Here are five “goof proof” recommendations of houseplants for beginners, courtesy of Larry Hodgson, author of Houseplants for Dummies.
These plants all do best in bright to medium light, but they can tolerate lower light conditions. Best of all, they are easy to care for.
Easy-growing houseplants for beginners
Corn plant (Dracaena fragrans): Broad, sword-shaped, arching leaves that have a cream or yellow stripe growing on tree-like trunk. Bright to medium light, but tolerant of low light.
Soak and let dry between waterings. Average humidity, normal room temperatures. All-purpose soil mix and houseplant fertilizer.
Heart-leaf Philodendron (Philodendron scandens oxycardium): Trailing or climbing plant with heart shaped leaves ideal for hanging basket or trained on supports.
Bright to medium light, but tolerant of low light. Keep moderately moist. Average humidity, warm to normal temperatures. All-purpose soil mix and houseplant fertilizer.
Jade plant (Crassula argentea): Succulent with woody stem and fleshy green leaves. Bright light; will tolerate low light, but will have weak growth needing staking. Water sparingly. Normal to cool temperatures. Grow in normal soil-less mix or cactus mix.
Hodgson recommends tomato fertilizer. (Note: For plants that need this kind of fertilizer, the third of the three numbers in the nutrient ratio should be higher than the other two, e.g. 15-15-20.)
Peace lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii): Easy flowering plant with long lived white flower head and large dark green leaves; bright light, tolerates low light. keep moderately moist. Average humidity and normal room temperatures. Normal soil-less mix and houseplant fertilizer.
Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata): Stiff, sword-shaped leaves to 17 inches (45 cm) tall with marbling that resembles snakeskin; very easy; full sun to low light; water sparingly. Average humidity and normal room temperatures. Normal soil-less mix or cactus mix. Hodgson recommends tomato fertilizer.