30 Best Houseplants for Beginners

Low-maintenance options to get you comfortable with green life

a spider plant by the windowsill

The Spruce / Krystal Slagle

If you're looking to start a houseplant collection and haven't developed your green thumb yet, some plants are better than others. Houseplants for beginners are easy to grow and can generally withstand erratic watering, uneven or bad light, and fluctuating temperatures. They can thrive in dorm rooms, offices, and sometimes even dismal corners.

Here are 30 of the best houseplants for beginners.

  • 01 of 30

    Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

    golden pothos plant

    The Spruce / Kara Riley 

    There is a reason golden pothos is one of the most popular hanging plants. In its native habitat, golden pothos grows into a tree-swallowing monster with huge yellow and green leaves. As a houseplant, the plant will grow aggressively from pots or trailing baskets with minimal care. It also will easily root in a simple glass of water. With good care, large, mottled, mature leaves can develop.

  • 02 of 30

    Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

    a spider plant by the window sill

    The Spruce / Krystal Slagle

    A well-grown spider plant is a magnificent thing. The plant grows easily in baskets or atop columns with long, slender, arching leaves. The variegated variety is by far the most common. Over time, a mature plant will send out plantlets, or offsets, on long stems that form an impressive hanging display. These plantlets can be easily repotted to create new specimens. Spider plants are not picky about water, light, or temperature.

  • 03 of 30

    Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata)

    a snake plant

    The Spruce / Alonda Baird

    Snake plants feature green on green bands on sword-like leaves. And they are exceptionally tough. They like plenty of light, but they can handle less if necessary. And they are not too particular about watering, as long as it is not too much. They also thrive in an office environment. When repotting is necessary, the main clump can be easily divided.

  • 04 of 30

    Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata)

    dracaena species

    The Spruce / Krystal Slagle

    Dragon trees are wonderfully easy plants that tolerate a wide variety of conditions. These plants feature sword-like leaves with red edging that grow from a woody stem. As a houseplant, dragon trees should grow to around 6 feet, though in their natural environment that can reach 20 feet high. Fertilizer needs are minimal. Just water when the soil is dry a few inches down.

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  • 05 of 30

    Moon Cactus (Gymnocalycium mihanovichii)

    potted ruby ball cactus

    The Spruce / Alonda Baird

    The moon cactus needs only minimal watering, and it can tolerate less light than many other cacti species. It also doesn’t need a lot of fertilization. Just make sure to plant it in a pot with drainage holes and fast-draining soil, and it should be happy. Water only when the soil has nearly dried out, as overwatering can cause rot and other problems. 

  • 06 of 30

    Bromeliads (Bromeliaceae spp.)

    closeup of a bromeliad

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

    Bromeliads have gained an unfair reputation, probably because of the difficulty required to coax a bloom. It is true that making these jungle plants bloom in the house is a tricky task. They require copious warmth and water, along with high humidity and filtered light. However, many species have beautiful leaves that are attractive by themselves. Bromeliads are usually watered by filling the central cup. They require little fertilizer. And when pups appear around the base of the plant, these can be repotted to increase your collection.

  • 07 of 30

    Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana)

    closeup of a lucky bamboo

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

    Also a dracaena species, lucky bamboo is the perennial office plant. Untold pots of these thrive in awful conditions, such as sporadic watering with bad lighting and poor air quality. They can make wonderful gift plants, and many people believe they bring good luck and enhance the chi, or energy, of their surroundings.

  • 08 of 30

    Fishbone Cactus (Disocactus anguliger)

    Fishbone cactus (zig zag cactus) in a terracotta pot on a white shelf.

    The Spruce / Cori Sears

    The fishbone cactus features unique angled and toothed stems—hence another one of its common names, the zig zag cactus. It’s a tropical species that can handle more humidity and less sun than typical desert cacti. Give it bright, indirect light, and water when the top 2 inches of soil have dried out. 

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  • 09 of 30

    Aloe (Aloe vera)

    aloe vera plant

    The Spruce / Michael Marquand

    As a succulent, aloe is quite tolerant of drought. So it won’t suffer if you forget to water it. And once you do water, its long, narrow, sword-like leaves should plump up again. It also doesn’t need much in the way of fertilization. However, you should make sure to place it by a window that gets bright, indirect light. And ensure that both its container and its soil drains well. 

