12 Houseplants for Beginners [Guide to Caring for Them]


If you’ve been considering bringing a bit of nature into your home or freshening up your living room aesthetics, a houseplant or two may be just what you need. Entering the world of indoor gardening with little to no knowledge of plants can be overwhelming. Luckily, there is a way out of this labyrinth.

On that note, here are 12 houseplants for beginners and everything you need to know about their proper care and maintenance.

Houseplants for Beginners

Houseplants can bring more into your life than just beauty and aesthetics. A 2015 study, published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, has shown that plants have a positive effect on our psychological health. Welcoming plants into your home can improve your mood, help lower anxiety, and even reduce fatigue. Plants are known to increase oxygen levels and reduce dust which will help lessen your headaches and ease the symptoms of respiratory ailments.

1. Wandering Jew

  • Botanical name: Tradescantia zebrina
  • Common name: Inch plant
  • Origin: Mexico and Guatemala
  • Color: Green heart-shaped leaves covered with purple stripes with a silvery-gray sheen
  • Size: This plant’s stems can grow up to 2 feet long while its leaves grow no longer than 2.5 inches


Inch plants are great houseplants for beginners because of their robust nature. They have a quick growth rate and are very rewarding plants.

  • Light – filtered, indirect sunlight
  • Water – once a week during summer and spring; every other week during winter
  • Soil – enjoys moist soil and needs a lightweight soil mixture

Where should you keep it?

The Wandering Jew performs best when it receives filtered, indirect sunlight. If it starts losing foliage, however, it should be moved to a brighter place. It is a good indoor plant that thrives in cooler environments.

Expert gardener’s advice

  • The Wandering Jew is not pet or child-friendly, so it is best to keep it out of their reach.
  • When grown outdoors, this plant can produce three-petaled lavender flowers but it rarely blooms inside.

2. ZZ Plant

  • Botanical name: Zamioculcas zamiifolia
  • Common name: Eternity plant, Aroid Palm, Zanzibar Gem
  • Origin: Kenya and South Africa
  • Color: Deep green oval leaves
  • Size: Can grow up to 35 inches


Zanzibar Gems are top choice houseplants for beginners who are looking for large to medium-sized plants.

  • Light – ample, indirect sunlight
  • Water – twice a month when its soil is fully dry
  • Soil – use a standard potting mix

The eternity plant comes with fronds carrying oval green leaves that shoot upward. The leaves are spotless and shiny. A single frond can have 6 to 8 pairs of leaves.

This is a low-maintenance indoor plant. All that takes for this plant to thrive is an appropriate amount of light and casual watering every few weeks. Water it twice a month when its soil fully dries out. To make sure you’re not overwatering the plant, watch out for wilting leaves.

Where should you keep it?

The ZZ plant can be a good addition to your home office, but it can also fit well into your living room, as long as it is not exposed to direct sunlight.

Expert gardener’s advice

  • The ZZ plant is poisonous for both pets and humans, but it is not deadly. Its sap can cause skin irritation, so make sure to wear gloves if you decide to cut off any of the wilting leaves. Remember that while houseplant care is important for beginners to master, what’s even more important is keeping yourself and your loved ones safe.
DID YOU KNOW: ZZ plants are some of the longest living indoor plants and can even be passed from one generation to another in some cases.

3. Bromeliads

  • Botanical name: Bromeliaceae
  • Common name: Bromeliads
  • Origin: Africa, North and South America, and the Caribbean
  • Color: Leaves are sword-shaped and bright green
  • Size: Between 24 to 36 inches in height


Bromeliads are indoor epiphytes and make great houseplants for beginners as they can be mounted on driftwood as authentic air plants.

  • Light – indirect, low light levels
  • Water – weekly watering during the growing season; scarce watering during the winter season
  • Soil – fast-draining soil, charcoal, and orchid potting mix

Bromeliads come with an unusual-looking bloom with a bract around the central flower. Their leaves are sword-shaped and bright green. These low light plants offer a showy flower display in a vast array of colors including orange, purple, green, red, and yellow with unique spots, bands, and stripes. The blooms of these slow-growing plants can last up to six months.

