These Indoor Plants Will Make Your Space Healthier—and They're Hard to Kill


(Image credit: Courtesy of The Sill)

It's really hard to deny that plants are pretty much everywhere these days. You might see them all over your Instagram feed. You might find yourself in conversations with your friends about the various stages of "plant parenthood." You even might have read various think pieces about why millennials love plants, like this one or this one. Even though plants have been around since the beginning of time, their popularity is off the charts these days.

We're not complaining, though. Plants add so much to a space. It's a great way to refresh a room's look without spending a fortune on a new piece of furniture. For those new to the #adulting scene, they also give you some responsibility—consider it baby steps on the road to being a pet parent or a real parent. And they also have some health benefits, too.


(Image credit: Leah Flores/Stocksy)

We've written about how plants could reduce anxiety and stress, help you focus, and help you breathe easier (by recycling the carbon dioxide we exhale back into oxygen thanks to photosynthesis). Some studies have shown that plants in the workspace can increase productivity, too. And research from NASA found that plants can improve the air quality in indoor spaces and remove toxins.

"Biophobia is becoming more relevant as people are raised within urban settings, and surrounded by technology rather than nature and other living things. It's vital for humans to co-exist with these elements rather than close our doors to them," says Erin Marino, director of marketing at The Sill. "Plants are our natural partners in life, and incorporating them into our lives could not only help us reconnect with the natural world but also benefit our health and well being. Pollution is not only found in the outdoor air of dense cities, but also within the places we call work and home. Airborne toxins and pollutant gases are emitted from mechanical equipment and building materials and contaminate the indoor air that we breathe. Good news is that we can improve our indoor air quality with plants!"


(Image credit: Kara Riley/Stocksy)

If you're thinking, This all sounds great, but I don't have a green thumb. Think again. Marino says that anyone can take on the challenge of being a plant parent. "Plants, like any other hobby, take practice. We've all lost a plant (or many) during practice—and that's okay! Learn what plants work for your space and schedule along the way." And of course, you can do yourself a favor and choose your plants wisely aka pick ones that are easy to care for. We asked Marino and Carmen Johnston, garden lifestyle expert and owner of Carmen Johnston Gardens, for their favorites.

1. Snake Plant

2. Audrey Ficus

3. ZZ Plant

4. Prayer Plant

5. Philodendron

6. Pothos

7. Kangaroo Paw Fern

8. Marimo

9. Pilea Peperomioides

Must-Know Care Tips

Now that you've read this far, you might be convinced to invest in a plant. So to help you start you plant parent journey, we've gathered tips below—but first things first: Remain calm and don't overthink it. "Don’t stress! Growing plants is a lot like trying a new recipe. Sometimes the recipe is a crowd-pleaser and sometimes it just stinks. Over time you will learn what plants work well and what plants to kick to the curb. Be patient and willing to try again," Johnston says.

1. Choose Wisely


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If you're not blessed with a lot of natural light, that's going to affect your success, so take stock of your living or working space and choose accordingly. "First and foremost, pick a plant that will work in your space's conditions! You want to set yourself up for success from the start," Marino says. "If your space has huge floor-to-ceiling south-facing windows, don't opt for a shade-loving fern that will fry. And vice versa—if you have smaller, west-facing windows that receive moderate light, don't bring home a giant sun-loving cactus. Starting off your plant parent journey on the right foot is our top tip."

2. Be Honest About Your Schedule


(Image credit: Lauren Edmonds/Stocksy)

If you're never home because you're always traveling for work, that of course will determine what level of maintenance you can take on. "If you're traveling weeks at a time for work or pleasure, you'll want to pick drought-tolerant plants that will only need watering once a month or so. If you're a homebody and are looking for something that requires more care, you'll want to pick moisture-loving plants that will benefit from your frequent waterings every week or so," Marino says.

3. Breathing Room is Key


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"Always be sure your plant has room to breathe. Number one rule: Your container always needs to have a drain hole or else your plant can’t breathe and you will drown them. They need air flow just like you do!" Johnston advises. She also recommends giving your indoor plants fresh air at least once a month. "Anytime I see it raining, I always take my plants outside to enjoy some fresh air and rainwater. This will help alleviate those pesky spider mites and aphids that can spread on your plants from being cooped up inside 24/7," she says.

4. Don't Be Afraid to Prune

5. Be Careful About Watering

6. Try This Coffee Trick


(Image credit: Marti Sans/Stocksy)

Don't throw out the cold dregs from your morning pot of coffee. "If you have any leftover black coffee (of course, no cream), add some water and give your plant a drink. The acidity from the coffee will help the PH of the soil and grow a healthier plant," Johnston recommends.

Next up: The Health Benefits of Indoor Plants Are Pretty Ridiculous

This article was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.


This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used in the place of advice of your physician or other medical professionals. You should always consult with your doctor or healthcare provider first with any health-related questions.

Managing Editor

Sarah is lifestyle writer and editor with over 10 years of experience covering health and wellness, interior design, food, beauty, and tech. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she attended New York University and lived in New York for 12 years before returning to L.A. in 2019.

In addition to her work on THE/THIRTY and Who What Wear, she held editor roles at Apartment Therapy, Real Simple, House Beautiful, Elle Decor, and The Bump (sister site of The Knot).

She has a passion for health and wellness, but she especially loves writing about mental health. Her self-care routine consists of five things: a good workout, “me” time on the regular, an intriguing book/podcast/playlist to unwind after a long day, naps, and decorating her home.