Lifestyle: Tips For Buying Houseplants For First-Timers

Living Room with Boston Fern Houseplants near window
Living Room with Boston Fern Houseplants near window Image from

Houseplants are incredibly beneficial for both physical and mental health. Interacting with plants reduces stress and improves overall emotional health. In one study, post-surgical patients who had plants had faster recovery rates than those who did not. They also requested less pain medication and had lower heart rates and blood pressure levels. For these and more reasons, including aesthetics, houseplants are becoming increasingly popular. Here are some tips for first-time buyers of houseplants.

Consider your home

Plan, research, and study the conditions in your home to determine what kind of plant can survive and thrive there.

Light conditions: Different plants have different light requirements. Check out how much light your home receives in the different areas you are considering putting the plant/plants. Speak to the nursery about it and they will recommend appropriate houseplants.

Humidity: Does your home have a heating system? Do you run a humidifier? Different plants have different humidity requirements. Tropical plants need moist air while succulents can tolerate dry air. If you have your heart set on a plant variety whose humidity levels don’t match the conditions in your home, misting the plant often or investing in a humidifier or dehumidifier may help.

Space: How much space do you have? If it’s an apartment with limited space, you may consider hanging plants or smaller plants.

Potted plants image from

Time: How much time do you have for maintenance and TLC? If you don’t have a green thumb and travel a lot or are just forgetful, consider hardy or drought-tolerant houseplants. There are even plant parent personality tests online that can match you up to a plant-based on your commitment level.

Pets and children: Any new additions to the home should get along with existing members. You need to check if the plant is poisonous or toxic to cats and dogs. If you have children, that may influence placement to keep your toddler from digging through the soil or eating the leaves.

Selecting the houseplant

Inspect the plant

Check the plant’s condition carefully before bringing it home. Get one that:

  • looks healthy with soft-to-touch stems and fresh, vibrant leaves.
  • has no spots, blisters, distortion, or markings that may be due to disease.
  • is not wilting or yellowing and whose leaves are not sticky.
  • has no pests hiding on the undersides of the foliage or at the tips of growing plants.

Read the label carefully

Don’t ignore those tags if the plant has them. They teach you about the light requirement, water requirement, height, hardiness, spacing, depth, and maturity. You should also do extra research about properly caring for your new plant.

Compare plants

Gardens and nurseries usually have multiple plants of the same variety making it easier for you to compare and pick the best one.

Size matters

Small and large plants have their own advantages and disadvantages. The smaller ones cost less and are better at handling the stress of transplanting. Larger houseplants are usually more mature and hardy and are likely to cost more. Initially, small plants grow more quickly than larger plants. All you need is a little patience and time.

Buy local whenever possible

Plants have a much greater chance of survival if they are panted close to where they were bought because of similar environmental factors. A pro tip is to ask the nursery professional to recommend plants that come from local gardens or growers.

Choose buds over blooms

Flowering plants are undeniably attractive but it’s wiser to buy a plant that has not bloomed yet in order to enjoy its flowers longer in your home. Transplanting plants can be really stressful which can cause flowers to droop. For this reason, it’s best to choose houseplants that have unopened blooms so that they bloom after transplanting in your home.

Shop during off-peak hours

Shop during off-peak hours because during peak hours the salespeople have to entertain more people and may not have the time to answer your every question. During peak hours, the likelihood that plants have been poked over and over by multiple customers increases.

Clear doubt

Ask as many questions as possible about the growing requirements, conditions, and adaptability. If they are halfway decent, they’ll be happy to educate you and put your mind at ease.

Happy hunting!

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