Common houseplants | 9 classics & new favorites

If you’re looking for an easy, low-maintenance plant to add to your collection, why not go for one of the classics? If they’re common houseplants, there’s probably a reason for that, after all. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced indoor gardener, sometimes we just want to keep things simple.

Keep reading for a list of 12 common houseplants, all of which are suitable for beginners and easy to grow!

Close-up of Pilea peperomioides houseplant taken from above | 9 common houseplants for beginners

Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

One of the most common houseplants out there is Chlorophytum comosum. This species is better known as the spider plant, a common name derived from the fact that the plantlets produced by an adult plant resemble spiders dangling from a thread.

Like many other common houseplants, the spider plant gained its popularity from its easy care and low light requirements. You won’t need to blast this one with full sun: a light location reasonably close to a window is more than enough. Alternatively, a brightly lit space without natural light works as well. It’s for this reason that you’ll find spider plants in malls and offices around the world.

All your spider plant will need to thrive is a soil mix that consists of normal potting soil with a little perlite or pumice tossed in for aeration. Keep the soil lightly moist, especially during the growing season, but don’t forget that drainage in the form of a drainage hole in the pot is also important.

You can find more information about growing spider plants here and you can buy a spider plant online here.

Difficulty levelEasy
Lighting needsLow
Soil typeAll-purpose + perlite
Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum), a common houseplant.

Chinese money plant (Pilea peperomioides)

The Chinese money plant, scientifically known as Pilea peperomioides and commonly often just as ‘Pilea’, has been considered the must-have plant for quite a while now. Houseplant enthusiasts all over the world have fallen in love with its pancake-shaped leaves, forgiving nature and especially its easy propagation. This species isn’t referred to as the ‘pass it on plant’ sometimes for nothing!

Your Chinese money plant will do well in bright indirect light, potted into a mix of regular potting soil with a handful of grit for added drainage. Watering should be done whenever the soil is lightly dry, more or less whenever the first inch or so has dried out. Neither wet feet nor dry soil will be appreciated, but the exact watering frequency depends on the season.

It used to be quite a challenge to obtain a Chinese money plant, which was surprising since the species is so easy to multiply. Nurseries and plant stores seem to have caught on to the trend now though, which means you should be able to find yours without much trouble. For example, you can buy a Chinese money plant online here.

You can find more information about growing Pilea peperomioides here.

Difficulty levelEasy
Lighting needsMedium
Soil typeAll-purpose + perlite
Leaves of Pilea peperomioides (Chinese money plant) | 9 common houseplants

Inch plant (Tradescantia zebrina)

Traditionally known as the wandering jew plant, Tradescantia zebrina is now more commonly referred to as the inch plant. This common name has nothing to do with its size. Rather, it refers to how fast the species grows. Some houseplant enthusiasts report up to an inch of growth a day!

In addition to being a quick grower, Tradescantia zebrina is also quite decorative. Its downward trailing vines feature bright purple striped leaves that seem to shimmer from the inside. Its growth pattern makes this plant the perfect choice for a hanging planter.

Not much is needed for a thriving Tradescantia zebrina. This is a very common houseplant because it’s so low maintenance and perfectly suitable for those that don’t have much experience with growing houseplants. Simply plant it in potting soil and place the pot in an area that gets some sunlight without being scorchingly bright.

You’ll see the vines lengthening in no time. In fact, you might find yourself cutting off and replanting the ends regularly to prevent the plant from becoming too unruly.

You can buy a Tradescantia zebrina online here and you can find more information about Tradescantia zebrina here.

Difficulty levelEasy
Lighting needsMedium
Soil typeAll-purpose
Tradescantia zebrina (inch plant) showing its silver and purple foliage coloration | 9 common house plants for beginners

Moth orchid (Phalaenopsis sp.)

When it comes to orchids, or maybe even flowering houseplants in general, moth orchids from the Phalaenopsis genus are probably the most popular choice. Not surprising, as these orchids have been selectively cultivated for an incredibly wide range of stunning flowers. You can find this species in endless shades and mixes of pink, purple, white and yellow.

There are mini Phalaenopsis that stay much smaller than their regular counterparts, and for the real flower lovers there are varieties that bloom so abundantly they almost appear to collapse under their own weight.

Despite their popularity, Phalaenopsis orchids are generally not considered easy plants to care for. Unwilling to wait for their orchid to rebloom, many simply throw it out after the flowers wither. A waste, since with a little TLC it usually doesn’t take long for this species to produce the next round of flowers!

Keep your Phalaenopsis orchid in a well-draining pot filled with orchid bark, or mount it to wood for a more natural display. Soak the plant when the roots go dry, which can be determined by a greyish color rather than their usual bright green. Keep it near a window that gets bright but indirect light. You’ll likely see new flowers and flower spikes pop up before you know it (usually during wintertime).

You can find more information about Phalaenopsis sp. here.

Difficulty levelMedium
Lighting needsMedium
Soil typeOrchid bark
Purple flowers of Phalaenopsis 'Multiflora', an abundantly flowering cultivar of this houseplant

Mother-in-law’s tongue (Dracaena sp, formerly Sansevieria sp.)

Also known as Mother-in-law’s tongue, Sansevieria isn’t actually as evil as its common name might make it seem. One of the most common houseplants out there, it’s appreciated for the wide range of conditions it can withstand without complaint. This is one of those plants that just thrives on neglect: it’s always going to be better to under- than overwater it.

