Plants to Start With

So, you’ve decided to get a houseplant and you have no idea which one to get.

Don’t worry, that’s normal. There are hundreds, if not, thousands of plants to choose from, all in varying sizes, shapes, colors, and of course, difficulties.

Lucky for you, here’s a list of really easy plants to start with. I chose these specific plants because they can go a period of time without water and they can survive in low light conditions. This is by no means a definitive list. This is a list of plants that has worked well for me, as well as other people.

I also live in Central New York, which can be difficult for a lot of plants. I do, however, have a grow light that is set at 12 hours, and also have a heater set at around 65°F with a daily misting of water, so my conditions are closer to an ideal situation, but still not the most ideal. There are improvements I can make of course, but I’ve found that my plants do really well because of the amendments I have made.

Now, to the plants!

ZZ Plant (Zamiocolcus zamiifolia)

This lovely plant is one of the most indestructible plants you can own. It grows upright with a dark green foliage. The good ol’ ZZ plant can survive more than a month without water and will survive in pretty low light conditions. If you can give this particular plant a few hours of light a week, you can leave it in a bathroom with no windows and it will survive. Don’t overwater this plant. It has large tubers in its root system and will easily rot out if you water it too much. Nick Pileggi, phillyfoliage on instagram and Nick Pileggi on YouTube, likes to say that you shouldn’t water this plant more than you pay your rent.

Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

Golden Pothos, also called Devil’s Ivy, is a fast growing plant that does well in similar conditions as the ZZ plant. It can tolerate low light, and you don’t have to water them that frequently. The nice thing about the Pothos is that you can grow it as a hanging plant and let it cascade down, or put a pole or trellis in the pot and let it climb. It’s a fast growing plant and you can propagate this plant incredibly easy. If you look along the vine, you’ll see little bumps, which are the aerial roots. If you cut above and below that, you can use these nodes to propagate. Then, you can have a ton of plants!

Snake Plants (Sansevieria)

Snake plants are an amazingly easy plant to grow. It’s very succulent and prefers drier conditions. These plants can also survive in low light conditions and infrequent watering. They grow pretty straight up, which can give you nice vertical lines to break up a space. There’s quite a few different types that you can choose from so you can pick your favorite type and enjoy countless years with this plant.

Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera deliciosa)

If you want a plant that can potentially grow into a humongous plant, this is the plant for you. The beautiful Swiss Cheese plant, or Monstera deliciosa (most people will just call it Monstera) is quite an easy plant to grow. As it gets older, the fenestrated leaves (the holes and splits within the leaves) will get much bigger. These plants will take regular watering and bright indirect light. These plants will sprout tons of aerial roots as it matures so you’ll be able to propagate this plant pretty easily!

These four are easy plants. Now, when I say low light, I still mean light enough where you can read a book without an extra light. Any light lower than that most, if not all, plants won’t be able to survive for very long. Also, when I say “survive in low light” I mean survive. Plants will always need light in order to live. There won’t be any plants that can survive in no light. If you truly want a plant to thrive bright indirect light will be best. Try not to give any plants direct light or they may burn. Unless it’s a cactus. Those like direct light.

My advice, if you want to get started with a houseplant, is to go to your local nursery or greenhouse (not a big box store that has a plant section) and talk to the people that work there. They are there for you and will help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

Other than that, take your time and observe. Growing plants is a science and an art. Really observe how your plants react to certain situations and get in tune with your plants. If you love your plant your plant will love you too.

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