Liza Greis

Do-it-yourself projects and Home Decor

15 Easy To Care For Houseplants

I hear it all the time in person and in comments online. A lot of you do not feel confident in having houseplants and swear you have a black thumb. I am here to tell you that there is at least one plant out there that you can keep alive which is why I am sharing these 15 easy to care for plants. Getting a houseplant is like dating. Sometimes you have to try a few different ones before you find “the” one.

When I was in high school and college I loved ivy. I even had white bedding with pillows that had an ivy print on them and forrest green carpet. When Shane and I married I was determined to have ivy plants all over our apartment. You guys, I could have paid the rent at least one month with the amount of money I spent on buying those poor plants. I researched and found out they needed filtered light so I bought sheer curtains so the light would be just right. I am not sure why, but I can not keep an ivy plant alive! But I kept trying for the first 3 or so years. It was like the really hot guy you date but he is dumber than a box of rocks. You want it to work out so bad because he’s so pretty, but you just can’t do it. Once I gave up on the ivy fixation, I had more success which gave me more confidence.

After almost 17 years of buying and having house plants, here are my favorites that are also easy to care for.

Bird’s Nest Ferns

This is probably my all time favorite house plant. The first time I saw one I didn’t know what it was called and there wasn’t a tag with it so I bought it on a whim and hoped for the best. I nicknamed it the lasagna plant since the leaves curl on the edges like lasagna noodles. I later looked up online and found out the name. Luckily for me, they are easy to care for. I am obsessed with ferns, but they are hard to grow here in dry ‘ole Utah. This one requires less watering and is okay with the low humidity.

 

15 easy to care for houseplants! bird-nest-fern

 

There is another variety that doesn’t have as skinny or as ruffley of leaves but it is still awesome. With both plants I love watching new leaves uncurl from the center. Speaking of the center, when you water these plants, avoid watering directly on the center part (the rosette) since it could cause it to rot. Water the edges of the pot instead.

 

15 easy to care for houseplants! birds-nest-fern-plant

Pothos

Pothos are an excellent starter plant. I have never killed one, even in my newly married days. I am a serial plant relocator. I like to move them around as I rearrange other home decor accessories and even when I move one and forget where I put it  for a month or more, it is still kicking. It may look a little limp, but I water it and it perks right up.

 

15 easy to care for houseplants! pothos-plant

 

The other cool thing is that if you accidentally break off part of it or you just want another one of these plants, if you stick the cut part off in water, it will grow new roots. Plant it in a new pot and keep it watered well while the roots take hold and you have yourself a whole new plant! I usually wait until the new roots are a few inches long before repotting.

 

living water

 

There are different variations of the pothos plant. I have a spotted one and a golden yellow one. Both are growing in my wall planter in the hall.

 

15 easy to care for houseplants! pothos

 

15 easy to care for houseplants! golden-pothos

Philodendron

This is the other plant I recommend for beginners. It is often confused with the pothos above, but has a more heart shaped leaf. It is just as easy to care for as the pothos.  Both are vines and will eventually drape or climb if given something to climb up. I like how it hangs in this beaded planter!

 

15 easy to care for houseplants!

 

Believe it or not this is also a philodendron. It’s lacey leaves may throw you, but it really is! It will eventually need to be staked as it gets taller.  My kids call this the dinosaur plant because they leaves are pretty big and it looks like something they would have eaten long ago.

This is my newest houseplant addition so I have had it less than a year. So far so good!

 

15 easy to care for houseplants! lacy-philodendron

Bamboo

I do not currently have any bamboo but it was one of the first plants I bought after my ivy phase. I had a neighbor in our second apartment that was obsessed with them and got me on the bamboo bandwagon. It is SUPER easy to care for and is commonly sold. We moved a lot in those early years so not all my plants made it in all our moves. I had to give some away. I need to go on the hunt and find a big plant like the one pictured here.

 

15 easy to care for houseplants! bamboo

(Photo Source)

Cactus

Again, I had some early on but ended up getting rid of them as we started having curious toddlers. The kids and I were just talking the other day about how we can finally get some as long as we put them up on tall surfaces or in tall planters so Kevin, our dog, won’t get poked. There are so many variations that it would be fun to get several and group them like this picture!

 

15 easy to care for houseplants! cactus

(Photo Source)

Dracaena

I have two of these. One is all green and one has white stripes. One I have had in my hallway for a few years and one was a gift from this past summer.  The one I got as a  gift, I put it on my office prop shelves and  forgot I had it. I think I spaced it because I didn’t lovingly pick it out, buy it myself, and name it (kidding…). I “found” it later, much later, and it has a few brown crunchy leaves at the base but all in all, it looked pretty darn good.

