Houseplants That Don’t Require a Green Thumb.

Houseplants have many benefits and can be super easy to maintain if you aren’t an avid gardener, Here’s a list of 6 indoor plants that don’t require a green thumb.

Houseplants and gardening both have great benefits for both your mental and physical health. In fact it has such a positive impact on mental health that doctors have begun prescribing gardening for people struggling with anxiety and depression, also known as therapeutic horticulture, to relieve stress and anxiety.

In terms of physical health benefits houseplants are proven to reduce fatigue, improving focus and minimising the occurrence of headaches by improving the air quality in your home. Houseplants can also help to ease dry skin and respiratory ailments by adding moisture into the air, they are also known to absorb toxic substances, such as benzene, which helps to boost your immune system.

Keeping houseplants seems like a no-brainer with the many benefits they have, however not everyone finds caring for plants an easy task. Here is a list of six plants for your home that are low maintenance and perfect for beginners, along with some general tips.

General Tips

  1. Only feed your houseplants during the spring and summer months, this is the optimum growth time for the majority of indoor plants. once or twice a month while watering will provide great results, however, remember more feeding = bigger plants.
  2. There are many different feeds catered specifically to house plants, but a great and very cheap alternative is tomato feed, which has plenty of nutrients that will be super beneficial for your houseplants. It will encourage a lot of growth very quickly though, so use it sparingly!
  3. Using rainwater or water from a dehumidifier will be much better for your plants as it won’t contain any, or much less, fluoride which can be damaging to the leaves of your plants.
  4. If you own a non-saltwater fish tank, try giving some of the water from it to your plants, it harbours loads of great minerals, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and ammonia, all common minerals found in plant food and fertilisers.

1. The Spider Plant (Chlorophytum Comosum)

Spider plants get their name from their long trailing leaves and stems which often resemble spiders. Video by Katy Mcdougall©

An unsurprising first contender is the reliable spider plant, known for being incredibly adaptable and low maintenance, the perfect plant for any beginner. They can withstand a substantial amount of abuse from a newbie, they can survive in a variety of conditions. However, they thrive best in bright indirect sunlight with well-drained soil, they also grow well when placed at height or in hanging baskets since they will grow to be hanging plants. Spider plants need to be well watered but do not allow them to become too soggy as it can cause root rot, which often isn’t noticeable until it is already too late.

Another issue spider plants face is brown tips, this if often caused by over or under watering which effects the nutrients reaching the end of the leaves, these are not harmful to the plant, so removal isn’t required. However, it is best to allow these plants to dry out between waterings, as previously stated spider plants are pretty hardy and will survive a few late or missed waterings.

In terms of feeding, spider plants do not need fed regularly but once or twice while watering will encourage growth and spiderettes. Spider plants are also very easy to propagate by removing the baby spiderettes from the mother plant and propagating in water or planting straight into fresh soil (Find out how to successfully propagate spider plants here).

Spider plants should be top of the list for anyone venturing into keeping houseplants.

2. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)

The name Spathiphyllum is a derivative of the greek words ‘path’ meaning spoon and ‘phyl’ meaning leaves. Video by Katy Mcdougall©

Peace Lilies make ideal beginner plants, they do not require a lot of light, indirect sunlight is best, and consistently damp soil. When the top inch of soil becomes dry add water until it begins to run through the bottom of the pot, once all the water has drained through dispose of it and return to its pot or saucer. Peace lilies don’t require a lot of feeding once or twice a month through the summer at most would suffice to encourage healthy growth but always avoid feeding and reduce watering in the wintertime.

Peace lilies enjoy crowded pots or spaces as this boosts humidity within the air, however when roots begin to grow out the bottom of the pot, this is a good sign to move your peace lily into a bigger pot. Peace lilies can be very dramatic plants, a good thing for beginners, and will become very droopy when they have been over-watered or are in need of some but will gradually perk back up in a few hours.

Peace lilies are also really easy to come by and sold in most supermarkets while also being relatively cheap. A great cheap and cheerful plant to start with that won’t break the bank.

3. Corn Plant (Dracaena Fragrans)

Dracaenas come in many different varieties, but the corn plant variety if often compared to the yucca tree or lucky bamboo. Video by Katy Mcdougall©

Another low maintenance plant for beginners is the corn plant. The two most common varieties of corn plants are differentiated by their stem, one a thicker, brown textured stem similar to the Yucca plant or more commonly known as a Ti Tree. The second will have a bright green, sturdy stem that closely resembles Lucky Bamboo.

The best lighting conditions for these plants is in an area of light shade, direct sunlight can burn the leaves of acorn plant quite easily and conditions that are too dark will cause the leaves to not reach full size and lack their vibrant colour and pattern. Similarly, to the Spider plant the corn plant can benefit from some drying time between waterings, water well a couple of times a month, an inch or two of dry soil across the top of the pot is a good indicator that the plant is in need of some water. In the summer months keeping the soil relatively moist at all times will be beneficial if in a light, warm spot. A reduction in watering during the colder months, like you would for any other houseplant, will allow the plant to rest, however do not let the soil dry out completely.

