Houseplants for Beginners: My Top Tips & Tools

About two years ago, I fell in love with houseplants. I’ve always been a fan of having plants in the house, but I wasn’t ever very good at actually keeping them alive. Over the last two years, I’ve worked hard and learned a lot. I’m still far from an expert, but I figured it was high time put together a quick houseplants for beginners guide. Because, I want everyone to have the confidence to give plant parenthood a shot!

Close up of plant shelves

So today, I’m going to walk you through some of my must-have tools for houseplants and a few tips for getting started if you have a black thumb. Hopefully, by the time you finish this guide you’ll be ready to dive in and start your own plant collection!

plants for beginners: a guide

First off, let’s start by talking general tips and tricks for plant care. It’s honestly pretty straightforward to take care of most houseplants. But, some can be finicky and if you aren’t careful you can find yourself feeling really frustrated after a series of accidentally-murdered plants.

Ask me how I know.

Today, we’re going to cover…

  • What plants you should start with
  • A few tools you need to make things easier
  • My plant care routine
  • The best places to shop for plants
  • The best places to shop for planters

My goal is that by the time you’re done reading this post, you’ll have a little more confidence about trying out a houseplant or two. And, if you already have some plants, then I hope you find a new tip or trick that makes things a little easier for you.

Let’s jump right in, shall we?

what plants should I start with?

An 8' tall rhapidophora tetrasperma

When you decide to buy your first plant, the biggest question is where do I start?

Some houseplants are much easier to care for than others, and if you accidentally start off with a difficult plant, you can lose steam quickly. Thankfully, there are a lot of really simple, hard-to-kill plants that are absolutely beautiful!

Click here for my top 10 houseplants for beginners. This list covers, in detail, 10 houseplants that are a really great fit for your first plants. They’re easy to care for, they’re cute, and they’re a great way to get your feet wet with plant care.

If you want an even shorter list, here are the top three houseplants I’d recommend starting with:

  • Pothos. They’re my favorite houseplant. They’re stunning, hard to kill, and fast-growing. I have 7 in my house and have to actively refrain from buying another one every time I see one. Click here to learn how to propagate them, too! They thrive with bright, indirect light, but they can live in almost any lighting condition.
  • Snake plants. These guys are practically indestructible. Bad lighting? They don’t care. Forget to water it for a month? It’s fine. Move it to seven different spots all over the house? It won’t even notice. I water mine about twice a month, and it lives in our bathroom. We have a skylight in there, but it’s nowhere near the plant – and it does great.
  • Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma. If you’re looking for a show-stopping plant that’s easy to care for, grows quickly, and will make you smile every day, this guy is your best friend. Click here for a deep dive into this plant and learn why I love it so much.

my favorite plant care tools

woman using a moisture meter to check soil of a rhapidophora tetrasperma

I don’t have a ton of plant tools around my house, but there are a few things that are really important to me and make life a lot easier. I’m a big believer that you don’t need a ton of fancy equipment to have a thriving collection of houseplants. For the most part, water and sunlight is all you need!

But, there are a few little things that have made a big difference when it comes to helping me keep my plants alive, so they’re worth mentioning here!

  • This plant food is a total game-changer! My rubber tree sat in my house without growing a single leaf for over a year. But, as soon as I started regularly using this plant food, leaves started popping up one after the other. I use it every time I water my plants, and I’ve noticed a big difference in their health.
  • This moisture meter is great for seeing if my plants need water. I use it constantly for my more difficult plants, and it has saved me from overwatering more times than I can count. It quickly tells you if your plant’s soil is dry or wet, and it can also gauge how much light it’s getting. It’s a really helpful tool for beginner plant parents and I think everyone should have one!
  • A good watering can makes everything easier. This cute one is a great size for me – it’s not too heavy to carry around, and I can water a few plants at a time before I need to fill it back up. I prefer a plastic watering can to a metal one – I’ve had rust issues with metal cans in the past!
  • I always have some neem oil on hand, too. It’s my go-to for dealing with small insects and pests that can show up in houseplants. When I notice we’ve got some gnats flying around, I start spraying it once a week at the base of the plant. Within a couple of weeks, things clear right up!

my plant care routine

Woman watering plants on a plant shelf

Every plant has different needs, and every home is different. Meaning, what works for my plants in my house might not work the same for you. Every room has different light exposure, humidity levels, etc. So, I’m going to share my plant care routine here, but just know that you might not get the same results even if you follow it exactly. Take the time to play around to find out what works best for you!

I water almost all of the plants in my home one a week. I write it down in my planner so I don’t forget, and every Friday is plant care day in my house. It also happens to be cleaning day in my house, so as I’m cleaning the house, I water the plants in each room.

For the majority of my plants, a once a week watering schedule is just right. But, some of them hold onto moisture a little longer and don’t need weekly watering! For example, the plants on the plant wall in my bathroom seem happier if I water them every 10-14 days. And a few of my other plants (like my ric-rack cactus, my snake plant, and my ZZ plant) do a lot better with every other week or so.

Each time I get a new plant, I check it with my moisture meter every Friday on watering day. After a month or so, I can kind of figure out the schedule the plant likes best. I rarely remember to water mid-week unless the plant gets dramatic and starts drooping, so pretty much all of my plants get watered either every week or every other week.

where i shop for plants

A dining table with plants on it, with a plant shelf in the background

Plant shopping is basically my favorite hobby. Anytime I’m feeling antsy and stressed and need to get out of the house, a visit to the nursery always fixes things right up.

I have really good luck at both Lowe’s and Home Depot with plants. I find that both stores often have really great houseplant options (especially when it comes to the basics!). They’re affordable, and they have great return policies if you immediately kill them.

But, if you’re looking for something a little harder to find, or if you want a more unique experience, a local nursery is a great option!

Here are a few of my favorites in the north Austin area:

Where I shop for planters

Plant shelf with unique planters

And finally, let’s chat planters! This is something I get asked about all the time when I talk about plants, because good ones can be hard to find. Since plants are such a big part of my decor, I always try to prioritize finding really beautiful planters that will add something to my home.

I wrote a big roundup of planters in every size and style here. It’s a couple of years old so some of them aren’t available anymore, but many are!

My favorite places to shop for planters are:

Click any of the links above to be taken directly to the planter section of the store! Of course, you can also find great planters at places like At Home, TJ Maxx, or even your local thrift stores.

Bathroom with lots of plants

And that’s my little brain dump on all things plant care for beginners! If you’ve been thinking about trying out a houseplant or two, I hope this gave you the little push you need to try it out!

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