  • 10 of 30

    Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior)

    Cast-iron plant with medium-green leaves in terracotta pot surrounded by houseplants

    The Spruce / Kara Riley

    The cast iron plant is as tough as, well, cast iron. It can take a lot of neglect, including low light and inconsistent watering, and still look great. The plant features large, dark green, glossy leaves. Outdoors it does flower, but that’s not common indoors. Aim to keep it away from direct harsh sun, which can burn the leaves. 

  • 11 of 30

    Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema commutatum)

    Chinese Evergreen

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

    The Chinese evergreen is grown for its attractive foliage. The leaves are large, glossy, and oval, and they can come in a variety of colors. This plant isn’t overly picky about its soil conditions, though it should never sit in waterlogged soil. If you have a dark green foliage variety, you don’t need to give your plant much light. The variegated varieties should receive bright, indirect light.

  • 12 of 30

    Echeveria (Echeveria spp.)

    echeveria succulents

    The Spruce / Krystal Slagle  

    Echeveria succulents are popular for good reason. They produce stunning rosettes with plump leaves that can come in a wide variety of colors. And they are fairly low-maintenance. They like lots of bright light, though direct afternoon sun can burn the leaves. And they need well-draining soil. Water when the soil has mostly dried out.

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  • 13 of 30

    Holiday Cactus (Schlumbergera x buckleyi)

    Christmas cactus

    The Spruce / Kara Riley

    The holiday cactus is beloved for its bright blooms that appear in the late fall and early winter. It is actually a rainforest plant, meaning it needs more water than desert cacti. Still, its needs aren’t excessive; water when the soil is dry about 2 inches down. It’s also not picky about its soil, as long as it has good drainage. And it does well if you have a window with bright, indirect light.

  • 14 of 30

    Ox Tongue (Gasteria spp.)

    gasteria succulent on a tray

    The Spruce / Anastasia Tretiak

    Ox tongue gets its common name due to its long leaves that have a rough texture. The leaves are commonly green but can come in different colors and patterns. This succulent likes bright light but protection from strong afternoon sun. Water when the soil has nearly dried out, and don’t let water accumulate in the leaves.

  • 15 of 30

    Jade (Crassula ovata)

    Jade plant with dark green waxy leaves in white pot on white nightstand and decor

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

    Jade is a popular succulent and is said to bring good luck. It features deep green, oval leaves on woody stems. It’s a relatively hands-off plant. Just make sure it has bright, indirect light and well-draining soil. Water more frequently in the spring and summer than the fall and winter, making sure the soil is never soggy.

  • 16 of 30

    Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum spp.)

    Peace lily

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

    Peace lilies are tropical plants that are popular to grow indoors. They feature large, oval, dark green, glossy leaves and bloom with white or yellow flowers. The key to their care is moderation: They like relatively moist soil and filtered sunlight. Also, use a houseplant fertilizer during the growing season.

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  • 17 of 30

    Donkey's Tail (Sedum morganianum)

    donkey's tail

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida  

    Donkey’s tail, also known as burro’s tail, is a succulent that produces trailing stems of small, bright green, tear drop-shaped leaves. This plant can handle some neglect, such as short periods of drought. It likes direct morning sunlight but should be shielded from harsh afternoon sun. Also, be careful when handling it, as the stems can break easily.

  • 18 of 30

    Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura)

    Prayer plant with deep green oval leaves with yellow splotches and pink stripes closeup

    The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

    The prayer plant gets its name because its leaves remain flat during the day, but then at night they fold up like hands praying. This plant is grown for its decorative foliage, which can even come in a tricolored variety. Give your plant indirect light, well-draining soil, and a moderate amount of moisture, and it should thrive.

  • 19 of 30

    English Ivy (Hedera helix)

    English ivy plant with large leaves climbing up tree trunk

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

    English ivy is popular to grow both indoors and outdoors for its evergreen, climbing vines. It can do great in a hanging basket indoors, where its vines can trail over the sides. This plant doesn’t need much light, and it can grow in a variety of soil types. Just make sure it’s never waterlogged. And repot it every year or two if it’s cramped. 

  • 20 of 30

    String of Buttons (Crassula perforata)

    String of buttons plant growing in a clay pot next to air plant in wooden bowl

    The Spruce / Krystal Slagle

    String of Buttons is a relative of the jade plant. Also known as necklace vine, this succulent features tiny, gray-green leaves that encircle a central stem. Good drainage and not overwatering are key for growing success. Also, provide bright, indirect light.

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  • 21 of 30

    Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum raddianum)

    maidenhair fern

    The Spruce / Anastasia Tretiak

    Maidenhair ferns have a delicate look thanks to their tiny, fan-shaped leaf segments that grow in clusters on wiry black stems. These ferns don’t grow very large, and they’re fairly hardy. Just make sure to keep them in a warm, humid environment, such as a bathroom. And keep the soil moist but not soggy. 

