When I was sixteen, I walked through the front door of my house with a tree. You read that right: a tree. After I lied to my mom about how much it cost, I took the tree upstairs to my room, where it blended in nicely with what the rest of my family referred to as my “jungle.”
Now I live in a dorm. What’s left of my “jungle” now lives with my sister or in my dad’s office. If you are looking for a green way to liven up your place, take a leaf out of my jungle and look at some of the plants I have found to be budget-friendly, easy to care for and pet-friendly (though I can't guarantee your furry friend won't try to knock them over!).
Spider plants are recognizable for their arching leaves and ability to produce offshoots, which can be easily propagated to create new (and free) plants. Given well-draining soil, indirect light and occasional watering, these make for excellent low-maintenance additions. Spider plants are an ideal plant for beginners, especially those with limited space. They are also a great air purifier, removing harmful pollutants from the air. Whether placed in hanging baskets, on shelves or side tables, these resilient plants bring a touch of greenery and a breath of fresh air to any indoor space.
Also known as Neantha bell, these adorable, slow-growing, ferns are perfect for brightening up any space. You can find one small enough for your nightstand, large enough to fill that corner in your living room and any size in between at most stores. Parlor palms prefer bright, indirect sunlight and watering (every one to two weeks. Don't fret if you forget about it every once in a while; these plants are known to be incredibly resistant and can often tolerate less-than-ideal growing conditions. Parlor palms are also known for being air purifiers, helping to reduce airborne pollutants in your home. Because they are quite low maintenance, they make a great choice for busy students.
If succulents are more your vibe, be sure to check out my favorite variations from the Echeveria family! Echeverias come in a variety of shapes and sizes, making them an eye-catching addition to any space. Unlike most succulents, which can be temperamental and require specific living conditions, Echeverias are very easy to care for and require minimal effort to keep them looking their best. They are also known for their ability to adapt to different environments, making them an excellent choice for beginner plant owners.
This article is part of the Spring 2024 Housing & Living Guide, an IDS special publication.