The 5 Easiest Indoor Plants

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Plants by “simple” definition are living organisms that grow in a permanent spot, absorbs water & inorganic substances through its roots and processes nutrients in its leaves by using photosynthesis to make its own food. They produce most of the world’s oxygen while eating up carbon dioxide and are important parts of the food chain.. our food chain.

I have loved gardening since I can remember. (I have memories of an elderly neighbour having the most beautiful garden. A very European/English garden with lots of old fashioned flowers.)

I too have… in my opinion, a beautiful garden! 🙂

I have always had a plant or two in my house. In the last few years the 1-2 plants turned into many more. (I won’t go into numbers…. my family may read this!) I actually can’t get enough of them, the different shades of green, their trailing/climbing habit and the tranquility they provide by just looking at them.

I am by no means a pro, I am learning as I go along.  And I have killed plants with too much love or with not enough love.  Today, I will share with you some basic information about some very easy plants to start your collection of easy indoor plants.

But first lets learn some important terminology that will ensure your plants survive!

Lighting

Most indoor plants need some light whether that be from the sun or artificial lighting. Yes, we have all heard about plants that need “zero” sunlight but they do need light of some sort to thrive long term. Let me explain it a different way:

If a room is completely dark like a closet at night time and it is like that 24/7, than don’t put a real plant in there (without artificial lighting)

If its a bedroom or hallway that is bright enough to see or read during the day for at least 1.5 hours than a plant needing low light can survive there.

  • Direct Light (also known as High Light or Full Sun): Requires direct light, sun is shining directly on the plant through (closed) west or south window for at least 3-6 hours.
  • Indirect Light (also known as Medium Light or Partial Sun): Plants will not get directly hit with sunlight; can be through a sheer curtain, or in the interior of a room that still gets strong sun (like from a west or south window) or it could be in front of a window that gets light but not direct sun (like from a east window). The plant will still need 3-5 hours of indirect light/sun per day.
  • Low Light (also known as “zero” sunlight): Minimal indirect light. In room interiors, or in rooms with north facing windows or partially shaded by trees, furniture and/or depended on regular room lights. Still needs 1.5 hours of indirect light.

Water

All plant owners have experienced death by water at least once! Over-watering or as I like to call it ‘killed with love’ is the most common error new plant owners make. We all want our plants to grow and to do so we sometimes give them too much water or too often-guilty!

The best way not to over-water is to water deeply, rather than lightly and frequently. Pour water onto the surface of soil until water runs out the pot’s drainage holes. Drain excess water away within 10-12 minutes after watering. Never use machine softened water, it contains salt.

  • Moist: Keep soil evenly moist. Do not let dry out completely.
  • Moderately Moist: Allow the soil to dry out slightly: top 1″ or 2 depending on pot size.
  • Dry: Allow the soil to dry well. Be careful not to over-water.

Soil

Plants need a medium where their roots can get all their vital nutrients from, in most cases this is the soil. Some thrive in nutrient dense, moist, organic soils, but others do better in dry, sandy, nutrient poor soils. Texture, pH & nutrient levels can increase or decrease the vitality and growth of your plants. So for most of the plants below, I recommend a good all purpose soil. I usually use Miracle Grow potting soil but add in some extra perlite or vermiculite (the white Styrofoam looking pieces). Both perlite and vermiculite have no nutrient value, it is purely to stop the soil from compacting over time. Miracle Grow like most potting soils usually have some vermiculite in them, I just prefer to add a little more.

Pothos

Golden Pothos, Epipremnum Aureum (aka Devil’s Ivy)

One of the easiest indoor plants to grow. Pothos is also listed as one of the top clean air plants according to NASA. They are trailing plant that look great on a shelf hanging down or hanging from the ceiling in a macrame hanger -like mine! I should warn you that it is toxic in very large doses (cause stomach upset/vomit in small doses) to cats, dogs and children so keep it out of reach. That said, my cats have never tried to eat any of my Pothos’.

The 4 most common and easily found varieties of Pothos are:

  • Golden Pothos (slightly variegated green leaves with a yellow hue)
  • Marble Queen Pothos (slightly variegated green leaves with white)
  • Jade Pothos (solid dark green leaves)
  • Neon Pothos (solid neon lighter green leaves)

Light: The brighter the leaf colour the more sun/light it requires. Neon likes direct sun, Marble Queen a bit less direct sun, then Golden with indirect light and of course Jade with low light. Neon will not do well with low light and Jade will not do well in direct sun. Although Marble Queen & Golden prefer to be in the middle, they will survive in low light but will lose their variegated colouring on their leaves.

Water: Moderate- Allow the soil to dry slightly (top 1 ” ) If the leaves turn bright yellow then your plant is too dry, if older growth turns black , then your over-watering or the temperature is too low. (below 10 degrees Celsius)

Soil: Pothos are not fussy, a regular potting soil is fine. They do however like to become slightly root bound, so don’t transplant until roots have filled the pot.

Tips: Pothos like to grow and sometimes become to long and thin (leaves become further apart). To prevent this just cut off ends of the vines every month or two. The pieces you cut off can be put into a jar/vase with water to grow new roots. Be sure there is one node (little usually brown bumps on the stem where new stems, leaves or new roots can grow) under the water line since this is where the roots will grow from.

