board, snap photos of friends’ plants or go old-school and clip pictures from magazines.
  5. How much time do you have to troubleshoot, water and prune? Be realistic with yourself. The last thing you want is to have invested in a gorgeous plant or two only to have taking care of them cause you stress — or have them die of neglect.
  6. How much do you want the plant to grow? Some plants can remain manageable with pruning or they can flourish with the proper care. Others, like some cacti, will remain small no matter what.

What are some easy plants for first-timers?

Unless you’re a quick learner or you love a challenge, you’ll probably prefer to start your new life as a plant dad or mom with a relatively easy plant to care for.
We’ve assembled a list of good starter plants to help you begin generating your own at-home nursery.

  • Succulents: They may sound delicious, but you don’t eat them (usually). Picture cactuses, aloe and the like. They’re characterized as drought-resistant with fleshy leaves. What this means for plant parents is that they don’t take much attention from you. In fact, overwatering can kill them. They also don’t need a lot of light, so you can display them almost anywhere (just not directly in front of a south-facing window). Be aware that some succulents might require specific soil. Just ask your neighborhood garden center expert if the succulent you’re planning on giving a new home will need special treatment.
  • Boston fern: With its fluffy leaves and full-bodied profile, the Boston fern beautifies your indoor spaces. It’s a great plant for a high humidity room, although you can always supplement humidity with some gentle misting twice a week. Boston fern tolerates low light well, making it the perfect indoor plant. Water regularly, keeping soil moist but not too soggy. Because this plant grows slowly, you won’t need to repot frequently.
  • Snake plants: Not only are snake plants not poisonous, but they’ve actually been shown to clean the air of toxins like formaldehyde. How can you return the favor and care for them? You won’t have much heavy lifting with these plants. Give them a home with indirect sunlight, let their soil dry out before watering it again and add a bit of general-purpose fertilizer to the pot.
  • snake plant on bookshelf

    Snake plants are low-maintenance and add visual interest with their monochromatic variegated leaves.

  • Spider plants: An evergreen perennial flowering plant, the spider plant is so called because of its many narrow leaves that curve downward like an arachnid’s legs. It also produces “babies” that hang from the original plant. Make sure the soil is well-drained and it’s in a bright spot with indirect light. Water well but don’t overdo it. Before you know it, you’ll have thriving plants!
  • Jade plants: Who doesn’t want to grow a money tree? Jade plants are commonly known as a lucky plant, money plant or money tree. Lucky for new plant parents, jade plants don’t take a lot of work to keep them alive and happy. You will need to check the soil regularly. When it feels dry, give it some water. Find a sunny window for its home and you’ll bring prosperity to the plant (and maybe to yourself!).

jade plant in a pot

Jade plants have a long lifespan – up to 100 years – and are known for their resiliency.

Choose one or more of these plants and set off on your plant life journey then shop for indoor planters and garden tools.

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