Tips for growing indoor plants: a beginner's guide

Sophia Lamberton 22 July 2022
An assortment of the best indoor plants

Plants are the new pets. Wondering how to become a plant person? Wonder no more.

If you’re thinking about getting some houseplants to freshen up your study space, you should definitely do it. Check out these tips for growing indoor plants, including the best indoor plants to buy for your uni home and how to ensure they survive the academic year.  

What are the benefits of houseplants?

Houseplants are great at releasing oxygen which helps with concentration and boosts your mood. Also, some indoor plants, like bamboo palms and spider plants, are really effective at dehumidifying and absorbing carbon.

Choosing a plant like lavender for your room can have a calming effect and will make your room smell heavenly. If you’re looking for some plants for your kitchen, try some herbs like rosemary or basil, that not only taste good but also smell amazing!

Along with physical health benefits, there are also benefits to your mental health. Caring for plants can be a really good way to reduce stress and anxiety levels, making them perfect for exam time.

How do you get started keeping houseplants?

Here’s a list of the essentials you’ll need.

  • Plants - of course, you’ll need plants if you choose to buy potted houseplants instead of seeds.
  • Seeds/cuttings - a cheaper way to get your collection started is to buy a packet of seeds so you get multiple plants from one packet. Check the back of the packet to make sure they can live indoors, and make sure you know what time of the year they need to be sown.
  • Flower pots - you'll need to buy different-sized plant pots if you’ve got an indoor plant that’s likely to grow quite large.
  • Compost/potting medium - buy a small bag of peat-free compost, you can pick these up cheaply from Wilkos. It’s always worth checking what kind of soil your plants need to be in.
  • Watering can- buy a small watering can so you can keep your plants hydrated.

What do houseplants need?

Before you buy indoor plants, there are a few things you need to think about:

  • Light - this sounds obvious, but not getting enough light is one of the main reasons why houseplants die. To find out your plant’s preferred environment, check the label.
  • Temperature - each houseplant is suited to different conditions, so be sure to pick a houseplant that will be able to survive in your uni home. Pick a plant that is suitable for the direction your window faces. For example, if your windows are south facing, you might want to choose a plant that likes plenty of light and heat.
  • Space - your plant won’t grow if it doesn’t have enough space, so be sure to buy different-sized pots so you can re-pot it as it gets bigger. Ideally, your new pot should be around two inches bigger in diameter than the old one.
  • Watering- when buying houseplants, you need to think about whether you want a plant that needs a lot of attention or something more robust that can survive if you forget to water it for a month... or two. If you’re likely to forget to water your plant, then we recommend buying something like a cactus or a lavender plant.

What are the best houseplants for beginners?

Here are our top five indoor houseplants that are guaranteed to survive the academic year.

Succulents - only need a dunk in some water 1-2 times a month, depending on the weather. Often need bright light to grow properly.

Variety of succulent houseplants

Cheese plants - somewhat regular watering (every 1-2 weeks), but prefer bright places out of direct sunlight. Likes the occasional misting.

Monstera, also known as a cheese plant

Bamboo palms - water when the soil looks dry. Loves spaces with minimal light.

Areca Palm, also known as a bamboo palm

Cacti - can thrive with little water and light. It will only flower with somewhat decent light though.

Various indoor cacti

Pothos - extremely difficult to kill. Keep away from pets and children as it's poisonous.

Pothos, also known as Devil's Ivy

We hope you find our tips useful and that we’ve shown you that keeping houseplants is easier than you think!

Do you have any plants in your student house? Join our student panel and let us know. You’ll get 1000 reward points for signing up.

Sophia Lamberton 22 July 2022