A favorite for offices and malls, Sansevieria is a common houseplant that naturally grows in areas where it receives a lot of natural light. As such, it does best when provided with plenty of direct sun, but what makes it so versatile is that it actually also survives just fine in more shaded conditions.

Grow your Sansevieria in well-draining soil and a pot with a drainage hole. Water only when the soil is bone dry and be especially careful if that plant is in a lower light spot where it won’t use up water as quickly. I personally water my Sansevierias about once every two weeks during summertime when they’re growing, but reduce waterings to about once every two months(!) in winter.

You can buy a Sansevieria online here.

Difficulty levelEasy
Lighting needsMedium
Soil typeSucculent soil
Sansevieria succulent, a popular houseplant.

Jade plant (Crassula ovata)

Another succulent popularity contest winner would be Crassula ovata, also commonly known as the jade plant. This extremely sturdy succulent is a super common house plant and a favorite for pretty much everyone. As long as you can provide sun as well as a well-draining pot and soil, it’ll grow happily.

The jade plant has been selectively cultivated into a number of different leaf shapes. ‘Undulata’ for example, features wavy leaves, while ‘Gollum’ has a more finger-like leaf shape.

As with most succulents, the key to jade plant care is to leave the plant alone as much as possible. Water once the soil has gone absolutely dry, which will be a much more frequent occurrence in summer than in winter. If you’re unsure whether it’s time to water your jade plant yet, it’s best to wait a few more days! A plant that’s truly very thirsty will show you through wrinkling of its leaves.

You can buy your own Jade plants online here.

Difficulty levelEasy
Lighting needsHigh
Soil typeSucculent soil
Crassula ovata (Jade plant), a popular succulent houseplant.

Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

Probably the absolute most common houseplants for hanging planters, Pothos has been many a houseplant enthusiast’s first plant. Its combination of very easy care, quick growth and decorative looks have made it a staple in the plant hobby that will probably never disappear. New selectively cultivated varieties with all sorts of different variegations and colors are produced regularly, so there’s a Pothos for anyone!

Pothos is a vining plant that naturally crawls up larger trees’ trunks. If you imitate this growth pattern by attaching your Pothos to a plant totem, you’ll find its leaves growing larger and larger as it reaches higher. If that’s not the look you’re going for you, grow your Pothos in a hanging basket instead and let its vines hang down. When grown like this, Pothos won’t produce larger leaves and stays a much more manageable size.

Is your hanging Pothos looking scraggly? No problem, as this plant is easy to propagate. Cut the vines at the desired point and place the cuttings back into the same pot for a lusher look. This guide contains more information on propagating Pothos.

You can buy your own Pothos plant online here.

Difficulty levelEasy
Lighting needsLow
Soil typeAll-purpose
Golden Pothos houseplant (Epipremnum aureum)

Dracaena

Even a large percentage of non-houseplant enthusiasts has probably owned a Dracaena at one point, or at least knows many people that do. This plant has been around in the hobby for as long as anyone can remember thanks to its very easy care, forgiving nature and simple propagation. It makes a great beginner plant and because the genus Dracaena contains various beautiful varieties you’ll always find one you like.

Dracaena features cane-like stems that will grow quite tall when left to their own devices, making for a fantastic eye-catcher. You can also keep this species small, though, as it’s very easy to propagate and can simply be ‘beheaded’ when it grows too tall.

Bright indirect light, a planter with drainage and well-draining soil are the keywords for a happy Dracaena. Some varieties can tolerate relatively low-light conditions, making them perfect for homes that lack large windows. Keep in mind that this plant likes to dry out a little bit, especially if it isn’t getting a lot of light.

You can find more information on Dracaena marginata, one of the most popular Dracaenas, in the Dracaena marginata care guide.

Difficulty levelEasy
Lighting needsLow
Soil typeAll-purpose + perlite
Shallow focus photo of Dracaena 'Compacta', a tight-leaved Dracaena houseplant cultivar

English ivy (Hedera helix)

Along with the previously mentioned Pothos, Hedera helix (better known as English ivy) is probably one of the most popular vining houseplants out there. Not surprising as it’s a quick grower that doesn’t need loads of light and really brightens a wall with its typical triangular leaves.

Outdoors, English ivy can quickly turn into a pest plant that can adhere itself so strongly to surfaces that it can actually structurally damage buildings. Yikes! Lucky it’s a lot more mellow indoors just as long as you make sure those strong vines can only grow up a trellis rather than your precious walls.

Grow your English ivy in a rich and loose soil and provide bright indirect light. Let the top layer of soil dry out before watering again and enjoy! Even beginners should be able to grow this one.

If you’d like to know more, have a look at the full guide on Hedera helix care.

Difficulty levelEasy
Lighting needsMedium
Soil typeRich and loose
English ivy houseplant in terracotta planter displayed next to white Buddha statue on dark cabinet.

If you have any more questions about the common houseplants discussed in this article or if you want to share your own experiences with any of the 9 species, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

4 thoughts on “Common houseplants | 9 classics & new favorites”

  1. Ivy (Pothos): Easiest Plant Ever! I have runners coming out of my ears! Thanks for the information. I’ve been wanting to try my hand at some of these.

    Reply

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