Looking for the best plants for beginners to help you get started developing your green thumb? I’m here to help!
I’ve always loved plants. I’ve always loved the idea of having a million plants in and around my home. But, up until recently, I wasn’t all that great at actually keeping plants alive.
But, over the last year and a half or so, my semi-brown thumb has started to sloooowly turn nice and green. Like many people, I became a bit obsessed with plants in the spring of 2020 – call it a coping mechanism, call it a creative outlet, call it an obsessive need to be able to control anything in my life….whatever you want to call it, I suddenly found myself unable to stop buying plants.
I poured a ton of time and energy into learning how to care for my new plants and watching them grow, and now I’d consider myself pretty good with plants! I’m still no pro, but I’m generally able to keep most houseplants alive and I have a, um, not small collection of them.
I often hear from people who say they wish they could take care of plants or have real ones in their home but they just don’t feel equipped for it. I think that’s silly – plants are for everyone! So today, I’m sharing my favorite plants for beginners – I promise that even if you’ve never been able to keep a plant alive, you’ll be able to handle these guys!
plants for beginners: my 10 favorite
Let’s kick things off with a little video I put together. I always think it’s best if you can see the plants in “real life” versus a photo! In this video, I dive a little deeper into each plant as well, with some tips on how to care for them and some insights into what makes them the best beginner plants.
And now, let’s take a look at each plant one by one, shall we?!
The ultimate beginner houseplant, pothos are incredibly hardy and easy to take care of, and they’re fast-growing which makes them extra satisfying for beginners! They do best in bright, indirect light (like this guy sitting next to a south-facing window!) but they’ll survive in almost any lighting condition.
Pothos come in a ton of different varieties, as well (I have four varieties in my house!), but this classic one is the fastest-growing and easiest to care for. It only reached the first shelf right below it when I bought it a year ago, and I’ve trimmed it back multiple times since then.
2. Snake Plant
Snake plants are also sometimes referred to as “Mother-in-Law’s Tongue,” and they’re honestly one of the easiest houseplants to take care of. They do well in almost any lighting condition, and can grow even in low light. For example, the one in our bedroom is across the room from a north-facing window, which means it gets a medium amount of indirect light every day and almost never gets any direct light. It’s almost doubled in size since I first planted it, and is totally thriving!
Snake plants also do just fine with a bit of neglect, and if you forget to water them once (or twice, or honestly even three times), they’ll be fine.
3. Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma
While I truly adore my pothos plants, if I had to pick a favorite it would easily be the Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma. It is sometimes referred to as a “mini Monstera” because it looks very similar to the Monstera Deliciosa plants, but it’s not actually related at all. This is a vining plant, and when I first bought it (a year ago), it was in a tiny, 6″ pot on my bedside table. Within a few months it had practically taken over my side of the room and I moved it out here to give it some room to grow. I built this trellis for it just a few months ago, and I’m already going to need to build a bigger one soon!
This guy doesn’t need any special care or attention, he just grows like wild all on his own. I’m thinking of doing a deep dive into this plant soon, because I always get questions on him and he’s hands down the best plant I own!
Speaking of Monsteras – they’re a great plant for beginners, too!
Like Pothos, Monsteras come in a lot of different varieties. The one pictured here is a Monstera Deliciosa, but I also have a smaller Monstera Adansonii (also called a “Swiss Cheese Plant”) that I really love. If you’re looking for a big, impactful plant that is relatively easy to take care of, Monsteras are your friend. They can get incredibly large, the leaves are so beautiful, and it’s so fun to watch them slowly unfurl over a few days.
This may surprise you, but I wouldn’t actually call most succulents “beginner friendly”. I find that they can be a bit more fussy than you might expect, and succulents are, hands down, the plants struggle with most. The exception to that? Cacti! I do great with almost every Cactus variety, and the ones pictured above are proof that they’re practically indestructible.
The cactus in the back of the left planter was a small cutting my parents took from the Prickly Pear Cactus in their backyard. I thought it wasn’t alive anymore, and left it out all winter long (including through the freak 9-day freeze we had here in Texas). I assumed it was a complete goner, but come spring it suddenly started growing! The cactus right in front of it is from a paddle that broke off of the large cactus on the right. I popped it into some soil and a few weeks later it started growing like a weed.
Cactus barely ever need to be watered – they just like some sun and to be generally left alone. What’s more beginner-friendly than that?!
6. Swedish Ivy
This is a newer plant for me and I’m still learning how to make sure it thrives in my house, but so far I’ve found this Swedish Ivy plant to be extremely easy to care for! It grows quite a bit slower than the Pothos, so you’ll need a bit of patience, but the colors are beautiful and it’s very low-maintenance. It likes moderate indirect light and regular waterings and that’s about all there is to it.
These are really popular plants for hanging baskets, and can be found in a few different varieties. I love how large and wild this guy is, and I can’t wait to see how long he’ll grow over time!
7. ZZ Plant
This is another plant that often gets referred to as more or less impossible to mess up. ZZ Plants are beautiful, really resilient, and so satisfying to watch grow! My ZZ Plant is a Raven variety (meaning, the leaves are darker than traditional ZZ Plants), and I love watching the new bright green leaves slowly darken over time!
ZZ Plants are really good for low light conditions and aren’t very picky at all. They also don’t get too terribly large, which makes them very versatile for just about any space in your home!
8. Spider Plant
This was one of the very first plants I bought last year when I first started to get interested in houseplants, and it’s such an easy plant to care for! Spider plants are especially fun because they grow little babies at the end of their leaves that can easily be plucked off and propagated into new plants!
Spider plants can thrive in both indoor and outdoor settings, but if they’re outdoors be careful to make sure they don’t get too much sun (especially the lighter varieties). As they start to grow little plant babies on them, you can leave them if you want but over time they’ll start to suck energy away from the plant if they get too big, so it’s a good idea to pluck them off semi-regularly as they get larger!
9. Pilea Peperomioides
This guy is also referred to as a Chinese Money Plant, and he’s one of my very favorites. This is another plant that grows little “babies,” and the plant you see in this picture was actually picked off of my friend’s plant a few months back! As it grows these little off-shoots, you can pick them off and turn them into a new plant. I find that it’s pretty slow-growing, but it’s so fun to watch it get bigger!
This can be a harder-to-find plant in a lot of areas, so if you see one it’s a good idea to snatch it up! As long as you have a good spot with a lot of bright, indirect light and you remember to water him weekly-ish, this little guy will do really well for you!
10. Peace Lily
And finally, if you want a beginner plant that will also produce some flowers, a Peace Lily is a great option. It can tolerate lower light conditions, and it makes it really obvious for you when it needs water – it gets really droopy! I love a drama-filled plant like this (as long as they recover easily), because they make it really easy to learn their needs and adjust your watering schedule to keep them happy.
Even when it’s not flowering, the Peace Lily is really beautiful, with long, dark green leaves that are really lush and full. It needs to be watered slightly more frequently than most of my other plants but, as I mentioned, it’ll make it really obvious for you when it’s thirsty!
And those, my friends, are aaaaall of the plants I’d recommend for a beginner to get started with. I promise with even the smallest amount of effort, you can make any one of these plants thrive.
Need more plant care tips? I’m thinking of putting together a houseplants for beginners guide to get you started, so stay tuned for more!