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House Plant Guide for Brown Thumbs

Audrey Shippen

If you think of yourself as the Grim Reaper of plants, you are not alone. Many plants, for reasons of their own, will seemingly expire if you look at them the wrong way. Never fear. There are plenty of houseplant varieties that will thrive under some pretty negligent conditions so even the blackest of thumbs can enjoy a green home. Audrey Shippen, who handles and cares for all the house plants at her family’s North Seattle floral shop, Blue Poppy Floral, has put together this beginner’s guide to a variety of lush species and their (easy-peasy) care instructions, so you can fill your space with plant babies, and give them a whole lot of (low-maintenance) love.

House Plant Guide for Brown Thumbs

If you think of yourself as the Grim Reaper of plants, you are not alone. Many plants, for reasons of their own, will seemingly expire if you look at them the wrong way. Never fear. There are plenty of houseplant varieties that will thrive under some pretty negligent conditions so even the blackest of thumbs can enjoy a green home. Audrey Shippen, who handles and cares for all the house plants at her family’s North Seattle floral shop, Blue Poppy Floral, has put together this beginner’s guide to a variety of lush species and their (easy-peasy) care instructions, so you can fill your space with plant babies, and give them a whole lot of (low-maintenance) love.

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Pothos

Audrey Shippen

These are quick growers and trailers, making them perfect for hanging or setting on top of a bookshelf. With tons of variety in color, a myriad of variegation patterns and an easy going nature, pothos are one of the most popular home decor plants.

For care, they flourish with good indirect sunlight but will tolerate moderate lighting as well. Let the top layer of soil dry out between waterings.

Pothos

Monstera Deliciosa

Audrey Shippen

Monsteras are just about the most beloved plant that I can think of. They are definitely a statement plant that will brighten up any space with their sprawling, lush foliage. These grow huge and they grow quick, making them a very gratifying plant to own.

For care, they flourish with good indirect sunlight but will tolerate moderate lighting as well. Let the top layer of soil dry out between waterings.

Monstera Deliciosa

Sansevieria

Audrey Shippen

Commonly referred to as “snake plants” these are as low maintenance as they come. Sansevierias come in a wide variety of shapes, colors, and patterns, and are perfect for offices and living spaces as most varieties grow vertically so they won’t sprawl out too much.

For care, they will flourish with some sunlight but will tolerate low light well. I water mine twice a month but many water even less frequently because these plants love bone dry soil.

Sansevieria - Snake Plants

Cordatum

Audrey Shippen

Similar in many ways to a Pothos, these plants are quick growers and trailers. Commonly called “heartleaf” Philodendrons, they have foliage shaped like hearts with a smooth and glossy sheen. These are another very popular home decor plant due to their shape and more modern appearance.

For care, they flourish with good indirect sunlight but will tolerate moderate lighting as well. Let the top layer of soil dry out between waterings.

Cordatum - Heartleaf Philodendron

Aglaonema

Audrey Shippen

These are commonly referred to as “Chinese Evergreens” and in my opinion are super underrated! Known for their splashy, patterned leaves and often colorful variegation, they make any space a little more fun and interesting. Aglaonemas are sensitive to overwatering and too much light so if you forget about your plants often, these are for you.

For care, moderate lighting is best. Let the top layer of soil dry out between waterings.

Aglaonema - Chinese Evergreens

Dracaena

Audrey Shippen

These grow thick stalks instead of stems, allowing them to keep their structured shape even with a taller height. They are a very versatile larger plant with a robust tropical feel and laid back nature, making them a staple plant for any home.

For care, moderate lighting is best. Let the top layer of soil dry out between waterings.

Dracaena

Peperomia Obtusifolia

Audrey Shippen

Commonly called "baby rubber plants," these are a resilient plant with round, wax-like leaves that grow fairly compact and bushy. They are typically a deep green in color but also come variegated in stunning shades of cream and chartreuse.

For care, bright indirect or moderate lighting is best but they will happily tolerate low light conditions. Let the top layer of soil dry out between waterings.

Peperomia Obtusifolia - Baby Rubber Plant

ZZ Plant

Audrey Shippen

These and Sansevieras are frequently touted as the easiest plants to care for. They are compact in shape, a gorgeous deep green in color, and unique in appearance. ZZ plants are very low maintenance and do best when left alone to just grow in peace.

For care, they flourish with good indirect sunlight but will tolerate lower lighting as well. Let the soil completely dry out between waterings.

ZZ Plant

Spider Plant

Audrey Shippen

These are one of the most common houseplants for beginners and for good reason. They are steady growers, easy to maintain, and can even grow baby spider plants that you can separate and pot up, turning your one plant into many! They come in all shades of green and many different striped patterns.

For care, bright indirect light is best. Keep soil very lightly moist between waterings.

Spider Plant

Philodendron Selloum

Audrey Shippen

These are by far my favorite plant on this list. I love funky and unique shapes and these tick that box for me with huge, bright green leaves that look ruffled and fanned out. Selloums are a highly popular statement plant for living spaces and can get huge, and I mean huge, with decent conditions.

For care, bright indirect light is best but they will also tolerate moderate light. Let the top layer of soil dry out between waterings.

Philodendron Selloum

Tillandsia

Audrey Shippen

Most commonly referred to as “air plants,” these plants don’t actually need any soil so they don’t need to be in pots! They have a unique desert feel and are perfect for people who don’t have a ton of space as you can basically set them down anywhere there is sun. You'll most commonly find them in smaller 2-4" sizes but large ones can be found in some shops as well.

For care, bright indirect light is best. They will tolerate drought, but for best results, soak them for an hour or so in room temperature water, then let them dry out somewhere with decent airflow.

Tillandsia - Air Plants