Houseplants 101: How to Make Your Home an Oasis of Greenery

Houseplants are a beautiful way to liven up your space and add a bit of responsibility into your life. If you want to become a plant parent but don’t know where to start, here’s your guide to choosing and caring for houseplants.

houseplants in a bright apartment

By

Sam Fujikawa

on

Jan 21, 2021

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There is something special about a home filled with plants. Maybe it’s the better air quality or the vibrant sight of greenery, but you can’t deny that a gorgeous collection of houseplants elevates a home’s overall appearance and feeling. If you are not yet a plant parent but love the way that snake plants reach for the ceiling or ferns spread across a countertop, then it’s about time that you bite the bullet and start your own collection of houseplants!

Many prospective plant parents may feel a little unsure about how to correctly choose and care for the houseplants that they want to add to their homes. Nevertheless, we promise you that most plants are a lot less complicated than they appear to be, and with the suggestions and tips we’ve laid out for you, you’ll be a proud plant parent in no time!

Choosing the Perfect Houseplant for You

Find out which houseplants will best work for you and your home.

A woman selects a red bromeliad in a gardening shop.
With plenty of options to choose from, the market of houseplants can be overwhelming for a novice indoor gardener.

When looking for houseplants, it’s important to recognize your ability as a caretaker as well as your home environment before purchasing a plant. To find out which plants fit your lifestyle the best, simply ask yourself a couple of basic questions before selecting a species to introduce into your home. Are you a novice or beginner when it comes to plants and indoor gardening? Are you a proud parent of pets that may find certain species toxic and poisonous? By answering these two simple questions, you’ll be well-equipped with the basic knowledge that you need to find plants that will fit your abilities, home, and lifestyle!

The Perfect Plants for Beginners

All plant parents have to start somewhere, and just because you’ve never had the chance to care for a plant of your own, doesn’t mean there are not tons of plant varieties that are perfect for developing a green thumb of your own!

Succulent Plants: Cute and Hardy

Windowsill of succulent plants
Spiky, thorny, or squiggly. These fun little plants are perfect for novice plant caretakers.

Arguably some of the easiest plants to take care of, succulents provide a winning combination of decorative appeal and easy care. Requiring little to no water—less is always more with succulents—these hardy desert plants are perfect for newbies looking to up their plant game.

Great for almost any place in the house—desktops, bathroom counters, kitchen tables, you name it—succulents are an awesome choice for anyone looking to spruce up her home without worrying about spending a lot of time on maintenance and care. With so many types of these cute indoor plants to choose from, you will have no problem finding the time and space to add a succulent plant into your home!

Pothos Plants: Purifying and Forgiving

Pothos plant in turquoise planter
Pure and pretty, pothos will look lovely in anybody’s home, even a beginner’s!

These gorgeous, trailing plants are nature’s air purifier, according to a study of the plant conducted by NASA. While their ability to remove toxins from the air is super advanced, pothos plants are incredibly forgiving and require only a little bit of work, making them perfect for beginners!

If you are interested in purchasing a pothos for your home, then you should know that pothos plants only require watering once their soil is dry—an easy indication for any level gardener! The great thing about pothos is that these plants usually make their condition visible through their leaves, letting you know when they are thriving with a bright green color, or whether they need a bit of extra time, love, and care with browning or drooping leaves.

Snake Plants: Striking and Simple

Large snake plant
With a distinctive shape and cool leaf pattern, snake plants make for a striking addition to a beginning plant parent’s home.

Featuring stark and straight leaves that shoot up from the soil, snake plants provide a simple elegance within your home with little to no fuss. This hardy plant doesn’t require a lot of water—like pothos plants, it’s better to let them dry out in between waterings—and grow their best when in indirect sunlight.

If you’re looking for a really striking plant to add to your home that requires only a little bit of work, then the snake plant may be the plant for you!

Spider Plants: Stunning and Adaptable

Sprawling spider plant
This awesome houseplant doubles as a beautiful accessory to boost your indoor home appeal!

Spider plants feature a truly stunning appearance, sporting a collection of falling leaves that seem to shoot out of their planters, ultimately creating a look that is simultaneously fun and stylish!

These cool houseplants are super adaptable, with the ability to grow in most conditions! While they don’t require a lot of plant care, you may find yourself with browning leaf tips, which you can easily fix with a pair of scissors and a little bit of precision. Spider plants are sure to impress any visitors you have, who will be shocked to discover just how easy this stunning species is to care for!

Peace Lilies: Bold and Beautiful

Peace lily
If your home is in need of tranquility and beauty, then the peace lily is the perfect plant for you!

Featuring a striking white center—which actually is a spathe and spadix—the peace lily is a gorgeous indoor plant that is perfect for beginners and advanced indoor gardeners alike. Like pothos, peace lilies have a stamp of approval from NASA, who noted the plant’s ability to purify the air of toxins and organic chemicals.

When this pretty plant species is thirsty, it will let you know by slightly drooping, indicating that it’s time for a watering. Peace lilies are great for beginners looking for a multi-purpose plant, since the plant provides beauty, air purification, and life into your home. With just a little bit of labor, you can enjoy all of the benefits peace lilies offer!

