What to Buy If You’re New to Plant Parenthood

Published on: May 6, 2021fb-roundtwitter-roundemail-round
What to Buy If You’re New to Plant ParenthoodThe Sill, Food52, Bloomscape

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

Maybe the pandemic inspired you to pick up houseplant care as your new favorite hobby. Or maybe you’ve been at it for a while but still can’t seem to keep a plant alive for more than a few months. 

Whatever your sitch, if you’re looking to keep the greenery in your home thriving, we’ve got you: from the best plants for beginners to the products that’ll help you care for your leafy babes. Plus some fun stuff you can add to your home to make ‘em shine. Before you know it, you’ll be ready to accept the Herbology professor position at Hogwarts. 

Essential plants for beginners

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

Watermelon plant
A nontoxic, pet-friendly option…

Meet the watermelon peperomia, with its signature oval-shaped, dark-green striped leaves and red stems (hence the name). It’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
ZZ plant
The ultimate air-purifying option...

Say ‘hi’ to the ZZ plant. This small one with thick waxy leaves can handle low light and water every two to three weeks. Plus it comes with a recycled plastic pot that has a drainage hole and plug. Sold. ($42+, The Sill)

Buy it
Snake plant
The internet-famous choice...

There’s a reason you see so many snake plants every time you walk into a store or scroll through Insta. 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). ($42, Ansel & Ivy)

Buy it
Golden pothos
A perfect housewarming gift...

This golden pothos 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’s easy to care for. It can do well in a variety of environments but thrives with shady to high indirect light and a watering once a week. (But it’s pretty forgiving if you forget to water it.) Plus this one comes with a hanging option, which we love for a gift. Its leaf gloss? It’s poppin’. ($21.98, The Home Depot)

Buy it
Spider plant
A funky way to jazz up your space...

May we recommend a spider plant? Don’t worry, no actual spiders here. It’ll be happiest in bright or partial direct light and coolish temps (think: 55–65 degrees). This one comes in two sizes and is also safe to keep around your pets. Bonus: it’s super easy to propagate once it starts having little spider babies. You’ll have plants for days. ($44.99+, Plants.com

Buy it

Tools you’ll need to keep ‘em alive

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. 

Watering can
A minimalist watering can…

ICYMI: water for plants is...sort of essential. This two-toned one works for indoor or outdoor plants and can hold up to 50 ounces of water so you won’t have to refill it constantly. The extra-long spout is designed to make pouring it easier, and the structure is built to prevent leaks. So you won’t end up with water all over your floor (or yourself). ($12.99, Amazon)

Buy it
Soil meter
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. ($11.99, Amazon)

Buy it
Self-watering planter
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 less wasted on soil at the top. And more left for your plant to drink over time. ($3+, Target)

Buy it
Self-watering tool
And a smaller option for when you want to set it, and forget it...

This fun self-watering tool is as cute 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. Ribbit, ribbit. ($16.37, Amazon)

Buy it
Plant sticks
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, Bloomscape)

Buy it
Plant fertilizer
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 help increase foliage. Plus it’s safe to use around kids and pets, and works for your outdoor plants too. We dig it. ($14.95, Amazon)

Buy it
LED light bulbs
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. ($42.96/4 pack, Amazon)

Buy it
Potting mix
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 start. It can feed a plant for up to six months and is designed to help keep gnats at bay. Sign us up. ($4.97+, Amazon)

Buy it
Plant mister
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, spitz. ($32, Nordstrom)

Buy it
Bloomscape App
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

The stuff to zhuzh ’em up in your space

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

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

This light pink vegetable-tanned leather hanger allows you to get that floating garden vibe and give your home an eye-catching upgrade. The saddle can hold plants between 4-8" inches in diameter. And the brass details work to reinforce and strengthen the hanger so you know your plants will be secure. Grool. ($80+, Food52)

Buy it
Plant stand
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. ($22.99, Amazon)

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

If ceramic planters aren’t your thing, try one of these colorful baskets. They’re handmade by Colombian artisans and created with Jipijapa palm 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. ($80, Goodee)

Buy it

PS: If you buy anything from this, theSkimm may get something in return. Oh, and if something’s out of stock, oops, it was there when we published. Thanks.

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Skimm'd by: Lindsay Schneider, Emmy Favilla


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