Plant parenthood

Beginner plants that are hard to kill

We all have that friend who comes round to your foliage-filled house and says sadly that they can’t keep plants alive. Two years ago I was that person.

Often plant failures are more to do with biting off more than we could chew. I was devastated when my first maidenhair fern died a death – but now I’m a lot more forgiving on my inexperienced self!

Beginner’s houseplants

When recommending plants to friends, I usually start with the toughest of the tough to ease them into plant parenthood. My criteria for beginner plants are basically:

  1. Tolerant of a wide range of conditions
  2. Easy and cheap to get hold of

These are my go-to’s – before I suggest more delicate foliage plants, or even succulents.

1 | ZZ Plant

The ZZ’s reputation for putting up with neglect is well-earned. It’ll put up with a relatively wide range of light, temperature and attention. The only thing that’ll do it some serious damage is over-watering, but the risk can be lowered by repotting into a terracotta pot.

2 | Sansevieria

Much like ZZ plants, sansevieria are incredibly tolerant and unlikely to cause any problems. They’re also widely found in many DIY and home stores and are affordable – large plants in IKEA often sell for around £7. Low cost means low guilt if anything goes wrong!

3 | Spider plants

Easy to get hold of and easy to grow, these are great first foliage plants for a beginner to learn with. Read more on spider plant care.

Best of all, these plants seem to suffer from few pests, and will put out new stems and leaves (sometimes slowly) – making them easy and rewarding gateway plants.

What next?

If you’ve had these for some time, and are looking for a challenge, it might be time to add some not-quite-beginner plants to your collection! Watch this space for more suggestions…

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