The Purr-fect Plants for Pet Owners

If you have a furry friend living alongside you and are looking to add some greenery into your home, it’s extremely important to look for plants that are safe for pets. You don’t want to accidentally poison your pet with a plant that you didn’t know was toxic! Luckily, there are plenty of great options for pet owners looking for a little bit of plant life in their abodes.

Orchids: Elegant and Vibrant

Array of pink and white orchids
These gorgeous flowers require a bit of work but are worth it for their next level looks!

Orchids are a breathtaking variety of flowers that bring an incomparable elegance to your interior—all while being non-toxic to both dogs and cats!

While these gorgeous flowers do require a fair amount of work to keep them looking happy and healthy, orchids are great additions to any animal-friendly home that is looking for a bit of beauty!

Bird’s Nest Ferns: Funky and Vivacious

Bird's Nest Fern
With a jaw-dropping appearance, this funky plant will have your friends impressed!

These super fun plants flaunt unique leaves that create an overall appearance that is compelling and distinctive. Whereas the classic fern does best with constantly moist soil, the bird’s nest fern is a bit more forgiving, requiring care that can tolerate a few missed waterings.

If your feline or canine pal has a funky flair to them, and you want a plant to match, this non-toxic fern is perfect for you!

Some other great non-toxic plants to check out:

If you’re looking for some additional pet-friendly plants to add to your home, here are a few other great options for you:

Caring for the New Plant Additions to Your Home

You don’t need to be born with a green thumb for (most) plants, but there are still some tricks you should know to become a successful plant parent.

Soil mix and planters for houseplants
While we like to believe that all houseplants are created equally, they don’t all require the same amount of work or maintenance.

When getting into the game of indoor gardening, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of vocabulary and information that is thrown at you almost immediately. Watering techniques, lighting terminology, plant food, and soil types are all important information that you need to know, but you don’t have to let all of this knowledge scare you away from committing to a new plant!

We’re here to break down what you need to know when caring for your new plants and how to figure out what all of this means in terms of your plants!

Intro to Water: Ensuring Your Plants are Being Appropriately Watered

Watering can next to small cactus houseplant
Watering plants is essential for successful growth and plant life.

It can be intimidating to know that both overwatering and underwatering can be detrimental to your plants, but do not fear. When trying to figure out when to water your plants, your best bet is not a rigid schedule but rather to listen to your plants—they will let you know when they need to be watered!

A quick Google search will let you know what your specific plant requires when it comes to water (constantly moist soil, dry soil in between waterings, etc.), and your plant will show when your watering is doing more harm than good. If your plant is looking a little less than perfect, Google remains your best friend. Look up what symptoms of over or underwatering appear to be for your plant, and hopefully you can easily fix your plant with a bit of troubleshooting!

If you’re in doubt of whether you’ve watered your plant enough, underwatering is almost always better and safer than overwatering, as you won’t have to deal with tricky and troublesome problems like root rot. Don’t feel bad if you can’t get your watering down perfectly at first. Plants are living creatures that require a bit of getting used to in order to thrive!

Direct Light, Indirect Light, Low Light, Oh My! Making Sure Your Plants are Getting Enough Vitamin D

When you first purchase your plant, you most likely will find a handy little piece of paper or tag indicating how much light your new greenery needs to do its best. Proper light is vital for plant health, as light provides these organisms the energy they need to create food and correctly function!

To ensure that your plant is getting the right amount of light in your home, you can use your window’s direction as your plant light guide, with North-facing windows providing the least amount of light, East and West-facing windows providing an indirect amount of light, and South-facing window providing direct light for your plant.

Plants Need “Food” Too: Fertilizers to Keep Your Plants Healthy

Many seedlings perfect for your home
Fertilizers provide plants with essential micro and macronutrients that will keep your plant in tip-top shape.

While everyone knows that plants need water, it’s far less known that the most beautiful and stunning plants are those that are properly fed with a nutrient-rich fertilizer. To begin fertilizing, it’s not as straightforward as watering, where the plant often tells you when it needs some H2O.

For fertilizing, it’s best to stick to a seasonal fertilization schedule that regularly feeds your plants according to their growth rate.

If you’re looking for the best plant food and fertilizers for your houseplants, we recommend checking out Jack’s Classic 20-20-20 All Purpose Fertilizer for a no-fuss option or asking your local greenhouse what they recommend for your specific plants.

Soiling Your Plants: Soil that Won’t Spoil Your Plants

If you’re not thinking about the soil in your houseplants, think again! Not all store-bought soils are created equally, and it’s vital to know what type of “soil” your plant needs, whether that be classic potting soil or soilless potting mix.

For the best indoor potting soils, we recommend checking out your local garden or home improvement store for a full selection of varieties, and make sure to ask an expert on hand at the store for some advice!

Wooden bench with houseplants on it
With so many fun varieties to choose from and care for, indoor plants make some of the best decor and companions for any person’s home!

Taking care of plants doesn’t have to be a daunting and scary process, as there is no food better for the soul, no process that connects you to nature like caring for a little piece of mother Earth herself! Whether you are looking to spruce your home up for your own wellbeing or to make your place look perfect for potential buyers, adding some houseplants to your interior is an easy and fulfilling way to add liveliness and beauty into any room!

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June 26, 2020
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