I love plants.
Seriously, my idea of a good Saturday is going to the market to buy flowers then heading to the conservatory so I can spend hours reading or painting or relaxing with the plants.
I can’t even walk by the flower section at the grocery store without stopping to at least pick up a small bouquet or some eucalyptus.
As much as I love plants, houseplants are not my forte. I even killed a succulent (they apparently don’t like cold drafty windows).
I see them in the market or at the store but I have no idea how to properly take care of them, where they should be placed or if they’re even practical in my place.
Instead of playing the guessing game and wondering if they’d work for me, I researched 10 of the most common houseplants to find out what makes them special and how to take care of them.
The Snake Plant (you may also know it as Mother-in-Law Tongue) is one of the most resilient houseplants. If you’re not good at remembering to water or care for plants, this might be the one for you.
Snake Plants can live in low-light areas, need little water and aren’t known to attract bugs. It’s the perfect low-maintenance houseplant. They even help purify your air!
The only drawback is that they are toxic to pets. If you have pets and want to get a snake plant, keep it on tables or shelves out of your pet’s way.
Since Snake Plants are low maintenance, taking care of them is pretty easy.
You’ll want to put it in indirect sunlight, so maybe not on the window ledge, but on a table next to it.
When watering a Snake Plant, it’s better to underwater than over water. It’s best to let them dry out a bit between watering. Feel the soil to make sure it’s dry or slightly damp before watering.
Don’t worry, Spider Plants don’t actually attract spiders. Who would want that in their house?
Spider plants are actually named for the spiderettes that dangle from the main plant, much like a spider’s web. The leaves are long, narrow strips and the spiderettes look like mini Spider Plants.
You can even take the spiderettes and root them a pot of soil, watering liberally. Put the pot in a ventilated plastic bag in a bright place and once the spiderette has rooted, take the plastic bag off and let it grow into another mature Spider Plant!
Spider Plants like to be in bright, indirect light and cooler temperatures. Around 55 to 65 degrees is optimal for these plants.
They can handle a lot of water too, but let them dry out a bit between waterings.
You may need to prune these plants every once and a while by cutting leaves back to the base.
If you start to notice the tips of your Spider Plant turning brown, don’t worry. That’s pretty normal for this type of plant. They turn brown because of fluoride in the water. To avoid browning, try using distilled water instead of tap water.
No, these are not fake plants. Rubber Tree plants are named after the white latex they produce.
Outdoors, these plants can grow as tall as 50 feet tall. It can seem intimidating, but they’re actually pretty easy to take care of.
Try to start with a younger Rubber Tree; younger plants adapt more easily to the indoors than more mature plants.
Rubber Tree plants do not need much light or water.
Try placing it next to a window, so it’s still bright, but not hot. Keep in mind that Rubber Tree plants don’t like abrupt changes in temperature. If your windows are drafty, you may want to keep them farther way from the window.
The spring and summer are considered growing season, during that time you should feed the tree a diluted, balanced fertilizer every two weeks and keep the soil moist, but not wet.
During the late fall and winter, the tree will be in a dormancy period. You only need to water about once a month and do not fertilize the plant at all. If the leaves start falling off, gradually increase the amount of water until they perk back up again.
Throughout the year, it’s a good idea to wipe the leaves with a damp cloth or lightly mist the leaves with a spray bottle.
Taking care of a Boston Fern isn’t hard but it is specific.
If you want to keep your Boston Fern healthy and lush, you’ll want to pay close attention to the care instructions and try to not take shortcuts.
For the most part, Boston Ferns are low maintenance, but they’re very particular about their climate. Finding the right spot to place your fern is important.
Try to find a cool, humid spot in indirect light. Try it in a kitchen or a bathroom, where the rooms tend to be less dry. Keeping your plant watered and the soil moist is crucial to the survival of your plant. To keep the fern humid, it’s wise to mist the plant once or twice a week as well as watering it daily.
You only need to give a Boston Fern fertilizer a few times a year, it doesn’t need much.
If you’ve been on Pinterest or opened a home décor magazine in the last few years, you’ve probably noticed that succulents have become the plant darlings of home décor.
It’s no wonder why – they’re pretty, small and almost indestructible. If you don’t have a green thumb, you can still take care of a succulent.
They also make great focal points if you arrange them together in a terrarium.
First thing to know about taking care of succulents is that they love light. They actually need about six hours of sunlight a day. Try to keep them in direct sunlight like on a window seal or on a table or shelf in front of a window. If your plant is not getting enough light, they’ll start to stretch. Stretching is when the plant starts to turn towards the sun and eventually, they start grow taller, but there will be more space between the leaves.
If the light from your window gets too hot your succulent can get sunburned, which is not good for the plant. If you know your window gets hot, try moving to a window facing another direction or a little further away from the glass.
As for watering your succulent, many people think you shouldn’t give them much water, but that’s only partially true.
