Complete Guide to Caring for 15 Indoor Plants

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Owning and maintaining popular indoor plants is so rewarding that sales of seeds, flowers, and potted plants have grown exponentially. House plants are loved by all ages, and especially millennials—although, this trend is one that has been passed down from generation to generation.

Plants provide beauty and air purification; they test our patience and responsibility. Plants can even live longer than our pets and can be propagated over and over again.

Graphic with drawings of indoor plants

They offer a sense of routine—not to mention the feelings of pride and accomplishment when we keep them alive. Taking care of any plant gives us a bigger purpose in our day-to-day lives. It turns our homes into sanctuaries.

Are you curious about how you can add some greenery to your life?

You don’t have to be a ‘green thumb’ to take care of plants. All it takes is some research and practice. It also helps that many common house plants are extremely easy to take care of.

We discuss 15 of them here!

Krystal Slagle / The Spruce

1. How to Take Care of a Spider Plant

spider plant is perhaps one of the easiest plants to take care of, especially for new gardeners. They can grow in several conditions and take a fair amount of abuse (but we won’t do that!).

Light: Bright, indirect

Water: Water well, until soaked, but don’t make the soil soggy

Drainage: Use well-draining soil to prevent root rot. Don’t fear brown leaves, as this is usually a result of fluoride in the water

Size: Can be more compact or more substantial, about 2-3 feet long when hanging

How to take care of a Monstera Deliciosa plant on a stool
Eden Garden Etsy

2. How to Take Care of a Monstera Deliciosa

This plant is commonly referred to as a Swiss-cheese plant.

Light: Bright, indirect

Water: Regular watering. Allow soil to dry between waterings. Increase humidity by spraying occasionally 

Drainage: Use a peat-based potting medium for proper drainage

Size: Leaves can grow up to 3 feet long

Ficus tree in gray planter

3. How to Take Care of a Ficus

Light: Bright light in summer, moderate light in winter

Water: Water weekly with room temperature water. Add water until it drains from the bottom of the pot. Let the soil dry between waterings

Drainage: Use a well-draining potting mix, including perlite, for extra drainage. Make sure pot has drainage holes

Size: Ficus can grow relatively large!

Zebra Plant in green vase
Starbright Floral

4. How to Take Care of a Zebra Plant

Light: Bright, filtered light. No direct sunlight

Water: Never let the soil dry. Mist frequently as this plant grows

Drainage: Use fertile, organic soil that drains well and maintains elevated temperature

Size: Leaves can be up to 9 inches long

Chinese Evergreen in a white planter on a stool.
Leedy Interiors

5. How to Take Care of a Chinese Evergreen

These plants are straightforward to take care of, so newbies, this one’s for you!

Light: Medium to low light, or indirect sunlight

Water: Requires moderate watering. Allow the plant to dry between waterings to avoid root rot

Drainage: Needs well-draining soil, like a perlite, sand, and potting soil mixture

Size: Plants can get up to 3 feet tall, with leaves up to 2 feet long

Iron Plant plant in a white round vase.
Reddit

6. How to Take Care of an Iron Plant

These plants are nearly indestructible! Just follow these tips.

Light: Semi-shade to bright. No direct sun

Water: Keep soil moist during the spring and summer, but cut back during the winter

Drainage: Well-draining pot mix

Size: Grows to about 2 feet

Fiddle Leaf Fig indoor plant in a white pot.
West Elm

7. How to Take Care of a Fiddle Leaf Fig

This plant is gorgeous, but admittedly tougher to keep alive than other indoor plants.

Light: Needs a lot of bright, indirect light. If you already have some plants there, you may want to move ’em over

Water: Water once a week to every ten days, and turn the plant slightly as you do so different parts of the leaves get light exposure

Drainage: Soil must be well-draining; fiddle leaf figs are sensitive to overwatering

Size: Can be up to 5 feet

Unfortunately, an indoor fiddle leaf fig will not produce any flowers or edible fruit. You can admire the big, hunter-green leaves instead!

Mother-In-Law's Tongue in a white planter.
West Elm

8. How to Take Care of Mother-In-Law’s Tongue

Here’s another natural, low-maintenance house plant! It’s commonly referred to as a snake plant.

Light: Full sun to low light

Water: Let the soil get dry between waterings, and bone dry in winter. Err on the side of dry, as snake plants are sensitive to over-watering

Drainage: Fast-draining, sandy soil 

Size: 8 inches to 12 feet!

Aloe Vera in a modern planter
West Elm

9. How to Take Care of Aloe Vera

This is another of the easiest plants to care for!

Light: Bright, indirect or artificial light. Avoid direct sun rays

Water: Water deeply every three weeks, or a month in winter

Drainage: Don’t let the soil get wet or sit in water 

Size: About 25–40 inches

It’s important to know that dogs are allergic to aloe vera. If you have aloe in your home, place it out of the dog’s reach.

Hanging Pothos plant in a pink planter.
CB2

10. How to Take Care of Pothos

These are one of the more tropical house plants, and so easy to care for, too! It also cleans the air of toxins and carbon monoxide.

