I’ve noticed more and more people are posting pictures of their indoor house plants. Stores l frequent are suddenly carrying macrame plant hangers, and (artificial) succulents! (Don’t even get me started on the nation’s current succulent obsession.) Well, I like plants! My aunt always had house plants when I was growing up and when I moved into my first apartment, she gave me some from her collection. As time went on, she continued to gift them to me, and I continued to kill them.
I wanted to join this new wave of plant lovers and try again. After some months of trial and error, I’ve turned my black thumb green and want to share info about my top 5 best indoor house plants.
Top 5 Best Indoor Plants
Jade Plant (Crassula ovata)
My jade plant started out as a little guy – a cutting from my aunt’s large jade plant. It’s since grown into a behemoth. I’ve actually learned to propagate it and gifted it to friends. From my original Jade plant I was able to propagate at least 6 other plants so far.
The Jade plant is a succulent, but in my opinion, less finicky than other succulents I’ve tried to grow. I give my jade plant bright sunlight, well draining soil, and I let it dry out between watering to keep it happy. My aunt kept her jade outside in the summer, something I haven’t done to avoid getting outdoor pests in the soil. In the winter keep it indoors and let it dry out between watering as it goes into its dormant season.
I do very little to manage my jade. The first time I pruned my jade I was so surprised to see it perk up and put out so much new growth. I realize now most indoor plants respond well to pruning, usually putting out new growth.
Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera bridgessii)
I recently learned some people call this plant a Thanksgiving Cactus or an Easter Cactus. Who knew? It’s one of the most common indoor house plants I see in people’s homes – probably because it is so easy to care for and most people find a flowering house plant appealing. I found that despite its holiday-oriented names, my Christmas Cactus will bloom all year round. I read that it will bloom while it has access to more sunlight during the long days of summer, but really it’s bloomed for me at all different times of the year.
I planted my Christmas Cactus in regular potting soil and it’s doing fine, but it will do best in a well draining cactus mix. I don’t over-water it – and since I had this plant before I got “into” house plants, it survived some times of neglect. A Christmas cactus will tell you when it is thirsty as it will start to look sad and wilt. I have mine in an east-facing window that gets indirect bright light. The light isn’t strong enough to scorch the leaves.
I just found out how easy it is to propagate a Christmas Cactus indoor houseplant and have started a few baby plants growing. This is another plant that benefits from pruning and will become nice and full if you prune some sections. As a bonus you can replant the pruned leaves as new plants.
For the entire time I’ve had my Pothos, I thought it was a Philodendron. Typical plant newbie mistake! Pothos is sometimes called Devil’s Ivy and is one of the easiest plants to grow and propagate – making it one of the best indoor house plants. We used to have this growing all over my house growing up, in vases of water. I never liked the way the long roots looked in the water as a kid. But now I can appreciate how quickly they root in water.
My pothos does well in a standard potting mix (think bag labeled “potting soil” at your local big box store) and bright indirect light. For a long time I had it in a shadier corner of our living room and it did fine. Research tells me that it is a popular plant to have grow under fluorescent lighting and people often have them in offices for this reason. My pothos got sparse with long vines that only had leaves at the ends. I recently moved it to a spot that gets both more sunlight and near a lamp. Now it has really filled out and the variegation in the leaves is coming back. A pothos will lose it’s varigation if you put it in a spot that is too dark. I let it dry out between waterings and don’t let the pot sit in water. I’ve had some leaves yellow and fall off, but otherwise the plant is still thriving.
I’ve been able to propagate cuttings in water and transplant them to soil. The trick here in my experience is to not let it live in water too long. As soon as there’s visible root growth in water of an inch or two, I plant it in soil.
Wandering Jew (T. zebrina)
I picked this plant up on a whim at a garden center and then later learned it’s another easy indoor plant. It’s got great purple and green leaves that appear almost iridescent. The most difficult thing about growing this plant is that the stems are very delicate. I’ve accidentally broken some stems while moving it around.
This is also a plant that is easy to propagate. I’ve successfully replanted broken stems in the same pot and had them root. I clipped some other stems and started a new plant for a friend.
My Wandering Jew plant took well to a cactus mix soil. It wants to stay moist, but not wet – the roots are rather shallow so over watering, in my opinion could cause root rot. It sits on a shelf near my sliding door that receives a lot of bright, but indirect light. This plant is meant to trail, but like the Pothos, you’ll want to pinch it back or add clippings to the pot so it’s not so sparse, and fuller at the top.
These two plants were an impulse buy for me at a gardening center. It worked out since Peperomia turns out to be a very easy indoor plant! There are over 1000 varieties of peperomia – including some that have tiny leaves. These two didn’t come with details on what variety they are, but they’ve both been easy to care for and have remained healthy.
I re-potted them in a well-draining potting soil (cactus mix was what I had on hand) and I keep them in that east-facing window that has a lot of light. These girls want to dry out between watering. If they get too wet they’ll be vulnerable to root rot and fungus gnats. Ugh. Fungus gnats – that’s a whole other post.
The peperomia is also supposed to be a slow-growing plant so it would be good for someone looking for a small indoor houseplant.
Other Easy Indoor Plants
I have a few other plants that will hopefully make it onto my list of best indoor house plants in the future. Although, I’m running out of space on that one reliable window sill. I picked up a snake plant at the grocery store the other day and I haven’t even re-potted it – i just stuck the nursery pot in another decorative pot! So far it’s doing well in a rather shady corner of my living room. It gets low indirect light, but snake plants are supposed to be almost impossible to kill so I have high hopes for it.
I’m also always on the lookout for a zz plant. These seem to be really popular, easy to care for, attractive plants. Every time I go to a big box hardware store, I peruse the garden section hoping to spot one.
A friend gave me a baby off of her Pilea plant. Some folks call these a Chinese Money Plant. I love the way the larger plant’s leaves are perfectly circular. This is another one that is supposed to be a low maintenance easy indoor plant! I’ll post updates on how it’s growing in a few weeks.