The 10 Best Indoor Plants For Beginners

snow queen pothos

So you want to bring some plants into your home, but where do you start? It is easy to be inspired by the picture-perfect Instagram posts featuring lush green indoor jungles. But plant shopping can be intimidating for a new plant parent. These 10 easy-care indoor plants will introduce you to the plant world and before you know it, you’ll have green thumbs and your own Insta-worthy home.

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1. ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)

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ZZ Plant.
ZZ Plant.

The ZZ, with its sophisticated shiny leaves, is the ultimate low-maintenance plant. Also known as the Zanzibar Gem, this tropical plant can add interest to plant arrangements or stand proudly on its own to uplift the corner of a room. It’s drought-tolerant, so if you forget to water plants every week, this plant won’t be unforgiving.

Water: Make sure your ZZ Plant’s soil dries out before you water it to prevent root rot. In warmer months, this may be every 2 weeks, and in winter and low-light conditions, once a month.

Light: The most optimal lighting for a ZZ Plant is bright, indirect light, but low-light conditions are also suitable for this hardy plant. 

Pet Safety: This plant is toxic to pets and humans if ingested. You should also wear gloves when handling it to avoid possible skin and eye irritation.

TIP: When a plant requires bright, indirect light, it means it will thrive in a well-lit position that does not directly see the sun’s rays. The light could be filtered through a sheer curtain, for example, or bounce off a wall before reaching the plant’s foliage. You will know a plant is in bright indirect light if it casts a weak or blurry shadow.

2. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)

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Peace Lily.
Peace Lily.

Bring peace into your home in the form of air purification. That’s right, this tropical plant not only adds a delicate statement to the home, but it also purifies the air around you. It is great for beginners because it is upfront about its needs, drooping its leaves when it’s thirsty. One of the most challenging parts of learning how to care for plants is knowing when to water them, which is why the Peace Lily is perfect for plant parents in training.

Water: Watering about once a week will keep your Peace Lily hydrated. Peace Lilies can be particular with the type of water you use, as high-fluoride water can turn their leaves brown. Using distilled or rainwater should fix this.

Light: Bright but indirect light is best, but they can thrive in partial shade. 

Pet Safety: These plants are somewhat toxic to pets if ingested and can cause oral irritation, vomiting and diarrhea. 

3. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

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Spider Plant.
Spider Plant.

There’s no need to be scared of the spider plant; it is one of the most easy-care, timeless plants out there. Its long palm-like leaves cascade over the edge of its pot, making it a great hanging plant. As the plant grows – and it’s a fast grower – it produces plantlets, which are as cute as they sound. These small spidery plantlets can easily be removed from the mother plant and propagated to create new plants. 

Water: Aim to water weekly in warmer months, and slightly less in winter. Spider Plants like moist (but not soggy) soil.

Light: This plant thrives in bright to medium indirect sun.

Pet Safety: Non-toxic for cats and dogs.

4. Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata)

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snake plant in white potThe Snake Plant’s upright foliage stands tall, adding a uniquely-shaped focal point to your living room. If you are game, the plant nicknamed mother-in-law’s tongue would make a great addition to your bedroom’s decor. At night, the Snake Plant produces oxygen, which could help you get a better night’s sleep. But only if you can rest easy with a striking mother-in-law’s tongue watching over you.

Water: As with many plants, it is better to err on the side of underwatering than overwatering. Make sure the soil dries out between watering, which could mean you only water the Snake Plant monthly in winter, and every second week in warmer months.

Light: Bright, indirect sunlight is ideal, but it can easily tolerate a low-lit area of your house.

Pet Safety: Keep this toxic plant away from any pets to prevent them from taking a bite.

5. Pothos (Epipremnm aureum)

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snow queen pothos
Snow Queen Pothos (Epipremnum aureum).

This vine, adorned with heart-shaped foliage, is devilishly versatile. Also known as the Devil’s Ivy, it can climb, cascade or creep. Want a plant that climbs tall, winding its way up a moss pole? How about a plant that looks great hanging off a shelf? Or a plant that can spread across a wall, making a bold statement? Well, the fast-growing Pothos is the one. It is easy to understand why the Satin Pothos, Golden Pothos, Marble Queen Pothos and Neon Pothos are all wildly popular among beginner growers.

TIP: The Pothos is very easy to propagate and because it grows so quickly, you can easily expand your plant collection without breaking the budget.

Water: Allow the soil housing your Pothos to mostly dry between watering. In summer, weekly watering is likely needed. During cooler months, fortnightly watering may be more suitable.

Light: As with many plants, the Pothos prefers bright, indirect light. Lower light is suitable, but Pothos in low light can become leggy and variegated plants may lose their stunning leaf markings.