When they are young they are bush and as they get bigger some variations can get woody trunks and resemble a ponytail palm.

 

15 easy to care for houseplants! dracaena-plant

15 easy to care for houseplants!

Spider Plant

I threw this one in here even though I have never had this plant because growing up I swear everyone had one! They were the “it” plant of the 70’s and 80’s. They were (and are) popular because of how easy they are to care for and because they are non-toxic unlike most other houseplants. The little baby plants at the end of the vines can even be repotted for new plants!

 

15 easy to care for houseplants! Spider-Plant

(Photo Source)

Aloe Vera

It wasn’t until the last 5 years or so that I could appreciate the more architectural plants like the aloe vera. I had been more drawn to the more full and lush plants.  I think it is good to have a mix of styles not just in home decor, but also in plants. This is a plant that is recommended by many as a good plant to have in your bedroom since it puts off so much oxygen. It is suppose to help you sleep better.  Plus, this one comes in hand if you get a burn!

 

15 easy to care for houseplants! aloe-vera-plant

Plant stand tutorial

Norfolk Island Pine

I bought this one several years ago because my kids thought it looked like a mini Christmas tree. They wanted it in their room. You guys, if you want to talk about forgetting a plant, THIS guy right here get neglected more than any other plant we own. My boys never water it. I never even remember we have it since it’s usually at least partially covered in dirty laundry. This little guy is a trooper. He only gets watered about once a month and he is still going strong. He has not had a lot of growth. He would probably grow more if we actually took care of him.

 

15 easy to care for houseplants! Norfolk-Island-Pine

Succulents

As I have gone around speaking at home shows or at events promoting my book, Natural Accents, I have heard more than once that people buy succulents because people say they are fail proof, and then they end up killing them. I will admit to killing some myself. There are certain types I can not keep a live. See the spiky one in the white bowl? I have bought three and the longest one lasted was 6 months. I do better with thicker ones.

I have found through talking with people that the common problem is over watering. Water it enough that the soil gets wet and don’t water it again until the soil dries out.

They need a lot of sun. Try putting them in a sunny spot (south facing away from the window or right by the window east facing).

There are SO MANY varieties and they are all so different! That is what is so fun about them.

 

15 easy to care for houseplants! succulent-plants

15 easy to care for houseplants!

 

Z Z Plant

Z Z, easy peasy. I know this whole list is “easy to care for plants” but some are even easier than others. This one, my friends, can withstand neglect and very low light. If you have a room that doesn’t get a ton of light, this is your plant. It is so shiny and rubbery that it almost looks fake. Some say this is a slow growing plant but I have found that they grow pretty fast. In this photo by the typewriter I had only had it about a year. Now, a few year later, it is 2 1/2 feet tall.

 

15 easy to care for houseplants! zz-plant

 

Remember the laundry room I did for my friend? I bought her a ZZ plant because the laundry room only gets natural light when the garage door is open. This was back in July and it is so tall now that it doesn’t fit on her shelf. It is on her table and has about doubled in size. And for the record, my friend swore she had a black thumb.

 

15 easy to care for houseplants!

Swedish Ivy

This was another plant I bought on a whim because I had never seen one before and I thought it was pretty. I lucked out again because it is very easy to care for. It resided in my laundry room for about 3 years and I always forgot to water it. It would occasionally drop some leaves but it always remained bushy and pretty. This is another plant that you can propagate (cut off and put in water to grow new roots).

 

15 easy to care for houseplants! swedish-ivy-plant

 

Snake Plant

This guy is in the same category as the ZZ plant as far as neglect and low light. I swear it is indestructible!  I have had two of these guys for several years and just bought two more for my office closet. Yep, a closet. You can put these guys just about anywhere!

 

15 easy to care for houseplants! snake-plant

 Tree Stump Planter

Air Plant

Such a fun and funky plant! I had not tried one out until a couple of years ago but love them! They literally do not need any soil. I just soak them in lukewarm water every couple of weeks for about 20 minutes. If you live where it is humid you could get away with soaking them in water every 3 or 4 weeks.  The downside is that your kids will want to play with it and they may lose it. I still can’t find one of mine! He is probably still alive….

 

15 easy to care for houseplants! air plant

Hanging air plant

 

15 easy to care for houseplants!

Air plant bookend

Ficus

Remember in the movie, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days when they had a love fern? Well, Shane and I had a love ficus. Even before the first ivy plant, we had a ficus tree. I can’t even remember if we bought it or if it was a gift, but it was our first plant together. We had it for seven years. It survived grabby toddlers who constantly picked off leaves and tipped it over. Buy sadly, it did not survive our move in the back of a moving truck across the desert. I should have packed it in the minivan, but hey, we had a lot of good years. I really need to get another one!

