Design by Emily Henderson Design / Photo by Sara Tramp
It’s not typically thought of as a houseplant, but lavender can survive indoors under the right conditions. Give it bright, direct light for a few hours every day, preferably in a south-facing window, and water when the soil is slightly dry. Don’t overwater lavender, though, or the plant will rot.
Lady Palm (Rhapsis excelsa)
Multiple fronds in an elegant fan pattern make this a beautiful plant, no matter your personal decor style. It’s a fairly easy one to grow, too, compared to many other palms, preferring bright indirect light and requiring water only when the top inch of soil is dry.
Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica)
With large shiny leaves and a fun, beefy shape, this plant adds strong vertical interest to any room. It likes moderate to bright light and light, constant moisture, to boot. If you feel the need to prune it, just be sure to wear gardening gloves to keep its sticky sap off your fingers.
Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens)
The plumes of this gorgeous palm can reach 6 to 7 feet tall, so be sure to give it plenty of space. It also requires bright, indoor light and constant light moisture in spring and summer (but don’t let it get soggy!).
English Ivy (Hedera helix)
This hardy ivy thrives in pots, hanging baskets, or mixed with other taller houseplants in a shared pot. It needs moderate light in spring and summer, and it requires bright light (or additional fluorescent light) in fall and winter. Pro tip: Let the soil surface dry a tad between waterings, but don’t let the plant totally dry out.
Boston Fern (Nephrolepsis exaltata)
These lush ferns are an inexpensive, classic houseplant, and their arching, bright green fronds always look lovely. But be warned: They can be a bit of a diva indoors. Boston Ferns prefer lots of light, and they’ll need to be misted every day. Alternatively, you can try putting them on a tray of pebbles filled with water. What’s more, they also tend to shed regularly … so, like a parent, you should be prepared to pick up after them!
Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema commutatum)
This easy-to-grow plant has glossy, pale green leaves accented with white markings. It tolerates low indoor light, and prefers its soil to be lightly moist at all times, but despises cold air. Be sure to keep it away from drafts!
Snake Plant (Sanseveria trifasciata)
Dramatic, sword-like leaves define this striking plant (and also lend it the not-so-flattering alternate name of ‘Mother-in-Law’s Tongue’). It’s tough as nails, so give it a try if you’re not typically known for having a green thumb. Bright, indirect light is best for the Snake Plant, which also only needs to be watered when the soil becomes nearly dry. In the right conditions, it can live for decades!
Dracaena (various species)
Several different types of dracaena have been shown to clean and purify the air. They’re all easy-to-grow plants with long, strappy leaves, some of which have beautiful red markings. Not sure which variety to try? Look for ‘Janet Craig,’ ‘Tricolor,’ or ‘Masangeana’ (sometimes called ‘Corn Plant’). But whichever one you go with, know that all species prefer similar conditions: moderate to bright indirect light, and soil that’s kept lightly moist.
Lacy-Tree Philodendron (Philodendron bipinnatifidum)
This spectacular but easy-to-manage plant has huge leaves with delicate, lacelike edges. It’s upright when smaller but will eventually spread out as it grows. Give the Philodendron moderate light, and water it when the top few inches of soil become dry.
Dieffenbachia (various hybrids)
This plant has flashy leaves—but the sap within contains crystals that can irritate mucous membranes. Yikes. If you have a pet that enjoys chewing on greenery, we suggest skipping it. Otherwise, it’s a generally carefree plant that only needs moderate amounts of filtered light. Keep the soil lightly moist, but never soggy.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officianalis)
This culinary herb has a pleasant, piney scent, particularly after you brush your fingertips against it. It needs strong light, so keep it by a bright window (preferably a south-facing one). Allow the soil to dry within an inch of the surface between waterings, and turn the pot every week so the plant grows more evenly. Bonus: With rosemary in your home, you’ve always got fresh herbs for cooking!
Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
Your mom or grandma may have grown this classic houseplant in the ’70s, but it’s still worthy of a place in your home today. The striped leaves arch from the center, and eventually, the plant produces oodles of baby Spider Plants. And how cute is this? They’re called “plantlets!”
Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
Pothos is quite possibly the easiest houseplant to grow. It has shiny, heart-shaped leaves and vining stems that can grow to several feet long. Preferring moderate to bright light, Pothos actually prefers to get a little dry between waterings.
Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum species)
These luxurious-looking plants are surprisingly fuss-free. They tolerate low to moderate light, though they bloom best in brighter light. We suggest allowing the soil to become nearly dry before watering, and dividing every five years or so to create new baby plants.