We know you love the idea of indoor plants 💚 - that’s why you are here.
They brighten up spaces, elevate moods, and even clean the air.
But starting your plant parenting journey can be intimidating.
Where do you begin? What plants should you choose? How do you care for them?
Don't worry - we got you covered.
In this article, you’ll get all your questions answered - from how to pick the right plants to what to do when you’ve just brought your new houseplant home 🏡.
Take the first step now. Your indoor garden adventure starts now and you're going to love it.
1. Things to Consider Before Buying an Indoor Plant 🤔
OK, you want to brighten up your place with a beautiful plant.
However, before choosing one, it's important to consider several key environmental factors that will influence its health and growth.
Let’s evaluate your home first!
Where to Place an Indoor Plant?
Choosing the right location within your home is crucial.
Each area has unique characteristics and will contribute differently to your plant's well-being.
Do you see your plant in your bedroom? Maybe a living room centerpiece? Or you are picturing this beautiful hanging plant in your bathroom?
Before making a decision let’s evaluate the potential spot using the following environmental criteria:
Plants' lighting needs vary, and understanding this is key to their survival.
- Assessing sunlight: Observe the natural light patterns in your home. Notice where and when sunlight is most prominent. Most plant parents place they indoors plants next to the windows, which are the best spots as they give enough natural light. But not all windows are created equal - some of them offer more light than others.
- Preferences of plants: A good rule of thumb is that the most tropical green foliage plants enjoy bright, indirect light. However, it's noteworthy that many can adapt to low-light conditions as well.
Maintaining an optimal temperature is essential for your indoor plants' health.
- Daily temperature norms: While plants are adaptable, they're happiest in stable conditions. A good rule of thumb is keeping daytime temperatures between 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit and nighttime temperatures from 60 to 68 degrees. This range replicates their natural habitats, promoting growth and vitality.
- Avoiding thermal shock: Plants don't favor abrupt temperature changes. Keep them away from direct contact with heaters, air conditioning units, or drafty windows that might cause sudden temperature shifts.
The amount of moisture in the air, or humidity, can significantly impact your plants.
- Recognizing humidity variations: Different rooms exhibit distinct humidity levels. Bathrooms and kitchens naturally tend toward higher humidity, while living rooms or bedrooms might be drier.
- Aligning plants with humidity: Tropical plants thrive with more moisture (humidity above 50%), mimicking their natural environment, whereas desert-origin plants, like succulents or cacti, prefer lower humidity (30%-50%).
Unfortunately, the toxicity of certain plants can pose risks to household members, especially pets and children.
- Investigating potential hazards: Many indoor plants, although visually appealing, can be toxic if consumed or touched. Ensure you're aware of these properties when selecting plants.
- Strategic placement for safety: If your heart is set on a plant with toxic traits, arrange its location thoughtfully. Place it on higher shelves or within secure terrariums to prevent any unwanted interactions.
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#2 List of Recommended Plants for Beginners ✅:
Starting your indoor plant collection can be a delightful experience, especially when you begin with easy-care options.
These plants are forgiving to beginner mistakes and adapt well to various living environments.
Here are seven popular houseplants that are perfect for beginners:
Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata):
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- Why it's great: Snake plants are incredibly resilient and can withstand infrequent watering and low light conditions. They're known for their tall, striking leaves and air-purifying qualities.
- Care tips: Allow the soil to dry between waterings, and place them in indirect sunlight.
Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum):
- Why it's great: With their arching leaves and baby plantlets, spider plants make for dynamic hanging or elevated decor. They are also known for their air-cleaning characteristics.
- Care tips: Keep them in well-draining soil, provide bright to medium sunlight, and water moderately.
ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia):
- Why it's great: ZZ plants are known for their glossy, dark green leaves. They are drought tolerant and can survive with minimal light, making them suitable for almost any room.
- Care tips: Water when the soil is completely dry and position them in low to indirect light.
Pothos (Epipremnum aureum):
- Why it's great: Pothos, with its trailing vine growth and variegated leaves, is a decorative addition and can be grown in hanging baskets or trained up a support.
- Care tips: These plants are versatile—just avoid direct sunlight and water when the top inch of soil becomes dry.
Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum):
- Why it's great: Peace lilies produce beautiful white blooms, adding a touch of elegance. They thrive in most home environments and can signal when they need water by drooping.
- Care tips: Keep the soil moist but not soggy, and place them in a spot with medium to low light exposure.
Heartleaf Philodendron (Philodendron hederaceum):
- Why it's great: Their heart-shaped leaves and trailing vines make them a favorite. They're hardy, fast-growing, and can adapt to various light levels.
- Care tips: Water when the topsoil feels dry and provide bright, indirect light for best results.
