5 Tips for Houseplant First Timers

5 Tips for Houseplant First Timers

Use these tips to ensure you're successful with houseplants. 
It’s exciting to see how trendy houseplants have become. I’m seeing friends who were never interested in plants before now start to show off their new plants on Instagram. And it’s amazing how quickly getting a houseplant or two can turn into an obsession! 

If you’ve not had plants before, or have had bad luck and want to try again, here are five tips for getting started.

Pick Plants for Your Space
The first—and only real rule—when it comes to growing plants is to pick the right plants for your space. So don’t run out and grab that fashionable fiddle leaf fig just because it looks good. You may be doomed to fail before you even start if your room doesn’t have enough light for it or if your watering style won’t be able to provide enough moisture. 

Sanseveria in Living RoomStart with the Easy Ones
Not sure about the growing conditions your space will provide? Then pick plants that have a wide range of tolerances. My top three, for example, are Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema), snake plant (Sansevieria), and ZZ plant (Zamioculcas). They’ll grow just about anywhere—low, medium, or bright light. Plus, these varieties don’t mind inconsistent watering (as long as you don’t give them too much).

Pace Yourself 
Here’s a tip where I sometimes have trouble taking my own advice. It’s easy to get excited and want ALL. THE. PLANTS. But begin with one or two so you don’t get overwhelmed. Practice your skills caring for them and watch them grow. If you love the jungle look, build your collection over time so you know you’re able to care for your plants. There’s nothing more frustrating than watching your plants fade away because you’re not able to keep up with their care. 

Grow in Groups
In nature, you don’t see one plant by itself, surrounded by barren earth. So if you have a couple of houseplants, display them near each other. It looks more natural and your plants benefit each other by helping humidify the air around one another. Plus, if you have a couple of plants together, you’re less likely to forget about them. 

Keep Calm
I’ve noticed first-time houseplant owners can be a bit like first-time parents. Whenever something doesn’t quite seem right, they get worried. Happily, not every yellow leaf is cause for concern. (Each leaf on a houseplant has a lifespan. As they age out, the oldest leaves turn yellow and fall off.) Likewise, when you first get a houseplant, don’t be worried if it looks “off” the first couple of weeks. Many plants naturally go through an adjustment period when you bring them home. The change in conditions from your local garden center to your home can be stressful. The good news: They usually grow out of it.

See Top Houseplants for First Timers

Header photo by Prudence Earl on Unsplash

Written by Justin Hancock