The Best Houseplants for Beginners

I am a firm believer that everyone should have at least one houseplant. Not only do they give you a sense of responsibility when you take care of them and accomplishment when they are growing correctly, but they truly add another level of sophistication and hominess to any room. Every time I take my plants outside to water them and come back into a room with no plants, I’m stunned by how much of a difference there is. On top of this, many people even claim that having plants in our living space can make us happier and healthier. But despite all of this, I know there are a lot of people (especially college students) who shy away from having plants because they are convinced that all plants are difficult, fragile, and will die if they forget to water them one day. Well, that’s definitely not the truth! There are plenty of houseplants that are beginner-friendly and will be forgiving of subpar care or an inexperienced owner. Here are just a few below:

1. ZZ Plant 

This plant is kind of the superstar of low-need houseplants, and I’m putting it at the top of the list because my own ZZ Plant really has been impressing me lately. I’ve been quarantining with my parents for the past few months and had to leave this plant at my Davis apartment. I recently went back to get a few things, and despite not being watered for almost two months and sitting in a dark, stuffy room, this plant was still thriving! ZZ Plants are notorious for growing well with minimal care and can tolerate (and actually prefer) very low water conditions. As with any succulent, they prefer more light, but can tolerate lower light conditions as well (they’ll just grow a bit slower with less light). This is definitely a plant I would recommend to someone inexperienced who is worried about killing a plant. 

2. Snake Plant

Similar to the ZZ Plant, the Snake Plant is also known for being exceptionally enduring and hardy. While it prefers more direct light if possible, it’ll be fine in lower-light conditions as well. Like the ZZ Plant, the Snake Plant has a reputation for being able to withstand anything and grow well even if you give them the bare minimum. This plant is definitely another good one if you want one with very little commitment!

Annie Spratt

3. Succulents

While succulents don’t usually come in at the top of easy-to-raise houseplant lists, my family had different varieties of them for years and they definitely deserve a spot on this list. For the most part, you just need to have them in a place that gets very strong direct light (like a kitchen windowsill or outdoor patio area) and you’re set! Succulents are known for being tolerant of under-watering, and don’t tend to get upset when moved or re-potted. Some cacti, such as smaller varieties of Aloe or Agave, are especially known for making great, low-care houseplants. 

4. Herbs

While probably not what most people think of when they hear “houseplant,” a small herb garden is a great way to dip your toes into the plant world. They can help liven up a kitchen space, or could even be grown in a small, inexpensive raised planter bed if you have a patio or porch space for them. Plus, if you like to cook, there's an obvious benefit of not having to pay for herbs and always having a fresh supply of them! If you’re looking to grow some in your kitchen, herbs like basil, bay laurel, and oregano do well with minimal watering and moderate light. 

5. Pothos

Also known as “devil’s ivy," these plants are worth a mention because not only do they tolerate dry soil, but they actually prefer it, meaning that if you’re forgetful and have trouble sticking to a watering schedule, these plants will still thrive. This is also great if you’re a college student and have to leave your plants at school when you go home for breaks. Plus, the vines on these plants can easily be trained or secured to wrap along walls or furniture, which can definitely give your space a cool aesthetic. 

girl thinking college sweatshirt