- Why it's great: Beyond its healing properties, Aloe Vera is a hardy succulent that requires minimal attention, making it an excellent plant for beginners.
- Care tips: Allow the soil to dry out between waterings and place in bright, indirect sunlight.
#3 List of Plants to Avoid for Beginners ⛔:
While many plants are beginner-friendly, others require care and are high maintenance. Here are 7 plants for new plant parents that we recommend to steer clear of until they're more seasoned:
Ferns (e.g., Maidenhair and Boston Ferns):
- Why they're tricky: Ferns, in general, crave high humidity and consistent moisture, conditions that can be hard to maintain, especially in dryer climates or spaces with central heating.
- Care complexity: They need regular attention, and their soil must stay consistently damp. These plants also benefit from frequent misting to replicate their natural humid environment.
Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata):
- Why it's tricky: This plant is very sensitive to its environment. Changes in light, temperature, or humidity can lead to dropping leaves, making it challenging for beginners.
- Care complexity: It requires ample light, regular watering, and stable conditions. Sudden changes can significantly stress the plant.
Venus Flytrap (Dionaea muscipula):
- Why it's tricky: These carnivorous plants have very particular feeding, water, and soil requirements, thriving in a bog-like environment that's difficult to replicate indoors.
- Care complexity: They need distilled water, nutrient-poor soil, and specific light conditions to thrive.
- Why it's tricky: Orchids, with their stunning blooms, can be quite particular about their environment, needing specific humidity, temperature, and watering routines to flourish.
- Care complexity: They are susceptible to overwatering and need precise light and humidity to rebloom.
- Why it's tricky: Calatheas are known for their striking, patterned leaves but can be finicky, requiring high humidity and low light to avoid losing their vibrant colors.
- Care complexity: These plants demand consistent, indirect sunlight and high humidity, and they are sensitive to the minerals found in tap water.
Croton (Codiaeum variegatum):
- Why it's tricky: Crotons, celebrated for their colorful foliage, need a lot of light and humidity to maintain their hues and are sensitive to environmental changes.
- Care complexity: They require consistent, direct sunlight, and fluctuations in light or temperature can cause leaf loss.
Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides):
- Why it's tricky: Gardenias require advanced care, with specific needs for light, humidity, and temperature. They're also prone to pests.
- Care complexity: These plants need very high humidity, acidic soil, and regular feeding.
#4 Where to Buy an Indoor Plant 💸:
When you decide to introduce a new plant into your home, knowing where to purchase it can be just as important as knowing which plant to buy.
Different buying locations offer various benefits and potential downsides.
Here's a breakdown to help you make an informed decision:
- Expertise Available: Nurseries often have knowledgeable staff who can provide advice and assistance.
- Quality Varieties: They may offer a wide variety of healthy plants that are well taken care of.
- See Before You Buy: You have the opportunity to inspect plants' health before purchasing.
- Pricing: Prices can be higher compared to other sources.
- Limited Availability: There may be fewer nursery locations, making them less accessible for some people.
Home Improvement Stores (e.g. Home Depot)
- Convenience: These stores are widespread and offer a range of products aside from plants.
- Affordable: Prices for plants are often reasonably low or discounted.
- Varied Quality: The health and quality of plants can be inconsistent.
- Lack of Expertise: Staff may not have specialized knowledge about plant care.
Online Stores (e.g. Etsy)
- Wide Selection: You can find almost any plant, including rare varieties.
- Direct-to-Door Delivery: Convenient for those who cannot travel to physical stores.
- Can't Inspect Before Buying: You risk receiving a plant in poor condition.
- Shipping Stress: Plants might be stressed or damaged during transport. Watch out for extremely hot or cold temperatures!
Classified Ads (e.g. Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace)
- Cost-Effective: Prices can be lower, and you might even find people giving away plants for free.
- Local Options: Easy to find sellers near you.
- No Guarantees: Risk of getting a plant in poor health, with no return options.
- Limited Information: Sellers might not provide accurate care history or plant information.
Specialized Forums (e.g. Reddit Subforums)
- Community Wisdom: Access to a wealth of information and advice from plant enthusiasts.
- Find Rare Species: These forums often trade in unique or hard-to-find plants.
- Requires Research: It might take time to find what you're looking for.
- Potential Risks: Purchasing from strangers could be unreliable, and plant health is not guaranteed.
#5 How to Choose a Healthy Plant ❤🩹
Picking the right indoor plant is more than just selecting the one you find most aesthetically pleasing.
The plant's health is paramount, affecting not just its growth but also its ability to adapt to a new environment.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to ensure you're bringing home a healthy plant.
Inspect the Leaves
- Healthy Appearance: Look for plants with vibrant, green leaves. These indicate the plant is healthy and growing well.
