Ideal houseplants for the new plant parent
Whatever way you slice it, it ain’t easy to take care of houseplants. And for most of us, easy to care for houseplants, especially those that prefer low light (living in the UK, that’s a must), should be at the top of our shopping list when starting our plant parent journey.
Following a huge uptick in the popularity of indoor plants, we’ve all been giving it a go, haven’t we. A few quid here and there can go a long way towards boosting the overall appearance of a space. And houseplants have been proven to boost your mood, reduce stress, increase productivity and creativity, and purify the air.
But those benefits can be hard to come by if you can’t keep the things alive!
Asking people's advice is not always the answer, either. No two living spaces are the same. So what goes for your mate’s yucca palm might not stop yours from dropping its leaves (which, incidentally can make it look like you’ve tried to plant a baseball bat). Beyond that, we’re not all cut out to be perfect plant parents.
Some of us lead busy lives, meaning we’re not always there to tend to the needs of a needy bunch of static, stay at home plants. And some of us are just plain awful at keeping them alive, pure and simple. And that’s OK, too. Because we've got you covered.
We’ve been dipping our toes into the nebulous world of houseplant care over the past year; since lockdown, really. We’ve even got plenty of plants in the office, now. So we feel we’ve reached a level where we can pass on a few consumer tips. This comes in the form of a top 10 list of easy to care for houseplants for new plant parents.
Starting with the easiest plant out there to care for. Parlour palms are the hardiest houseplant of the lot. Originally from Central America, these were popularised in the UK by the Victorians - who, evidently, were into their houseplants in a big way.
Parlour palms will purify your air, they’ll survive low light and they don’t mind infrequent watering. So if you’re forgetful and you live in a dingy house or flat in a city, this one’s an ideal companion.
To look at these guys, you’d never believe they’d be so easy to care for. They’re a native of South America, where they grow on tree branches rather than on the ground. Because of this, their roots are more for gripping the tree. They actually collect their water in a well in the middle of the plant.
And that’s partly why they’re such a walk in the park to care for. If you’re unsure if they need a drink, just take a look in the well!
Considered a symbol of good luck, the jade plant is dead easy to care for. With a little TLC here and there, they’ll probably outlive you! They adapt to the warm, dry conditions found in most homes - and they can cope with regular blasts of central heating throughout the winter.
Just keep them watered during the growing season (spring and summer) and make sure they get a good dose of daily sunlight. Simple.
Don’t let the name fool you, this is one friendly houseplant. It’s an ideal companion for a beginner, based on its versatility and ease of care. And that’s probably why it’s one of the most popular houseplants in the world.
This little southeast Asian native will look equally as good hanging from a shelf or mantle, or climbing up a wall. It’ll clean your air, and it really doesn’t mind how much light it gets. How’s that for low maintenance?!
Another one with a name that doesn’t do it justice. The snake plant is a great starting point for any newbie, mainly because it’s almost impossible to kill. It’s pretty happy in most light conditions, it doesn’t need much water, and it doesn’t need to be fed any more than once a month during the growing season.
In return, it stores oxygen during the day and releases it at night - making it perfect for a bedroom - and it makes your house look really, really cool.
Cast iron plant
The clue is in the name with this guy. “Cast iron” refers to the fact that it’s as hard as coffin nails, and it’ll take any punishment you can’t throw its way. In fact, we’ve heard rumours they’ve even fought back when people have tried to kill them. But these are just rumours.
Throughout all this neglect, though, the cast iron plant will still purify your air and it won’t poison your pet or baby if they choose to take a bite out of it. Cast iron plant, we salute you.
Why’s it called a corn plant? Apparently the main stalk looks like that of a plant that grows corn. This African native would be planted to mark sacred sites by tribes of Tanzania.
Like many of the others on this list, it doesn’t mind how much light and water it gets, but it will grow pretty big and strong if you treat it right. A challenge would be getting it to the six-metre height it can reach in the wild.
OK, so the umbrella plant might like a little misting every now and again, but it doesn’t ask for much when it comes to water or light. It grows on rocks and tree trunks in Taiwanese forests, meaning you can grow it on a little rock of your own, for a totally tropical look.
The deep green, waxy leaves also add to the feeling you’re in a much more appealing climate than you actually are.
The biggest danger with a ponytail palm is that you overwater it. In fact, that’s the biggest killer of all houseplants. Avoid that with this guy and you’re golden. They’re happy with a bright spot, but nothing too bonkers.
Overall, they’re a plant that gives back way more than they take. Which is why they’re on this list. FYI, though, they’re actually a succulent, not a palm.
The last plant on our list, the arrowhead plant is another hardy b*******. Just don’t let it get too wet or too dry. Which is something we can all get our heads around, right?
The arrowhead sometimes goes by American evergreen, or five fingers, due to the sectioned way it grows when it matures. It’s that tough, you can even try growing it outdoors (but we don’t recommend it!).
Growing plants is not an easy hobby to get good at. It’s like cooking or getting up early. But to help you on your plant parenting journey, we've created Houseplant Care Tags.
These handy little indoor gardening gadgets are made from 100% recycled paper. They cover 30 of the most popular houseplants, including most of the ones above.
Insert them into the soil right next to your houseplant, and simply follow the instructions, on light, temperature, watering and feeding.
Until then, happy planting.