9 plants that are actually easy to keep alive, according to experts

Kai Burkhardt, CNN Underscored
Fri March 27, 2020
Best indoor plants for beginners

CNN Underscored has interviewed experts to find the best options to help you cope during this uncertain time. Find all of our coronavirus-related coverage here, and let us know your thoughts here.

If you're stuck inside, as so many people are, self-quarantining due to the spread of coronavirus, it can be difficult to occupy yourself and not go crazy. But whether you want to work out, play board games or practice self-care, there are tons of things that will keep you busy and calm in these uncertain times.

One solution is cultivating and caring for indoor plants. Plants can make beautiful additions to any space, plus you can support small plant shops that now have to rely on online sales. We know it can be a little intimidating choosing what to buy, especially if you're inexperienced, which is why we reached out to some plant experts for advice on the easiest plants to take care of.

"Indoor plants are an easy way to add color, texture, and dimension to a space," says Erin Marino, director of brand marketing at The Sill. Plus, studies have shown how indoor plants can be beneficial to your overall health and reduce stress. "Checking in on my houseplants is my form of weekly meditation," Marino says. "It feels great to disconnect from a screen, be it my computer, phone or TV — and reconnect with nature."

If you're looking to add some green to your home, there's a few things you should check before you buy. Beginner-level indoor plants can survive with natural light from a window and infrequent watering, but you'll want to make sure you find the right plant for your space. "Indoor plants are generally sized by the diameter of their nursery grow pot," Marino says. "A '4-inch snake plant' isn't a snake plant that's 4 inches tall, but a snake plant that comes in a 4-inch-wide grow pot."

Summer Rayne Oakes, author of "How to Make a Plant Love You" and host of YouTube channel "Plant One On Me," also stresses the importance of finding the perfectly sized plant. "If you're just buying plants because they 'look good' then they are less likely to survive," she says. If you have pets, you should also check the ASPCA site to see if a given plant is pet-friendly.

Once you have your space figured out, Oakes recommends starting with plants like Chinese evergreen, ZZ plant, golden pothos, satin pothos or philodendron, because they don't have intense lighting and watering regimes.

Roy Paar and Milana Naumenko, founding partners of Water & Light, love snake plants, ZZ plants, pothos plants and rubber plants as starters. But just because they're easy doesn't mean they're boring. "We are especially interested in variations that are hard to find or unique for some reason," they say. "We have a raven ZZ plant in our collection, which is an all-black variety. Plants are amazing in their variations, and the deeper you get into it, the more fascinated and addicted you become."

If you're ready to make some new leafy friends and train your green thumb, take a look at our list below of the easiest plants to take care of.

Best indoor plants for beginners

Pink Anthurium ($65; thesill.com)

Pink Anthurium

This gorgeous plant's blooms are waxy leaves, not flowers, and can last up to eight weeks. It does best in indirect light, watered once every one to two weeks.

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Marble Queen Pothos ($37; thesill.com)

Marble Queen Pothos

"I can't say enough good things about the pothos plant," Marino says. "There's a reason you see it just about everywhere, from malls to doctors' offices to your friend's living room — it'll tolerate just about any environment. This quick-growing trailing plant does best in bright indirect to medium indirect light (but can tolerate low light), watered once every one to two weeks when potting mix is dry."

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Black Echeveria Preta ($55; thesill.com)

Black Echeveria Preta

"Succulents are great low-maintenance plant picks if your space receives bright light," Marino says. "One of my favorites with drought-surviving adaptations is the rosette-shaped Echeveria. It does best in bright direct to bright indirect light, watered once every three to four weeks when potting mix is dry."

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ZZ Plant ($44; thesill.com)

ZZ Plant

"I love the lush vertical growth of the ZZ plant with its thick stems and waxy leaves," Marino says. "It's maybe not a plant you'd typically consider a succulent, but you'll spot large potato-like rhizomes under the surface of its potting mix, which — having evolved in dry conditions in Africa — store water to help the plant survive drought in its native habitat. It does best in bright indirect to medium indirect light (but can tolerate low light), watered once every three to four weeks when potting mix is dry."

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Sansevieria ($150; bloomscape.com)

Sansevieria

This large species of snake plant is sturdy and can deal with low light and little water, but does best in indirect light, watered when soil is dry every few weeks.

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Peperomia Ginny ($35; bloomscape.com)

Peperomia Ginny

This leafy plant can survive in low light, but does best in bright, indirect light. It's small, pretty and even pet-friendly, making it the perfect plant for any small space.

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Bloomscape's Tough Stuff Collection ($65; bloomscape.com)

Bloomscape's Tough Stuff Collection

These three tough plants are perfect for a beginning gardener. With a green hoya, a sansevieria and a ZZ plant, you'll be fully stocked with plants that are easy to care for.

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Hedgehog Aloe ($35; bloomscape.com)

Hedgehog Aloe

If you have plenty of sunlight, this aloe plant is forgiving and beautiful. It doesn't need much water, and its sap can even be used to soothe burns and skin irritations.

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Bloomscape's Mojave Collection ($80; bloomscape.com)

Bloomscape's Mojave Collection

Cacti are also easy to take care of if you have enough sunlight. They don't need much water and can turn your room into your own little desert.

Planters

Hanging Planter Maya on a Swing ($83; etsy.com)

Hanging Planter Maya on a Swing

Is there a cuter way to pot a plant? Yeah, we didn't think so either. Handmade with speckled stoneware clay sheets, it's the perfect home for your new plant.

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Set of 3 Small Succulent Plant Pots ($35.30, originally $44.13; etsy.com)

Set of 3 small succulent plant pots

These geometric pots are made of wood and a bioplastic made from corn. You get three, so there's enough for your entire plant splurge.

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Standing Plant Pot ($12.40; etsy.com)

Standing plant pot

Your plant will be smiling when you put it in this pot, which is super adorable and just big enough to fit your new friend. Just be careful when watering or moving, because this guy's legs are small and fragile.

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Hexagon Wall Planter ($16.90; etsy.com)

Hexagon Wall Planter

This hexagonal planter hangs on your wall, allowing you to put plants wherever you want. With a modern look and room to fit multiple small plants, it's a gorgeous addition to any room.

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Figure Plant Pot ($12.40; etsy.com)

Figure Plant Pot

These little guys are a cute way to pot your plants. They're positioned in different sitting and lounging positions.

Note: The prices above reflect the retailers' listed prices at the time of publication.