Ideas & Inspiration
Easy Plant Ideas
Do you want lush, green houseplants for your home or office, but you don’t have time to take care of them? Use this guide to find easy plant ideas. These beauties are hard to kill, and many can thrive even with a little neglect.
Houseplants need light, but some are better than others for growing in low light or dim corners. For best results, look for plants that need the amount of light you can provide, whether it’s natural or artificial.
- Some plants need more humidity than others. For easy-to-grow plants, look for those that tolerate the dry, indoor air that’s often caused by running a furnace or air conditioner. Cacti and succulents are good choices. Houseplants usually dislike drafts, however, so keep them away from vents.
- Most houseplants will benefit from regular fertilizing. Follow the directions on your fertilizer product for when and how often to apply it.
Tip: Some plants and plant parts are toxic to pets and children. Do some research before you buy or make sure your plants are safely out of their reach.
ZZ plants have smooth, waxy-looking leaves. Their dark green foliage dresses up any room. These plants grow slowly and don’t mind low light conditions, but they’ll grow faster in bright light. While they’re drought tolerant, they should be watered about once a week. A NASA study found that ZZ plants help purify indoor air.
Also called snake plant and mother-in-law’s tongue, Sansevierias are among the easiest houseplants to grow. They like warmth and grow best by a window, but they’ll tolerate low light if that’s all you have. Don’t put your snake plant where the temperature falls below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and be sure to let the soil dry out between waterings. Overwatering can cause the roots to rot. Like ZZ plants, this undemanding beauty helps clean the indoor air.
Ponytail palms are actually succulents that store water in their bulb-like trunks. While they like bright, indirect light, they will grow, just more slowly, in low light. Don’t expose them to temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, and wait until the top inch or two of potting soil dries out before you water them again. Ponytail palms can take semi-arid conditions or low humidity.
Also known as devil’s ivy, pothos are vining plants with heart-shaped leaves. They can be trained to grow up a pole or trellis or allowed to trail gracefully over the edge of a pot. These plants, which are also good for purifying the air in your home, take indirect, bright light or low light. Because they can thrive even under fluorescent lights, they’re ideal for offices. Let these easy-to-grow plants dry out between waterings. If their leaf edges turn brown, that's a sign you waited too long to water.
Tillandsias, commonly called air plants, don’t grow in soil. They survive by absorbing water and nutrients from the air. They grow best in bright, indirect light, but also do well under fluorescents. To water an air plant, submerge it in a bowl of water once a week for 30 minutes, then take it out and gently shake it off. Put in a place where it can dry in about four hours.
If your air plant needs moisture between soakings, mist it gently. Tillandsias dry out faster if they get a lot of sun, so you may need to soak yours two or three times a week if they're in a very bright spot. If your plant rewards you with blooms, mist it instead of dunking it when it's time to water.
Peace lilies are popular houseplants. They’re also great to grow in offices with low light levels or fluorescent lights. These Spathiphylllums are not true lilies and adapt easily to average room temperatures. Their white blooms usually appear in spring, and may bloom again in fall. As a rule of thumb, water them once a week, or wait until they droop very slightly before watering. Even if your plant wilts, it will usually bounce back once it’s thoroughly watered.
Chinese evergreens are good for beginning gardeners because they’re happy in average home conditions and need very little care. They thrive in low or bright light but are more likely to bloom when given a bright location. Keep them evenly moist and fertilize just once or twice a year with an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer, following the directions on your product. This is another great plant choice for an office with fluorescent lights.
Dieffenbachia, or dumb cane, is another ideal choice for brown thumbs, or those who just don’t have time to pamper their plants. Dieffenbachias do well in average room temperatures and humidity levels and need watering only when the top inch of soil dries out. Most do well in filtered light, but some types of dieffenbachias may need more light. Read your plant tag or label for details.
Need some easy plant ideas to brighten up your home or office? Look for ponytail palms, pothos, peace lilies and other low-maintenance houseplants that can take the conditions found in your home or office.
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