The Best Indoor Plants for your Family
Teach your child about how plants grow with this easy-upkeep option.
Care Tips A jade plant is happy in the sun. Always let the soil dry out before giving it a thorough watering, about once a week. Choose a pot with good drainage: Jade hates soggy soil!
Fun Fact The coolest part about jade is that you can grow a new plant right from the clippings. Snip off a leaf and place the cut edge in a cup with water. Roots will form from the cutting; when they look hardy, plant the leaf in a new pot.
Between pets, rowdy playtime, and random accidents, this plant can handle some mild abuse and even an occasional tumble.
Care Tips Pot it using a soil meant for cacti and succulents, which will dry out quickly and prevent rot. Then place it in bright but not direct sunlight. “Even if you forget to water it for weeks, it should be just fine,” says Justin Hancock, of Costa Farms, a wholesale nursery based in Miami. Poke a finger in the soil; water when the dirt feels dry 2 to 3 inches down.
Fun Fact Haworthia is so tough because it has thick dinosaur-like leaves and a root structure that holds strong if it gets tipped over.
Injuries are par for the course with kids. This natural remedy can help with the healing process.
Care Tips Place your aloe in bright light and in a pot with ample drainage holes, suggests Zia Allaway, coauthor of the Practical Houseplant Book. Water aloe when the top of the dirt feels dry, but never let it sit in water—it doesn’t like wet roots!
Fun Fact Aloe’s leaves contain acemannan, which has antibacterial properties and stimulates the immune system. Cut off a leaf to help heal a burn. “My daughter spilled tea on her hand, and we smeared the gel-like flesh on her wound. Within five minutes she couldn’t remember which hand had been burned,” says Allaway.
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If you’re looking for foliage that will match your décor, then this colorful plant is for you.
Care Tips These beauties are a little finicky, and while they don’t need much light, they do need to be kept moist. Idea: Keep it in your bathroom, says Hancock, and store it in a self-watering planter.
Fun Fact “A close relative of the prayer plant, calathea is definitely trending,” says Hancock. Calathea has a collectible factor because it comes in many colors like silver, hot pink, and light pink.
If potting is too much trouble for you, you’ll love these sculptural plants.
Care Tips “There’s a misconception that air plants don’t need much water,” says Angela Staehling, author of Happy Houseplants. “But they do need moisture!” Every two weeks, soak your air plants in a bowl of water for 20 minutes. Shake them off and stand them upside down on a towel to let them dry out completely before returning them to their container.
Fun Fact Air plants don’t need soil to survive; they get the nutrients they need from the air and water.
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Kids will love watching the plant react to darkness: Its leaves close up, resembling praying hands.
Care Tips Prayer plants do best in low to medium or indirect sunlight, but they dry out easily, so check their potting mix often. You’ll know that they need water when their dirt gets dry on top, advises Hancock.
Fun Fact Your child can trick the plant into thinking it’s nighttime by placing it in a dark room or a closet.
Your kiddo will think these spike-free succulents look like the rock trolls from Frozen.
Care Tips Plant in a cacti/succulent potting mix that’s quick-draining. Water Lithops every few weeks, giving them a good soak when you do, says Matt Poarch, the field operations manager at Terrain, a garden store in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania. They love sunlight, so place them in a bright spot.
Fun Fact Lithops are known as “living stones” because they look like rocks and need so little water.
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You can mix this pretty and fragrant herb right into your family meals.
Care Tips While many herbs can be challenging to grow indoors, mint is not, says Poarch. Repot your mint in a 6- or 8-inch container with good drainage, he suggests. Place in a sunny spot and water it twice a week to keep the soil moist.
Fun Fact Kids can harvest leaves for that night’s salad, dip, or pitcher of water. Mint can help settle the stomach too!
These low-maintenance but bountiful beauties are a smart choice if you’re a little lacking in sunlight.
Care Tips Pot your spider plant in a potting mix for indoor plants, and water it about once a week, or when the top inch or so of soil dries out, says Hancock.
Fun Fact Its special roots, which look like little white carrots, help the spider plant store water, allowing it to endure some benign neglect.