The corn plant can also benefit from humidity which will help reduce brown spotting and boost colour and pattern development on leaves. Misting semi-frequently is a good way to do this while keeping the leaves clean. Another thing the corn plant has in common with the spider plant is that it is also pretty easy to propagate by removing a piece of the crown and potting it in some fresh compost with a rooting hormone to help the process along. This is best done in summer as the corn plant requires warmer temperatures to successfully propagate.

The corn plant is an easy and striking option for someone new to houseplants, however they can grow to be quite big so be prepared for repotting and maybe finding more suitable locations for a large houseplant.

4. Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera Deliciosa)

Monsteras are known for growing at ridiculously fast rates and being incredibly unruly. Video by Katy Mcdougall©

Often referred to as monstera or ‘the monster plant’, due to its impossibly fast growth cycle and climbing nature, this plant is remarkably easy to maintain. Monsteras can grow in almost any conditions, they are incredibly adaptable to their surroundings. However, they will thrive best in bright, indirect sunlight. These plants can successfully grow in direct sunlight too but beware that their leaves can burn quite easily if left in the sun too long and too frequently.

Monsteras need watered often, as suggested by their name they grow rather big and unruly very quickly, and this requires a lot of water. When the top half of the soil becomes dry water until begins to filter through the bottom of the pot and dispose of excess water. this will most likely be once a week in the warmer months and every other week in the winter months. To encourage growth, it is recommended to feed monsteras once or twice a month through spring and summer and allow them to rest during winter, but remember that the more food you give the monstera the faster it will grow! Monsteras are known to be climbing plants by nature so providing a trellis or in a hanging pot will allow them to grow in the most natural way.

Monsteras are also known to be excellent air purifiers due to their large leaves, dusting them regularly with a clean, dry cloth will keep them free of dust and provide optimum air purification. An easy and effective plant that will make a statement in any room, without too much knowledge or effort required.

5. Peacock Plant (Calathea Oppenheimiana)

Peacock plants can be quite dense, but prefer a crowded pot as it increases humidity. Video by Katy Mcdougall©

Peacock Plants, also referred to as prayer plants, are known for their distinctive leave pattern. with the top of their leaves monotonous green stripes and the underneath a dark purple, which is where the name peacock comes from. They are often considered rather difficult to look after, however with consistent conditions and care they are very easy to maintain.

These plants thrive in humid conditions, bathrooms and conservatories are a good place to keep them. Nevertheless, these plants grow pretty well without constant humidity. By keeping the peacock plant surrounded by other plants increases the humidity naturally, but there are some things that can be done to provide them with the level of humidity they prefer. Placing them in bathrooms when showering or taking a bath or placing in the shower and misting with the shower head is a good way to provide these plants with some beneficial humidity. Even using a spray bottle is a useful and easy way to provide the right conditions.

Peacock plants require consistently moist soil, however will survive a little drying time if forgotten about. Try using rainwater or filtered water with these plants as the fluoride in water straight from your tap can be damaging to the leaves and may result in less vibrant, patterned leaves.

A top tip for peacock plants is to use a nitrogen based fertiliser or feed with these plants to maintain and encourage their distinctive colour and patterns on the leaves. These plants have a reputation for being difficult to maintain, however they are actually relatively easy to look after they just require a bit more consistency than the spider plant or monstera. Provide this plant with plenty of water and some indirect sunlight and they will become a unique part of your plant collection.

6. Chinese Evergreens (Aglaonema Cherry Baby)

Aglaonemas come in many variations, but all require the same care. The cherry baby evergreen is a very bright red colour, a stand out plant in comparison to most other house plants. These plants are very efficient at purifying and detoxing the air in your home and are very low maintenance for those who wants something that is a bit different but is new to keeping plants. Chinese evergreens of any variety are most suited to lower light conditions, indirect but still fairly bright sunlight is best. These plants do not like bright sunlight and strong sunlight can often bleach the colour from their leaves, especially varieties like the cherry baby. Aglaonemas are tropical asian plants and do not like droughts so keep away from entry doors and windowsills, especially in a colder climate like Scotland.

Chinese evergreens can remain quite small for long periods of time, ideal for those that don’t have a lot of space. Video by Katy Mcdougall©

These plants require semi-frequent watering throughout the spring and summer months, a good way to maintain a watering routine is to allow the top two inches of soil dry out before watering again. As with most houseplants reduce watering in wintertime as these plants are more prone to root rot in the winter months if over-watered. A well-draining compost would also be suitable to use with the aglaonema to reduce the risks of root rot all year round.

Chinese evergreens are another plant that can benefit from regular feeding with a nitrogen-based fertiliser or feed to enhance they’re bright colours and patterns, once a month through the warmer months is best. Regular dusting of the leaves is also highly beneficial, using a clean, damp cloth to remove dirt and dust build up will help maintain healthy, bright leaves and optimum air detoxing.

Similarly, to the peacock plant, the aglaonema loves humidity due to their tropical origins. Humidity, however, is not essential for these plants and regular showers and misting would benefit the development and colour of healthy leaves.

Chinese evergreens are a great a way to add a splash of colour to your home and are pretty beginner friendly, they are also relatively robust for those who might forget to water them now and again.

Overall, houseplants are a great way to liven up your home or for those who do not have access to a garden to improve not only your mental health but physical health too. Most houseplants are also reasonably affordable and can be found in most supermarkets. Even without a green thumb these six plants should be able to withstand even the most clueless beginners.

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