Houseplant Tips for Beginners

Saturday, August 29, 2020

This post includes affiliate links, read the full disclaimer here

I started buying plants over a year ago, but really added to my collection this summer. I love having all the green in my room. I usually try to shop at local nurseries for plants and accessories but hardware stores with garden centers also have a ton of options and may be more convenient. Staff at nurseries tend to be a little more knowledgeable about the types of plants and can help make recommendations if you need! 

Here’s a few super easy houseplants for beginners:

  • Snake Plant
  • Spider Plant
  • Jade Plant
  • Chinese Evergreens
  • Pothos (or Devil’s Ivy)
  • Air Plant
  • ZZ Plant

Indoor plants can seriously brighten up your home. They take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen so you can breathe easier. Several also have extra air purifying properties to help remove toxins. Aloe Vera and Snake Plants are just a couple examples! Below, you’ll find a few important tips I learned as I I started collecting more plants.

Understand the Light in your Space

Before you start buying plants, it is important to understand their needs. You’ll also want to plan out where to place each plant. Light is one of the most important factors and can be a little confusing. Most plant tags will note the type of light it prefers. To understand the lighting in your room, get your compass app out. I’ve decoded these descriptions for you below!

  • Bright Light: south facing windows, five to six hours of sunlight, you’ll notice shadows easily in bright light
  • Medium Light: east or west facing windows, not as intense as bright light
  • Low Light: north facing windows, a room is considered low light if shadows are difficult to distinguish
  • Direct Light: sun shines through a window and directly onto plant leaves, typically preferred by succulents and cacti
  • Indirect Light: sun filtered by a curtain or a few feet away from a window, preferred by most other houseplants.

My room has south and east facing windows, so I get plenty of bright direct light on one side. I’ve placed plants that don’t like direct light on shelves across the room from the south facing window, so they don’t experience too much sun. Be careful placing plants close to windows in the winter when they may not be able to handle the low temperature.

Experimenting with light can be useful. I’ve moved plants around my room and tend to switch it up every now and then. Rotating the pots near a window is also really helpful or your plants will grow all on one side.

Buy the Right Soil and Fertilize Appropriately

When buying plants, be sure to also pick up the correct soil. I typically buy potting mix in 6 or 8 quart bags for about $5 and it’ll fill a few planters. Indoor potting mix will cover most houseplants. Grab a different, well-draining soil for succulents and cacti. This potting mix includes sand to help with drainage. If your plants are sitting in water, the roots can rot and the plant will not last long.

You can also purchase fertilizer, or plant food, to promote growth. Most plants will only need this in the spring and summer months as they are almost dormant in the winter. I use a liquid fertilizer for my indoor plants. Follow the instructions on the plant food and avoid overfeeding plants. Too much fertilizer can kill leaves or a whole plant. 

Less Water is More

How often and how much you need to water a plant varies with each type of plant. A general rule of thumb is to wait until the soil is dry before watering again. I recently learned that plants may prefer cold water in the summer and room temperature water in the winter. I never thought much about water temperature before reading that! Be careful not to overwater plants, which can do more harm than good. Drainage is also so important, more on that in the next section!

easiest house plants to take care of

Find the Perfect Plant Pots (with drainage!)

When styling your plant shelves, pots can make a huge statement. There are so many cute and unique plant pots out there. One of my biggest pet peeves used to be finding an adorable planter that didn’t have drainage holes. It’s important for your pot to be able to drain water so your plants aren’t constantly sitting in water. Luckily, I found this tutorial and was able to drill holes in a few planters. Drilling into terracotta or ceramic pots may sound intimidating as the materials are prone to cracking, but it was so simple.

Where I buy plant pots:

  • Target
  • IKEA
  • Home Goods
  • Michael’s
  • Lowe’s
  • World Market
  • Local Nurseries

Another way to get cute (and matching) pots is to make your own. Upcycle containers in your home or paint simple pots. I’ve also started finding alternatives to saucers, as buying pots and saucers can really add up. Check out Pinterest for ideas!

Upcycle these containers into planters:

  • Large Yogurt Container
  • Coffee Tin
  • Plastic Bucket
  • Soup Cans
  • 2 Liter Bottles
  • Paint Can

Download the ‘Planta’ App

This isn’t sponsored (I wish) but this app helps me so much, especially now that I have nearly a dozen houseplants. Without buying the premium features, Planta reminds me when to water each of my plants. It organizes your plants by room and has a handy wishlist feature. After you set up each room in the app, it will help match your plants to the rooms based on light and give you recommendations. You can also save progress photos of your plants to track growth.

The following houseplants are thriving in my care...

  • Aloe Vera
  • Coral Aloe
  • Arrowhead Plant
  • Watermelon Peperomia
  • Dragon Tree
  • Snake Plant
  • Spider Plant
  • Philodendron Brasil
  • Pilea (Chinese Money Plant)
  • Zebra Haworthia
  • ZZ Plant
  • Moss Balls
If you have any extra tips, drop a comment below! What are your favorite houseplants? I definitely favor my Aloe Vera plant, since it was my first.

Like this post? Pin it for later!


  1. This is just what I needed to read, I have never really know where to start with house plants! Thank you!

    Amber - The Unpredicted Page

    1. I'm so glad you liked it!

      Caiti | Champagne & Postcards

  2. Very helpful! I get basically no light for half the year, so my plant babies are struggling. Maybe I'll try one of these.

    1. Glad you liked it! Good luck with future plants!

      Caiti | Champagne & Postcards

  3. Love it! This was so helpful for someone who has always kills plants but wants a thriving plant collection, I will be visiting my nearest plant store very soon!

    1. I'm excited for you to start your house plant journey!

      Caiti | Champagne & Postcards

  4. I will share it with my other friends as the information about best potting soil for indoor plants is really very useful. Keep sharing your excellent work.