Though we all wish we could call a big backyard our own, the reality is many of us city-dwellers (this writer included!) aren’t lucky enough to have an outdoor space. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t bring a bit of the outside in. And while you could deck your interiors out with indoor/outdoor furniture—we’re all for an indoor hammock or swing chair—the easiest way to welcome those lush summer vibes into your home is to take a cue from Justina Blakeney and bring a few plants on in. Don’t have a green thumb? Don’t stress. We’re here to help with the best house plants for beginners.
Enter, the Sill. The plant shop got its start in 2012 to help New Yorkers inject their apartments with a bit of greenery (and has since opened an online shop that ships across the country and a Los Angeles location)—sparking millions of millennials’ obsession with houseplants in the process. We tapped two of the brand’s plant experts, Erin Marino and Sarina Perez, to give us the dirt on what it takes to build yourself an indoor garden.
Their number one tip? “Honesty is the best policy,” says Sarina. Being truthful with yourself about the level of light your space gets is key—as even the most well cared for cactus won’t survive in a dark corner of your living room.
And remember, says Erin, “having a green thumb is pretty much a myth, so don’t be nervous to kill a plant! Just take the plunge, bring a plant home, and see what works for your space.”
Here, they break down easy house plants for beginners to turn your home into a green oasis.
image by kristen kilpatrick
Thanks to their drought-resistant character, succulents are some of the easiest plants to keep alive. And while you don’t have to worry about watering them more than once a month, Marino and Perez stress that you want to make sure the giant cactus or aloe vera plant you’ve brought home is getting enough light. Marino also advises going for a Haworthia or echeveria succulent if you have pets. “They are both super easy to care for and, unlike aloe and some cacti, are completely non-toxic, so they won’t harm your overly curious critter,” she says.
If you don’t have a spot right next to a south-facing window to perch a plant, don’t dismay. Plenty of plants will thrive in medium and indirect light, including Instagram-friendly foliage like the fiddle leaf fig tree, bird of paradise, and monstera (or Swiss cheese plants). The latter two should be easy for nearly everyone to take of—just be sure to water them every two weeks or so. Fiddle leaf trees, on the other hand, can be a bit more finicky. “Fiddle leafs thrive in stable environments,” says Marino, “but if you can keep your place at a constant warmish temperature and can stick to a watering schedule, these are incredible plants to bring inside.”
If you live in a garden-level apartment or aren’t #blessed with huge windows, look for plants that thrive in low-light settings like the rainforest when bringing the outdoors in. Marino and Perez suggest going for ferns or species like snake plants, ZZ plants, or pothos jades for rooms that get a little bit less light. All will be more than happy in the shadows and are some of the best plants for beginners as they are particularly hearty. “Calatheas are also great for low-light settings,” says Perez, “and they make for an excellent addition in most bathrooms!”
Do you own any of these easy house plants? If you have one that didn’t make the list, share it with us below!
This post was originally published on May 5, 2020, and has since been updated.