Houseplants Are the Ultimate Accessory: Here’s How to Choose One You Won’t Kill

Nothing completes a room like a houseplant or two (or three!). Aside from adding the perfect pop of greenery, indoor plants bring all sorts of benefits to your space, including better air quality and even lower stress levels. But with so many options available—all with different care needs—becoming a first-time plant parent can feel pretty daunting. If you’ve been hesitant to test your green thumb out of intimidation or a lack of knowledge—we’ve got you covered. We spoke with Bloomscape’s gardening expert, Lindsay Pangborn, and Shayla Cabrera, the owner of Tia Planta (a plant shop in Jersey City, New Jersey), for the scoop on why plants are so vital to interiors and advice on choosing the best houseplant to complete your home.

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Benefits of Houseplants

First things first, it’s important to know that houseplants are more than just pretty things to look at (unless they’re fake, in which case, that’s all they are). They also offer health, lifestyle, and aesthetic benefits that make them a must-have in any home.

“Plants have the ability to absorb toxins from the air and purify your spaces,” Pangborn explained. “Studies have shown that they can lower stress levels, increase concentration and productivity, and improve creativity.” They also encourage owners to establish care routines, which can improve wellness and add structure to our lives. And of course, being able to truly personalize your home and make it into your own oasis is an added benefit, too.

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How to Choose a Houseplant

“With such a wide variety of plants, plant owners are able to select a species, size, or care preference that works best for their lifestyle and decor style,” Pangborn said. But with so many options, where do you even begin?

Consider your experience level

One place to start is considering your experience level and how much time you want to dedicate to your soon-to-be plant roomies. Are you ready to take on a houseplant that requires close attention and a strict watering schedule, or do you want a lower-maintenance option that only needs watering once every few weeks? These are important questions to ask yourself to ensure you don’t pick a plant that doesn’t align with your lifestyle and ends up dying after just a few weeks. If you’re a houseplant novice, opt for a plant known to be a good beginner option. As you get more comfortable with indoor plants, you can choose ones with more involved needs, but don’t get ahead of yourself early in your plant journey.

Find a variety that suits your home’s environment

You should also look around your home to determine your available space for houseplants. If you choose a plant that requires lots of sunlight but you don’t have a spot to put it near a window, it is unlikely your plant will thrive. So before you start shopping, first think about where you want your indoor plants to live in your home, then determine how much light that area receives. All plants need some natural light, but different varieties have very different needs. Do some research to find one that works with your lighting situation. This way, you can buy a plant that suits your home’s environment instead of forcing a plant into an area where it will struggle to survive.

Look for beginner-friendly indoor plants

If you’re still lost on how to choose the best plant to have indoors, we got you. Here are the indoor plants you should consider bringing into your home, based on your space and experience:

Best Houseplant for Beginners: ZZ Plant

For true novices, Cabrera most often recommends the ZZ plant since it is “one of the most durable houseplants and great for beginners.” She explained that they are the “set it and forget it” kind of plant that can do well with little sun. While all houseplants need some sun, “these babies are the best option for low light homes,” she said. They also need infrequent watering, which makes them ideal for even the busiest of people.

how to choose a houseplant

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Easiest Houseplant to Keep Alive: Snake Plant

If you’re intimidated by needy plants and wondering what is the easiest houseplant to keep alive, meet the snake plant. “These plants are the most forgiving in the houseplant world,” Cabrera explained. “They are low light-tolerant and require a thorough watering about once every 3-4 weeks, which makes them ideal for the traveling plant parent.” Bonus: The snake plant is one of the best plants for indoor air quality. Plus, they come in all kinds of easy-to-care-for varieties, which Cabrera says makes them super fun to collect and display throughout your space.

One dramatic option is the Whale Fin Sansevieria, which Pangborn says can make a serious statement with its uniquely patterned broadleaf. This plant is actually drought-tolerant, which means it only requires watering when it is 100% dry—perfect for those of us who tend to forget! Plus, she added, “It tolerates a wide range of temperature, humidity, and light levels, thriving most in bright indirect light.”

Best Low-Light Houseplant: Pothos

Is your home short on natural light? While you may think this spells doom for your plants, there are actually tons of plants out there that can thrive (not just survive) in low light. Cabrera recommends the pothos, an especially low-light tolerant and fast-growing plant, which she says never goes out of style. Not only are they easy to propagate, but they give a vine-y vibe that adds dimension and detail to any space.

how to choose a houseplant


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Best Hanging Indoor Plant: English Ivy

Hanging plants in your windows is an excellent way to add style, ambiance, and greenery to your home. They’ll draw the eye upward while also maximizing your space. For these spaces, Pangborn recommends trailing plants like the English ivy, which can naturally “spill” and trail as their vines thrive. Just make sure your ivy has plenty of indirect light, not direct sunlight. The English ivy needs to be watered when 25%-50% of the soil volume is dry. That means if you stick your finger in the soil and the top quarter to half feels dry, your pothos needs water. Another tip from Pangborn: “Be sure to mist with room-temperature water to adhere to its preferred humidity levels.”


Best Houseplant for Small Spaces: Dracaena

Have no idea where you’d even put a plant in your small space? Pangborn recommends upward-growing plants to make the most of what you have. She suggests tall, narrow plants such as the Dracaena, which can “create a delicate, abstract silhouette.” She explained this plant does well in low to medium light and can thrive in almost any setting. It’s a low-maintenance plant and only needs to be watered when about 75% of the soil volume is dry.

how to choose a houseplant


Most Impressive Indoor Plant: Monstera Deliciosa

Looking to kick things up a notch and add some drama to your home? The Monstera deliciosa is one of the best plants to have indoors if you want something big, green, and leafy. Cabrera said this plant “definitely brings the jungle vibes to any home.” It gives you a wonderful show with its big, hole-filled leaves, and does best in bright light. Cabrera also said it will serve as “the star of the show for your guests.”


how to choose a houseplant

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