The Very Best Indoor Houseplants You Can Buy Based on Your Plant Expertise

updated Jan 26, 2024
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If you’re new to indoor gardening, the worst thing you can do is start with a plant that’s tricky to care for. It’s easy to get discouraged and throw in the trowel (see what I did there?) when your shiny new plant starts turning yellow and dropping leaves all over the place.

Fortunately, that’s unlikely to happen when you pick a nice friendly spider plant or easy-going pothos to start off with, even if you don’t think your thumb has an ounce of green in it. But when you visit the nursery, plants aren’t marked by the level of expertise needed to grow them successfully. That’s where this handy guide to the most popular indoor plants comes into play.

We’ve listed some of the most popular houseplants we know of in order of difficulty of care. Work your way down the list as your plant care experience grows, and you’ll have a lush, green indoor oasis in no time! See also our list of the easiest houseplants to grow.

Easy: Spider Plants

When in comes to maintenance, think of spider plants as the training wheels of the plant world. Once you got them down, you can move on to plants that require a bit more mastery.

You’d have to actively try to kill a spider plant. Give them a pot of soil, a moderate amount of sunlight, and water once per week, and they’ll be happy forever. In summer the plant sends out long stems capped with white flowers. The flowers develop into new plantlets that resemble spiders hanging from a web. You can cut these off and plant them to increase your collection or give them away to friends.

Easy: Peace Lily

You’ll always know when your peace lily is thirsty because the whole plant will visibly droop. Luckily, it bounces back quickly once you treat it to a nice long drink. In fact, it’s much more tolerant of drought than overwatering, and some prefer to hold off on watering until they notice the stems going limp. Peace lilies survive well in dim conditions, but if you want yours to bloom it will need a medium level of light.

Easy: ZZ Plant

ZZ plants thrive in bright, indirect light, but they will also carry on just fine when light is scarce, making them the ideal plant for cave-like apartments and offices. But the best part about this nearly-indestructible houseplant is that it can survive for months without water. In fact, the only surefire way to kill it is to water it too often.

Easy: Pothos

Like ZZ plants, pothos will survive no matter where you put it. Direct sunlight may burn it, but otherwise it will do well anywhere on the spectrum of bright, filtered light to low light. Pothos will tolerate a missed watering here and there, though as a general rule, water it when the top layer of soil is getting dry. You can easily propagate pothos by rooting cuttings in water. The cuttings can remain growing in water or be potted soon after the roots appear.

Medium: Begonia

Begonias come in countless colors and patterns, so they’re fun to collect. They’re a bit fussy about water and humidity, but not impossible to please. Light should be indirect and soil should be lightly damp at all times, though it’s best to refrain from watering until you notice the leaves drooping if you’re prone to overwatering.

Medium: Monstera

The beloved monstera is on the finicky side, but not beyond the scope of success for entry-level growers. Monstera’s iconic leaves will scorch if sunlight is too harsh, but may not develop their famous perforations when light is dim, so filtered, indirect light is key. Soil should be kept evenly moist, but not wet; water when the top few inches are dry. Monstera is a climber, so you may need to offer some sort of support for more mature plants. Tuck the aerial roots back into the pot as they grow.

Medium: Orchid

Orchids have a reputation for being especially fickle, but they’re not too difficult to grow once you get used to them. The main challenge is watering. They don’t need a lot of water, and even a little bit of overwatering can kill them. Using ice cubes to water is an easy way to prevent overwatering, but the preferred method is to douse the soil using the faucet for 15 seconds followed by 15 minutes of draining to ensure all excess water runs out.

More of a Commitment: Fiddle Leaf Fig

This African jungle plant can be a challenge to grow in the dry air of a home that’s air-conditioned in summer and dry and drafty in winter. But it’s not impossible. Fiddle leaf figs need a fair amount of light, but nothing too harsh. You’ll also want to let the top few inches of soil dry out before watering—and then give it a really good soaking until water runs out of the drainage holes. The gigantic leaves tend to collect a lot of dust, so be vigilant and wipe them down once a month so as not to inhibit the plant’s respiration.