Where should you keep it?

Different bromeliad species prefer different light settings. While some respond better to bright indirect light, others enjoy lower light levels. They might be the easiest houseplants for beginners.

Expert gardener’s advice

  • None of the bromeliad species are toxic. In fact, bromeliads are on the ASPCA non-toxic plant list, meaning that they are safe for both your pets and children to be around.
DID YOU KNOW: The most famous member of the bromeliad family is the pineapple which can be a part of your indoor garden as well. On the downside, when grown as an indoor plant it usually does not produce fruit.

4. Moth Orchid

  • Botanical name: Phalaenopsis amabilis
  • Common name: Moth orchid, moon orchid
  • Origin: Southeast Asia, Taiwan, and Australia
  • Color: Big oval green leaves
  • Size: Grow up to 30 cm in height, with taller spikes


Moth orchids are one of the easiest houseplants for beginners to grow because they need little attention to thrive as an indoor plant.

  • Light – enjoys a bright setting but not direct light
  • Water – only water their roots, keep their flowers and leaves dry
  • Soil – use a tree bark-based soil mixture

There are over 50 species of this plant and they come just about in every color possible. Orchids have varying feeding requirements. Luckily, there are some quality plant fertilizers available on the market and you can find the ones that are just right for orchids. Liquid fertilizers work best for moth orchids.

Where should you keep it?

To protect it from direct sunlight, move it a few feet away from the window. Avoid rooms with dry artificial heating as orchids need humidity in their habitat.

Expert gardener’s advice

  • Moth orchids are easy flowering houseplants to grow for indoor gardening beginners.
  • Moth orchids are non-toxic for both cats and dogs and are safe for your children as well.
  • The moth orchid is one of Indonesia’s national flower symbols, chosen as its Flower of Charm.

5. Lucky Bamboo

  • Botanical name: Dracena sanderiana
  • Common name: Lucky bamboo, ribbon plant
  • Origin: Southeast Asia
  • Color: Green stems and leaves
  • Size: Can grow as tall as 30 inches in height


Lucky bamboos have a very short lifespan, they live only a year or two.

  • Light – indirect, moderate sunlight
  • Water – doesn’t need much water
  • Soil – keep it slightly damp; if growing in water, replace its water weekly

Lucky bamboo is made of a spiral of canes that can be grown into different forms. They do not need much watering to survive even though they can also be grown solely in water. Their low water requirements are what make them great houseplants for beginners.

Where should you keep it?

Introduce a bit of greenery into your office or put the lucky bamboo in your living room, whether on a shelf or on a stand.

Expert gardener’s advice

  • According to the CPCS, the Lucky Bamboo is safe for humans, but if your pets digest the plant they might show mild to moderate intoxication symptoms. If you are looking for some pet-friendly plant options check out what the plant subscription boxes have to offer.
  • This easy-growing plant is one of the top houseplants for beginners and it is fun to take care of because it can be trained to grow into different spiral and braid designs.
DID YOU KNOW: Not only is lucky bamboo an air purifier, it has also been used to heal wounds and is included in the treatment of some infections.

6. Monstera

  • Botanical name: Monstera deliciosa
  • Common name: Swiss Cheese plant
  • Origin: Mexico, Central America
  • Color: Lush green heart-shaped perforated leaves
  • Size: Can grow between 120 and 180 inches in height 


The monstera plant is famous for its perforated leaf structures.

  • Light – does best in semi-shaded environments
  • Water – mineral water and rainwater
  • Soil – grows best in acidic to neutral earth

Where should you keep it?

Your monstera plant will thrive in a humid environment. All areas of this plant need to be evenly exposed to sunlight.

Expert gardener’s advice

  • Monsteras are low-maintenance indoor plants with flexible light requirements which make them easy maintenance houseplants for beginners.
  • Monstera requires moderate watering and doesn’t need much sunlight. This stylish plant prefers nutritive soil, thus it’s essential to add humus to their potting mix.
  • Monsteras are on the ASPCA toxic list because their leaves contain calcium oxalate crystals. Although it is proven to irritate your pets’ mouth and digestive system it is not life-threatening.
DID YOU KNOW: The holes of the Mosteras’ leaves have their own unique purpose. They enable this plant to withstand the heavy rainfall and wind of its tropical natural habitat.

