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How to Have Happy Plants: Top Tips for Beginner Plant Parents

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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CWU chapter.

I love plants! Like… really love plants. Like the kind of love that keeps me taking a peak at the plant store, keeping alfredo sauce cans for propagations, and having a dying urge to buy plants that are way too big for my apartment… 

But when first getting interested in plants I felt SO overwhelmed by all the different articles, TikToks, and Instagram reels telling me conflicting information. Should I have a strict watering schedule, do plant watering apps really help? What counts as indirect light? What is a propagation and why are mine either shriveling or rotting? It can be overwhelming to know where to start, so let’s get cracking into some advice that I would’ve loved to know at the beginning of my plant journey. 

Beginner plants: 

Hot take: succulents should not be considered a starter plant. Well, at least not if you are looking for a plant that you can water consistently. I started with succulents, but because I was fueled with passion and wanted to make sure I was providing everything it needed… I ended up overwatering it which created root rot. If you’re unfamiliar with root rot, it’s when your soil is too damp consistently, not allowing oxygen in the soil and causing harmful bacteria to grow. 

Because of this, I usually recommend vining plants for those who are hoping to be more involved in the plant process, but I’ll list low-watering ones too! 

If you want to water semi-frequently:

Pothos are usually considered a beginner plant and can take more water than succulents. 

Spider plants do not like to dry out fully in between waterings so these can be good too! 

Monsteras! These are some of my favorites because of the look once the leaves split. They definitely need more light than pothos but can be watered about every other week. 

Christmas cactus or Easter Cactus. Although it has cactus in the name, these plants can handle being watered more frequently. Bonus because these produce beautiful flowers annually around Christmas or Easter (depending on which type you get) They are also fairly easy to propagate. 

Rabbit track & Lemon-lime Mantra plants. Both of these are about weekly watering and like to stay pretty damp. I have heard that they prefer distilled water rather than tap water but my lemon-lime has been fine with tap water.

If you do not want to water frequently: 

Most succulents

Jade Plants

ZZ Plants

Snake plants

Most cactus


Make sure your container has drainage holes! If not your plant may be more susceptible to root rot as all the water is trapped. Root rot is usually related to overwatering. Although overwatering may not be what you think. The most helpful advice I have gotten about plants is that overwatering refers to how often you water the plant, not how much water you give it. For example, a cactus may need to only be watered once a month, but when you do water your plant, you want to make sure the soil is fully soaked. Another helpful tip is “bottom watering” where you place the pot (with a drainage hole) in a bucket of water and allow it to sit for a while. This allows the plant to soak up as much as it needs. You can also remove it when the top inch of the soil is still dry, which will help prevent fungus gnats. 

Although I am not a plant expert, and I am still learning what works best for each plant and my schedule, I have found these strategies and knowledge have helped me grow my collection. It’s also totally normal to accidentally kill a plant, do not take it personally as you are still learning! You’ll find what works best for you. 

Hello, my name is Enjoli and I am double majoring in Primate Behavior & Ecology and Anthropology. I am very passionate about animals and conservation. In my free time I love painting, hiking, baking, and other forms of creating.