Light: Bright, indirect light. Can handle low light

Water: Prefers soil to dry between waterings. Don’t allow roots to become soggy. Pothos are thirsty when their leaves start to drip

Drainage: Use well-draining soil

Size: Six to ten feet vines over time

Both cats and dogs are allergic to pothos, so take measures to keep this plant out of reach. Since pothos becomes very long and vine-y, be sure to tuck vines away and keep them off the floor/within your cat or dog’s reach. You can also cut these vines and gift them to friends and family or make clones!

How to take care of a Dracaena.

11. How to Take Care of a Dracaena

Light: Can tolerate low sun or semi-shade. Filtered indoor light is best (i.e., light through a curtain)

Water: Requires less water than other indoor plants. Keep soil misted, but not soggy, and mist the plant often

DrainageWell-draining soil

Size: Some varieties can grow up to 15 feet high!

Rubber Tree plant in a pink and white planter.
Lulu and Georgia

12. How to Take Care of a Rubber Tree

Ficus elastica needs the following to thrive.

Light: A lot of bright light, but not direct sun

Water: Keep plant moist and misted in the summer and water once or twice a month in winter. Droopy leaves need more water

Drainage: Well-draining, well-aerated potting soil

Size: With the right space, rubber trees can keep going. Inside, they’re typically about 8 to ten feet

Peace Lily indoor plant in a white planter.
Lulu and Georgia

13. How to Take Care of a Peace Lily

Light: Place in a well-lit area out of direct sunlight

Water: Moist, but not over-watered

Drainage: Well-draining, all-purpose soil

Size: These are a medium-sized house plant

Keep peace lilies away from cats, as they’re allergic to them!

Although peace lilies are stunning, they don’t necessarily clean the air around them like some of the other plants on this list do.

Indoor Areca Palm in a pink planter.
The Sill

14. How to Take Care of Areca Palm

LightBright, indirect light from a south- or west-facing window

Water: Keep moist in spring and summer; dry between waterings in fall and winter

Drainage: Regular potting soil

Size: 6 or 7 feet mature

ZZ plant in a pink and white planter on a stool.
Ansel & Ivy

15. How to Take Care of a ZZ Plant

Light: Lots of bright, indirect light—or, are commonly used in offices as they thrive in fluorescent light, too

Water: When the top 3 inches of soil are dry

Drainage: Well-draining soil

Size: Anywhere from 2-5 feet

Where to Buy House Plants

Sourcing your local plant nursery first is always best. If there are certain plants you can’t find, there are wonderful online stores that ship to your house! Here are a few options:

Accessories for House Plants

We’re all about charming accessories for plants! From watering cans to plant food. Here are a few of our favorite accessories!

Pruning Shears – Modern Sprout

Fertilizer – The Sill

Grow Light – The Sill

Mister – The Sill

Beachwood Watering Can – Shop Terrain

Bloom and Grow Plant Drops

Spray Sprinkler watering Can – PF Candle Co.

FAQs

Last, we’ll run through a quick question-and-answer section. These are some of the most common questions plant owners have about their indoor plants.

What Will Happen When Green Plants Are Kept in a Dark Room?

Some plants can fair well with less light. Keep your plant as close to the window as possible, no more than 3 feet away. If you don’t have enough light still, consider fluorescent lights on 12-hour timers. 

Can I Move an Indoor Plant Outside? Do Potted Plants Get Stressed When I Move Them?

Some plants can get stressed when you move them, but they’ll likely adjust. One of the best ways to do this is by slowly acclimating them for a few hours a day. Some plants even life going outside!

Tropical house plants are better off indoors, however.

Keep plants out of direct sunlight while outside. And if temperatures drop, bring house plants indoors.

Can All House Plants Live Indefinitely With the Right Care?

With the right care, yes—plants can live a very long time, spanning decades. If the proper care is taken to keep the plant with correct soil, fertilization, light, humidity, then it can last fairly indefinitely. Some plants have better odds of surviving due to genetics, but care takes a large part.

Why Are Leaves Falling off This Houseplant?

This can happen for several reasons.

If a plant has recently moved, this is one way it adjusts. New leaves will grow when this period is over.

A decrease or increase in watering frequency can also cause leaves dropping. Generally, leaves fall as environment or routine changes. Keep an eye on your plant and adjust accordingly if leaves or stems become wilted. 

If leaves go from droopy to falling off, the plant likely needs more water.

Indoor plants being sprayed with water in pink planters.

Try Your Hand at One (Or More!) of These Popular House Plants

These are some of the more common house plants you’ll find—and for good reason. They’re low-maintenance, beautiful, and can transform any room from drab to fabulous. They won’t require much effort from you, but any work you put in will be rewarded with a gorgeous display.

Anyone can care for these popular house plants—where they identify as green thumbs or not.

Check out the gardening section of our site for more gardening ideas! There, we discuss things like DIY cement planters, making over your backyard, and how to have a thriving edible container garden.

Or, you can sign up for our newsletter and stay up-to-date on everything.

Good luck, and remember to have fun!

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