7. Dieffenbachia

  • Botanical name: Dieffenbachia seguine
  • Common name: Dumb cane
  • Origin: Caribbean and South America
  • Color: Green, white, and cream leaves
  • Size: Up to 60 inches


Dieffenbachias are low-care indoor plants that thrive when they are left alone.

  • Light-medium to brightly lit environments
  • Water – soil needs to be moderately dry before watering
  • Soil – use a standard potting mix

Where should you keep it?

These low-light houseplants for beginners don’t like to be exposed to cold temperatures. They enjoy warm environments with a temperature between 65 and 75 °F.

Expert gardener’s advice

  • If ingested by your dog or cat, Dieffenbachias can cause irritation in the mouth. The good news is, it is not severely toxic and has no serious consequences.
  • The dieffenbachia is one of the best tropical flowering houseplants to grow for beginners as its leaves give you all the signs you need to let you know when it is unhappy.

8. Cactus Houseplants

  • Botanical name: Cactaceae
  • Common name: Cactus
  • Origin: Deserts and rainforests around the world
  • Color: Green
  • Size: Depends on the variety


Although there are thousands of cactus species, only desert and forest cactuses are kept as houseplants.

  • Light – bright but indirect sunlight
  • Water – water whenever the soil is dry
  • Soil-forest cactuses need a regular-mix soil; desert plants need a fast-draining potting mix

Cactuses can be found in all deserts and rainforests around the world. Forest cactuses can be found in tropical and subtropical regions. They make beautiful indoor hanging plants and are good houseplants for beginners. Desert cactuses are among the most sturdy houseplants and are easy to care for. They are a great choice for a first-time plant parent.

Where should you keep it?

The best place for your cactuses is a south-facing window where they can get loads of light. Rotate them occasionally so all sides get enough sunlight.

Expert gardener’s advice

  • After two to three years of cultivation, some species of desert cactuses can bloom and produce beautiful flowers, while other cactus houseplants never bloom at all.
  • Most cactuses are non-toxic and are among the best pet-friendly houseplants for beginners, but species with sharp spines can be a safety hazard. Just to be safe, keep even non-toxic succulents and cactuses away from your children and pets.
DID YOU KNOW: The lifespan of indoor cactus plants varies from one species to another. With proper care and maintenance, some varieties such as the Barrel cactus can live from 50 to 100 years.

9. Chinese Money Plant


  • Botanical name: Pilea peperomioides
  • Common name: Chinese money plant, pancake plant
  • Origin: Yunnan Province in Southern China
  • Color: Red stems and dark green leaves
  • Size: Maximum height of 12 inches


Pileas are small, strange-looking houseplants for beginners; they resemble small indoor trees.

  • Light – fond of indirect, moderate sunlight
  • Water – more water during the summer season, reduce watering during winter
  • Soil – needs well-draining soil

This cheerful houseplant has a simplistic green look and does not take up much space. They have round, flat leathery leaves that make them easy to spot. Another great thing about this plant is that it comes with a low price tag. When entering the world of gardening, beginners should always opt for more affordable houseplants.

Where should you keep it?

Keep this plant in a warm room, for example, your kitchen or living room, that does not go below 53 °F in winter.

Expert gardener’s advice

  • The Chinese money plant belongs to the group of non-toxic cat-safe houseplants for beginners and is totally pet-friendly. Speaking of cats, did you know that just as humans love indoor plants, cats love indoor trees?

Key Takeaways

Plants in your home can help lower anxiety, reduce fatigue, and improve your mood.
Though there are thousands of cactus species, only desert and forest cactuses are kept as houseplants.
The lucky bamboo is famous in feng shui. It is believed to promote good fortune, love, and health.
Moth orchids are the easiest orchids to grow which earns them a spot among the easy-to-care-for houseplants for beginners.