Most of the year, (spring, summer and most of fall) you should water your succulents every few days – not just a light watering, but more of a soaking. The succulents will soak up the water, but be sure to let the soil dry completely before watering again. Too much water is worse then too little water.
In the winter, if your house runs dry, water your succulents every two weeks and let the soil dry out between waterings. If your house is not as dry in the winter, you can water then even less in the wintertime.
Most palm trees don’t make good houseplants, but the Parlor Palm is one of the few that does. With long green leaves that arch, these will add a tropical feel to your home. If they have enough light, they’ll even produce little yellow flowers, too!
The best part is that palms are a great for you to purify the air in your home! They help reduce carbon monoxide or formaldehyde that might be in the air.
They’re also slow-growing plants, so you don’t have to worry about it sprouting up and overtaking the room. In fact, a fully mature Parlor Palm will only grow to about 3 – 4 feet.
While most palms need plenty of bright light, Parlor Palms do well in low-to-moderately bright light, making them a great houseplant, especially in less sunny areas of the country. If you start to notice the palms leaves turning yellow-green, it could be getting too much sunlight. Try moving it out the way, maybe toward a corner.
While Parlor Palms don’t need a ton of light, they still like humidity. You want to keep the soil slightly moist, make its potted and that it has good drainage. It’s also smart to use a spray bottle to mist the palm regularly, just to make sure the leaves are staying humid, too.
You will need to feed a Parlor Palm more than you would some of your other plants. You should give the plant slow-release fertilizer every month in the spring and summer.
If you want a plant that looks cool and is useful, you need an aloe plant.
Houseplant by day, super-plant by night (or whenever you have a cut or burn).
You probably know you can snip off a piece of aloe and put the clear gel inside the plant on cuts, burns and rashes to sooth pain and heal the human skin, but that’s only one of aloe’s benefits.
Aloe is also an air-purifying plant.
Aloe plants can survive in very dry conditions, but they do better when they’ve been watered. In the summer months soak the soil to water your aloe, but let it dry out before re-watering.
Make sure you have good drainage in whatever you use to pot your aloe. This helps the soil dry out between waterings, keeping your plant from being overwatered.
Keep your aloe in a spot with direct sunlight, like on a window ledge a table in front of a window. These are pretty resilient plants, but giving your aloe plant more direct sunlight will help it grow healthier.
String of Pearls
If you want an eye-catching houseplant that will draw attention to an area, then the String of Pearls might be a good option.
Named after its small, round, pea-like foliage that resembles a string of pearls, this plant looks great draping over its container or hanging from a basket.
You may not assume this, being that it looks so different from many of its cousins, but the Strong of Pearls is actually a succulent. And taking care of them is easy.
Just like the succulents you read about earlier, String of Pearls prefer to be in bright sunlight and grow better in containers that allow water to easily drain.
Hanging baskets are a great option for these plants, so they can easily drain and the foliage can hang over the side.
Water this plant like you would any other succulent, soaking the soil and letting dry between waterings. In winter, you can water it once a month and it should be fine. Remember, underwatering will be better than overwatering.
To maintain the shape and size of your String of Pearls plant, you might need to prune certain areas, which is OK and will not harm the plant.
Jade plants are often given as gifts as a symbol of good luck when someone gets a new job or is embarking on a new phase in life. If you are given a jade plant, are planning on giving one to a friend or just want one for your home or office, rest assured in knowing that these are pretty easy for which to care.
Jade Plants need full, direct sunlight to grow properly. If they don’t get enough sunlight, they can stop growing and become leggy. Try to keep these as close to a bright window as possible.
When watering your Jade Plant, you want to keep the soil moist. Unlike succulents, you never want to let a Jade Plant dry out too much. You don’t need to create a schedule for your plant, just water it whenever the top of the soil is dry to the touch.
Only fertilize your Jade Plant once every six months with a balanced, water soluble fertilizer. You should not fertilize when the soil is dry. You want to keep the soil moist so it doesn’t damage the roots.
I love air plants: no soil, little maintenance and they look great in glass cases or in terrariums.
I have one in my bathroom and it adds life to an otherwise dull room.
Air plants are each unique and take different shapes with their spindly branches. The most interesting thing about these plants is that they don’t need soil to survive.
And while caring for air plants is pretty easy, you do have to consider one thing that isn’t always a concern for your others plants’ survival – proper air circulation.
Although air plants don’t need soil, they do need good air circulation. Try keeping them in open spaces. Keep your air plants in bright, but indirect sunlight. It’s OK if they’re in direct sunlight for a few hours a day, but no more than that.
And just because these plants don’t need soil, they still need to be watered. Not every day, or even on schedule, but once a week or so, you should rinse them under running water and let them soak in a water bath for 30 minutes to an hour. If you have city water or hard water, I suggest letting the water sit for a few hours before submerging your air plant.
You can mist your air plants between waterings to keep them humid.
Do you have a favorite houseplant? Or maybe you plan to stop and get one of the ones we talked about above.
If you’re still looking for ways you can bring the outside in, check out our four ideas for indoor gardening.
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