 

15 easy to care for houseplants! ficus tree

(Photo Source)

 

 

I would love to hear what plants you have had luck with! Are any of your favorites not on the list? List them off in the comments :)

 

 

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  1. Debra says

    I am terrible with inside plants. I did have a birds nest fern for about a year but like its predecessors, it moved to a higher plane. Outside, I found that Kimberly Queen ferns are indestructible! They can handle a little more sun than a Boston fern and make a huge presence by a front door. When I bring mine inside, however….sigh. So I live through winter looking forward to my massive summer ferns and that sooths my foliage challenged soul.

    • Liza says

      Most ferns are tricky as houseplants. Unless you live where it is really humid it is hard to keep them healthy indoors. I would try a pothos, snake plant, or Z Z plant. I swear they are easy! Don’t give up :)

  2. Carole @ Garden Up Green says

    Those are all great options for indoors and I love all the shades of green. But I have to say I really don’t like house plants and I can’t figure out why. I’d rather have fresh flowers. I use to think it was because I was so focused on the outdoor garden and plants as they seem to occupy my time and when I get inside I just want to rest and relax. If my next home has good lighting then I may try orchids because I do love those plants.

  3. Whitney H. says

    I have a pineapple plant that somehow is surviving. We go out of town often, and I also just forget to water it. I’ve gotten a few brown leaves, but it has never fully died. I do have to keep it’s long spiky leaves trimmed because of little kids getting near it.

    • Liza says

      My kids saw one at Home Depot several months back and wanted to get it but I hesitated because I wasn’t sure if it was easy to care for. This is good to know! Maybe next time I see one, I’ll grab it :)

  4. Danna says

    I love plants and as long as they are indoor plants I have a green thumb. I currently have 17 plants scattered around my house. I love Ivys but I have never been able to keep one alive for more than 3 weeks. I don’t even know the names of several of my plants but they grow like crazy especially since we remodeled and I put sheers on the windows. Now outdoor plants I cannot grow unless they are rose bushes.

  5. Sarah Vogel says

    I love how you have arranged the plants around your home as accents, pieces of art. Often houseplants can overtake a home, look hippy-ish or messy and dirty. You have a gift for making everything look fresh and new! Congratulations on your new book! I’m sure it is just as beautiful as you are!!

  6. Shelley says

    I have some of those plants, including the Norfolk Pine, Aloe, Pothos. I also have a couple of Christmas Cactus plants, an African Violet that loves my windowsill above the kitchen sink and a Peace Lily in my bedroom. My son has a gigantic Jade plant that he brought home when he was in grade school about 15 years ago.

  7. Joan says

    I have a Pothos that came from starts that I got from my Dad and from my ex-husband’s grandmother. I have cared for it for over thirty years, keeping it trimmed and healthy (not hard to do). I plan on starting new plants from it and giving them to my three grown daughters. I hope they will appreciate receiving an easy care plant that came from ancestors from both sides of their family!

    • Liza says

      I love this so much! My mom has lilac bushes that were starts from her grandma that I am going to get starts from. It is such a lovely idea :)

  8. Dyan says

    Thanks so much for this article. My house gets NO sun in any window AND I forget to water, so I have no live plants. This gives me courage to try some.

  9. cmt says

    Great list. And funny story. I can attest to the indestructible nature of the snake plant. I’ve had one for over 50 years. Been through every situation. Nothing really kills it. The problem I’ve had with Norfolk Island Pines is they get really big, as in all the way the ceiling, and the lower limbs fall off. Then they look kinda goofy. I’d say, keep them as long as you like the look of them, and they fit your living space, then pitch them.
    Your planters are so creative–beautiful in their own right.

    • Liza says

      50 years! WOW! That is so cool! Maybe I should be glad that our Norfolk pine is neglected since it has stunted it’s growth. That is neat to know they can get that big though!

  10. Grammy Dee says

    Lots of good choices. May have to try some of them. I’m not very good with plants, I either water too much or not enough. I saw your link at Inspire Me Monday #121. Shared it on social media.

  11. Dawn says

    I just stated to have house plants. My first was a schefflera and I love it so much (instagream-dk5875a). Then, not a week later I bought a codiaeum. It’s beautiful and looks great in my kitchen window sill. I feel like I’m a bit addicted. I think I may have to seek out some of those low light, ignore plants for my office. It gets very low sun in the winter moths. Thanks so much for this post!!

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