10. Zebra Plant

  • Botanical name: Haworthiopsis fasciata
  • Common name: Zebra plant
  • Origin: South African rainforests
  • Color: Dark green, white-striped leaves
  • Size: Up to 60 inches in height


This succulent plant reaches maturity in just three years.

  • Light – thrives best in semi-shade
  • Water – do not allow water to remain on the rosette
  • Soil – any commercial succulent potting mixture

Where should you keep it?

The zebra plant is a highly-adaptable houseplant. It does not require special treatment. It needs normal air humidity and temperature. The zebra plant enjoys warm conditions but it can also withstand temperatures below 50 °F.

Expert gardener’s advice

  •  Low-growing succulents make good houseplants for beginners due to their hardiness and adaptability.
  • This plant is non-toxic and overall safe for both children and pets.
DID YOU KNOW: The zebra plant is considered a rare plant species. Beginners often mistake this plant for the aloe vera due to their resemblance.

 11. Air Plants

    • Botanical name: Tillandsia
    • Common name: Air plants
    • Origin: Mexico, South and Central America
    • Color: Either green or silver foliage
    • Size: /


Air plants are easy flowering houseplants to grow which makes them the perfect fit for beginners.

  • Light – prefer shaded areas
  • Water – once per week or once every two weeks, depending on the variety
  • Air – need proper air circulation

In general, air plants have either triangle-shaped or strap-shaped leaves that make up a rosette. They usually have either green or silver foliage, but there are also other colorful varieties.

Air plants enjoy both natural and artificial light. They prefer shaded areas because direct sunlight can burn their leaves. On the other hand, artificial grow lights make sure that your houseplants thrive within every kind of indoor environment.

Where should you keep it?

Air plants are great hanging basket plants that love moisture and steam which is why many people place them in the bathroom or in the kitchen.

Expert gardener’s advice

  • Air plants are one of the best houseplants for beginners. Plant parents don’t need to worry about choosing the right soil since, unlike other plants, air plants do not have real roots and do not need soil to grow.
  • None of the Tillandsia varieties are toxic to humans or animals. Their sharp, pointed leaves, however, can be a potential safety threat for smaller pets so it might be best to place them out of reach.

12. Dracaena Species

  • Botanical name: Dracaena
  • Common name: Corn plant
  • Origin: Africa
  • Color: Either green leaves with reddish edges or shiny green leaves with yellow stripes
  • Size: 70 inches or less


Dracaenas are the best houseplants for beginners who are looking for more of a ‘plant it and forget it’ type of plant.

  • Light – bright, indirect light
  • Water – give it a drink twice a month
  • Soil – needs well-draining soil

Dracaena plants have woody stems with pointed leaves forming bushy foliage. Some varieties have shiny leaves with yellow stripes while others have green leaves with reddish edges. Mature plants resemble small indoor trees.

Where should you keep it?

Place the Dracaena plant in front of a sunny window with a sheer curtain to expose it to the bright light it needs. Dracaenas are well-known as air-purifying indoor houseplants which is why they are such a popular choice for beginners.

Expert gardener’s advice
  • These species are on the ASPCA toxic plants list. When ingested, they can lead to problems like nausea and vomiting.
  • This attractive plant needs well-draining potting soil and a standard pot with a drain hole.
DID YOU KNOW: Dracaena plants are slow growers and in some cases, it can take up to a decade for this plant to reach its full size.

To Wrap Up

First-time plant parents usually look for adaptable plants that do not require much effort and are hardy. Regardless of whether they are houseplants for beginners or not, they all have different maintenance needs and qualities, so make sure you know just what your plant needs to stay happy and healthy!


What should my first houseplant be?

Deciding what your first houseplant will be is entirely up to you. Choose one of the houseplants for beginners that suits your preferences and one that you can fit into your living space. Any of the choices on our list will be great for beginners.

Which plant should we keep in the bedroom?

The dracaena and zebra plants are the best air purifiers on our list. Other plants that can help eliminate odor and toxins from your bedroom are the spider plant, English ivy, snake plant, and rubber plant.

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