Pet Safety: The Pothos is toxic, so keep it out of reach of curious animals – and children.

6. Succulents

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The succulent section of your local plant nursery is full of easy-care plants. Succulents come in a range of interesting shapes, colors and blooms. The term succulent encompasses plants that retain water in their thick, fleshy leaves, and there are thousands of types available. Aloe Vera is one of the most well-known, probably best known for its healing properties. Its gel can help to heal wounds and soothe the skin. The Zebra Plant (Aphelandra squarrosa) and Hens and Chicks Plants (Echeveria) are also among the most popular succulents. 

Water: As succulents store water in their leaves, they generally only need to be watered monthly, or fortnightly during summer. 

Light: Most succulents thrive with about 6 hours of natural light exposure each day, making them ideal for a sunroom or a windowsill in a north-facing room.

Pet Safety: Some succulents are toxic if ingested by pets, including Aloe Vera. Check the ASPCA’s list of plant toxicity to check before you buy.

7. Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata)

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Dragon Tree.

The Dragon Tree’s elegant leaves fountain into a strong, sculptural shape.

Its slim, red-edged fronds give it a fiery appearance and its impressive height, standing about 6 feet tall, makes it a bold addition to any home. The low-maintenance Dracaena is easily pleased, happy in bright, indirect light and low-light positions. Native to Madagascar, the tropical Dragon Tree brings an exotic vibe into your space. Its easy-care nature makes it a popular choice for office spaces too. 

Water: The Dragon Tree is drought-resistant and only needs to be watered when the top half of its soil is completely dry. This will usually be about every 2-3 weeks in warmer months, and monthly during winter. It is best to use distilled or other non-fluoridated water to keep your Dracena healthy, otherwise, the tips of their leaves tend to go brown.

Its slim, red-edged fronds give it a fiery appearance and its impressive height, standing about 6 feet tall, makes it a bold addition to any home.

Light: Bright, indirect light is best for the Dragon Tree, but they are happy to grow slowly in lower-light conditions. 

Pet Safety: If you have pets, keep them away from the Dragon Tree, which is toxic if ingested.

8. Monstera Deliciosa

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Monstera Deliciosa.

Create your own little jungle with a statement Monstera Deliciosa. Aptly nicknamed the Swiss Cheese Plant, they are well-known for the splits that naturally form in their large, glossy leaves, resembling cheese. In the wild, Monstera can be found in Central and South American rainforests, creeping across the forest floor and climbing the base of trees with its aerial roots. Indoors, they typically grow to about 4 meters tall and 2 meters wide.

Water: Water every one to two weeks, once the first inch of soil is dry. Be sure to water thoroughly, continuing until water runs out of the pot’s drainage holes. Monstera prefer filtered water.

Light: As with many plants, bright, indirect light is best for Monstera. 

Pet Safety: The Swiss Cheese Plant is toxic to cats and dogs, causing oral irritation and potentially an intense burning sensation if ingested. 

9. Air Plants (Tillandsia)

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Air Plant.
Air Plants.

Air plants are simple beings that have few requirements to survive. Give them light and water – skip the soil – and they will thrive. That’s right, air plants do not grow in soil. They get their nutrients from the air and surrounding moisture. You can get creative with where you place your air plants. Attach them to tree branches, wood or rocks, or showcase them in a terrarium. Air plants have an average lifespan of about 3 years, with some living up to 5 years, but they produce offshoots that can keep on giving. 

Water: Air plants are easy to care for, but they do need attention. The best way to water them is to submerge them in a bowl of water for about half an hour each week, allowing them to drain on a towel afterward. You can mist them between soaks to keep them healthy.

Light: Bright, indirect sunlight is best.

Pet Safety: Air plants are non-toxic to cats and dogs.

10. Hoya Carnosa

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Hoya Carnosa.

The Hoya is a charming addition to any indoor garden, loved for its stunning fragrant flowers and many variations. There are more than 200 species of Hoya to choose from! What makes these plants a little challenging to care for is the fact each species has its individual needs. But it is sure to impress and is devilishly versatile. It can be trained to climb, cascade or trail. Some say the Hoya, also known as the Wax Plant due to its thick, waxy leaves, is like a cross between a succulent and tropical plant. 

Water: Hoyas are sensitive to overwatering. The Hoya carnosa prefers to be watered only when the soil is almost completely dry, and should be watered sparingly during winter months.

Light: Hoya carnosa prefers bright, indirect light, but can tolerate some direct sunlight.

Pet Safety: Hoyas are pet-friendly, with all species being non-toxic.

Introducing plants into your home is a great way to bring life and color into your space. If you are new to plant care, choosing the right plants can make it easy to achieve those Insta-worthy jungle goals. These beginner-friendly plants will develop your green thumb and green home in no time.