Perhaps you’re an aspiring indoor gardener – or one who’s tried to nurture houseplants but killed dozens in the past, despite your best efforts. In either case, don’t fear. Raising healthy, vibrant houseplants doesn’t have to be a mystery – and with the right plant, it may only require a few minutes of your time each month.
The key to successful indoor gardening is choosing a plant that can survive in the lighting conditions of your home, and then learning its watering requirements.
To compile a list of the 35 easiest houseplants to care for, 24/7 Tempo consulted numerous gardening sites and encyclopedia articles, paying particular attention to the basic lighting and watering needs of each plant.
Some plants require bright, direct sunlight for at least six to eight hours per day and will not thrive in a dark room no matter what. These plants will most likely need to be placed near a window with southern exposure. Other plants will suffer from direct sunlight, and should be kept away from windows. Once you’ve determined the lighting conditions of your home, you’re halfway there.
The next step is proper watering. Virtually no houseplant wants soggy roots, so be sure to pick a pot with drainage holes in the bottom. Additionally, the soil in the pot may hold too much moisture – which will cause a plant’s roots to rot – so pick the right soil for the plant. Succulents and other drought tolerant species will thrive in a sandy, cactus soil blend.
The key to watering any houseplant is to avoid overwatering. Pour in just enough water so that it begins to run out of the bottom of the pot. In general, plants either need consistent water (meaning never let the soil dry out), moderate water (meaning only water once the top inch of soil is dry), or are drought tolerant and prefer only to be watered once their soil is halfway or mostly dried out. If you tend to be forgetful, be sure to choose a drought tolerant variety.
Most indoor plants go through a dormant period in the winter, when they need much less water, so a good rule of thumb is to cut waterings in half in the cooler months. Other factors that can affect plant health are temperature and humidity. The plants we chose can generally thrive in average house temperatures and humidity.
Certain tropical plants that need very high humidity were eliminated from our list, as it can be difficult to maintain a humid environment indoors. (And we certainly don’t recommend that you try growing any of these – 35 of the weirdest plants on earth.)
We also eliminated air plants. Anyone who tells you that air plants are easy to care for is probably trying to sell you an air plant.
If you’re just beginning to raise houseplants, start slow, with one or two plants and learn their needs before acquiring more. Some plants can be toxic if ingested, so be sure to do research if you have a young child or a pet. (Here are the most common reasons people take their dog to the vet.)
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