Life·16 min read

What to Buy if You’re New to Plant Parenthood

What to Buy If You’re New to Plant Parenthood
Design: theSkimm | Photo: The Sill
Oct 13, 2022

This post was originally published in May 2021 and has been updated.

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Maybe you’re newly inspired to pick up plant care as a hobby. Or maybe you’ve been a part of the plant-parent community for a while now, but still can’t seem to keep your greens alive for more than a few months.

Whatever your sitch, we’ve got you: from the best houseplants for beginners to the products that’ll help you care for your leafy babes (think: thriving not just surviving). Plus, we have some fun stuff you can add to your home to make ’em shine. We beleaf in you — you’ve got this.

Essential houseplants for beginners

First step to becoming a plant parent guessed it. Getting a plant. These options are great for beginners because they’re all pretty resilient and low-maintenance.

A watermelon peperomia that’s nontoxic and pet-friendly…

With its signature oval-shaped, dark-green striped leaves and red stems (hence the name), this one’s a no-fuss choice that can tolerate low to bright indirect light. Say it with us: watermelon (plant) sugar highhhh. ($49, Bloomscape)

Buy it

A ZZ plant for when you want something that’ll purify your air…

This small one has thick waxy leaves that can handle low light and water every two to three weeks. Plus, you can pick a recycled plastic pot that has a drainage hole and plug to come with it. Sold. ($88+, The Sill)

Buy it

Heart-shaped hoya plants that’ll bring instant happiness to your space…

Talk about sparking joy. You can’t go wrong with this heart-shaped set of easy-to-care-for hoyas. These two babes come potted in cement planters with pink rocks and are pet-friendly. They’re pretty easy to care for — they just need direct sunlight and a watering every two to three weeks. Grow, get it. ($49/2 pack, The Bouqs. Co)

Buy it

Snake plants that’ll stand out in your living room...

There’s a reason you see so many of them every time you walk into a store or scroll through Insta. They’re great for new plant parents as they're notoriously easy to take care of and don’t need to be watered often. This one’s from a family-owned farm in Northern California and comes with a variety of cute ceramic planter options. Plus, it can remove toxins from the air (like many others on this list). ($26, Ansel & Ivy)

Buy it

A golden pothos that makes the perfect housewarming gift...

This one has heart-shaped, glossy leaves that’ll bring a fresh green look to any space. The hardy plant is a popular choice for beginners because it can thrive in a variety of environments. It’ll thrive with shady to high indirect light and a watering once a week. (But it’s pretty forgiving if you forget.) Plus, this one comes in a hanging option, which we love for a gift. Its leaf gloss? It’s poppin’. ($21.98+, The Home Depot)

Buy it

A spider plant to add a bright pop of color to your space…

Don’t worry, no actual spiders here — just some vibrant white and green leaves. It’ll be happiest in bright or partial direct light and coolish temps (think: 55–65 degrees). Bonus: It’s super easy to propagate once it starts having little spider babies. You’ll have plants for days. ($14.99, Amazon)

Buy it

A kangaroo paw fern that’ll add some extra life to your space…

This one has a beautiful, deep green color and is super adaptable. It’s pretty fuss-free — preferring indirect light and light moisture. And because of how forgiving it is, it’s a solid beginner option. Your love fern isn’t dead. It’s just sleeping. IYKYK. ($19.95+, TheOddFrond via Etsy)

Buy it

A bundle of plants that make the perfect gift…

If you wanna give the gift of greenery, we found a winner. This set comes with three easy and adaptable plants that’ll adjust to any available light. You’ll get one snake plant, a ZZ plant, and a hoya. All you have to do is pick your planter color. Leaf those worries behind. ($79, Bloomscape)

Buy it

Tools you'll want if you're a new plant parent

The second step in any houseplant journey is to figure out what to do to make them thrive. It’s not as overwhelming as it sounds, we promise. Here are the basics that’ll lend a hand. 

A minimalist watering can…

ICYMI: Water for plants is...sort of essential. This bright yellow one works for indoor or outdoor plants and can hold up to 56 ounces of water so you won’t have to refill it constantly. It’s great for indoor plants but is also durable enough for outdoor use. Plus, the structure means there won’t be any accidental leaks. A functional tool so cute it’ll bring on the sunshine. ($15, The Sill)

Buy it

Single-serving plant food packets…

It’s like a travel pack of almond butter, but for plants. These little pouches contain an organic blend of essential nutrients and microbes to help sustain healthy plant growth during early stages and/or leaf growth. Add one packet to eight ounces of water, which is enough for one large plant, two medium plants, or two to three small plants. It’ll be the perfect boost. ($6/3 pack, Flourish)

Buy it

A soil meter to keep track of moisture levels…

Light, pH, and moisture are all things that affect your plant’s health. So to give your lil’ green baby the best chance at a long life, you can use this to check in on its soil. All you have to do is water your plant (it doesn’t work on dry soil, so give it a little sprinkle before), insert the probe into the soil, then get your reading. Because knowledge = (plant) power. ($12.99, Amazon)

Buy it

A self-watering planter to make maintenance so much easier…

Let’s face it: Keeping up with your plants’ demanding water schedule can be annoying. So let this planter do all the work for you. The built-in tray at the bottom retains water. And if you fill it from the tiny opening at the bottom, the roots of your plant can directly absorb the water. Aka there's less water wasted on soil at the top. And more left for your plant to drink over time. ($9.97+, Amazon)

Buy it

And an option for when you want to set it and forget it...

