11 Easy-Care Plants That Are Perfect for Beginners

updated Jul 24, 2023
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window sil full of fake plants
Credit: Sarah Crowley

If you feel like you’re cursed when it comes to taking care of plants, you’re not alone. Everyone has accidentally overwatered, underwatered, or completely forgotten about a houseplant at some point in their lives, and those mistakes certainly don’t prevent you from enjoying the environmental and wellness benefits of having greenery in your home. Plant care can be learned — it just takes a little bit of time and, most importantly, interest in doing it.

You’ll set yourself up for a better experience by starting off with plants that are easy to care for, so we rounded up 11 of the best plants for beginners for you to choose from. We included options that work in different kinds of lighting situations because we know direct sunlight isn’t always available, as well as plants that don’t require daily watering, so you’re sure to find something here that works in your home. A number of these plants are safe to keep around pets, too. Once you find the perfect piece of nature to bring into your space, grab some indoor gardening tools, and you’ll be on your way to becoming a proud plant parent.

For more tips on taking care of houseplants, check out the New York Botanical Garden’s guide for the most common houseplant questions and issues.

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Perfect Plants

Whereas some palm tree plants can only survive in warmer climates, this little parlor palm can withstand cooler temps and only needs about four hours of indirect sunlight each day. What's more, you won't have to water it every day. Instead, make sure to water your new friend about twice a week; it should be okay as long as its soil is slightly damp. In short, you don't need to live in a beachside town to enjoy the vibrance and beauty of palm plants — who would've thought?

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If your home doesn't get great natural light, a ZZ plant will absolutely love living with you. This plant prefers indirect light and will even do fine in a windowless room with fluorescent lights — making it great for offices, too. You don't have to water it too often, just whenever the soil is dried out, and if you accidentally overwater it you can let the excess water drain out the bottom of the pot. Your ZZ plant will also let you know if it's not getting enough water because it will start dropping leaves. In this case, just give it a good watering and it will spring back to full health. The only downside to ZZ plants is that they are mildly toxic to pets.

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If you want a simple but interesting-looking plant, get a spider plant. It lives its best life in indirect light and only needs to be watered every one to two weeks, so as long as you don't put it on a windowsill and let the soil dry out between waterings, it'll do great. It's pet friendly, too, so you can set it up high or down low without worrying about anything bad happening to your furry friends.

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If you're looking for a great plant to hang in your home, pick up a Swedish Ivy. These thrive year-round in indirect light and at room temperature, so don't put them too close to any windows. The most important trick is to let their soil drain well, so make sure to put them in a planter that allows for drainage. Water them once a week at most (let the soil dry out between waterings) and you'll have glossy leaves that bring a lovely freshness to your space.

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If you want a plant that also looks like flowers, get a peace lily. It will give you a pleasant mix of wide, green leaves and long, white blooms as long as you keep it in a place that receives indirect light and water it only when the top of the soil feels dry, about once a week. We also like that Plants.com has different styles of planters to choose from, including that cute rattan number. Peace lilies are not safe for pets to nibble on, so be sure to keep them where your cat or dog can't reach.

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If you want plants that really keep to themselves, succulents are the ones for you. Because these plants are native to desert climates, they stand up well to a range of lighting conditions, but they ideally would prefer to be in bright, indirect light (meaning in a well-lit room but not directly in front of a window). You might be surprised by how little you need to water succulents, too. Only give them water when their soil is totally dry. The fun thing about succulents is that they come in so many different colors, shapes, and sizes, so you can really approach shopping for them like you're picking out home decorations. Some succulents are not safe for pets, while others are, so you'll have to check which group yours falls into to be sure.

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If you're really worried about killing plants, a cast iron plant will prove you have what it takes to be a great gardener. These plants are extremely sturdy, and as long as you don't leave them in direct sunlight and remember to water them every once in a while (let the soil dry out completely between waterings), they will thrive. You can keep this outdoors as long as it has some shade coverage overhead, and it's even safe to have around pets.

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Succulent Box
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If you want a plant that's considered lucky, get a Pilea plant, a.k.a. a Chinese money plant. This cute fella prefers indirect sunlight and doesn't like cold drafts, so as long as you don't place it on a windowsill, it'll do just fine. Also, make sure that whatever planter you place it in has built-in drainage holes and a catch tray on the bottom. This is important for this kind of plant because it wants to be watered only after its soil has dried out. To help your Pilea plant grow evenly, try rotating it every week so the leaves get bigger at the same rate. Occasionally dusting off the leaves helps them look their best, too. (Bonus: it's non-toxic for cats and dogs.)

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If you want a plant that can double as wall decor, you gotta go with a pothos. These plants are notoriously durable and grow long vines that you can drape around your home to create the feeling that you're living in nature. They are also easy to propagate, all you have to do is snip off part of a vine and set it in water until it sprouts roots, then pot it — you just got two plants for the price of one! The nice thing about pothos is that they respond well both to direct and indirect sunlight, so they'll do fine in any room with windows. The planter that comes with this pothos also has a self-watering reservoir that you can fill up and never have to worry about over- or underwatering your plant.

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Home Depot

If you want a plant that's bright and friendly, get a Dracaena Warneckii. Although its name is difficult to pronounce, caring for it is simple. This plant prefers indirect light and can actually thrive in an office environment with fluorescent lights, where it adds a much-needed touch of nature. You'll know you're giving it too much water if you see the tips of the leaves darken and turn black, so just wait until the soil dries out before watering it and it will be fine. Although this plant is not safe for pets, it can filter certain airborne toxins, so overall it's quite pleasant to have around.

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The Sill

The Snake Plant Laurentii has vibrant yellow edges that make it pop — and in addition to being eye-catching, it’s one of the most popular house plants for how easy it is to grow. A tropical plant that’s also a succulent, the Snake plant can tolerate low light and drought, and it and it even purifies the air.