What Are Good House Plants For Beginners?

uniquelydivine(6)May 28, 2012


I'm still trying to get the hang of plants and wanted to know if the following plants are good for beginners.

They are:

1. Calathea (Prayer Plant)

2. Anthurirum

3. Croton

4. Zebrra Plant

I live in New York City. Are these plants easy care? Are they year round plants? Will any of these go into dormancy (rest) during different seasons? Will the cold weather affect them? (even if they're going to be inside I just want to make sure any cold air coming in will not affect them. Will the summer heat affect them?

As you all see, I like different plants, hence my interest in these lovely plants. I just want to make sure I give them the right care.

Any other suggestions as far as "different" house plants for beginners are also welcome.


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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Schefflera and sansevieria have to be near the top of the list of easiest to care for. I'm thinking pothos and philodendrons, too. Might as well add aspidistra, ponytail palm, and diffenbachia, too. Most of the problems encountered in growing houseplants become manifest as a result of a poor soil choice or a combination of poor light and poor soil choice. The plants that are usually considered more difficult are usually those less tolerant of poor conditions in the root zone. Almost anything is easy if you use a quality soil and can serve up an appropriate helping of light. I'd venture to say that you can't consider a soil a quality soil unless it affords you the ability to water copiously enough to flush the soil thoroughly, at will, without having to worry that the soil will remain saturated so long that root rot becomes a likelihood.


    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 3:22PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

To add to Al 's comments, I'd say that the four plants you've listed are not good options for beginners. You need to have a pretty good understanding of how to meet the needs of fairly tempermental plants.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 3:46PM
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stonesriver(6B Tennessee)

Except for the Anthurium, you have some not-so-easy-to-grow-well plants. Rhizo's second sentence is key. So don't be discouraged about plants in general if yours do not do well.

In the Victorian Era, the following plants were used extensively because homes were dark and hot. It was also the era when house plants were beginning to make their way into lower- and middle- class homes where gardeners were not employed which meant many growers were beginners who couldn't afford finicky plants.

The first three plants grew well in those conditions and are great for beginners (or anyone). My list would be:

1. Sansevieria (check out that forum; there are many gorgeous, unique types)
2. Aspidistra (Cast Iron) Most popular Victorian house plant
3. Swedish Ivy
4. Anthurium
5. Small variety of spathiphyllum

This link names others but from experience I view the five above as the easiest.


Here is a link that might be useful: Victorian House Plants

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 5:41PM
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From what I see, Calathea are prone to browning leaves. I haven't seen a healthy specimen in a while.

Crotons are prone to spider mites and from what I've experienced - they're do not like being dry. If you have a busy life, this is not an easy care plant.

I have 2 anthuriums and neither are "easy", per se. They both like at the very least bright indirect light. These will suffer in a dark corner.

What I find when people ask me about "easy" plants is that they're looking for something exotic. Most easy plants are very common and most aren't anything to write home about. That being said, pothos and chlorophytums are very tolerant. I also have a divided Aglaonema 'Silver Bay' and it's happily sitting in a less bright area. Tradescantia Zebrina is also a very easy plant if you keep it moist and in a fairly bright window.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 6:37PM
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stonesriver(6B Tennessee)

Thank you, goddess! Didn't mean to indicate spaths and the anthurium grew well in Victorian-like conditions.

What I *meant* was the first three listed were Victorian-era plants; the second two are ones I find easy to grow.

Thanks for the catch.


    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 6:52PM
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Linda, I wasn't trying to criticize you. :) I was actually going off the original poster's list. It just happened to link up with your list, haha.

I'd also like to add jasminum as long as long as it isn't allowed to completely dry out. It needs high light but if both conditions are met, it will give you great smelling blooms easily.


    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 7:51AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

I don't consider myself a beginner at all and wouldn't spend money on any of those plants you mentioned and I have a big yard with many options for sun exposure that you probably don't have in NYC. I haven't tried the zebra plant, but have quickly killed the other 3 in the past. No doubt it was my fault and ignorance about the plants' needs. But since I have so many other plants that do so well, it seems I've learned that these do not do well in the conditions I have to offer.

Your taste in pretty leaves seems similar to mine, so I might suggest some others (in addition to the excellent suggestions already made, sorry if any of these are dupes) that are pretty but much easier to keep in captivity... any of the Dracaenas, Syngonium, cane or wax Begonias, parlor palms.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 10:21AM
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stonesriver(6B Tennessee)


I didn't take it as criticism; just as a good "catch." :-) Which is why I thanked you.

I have a variegated Aspidistra and it has lovely and interesting foliage.

As a matter of fact, now that it's nice I'm going to take my foliage plants outside and try to get some decent photo and post.


    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 3:43PM
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I've had a fairly easy time with:

- Ledebouria socialis
- Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)
- Sanseveria
- Haworthia attenuata

Having said this, all of mine will probably die in the next two hours.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 9:13PM
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I really recommend the olive tree, Olea europaea, as a great and tolerant houseplant. It will flower in a sunny window, but will also put up with low light in the winter. It looks very pretty too.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 9:15AM
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Lets see easy plants on my list are:

philodendrons (green leaf, pothos, silver)
spider plant
pointy tail palm
cat palm
nethe bella palm
rubber plant
Snake plant

Caletha's are very picky plants. Not for beginners .

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 6:14PM
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Most varieties of Hoyas are easy to grow too, and they have beautiful flowers to add as a bonus :-). Check out the Hoya forum to learn more. Hoya carnosa and any of it's varieties are excellent for beginners and you can find them in the big box stores with the house plants.

Brad AKA Moonwolf

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 9:41AM
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teengardener1888(NY Albany 5a)

Heart-leaf philodendron
Arrowhead vine
Devils backbone
Dragon tree
Corn plant
Dracaena sanderiana (lucky bamboo)
Mimosa pudica(sensitive plant)
rex begonia
Angel-wing begonia
wax begonia
Impatient walleriana(bussy lissy)
Rose periwinkle
Calathea(good plant choice)
Dieffenbachia(dumb's cane)
blue walking iris
Purple heart plant
Wandering jew(inch plant)
burro's tail
Chamaedora elegans(parlor palm)
Dwarf date palm
Cycas revolulata(japanese cycad)
Zz plant
Devils ivy(pothos)
Hoya carnosa(wax plant)
Hoya carnosa compacta(hindu rope)
thunbergia alata(clock vine,black-eye susan vine

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 10:44AM
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I think Oxalis is a neat Beginner plant also Ledebourias.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 9:52PM
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