This fun self-watering tool is as fun to look at as it is helpful. All you have to do is fill it up with water, insert it into your pot, and walk away. The water will gradually release itself and give your plant the H2O it needs. ($14.99/3 pack, Amazon)

Buy it

Plant sticks that’ll help it stand up straight...

Raise your hand if you love products that’ll look great on the gram and actually serve a purpose. Enter: these brass pillars that’ll help stop your plant from toppling over or cascading all over the place. The set of three comes in a variety of shapes to support different sizes and needs. Yes, please. ($40/3 pack, Bloomscape)

Buy it

An organic plant fertilizer to provide those much-needed nutrients...

Just shake some Joyful Dirt onto the surface of your soil and add water. It’ll help your plants absorb nutrients and water quickly. So you can revive withering plants and increase foliage. Plus, it’s safe to use around kids and pets, and works for your outdoor plants too. We dig it. ($17.95, Amazon)

Buy it

Special bulbs for when you don’t have the best natural light...

This LED bulb is designed to help your plants thrive year round. The full-spectrum coverage emits high-quality light that’s also pleasing to your eye. The bulbs are long-lasting, low-energy, and low-heat. And were made specifically with plants in mind. Your kids, they’ll grow up so fast. ($7.41+, Amazon)

Buy it

Potting mix that’ll get your plants off to a good start…

You know what they say: Start 'em early. Plant your lil’ guys in this Miracle-Gro soil and they’ll be off to a perfect beginning. It can feed a plant for up to six months and is designed to help keep gnats at bay. Sign us up. ($5.98+, Amazon)

Buy it

A mister you won’t mind leaving out on the counter...

This antique style option works for any plants at all stages. And is so much easier on the eyes than that clunky, old, plastic spray bottle you’ve been using. It won’t drown out your plants and is great for cleaning leaves and giving them some added humidity. Spritz, spritz. ($25.99+, Monasplantaccs via Etsy

Buy it

An app for when you need on-the-spot help…

Because keeping track of each plant’s watering schedule is so much easier when it’s in one place. This free app from Bloomscape is essentially your ultimate guide to developing a green thumb. It allows you to: set watering schedules and fertilizer reminders, track your plants’ progress, create plant profiles, add photos, log activity, and more. Plus, it has an entire library devoted to tips and tricks that’ll aid you when you’re in a bind. (Free, App Store)

Download it

Potting mix that’ll be BFFs with your indoor plants and the planet…

This soil optimizes drainage and enhances nutrient uptake so your houseplants can thrive. It’s made up of plant-based compost and a houseplant-friendly fungi that benefits your plant’s roots by improving its ability to absorb water and nutrients. Plus, it’s free of any chemicals you wouldn’t don’t want in your home. What more could you ask for? Happy plants = happy vibes. ($24.99, Rosy Soil)

Buy it

Plant stands and accessories

And finally, a few extras that’ll make your plants pop in the background of your Zooms (and selfies).

A mini patterned planter so your green baby has a colorful place to live…

Treat your plant the way you want to be treated…that’s the saying, right? There’s nothing better than filling your space up with lots of greenery. But with that comes the need for some pots. Enter: this pedestal stoneware vessel that’s aesthetically pleasing and functional. It’s pretty small and weighs in at juuust over a pound. Choose from one of the three fun colors and presto, you’re golden. Let’s grow. ($14, Urban Outfitters)

Buy it

A classic pot option…

Whether you’re just starting to build your plant family or need an extra one for your latest farmer’s market find, you can’t go wrong with this minimalist pot. It’s made of 80% recycled plastic and comes in a handful of muted tones. It has a drainage hole too to catch any excess water in its corresponding saucer. Oh and it’s waterproof, UV-proof, and frost-resistant. An easy essential for a plant parent at any level. ($35, Bloomscape)

Buy it

A leather hanger for when you want to spruce up your space...

This leather hanger allows you to get that floating garden vibe and give your home an eye-catching upgrade. It comes in five neutral shades: black, tan, brown, white, and green. And the best part? The saddle can hold any size shaped plants and planters. Grool. ($29+, Fluxproductions via Etsy)

Buy it

The sweetest, ceramic cat planter…

Smiles are guaranteed with this cutie. You can clean this snuggly, speckled planter with just a wipe. And at around 5 x 5 inches — it’s the perfect tiny vessel for a small succulent or fern. Give those greens a hug...they can always use a little TLC. ($20, Urban Outfitters)

Buy it

An adjustable stand so your plants have an elegant forever home...

This gold option comes with a supportive tray for your plant to sit on. It can hold up to 55 pounds and accommodates small, medium, and large-sized pots. Plus, you can raise or lower the legs to your ideal height. Your plants will never want to move out. ($22.25, Amazon)

Buy it

A basket that’ll give your space a softer look…

If ceramic planters aren’t your thing, try one of these neutral baskets. They’re handmade by Kenyan artisans and created with hand-dyed, durable fibers. If and when you decide to change your planting sitch up, you can always use this for one million other things too. It’s a yes from us. ($48, The Sill)

Buy it

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