A Guide to the Best Indoor Plants

BY: Editors | Nov 29, 2017

When it comes to decorating, there's nothing better than investing in some houseplants. Plants are not only a budget-friendly way to add some light and zen to your home, but they also have great health benefits.

However, some people tend to forget that plants are living things and require consistent care. Not everyone has a green thumb, but that doesn't mean your home should suffer. We've compiled a list of some of the best indoor plants to add to your living space. That way, you know exactly what you're taking on and have all of the knowledge and tools necessary to ensure that your houseplants flourish.

Ficus Tree

What is it? A ficus tree is a flowering plant from the Moraceae family, which is native to Asia and Australia, and it's also the official tree of Bangkok.

Pros: Purifies indoor air for a fresher environment, large enough to fill up a large room/work as focal point for decor

Cons: Ficus sap is a skin irritant to pets and people, doesn't like to be moved, susceptible to insect infestation

Maintenance-Difficulty Level: Moderate—the ficus likes medium light but cannot handle low temperatures or drafts.

Bamboo Palm

What is it? Technically, a bamboo palm is a palm tree. Practically, though, it doesn't require the hot weather typical palms need. There are more than 100 species within this genus, and many are commonly used as houseplants.

Pros: Adds a tropical feel to the environment, reduces the airborne formaldehyde that is released by new furniture, non-toxic to pets, versatile

Cons: Highly susceptible to spider mites in hot and dry seasons and leaf burn

Maintenance-Difficulty Level: Easy—bamboo palms do well in both bright and low light, depending on their watering schedule.

Bonsai Tree

What is it? A bonsai tree is derived from an ancient Chinese horticultural practice that uses pinching, pruning, and wiring techniques to limit and redirect healthy growth.

Pros: Caring for bonsai can double as a hobby that can bring relaxation and meditation; plant can help fight fatigue, coughs, and sore throats

Cons: Requires regular repotting, susceptible to pests and diseases

Difficulty level: Easy—if you're not the one growing the tree yourself, it's not difficult to grow bonsai indoors.

Air Plant

What is it? Air plants or Tillandsia are epiphytes, meaning they can grow without soil.

Pros: Extremely easy to take care of, doesn't require soil, don't take up much room, can decorate with trendy terrariums and wall hangings

Cons: Needs bright light; although they are non-toxic to pets, air plants tend to be chewed on by cats

Difficulty level: Very easy—they only require weekly water mistings.

Spider Plant

What is it? A spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) is a flowering perennial herb.

Pros: Safe for pets (cats and dogs); removes benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and xylene from the air

Cons: Said to be mildly hallucinogenic to cats

Difficulty level: Easy—they prefer bright to moderate light, and they're forgiving if you neglect to water them occasionally.

Philodendron

What is it? Philodendron are a large genus of flowering plants in the Araceae family.

Pros: Hard to kill, said to reduce pollutants in the air, one of the most common household plants

Cons: Toxic to pets and humans: eating them can cause burning and swelling of lips, tongue, and throat; vomiting; and diarrhea

Difficulty level: Easy—philodendron are very forgiving and are one of the best indoor plants overall.

Succulents

What is it? Succulents are plants that have fleshy leaves that store water (not to be confused with cacti, though some cacti are succulents).

Pros: Can help keep indoor air fresh and remove toxins, has healing properties in certain varieties (aloe and agave, for example), low maintenance, takes up minimal space

Cons: Sensitive to overwatering, prone to pests, cannot take low temperatures

Difficulty level: Easy—succulenets are some of the best inside plants out there. They're easy to care for but difficult to revive if neglected.