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What to Avoid as a New Houseplant Hobbyist

Houseplant with green and pink leaves

Thinking about getting into the houseplant hobby? Great! There are tons of beautiful plants to choose from.

But not so fast.

As a beginner, you may find a few plants that make the hobby more difficult than it needs to be, and that can be discouraging. Don’t set yourself up for failure and a bad experience.

Start at the beginning by avoiding these new houseplant hobbyist pitfalls…

Picking plants on looks alone

When you go to a nursery or other indoor gardening store to select plants to bring home for the first time, you may be tempted to grab the plants that look most beautiful to you. There’s nothing wrong with wanting beautiful plants in your home, but you may want to slow down.

Variety of plants with green, pink, and purple coloring

Before buying a plant based only on its appearance, it’s always a good idea to look up the care requirements for that particular species.

Every plant has different needs, and some needs are much easier to meet than others. You’ll find that certain houseplants are much hardier and easier to care for than others. As a beginner, this can be just as important as selecting plants that look nice.

That doesn’t mean you can never go back and buy that gorgeous plant you saw. It just means you might need a bit of practice before you can be confident that you can keep that gorgeous green creature alive in your home.

If a plant is too hard to care for based on your skill level, it won’t stay pretty very long.

Buying plants in the greenhouse area

This is a tip that can save the majority of beginners a lot of grief. When you go to a nursery, you’ll often find some plants kept inside the shop and others out in a greenhouse area. The greenhouse will have many more plants to choose from.

Avoid them all!

A potted plant in a greenhouse

The plants that are kept inside the shop are plants that tolerate the kind of indirect or low lighting that’s often found inside homes. If the plant’s in the greenhouse, it’s more likely to need lighting that your home can’t necessarily provide.

Keep things simple by looking at the plants that are meant to be houseplants.

Picking plants with thin leaves

Plants with thin leaves tend to be more finicky and difficult to care for than plants with thicker, tougher looking leaves. As a beginner, what you’ll want to look for are thick, waxy leaves.

Thick, waxy leaves indicate a plant that holds moisture well and won’t dry out or need watering too often.

For example, many ferns look great at the nursery but have very thin, fragile leaves. You’ll want to avoid those. For a fern that will be more forgiving for beginners, go for a bird’s nest fern, like the one in this picture:

A bird's nest fern on a black background

At The Tye-Dyed Iguana in Fairview Heights, you’ll find many interesting houseplants that grow well in indoor gardens. Come check them out!