- No Black or Brown Spots: Spots can be a sign of disease, fungal infection, or watering issues. Healthy leaves should be free of these.
- Tip: Gently feel the leaves to ensure they have a robust texture, not thin or brittle, which can be signs of distress.
Check the Roots
- Inspect for Root Health: Carefully remove the plant from its container to look at the roots. Healthy roots are typically white, beige, or light brown and should be firm to the touch.Avoid plants with roots that are soft, mushy, or dark brown/black, as these are signs of root rot.
- Not Pot-Bound: The roots should not be tightly wound in circles or overly crowded in the pot, which indicates the plant is pot-bound and might struggle with nutrient absorption.
Look for a New Growth
- Sign of Vitality: New growth, such as young leaves or buds, is a good sign that the plant is actively growing and healthy.
- Promising Future: This indicates the plant's potential for longevity and adaptation to new environments.
Watch Out for Pests
- Comprehensive Inspection: Pests can be incredibly sneaky, hiding in various parts of the plant. Ensure you examine the plant thoroughly, leaving no leaf unturned.
- New Leaves: Younger, tender foliage is a favorite for pests and a crucial spot to check.
- Under the Leaves: Many pests cling to the undersides of leaves, shielded from casual observation.
- Leaf Axils: The points where leaves attach to the stems (axils) are common hiding spots for small pests.
- Stem Creases: Inspect carefully where the stem branches off, as crevices can provide a haven for insects.
- Inside Flowers: If the plant has flowers, check inside them, as they offer shelter and food for pests.
- Root Ball: If possible, inspect the surface of the root ball without disturbing it, as some pests dwell in the soil or on roots.
- Signs of Trouble: Look for tiny spots, webs, or unusual stickiness on the leaves, indicating the presence of aphids, spider mites, scale insects, or other harmful pests.
# 6 How to Transport Your Indoor Plant Home 🚗:
After selecting the perfect plant, the journey back to your home is crucial.
Extreme temperatures, whether cold or hot, can shock your new plant, leading to health issues or even death.
Here's how to protect your green companion during the journey home:
Protecting Plants in Cold Weather
- Wrap for Warmth: If you're buying in person during cold seasons, wrap the plant in paper or protective covering to insulate it from the chilly air. Most nurseries provide these wrappings.
- Online Purchases: For online orders, request the seller use heat packs and insulated packaging to protect the plant during transit. Ensure that the package will be delivered at a time you are home to avoid prolonged exposure to the cold.
- Direct Transition: Move the plant quickly from the store to your heated car and from the car to your home. Minimize exposure to the frigid air, as even brief cold shocks can harm tropical plants.
Protecting Plants in Hot Weather
- Avoid Direct Sunlight: Never leave the plant under direct sun rays, especially inside a car, as the greenhouse effect can escalate temperatures, causing harm. Keep the plant in a shaded area, like on the floor of the car or covered with a light cloth.
- Controlled Environment: Make use of your car’s air conditioning to keep the temperature stable. However, don’t place the plant directly in the path of the AC, as the airflow can be too harsh.
- Quick Transfer: Don’t leave the plant in a parked car for extended periods. The inside temperature of a car can soar quickly in hot weather, causing irreversible damage to the plant.
- Home Transition: Once home, avoid placing the plant immediately under direct sunlight. Allow it to acclimate to its new environment gradually.
#7 What to Do Right After Purchasing 🏠
Bringing a new plant home is exciting, but the first few weeks are critical for its future health and vitality.
Here’s a practical guide on the initial steps to take after purchasing a new indoor plant to ensure it thrives in its new environment.
Quarantine the New Arrival
- Isolation: Initially, keep your new plant away from other houseplants. A separate space prevents the potential spread of pests and diseases.
- Observation Period: Use the next 1-2 weeks to observe your plant for any signs of distress or pest infestation that may not have been visible at the time of purchase.
Provide Ample Light
- Ideal Lighting: Before moving the plant to its permanent spot, place it in an area with plenty of light. This will help your new plant adapt faster.
- Avoid Shock: Gradual adaptation to the lighting conditions (especially low light or direct sunlight) in your home reduces stress on the plant.
Hold Off on Repotting
- Stress Reduction: Repotting right away can stress the plant. Unless the roots are visibly circling the pot or protruding through drainage holes, give it time to acclimate to your home (at least one month).
- Emergency Repotting: If the plant is pot-bound or there are signs of root problems, you may need to repot sooner. Do so with careful attention to the plant's specific soil and potting needs.
Getting a new plant is exciting!
But remember, how you pick and care for your plant at the start is key to helping it grow well.
Did I forget any helpful tips?
Please let me know in the comments section below! 👇
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