  • 22 of 30

    ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)

    Zenzi ZZ plant with wide, oval-shaped leaves growing from white and gray pot

    The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak

    The ZZ plant sports oval, deep green leaves that grow upward. The leaves are so glossy and uniform in color that some people might even mistake them to be fake. This plant is quite low-maintenance and can tolerate some drought. It also can handle a range of light conditions, except for harsh direct sunlight. Water the soil when it’s nearly dry, and protect your plant from drafts.

  • 23 of 30

    Philodendron (Philodendron spp.)

    Philodendron

    The Spruce / Alexandra Shytsman

    Philodendron species tend to have large, glossy leaves. There are both vining and non-climbing types, and they do well as houseplants. Just try to keep them in a fairly warm and humid environment, and shield them from strong direct light. Water when the top inch or so of soil has dried out.

  • 24 of 30

    Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera Deliciosa)

    monstera swiss cheese plant

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

    The Swiss cheese plant gets its common name from its large leaves that develop holes as they age—like Swiss cheese. This plant is quite easy to care for, though it does need a support structure, such as a stake in its container, as it grows. Keep it in bright, indirect light, and maintain moist but not soggy soil.

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  • 25 of 30

    Satin Pothos (Scindapsus pictus)

    Satin pothos with spotted leaves closeup

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

    Satin pothos is notable for its variegated foliage. Its heart-shaped, dark green leaves feature silvery splotches that almost make them shine. This is a vining plant that looks great trailing over the side of a hanging basket. Keep it in bright, indirect light, and water when the top 2 inches of soil has dried out.

  • 26 of 30

    Wax Begonia (Begonia semperflorens)

    potted begonia plant

    The Spruce / Kara Riley

    Wax begonias are cheerful flowering plants that are grown both indoors and outdoors. Their blooms typically come in pink, red, white, and even bicolors. They are tropical plants, so they prefer a fairly warm and humid environment. Water when the top inch of soil dries out, and provide bright, indirect light.

  • 27 of 30

    Zebra Plant (Haworthiopsis attenuata)

    closeup of haworthia

    The Spruce

    Zebra plants are hardy little succulents that take well to container growth. They appear somewhat like mini aloe plants. Place them by a window with bright light, but protect them from direct afternoon sun. And ensure that they have sharp soil drainage. Water when the top 1 to 2 inches of soil have dried out, and prevent water from accumulating in the rosette.

  • 28 of 30

    Corn Plant (Dracaena fragrans)

    Corn plant with thick stem and long narrow leaves near window

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

    The corn plant produces thick canes, or stems, from which long, narrow leaves grow—similar to corn stalks. It’s sometimes referred to as a “false palm” because its appearance also is similar to that of a palm tree. As a houseplant, it doesn’t require much maintenance or take up much space, thanks to its narrow, vertical growth habit. Keep it in a warm, humid spot with filtered bright light, and maintain even soil moisture. 

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  • 29 of 30

    Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya)

    polka dot plant

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

    Polka dot plants are grown for their interesting foliage. The most common variety features leaves with a pink base color and green speckles. Keep your plant in bright, indirect light for optimal foliage coloring. And water when the top 2 inches of soil have dried out. Also, use a houseplant fertilizer during the growing season to encourage healthy growth.

  • 30 of 30

    Aeonium (Aeonium spp.)

    closeup of aeonium plants

    The Spruce / Kara Riley

    Aeonium species are generally succulents with glossy or waxy leaves that form rosettes. They come in an array of colors and sizes. For indoor growth, place them by a window that gets bright, indirect light, and use a container and soil with good drainage. Water when the top 2 inches of soil have dried out, and reduce watering over the winter. 

FAQ
  • What is the easiest houseplant to have?

    The easiest houseplants to grow generally aren’t too picky about their environment, and they can bounce back from some neglect. How easy a plant is also depends on your home’s conditions. For example, if you live in a dry climate, you might fare better with plants that have low humidity and moisture needs.

  • How many houseplants should I start with?

    If you’re a beginner when it comes to houseplants, it’s ideal to start with just a few that have similar growing needs. That way, you can easily work them into your routine and not have to consider any individualized care.

  • What is the most hardy houseplant?

    Hardy houseplants can handle a range of growing conditions where many plants would die, as well as some neglect in their care. The cast iron plant is a prime example, as it can thrive even in low light and with inconsistent watering.