10 Best Beginner Plants to Grow Indoors
Do you want to improve the air quality of your home while beautifying it? Do you want to benefit more from nature’s gifts? If so, you should enjoy the art of raising houseplants! It doesn’t matter if you don’t think you have a green thumb. The plants on this list are easy to care for and maintain. You’ll benefit from the joy of growing things, and your health will thank you, too.
Why Indoor Plants?
Way back in the 1980s, NASA performed a pioneering study on how to make the atmosphere sustainable on Mars. They wanted to know if houseplants could sufficiently improve air quality in a controlled environment to produce adequate oxygen levels to support life as we know it on Earth. They discovered that not only do plants release life-giving oxygen, they also clean toxins like formaldehyde from indoor air. What does this research mean to you? Assuming you do not intend to jet off to another planet, you can still reap the health rewards. After all, think about the time you spend indoors. During the winter months — or summer, depending on your climate — you likely are indoors for the majority of the day. Your lungs are vital organs, and they work 24/7 without a break.
The quality of the air where they spend the majority of their workday significantly impacts your health. Your HVAC system can grow contaminated with germs over time, particularly if you neglect to change your filters. Even innocuous-sounding devices like paraffin wax candles can releases fumes like benzene into your home or office air. Adding houseplants to your abode can cleanse the air of these toxins, leaving you breathing more comfortably. The best part? You don’t have to spend much money to improve your indoor air quality by using houseplants. Let’s be real — we can’t all afford to rent a pad in a LEED-certified green building free of mold and lingering scents from prior occupants. However, most of us can purchase a snake plant at the nursery.
Elements of Caring for Indoor Plants
“OK, I’m convinced,” you may think, “but I don’t have a green thumb.” That’s OK. All plant requirements boil down to four primary factors. Master these, and you’ll have happy green buddies for years.
- Light: Some plants, like ferns, do well with minimal sunlight. They’re accustomed to forest canopies shading them. Others prefer the sun.
- Water: All living things need H20, but some varieties require more than others.
- Soil: Imagine standing barefoot on concrete all day. Like your feet have preferences, so do your plants when it comes to a substrate.
- Pot: Most houseplants grow to the size of their container, but if you want more flourishing growth, you’ll need to re-pot your plants when it’s time.
10 Ideal Plants for Novice Green-Thumbers
Are you ready to get started on your gardening journey? Check out this list of the top beginner plants to grow indoors.
If you like things warm, and you live in a humid climate, let a pair of stately ficus trees highlight a sunny window or doorway. These varieties of the fig tree enjoy high humidity levels, but they don’t like sitting around in damp socks. Placing their pots in a pebble tray filled with water is the ideal way to provide the moisture they need without drenching the roots. Plus, you can easily monitor when the rocks run dry and add more.
You probably don’t think about your bathroom when you consider improving your indoor air, but this room is one of the most vital to address. Moisture can lead to mold, and even if you eschew candlelit baths, there’s no promise the prior tenant didn’t. Ferns are excellent for filtering out toxins, like the ones often hiding in personal care products like soaps and shampoos. You’ll get genuinely clean inside and out with their help!
3. Snake Plant
Snake plants can last for weeks without care, so if you’re a jet-setter, this houseplant won’t die while you spend two weeks in Tibet. These plants can also survive low light levels, making them ideal if you reside in a basement apartment. They’re resistant to pests, too.
Aloe is a beautiful healing plant as well as an easy-to-care-for variety. If you have a minor cut or abrasion, you can snap off part of an aloe vera leaf and apply the juice to heal it more quickly. Some herbalists use the gel internally to treat intestinal bloating that results from gas.
Do you live in a dry climate? Perhaps you merely forget the watering can once too often? If so, try succulents. These plants require little water — too much will drown them. Plus, they stay tidy in their pots, rarely dropping a single needle.
Walk into nearly any nail salon, and you’ll encounter several happy bamboo plants. Bamboo proliferates, and although it likes to sit in water, it’s an easy-to-care-for plant. With moist soil and sufficient water, it can even grow into a privacy fence — so add some to your balcony or patio.
7. Spider Plant
They sound creepy and crawly, but they look fantastic when topping a bookshelf. Plus, if you want to propagate more plants, you can root the spiderettes, or tiny flowers, to create new growth.
8. Golden Pothos
This plant goes by the nickname “devil’s ivy,” but it’s an angel to raise. These plants can withstand neglect and low-light conditions, making them perfect for offices where they’re alone each weekend.
Philodendrons adapt to the environment in your home quickly, making them a breeze to grow. They also come in a wide range of colors, so you can match them with any decor.
10. Potted Herbs
Finally, why not line a kitchen windowsill with an herb garden? You can grow the species you typically use in cooking or medicines — or both! Lavender and chamomile can both help you drift off to sleep when brewed as a tea. Oregano is a powerful antimicrobial agent, and it also adds spice to Italian dishes. Basil helps you manage your blood sugar, so add it liberally to dishes.
Beautify and Purify Your Life With Indoor Plants
Indoor plants add beauty to your life and purify your air. Why are you still waiting? Visit your nursery today to pick up one or more of these beginner plants to grow indoors.
About the author
Jane Marsh is the Editor-in-Chief of Environment.co. She covers topics related to climate policy, sustainability, renewable energy and more.