ZZ Plant

ZZ Plant, Zamioculcas Zamiifolia

This is an African tropical perennial plant. It is so popular and often found in offices and homes. It has waxy looking dark green leaves that grow up on single stocks that can reach up to 2-3 feet. It tolerates neglect, is drought tolerant and accepts low-light making it the perfect starter plant. It may also produce small flowers late summer- early autumn. This is also a toxic plant if digested and can cause skin irritation in some people, so wash your hands after potting. (like you would after any potting!)

Light: Low light to medium light.

Water: Dry. Allow soil to dry well before watering it again. ZZ plants will not complain if you forget to water them more than once. They grow from large rhizomes ( look like potatoes), that store water. This is why they don’t complain when you miss a watering!

Soil: A regular well draining potting soil is fine. You could always add peat moss in a 50/50 split with your soil if your worried about over-watering or use a cactus & succulent soil rather than an all purpose mix. Hint: Miracle Grow potting soil has additives in it to keep the soil from drying out; so I do not suggest it.

Chinese Evergreen

Chinese Evergreen, Aglaonema

This is a hardy hybrid that originally came from the subtropics of southeast Asia. It can be a great table top plant or as it becomes larger and bushier it can be a floor plant. They also make NASA’s top ten list as clean air plants that remove harmful toxins too. Common Chinese Evergreen plants have shiny leathery leaves with colours of green, gray and cream that form unique patterns. Often found in offices as they too are a low light plant. They are toxic to pets and humans if ingested and can cause skin irritation if the plants juice gets on skin.

Light: Low light for the common plants with green, gray and cream leaves. The newer varieties that have bright red, yellow, pink and orange require medium to high light.

Water: Dry. Water regularly but let the soil dry well before watering it again.

Soil: A good draining soil is recommended. You can use a Succuulent/cactus soil, peat based potting soil or make your own ei. 1/3 of each potting mix, peat moss and perlite.

Tips: Very easily propagated with cuttings placed in water.

Spider Plant

Spider Plant, Chlorophytum Cosmosum (aka Airplane Plant, Ribbon Plant)

Spider Plants is a perennial flowering plant. It is absoultly the easiest indoor plant around. It looks amazing from a hanging pot and was a favorite in Victorian era households. It not only has small white flowers from time to time on long stems but it also grows baby spider plants (offsets called pups) on the same stems that hang down. NASA highlights this plant for its air-purifying qualities.

Light: Spiders are not especially picky when it comes to light. The ideal light for opitmal growth and babies would be Medium light. However, they will live in low light right up to high light (providing they are not in direct hot sun). The heat from the sun can burn their leaves causing brown spots and tips.

Water: They like regular watering but prefer to dry out between waterings in winter and prefer to be Moderately watered in spring and summer. Avoid watering with fluoridated, softened, chlorinated and or cold water.

Soil: A regular potting soil like Miracle Grow is fine. They tend to get root bound quickly so potting up a size every few years is helpful.

Tips: There are a few ways to propagate the baby spiders. You can rest them on a pot of soil while still attached to the mother plant or cut them off and put nodes (at bottom) into some water until roots grow or simple let dry out 1-3 days and place into soil shallowly until they secure themselves in the soil. (I usually use the water method as it only takes a week or 2 to get enough roots to plant in soil.) Also leaf tips often brown from a variety of reasons such as too dry, too much sun, not enough nutrients in soil (time to repot or fertilize) or it could be caused by the type of water being used. If the tips turn brown, adjust your care accordingly and simply pinch off brown area or cut off on angle.

Snake Plant

Snake Plant, Sansevieria Trifasciata (aka Mother-In-Law’s Tongue)

This is an amazing and basically a no care plant! It can grow in a wide range of conditions which is why you will see them in small containers to large floor pots in offices, malls and homes. With its stand tall upright stiff leaves it looks artificial. There are over 70 species of Snake plants that all vary in colour, thickness and upright shapes. They typically are slow growers but have been known to crack pots if not monitored for its root growth every few years. NASA highlights snake plants for their ability to clean air of toxins, formaldehyde and benzene. They propagate very easily with just part of a leaf (could be a broken piece) and they also multiply in their pots. They may bloom every several years, under the right conditions.

Light: They can survive in low light right up to high light. In low light, some varieties may loose their variegated colour definition or become leggy and floppy if tall. Snake plants are known for their low light or “zero” sun needed to survive. However they really grow and maintain beautiful variegated coloured leaves in medium or high light.

Water: According to dry. Snake plants are succulents. They hold water in their stiff leaves therefore only need a good watering every so often and let them dry completely before watering again. This looks like every 2 weeks or so depending on your season and temperature in your home/office.

Soil: They are succulents therefore need a fast draining and drying soil. It is best to use a succulent/cactus soil. It is also best to use a pot with a drainage hole.

Tips: Terracotta and natural pots are best for succulents especially Snake plants. That said if you really like a pot without a drainage hole or basket; use an interior pot with drainage holes, so that you can pour away any extra water 20 minutes after watering.

Well that wraps up the EASIEST 5 indoor plants ever. I hope you try one of these. If you do, let me know and send pictures. If you have any question about these plants or any other, I will do my best to answer or find out for you.

Max

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