Overwatering is one of the top mistakes for new plant owners, so be mindful of how much water your houseplant really needs. “The best tip for any plant parent is to have a well-draining vessel to avoid root rot and keep the soil aerated,” advise Roy Paar and Milana Naumenko, co-owners of NYC-based plant shop Water and Light.
You’ll also want to get the ideal light exposure for your new plant down, which can take some time; observe how your plant reacts to wherever you place it, and if it shows signs of new growth. “Shriveling or crispy leaves may indicate too much sun, whereas new growth appearing long and leggy with smaller leaves usually indicates that the plant wants more light and is searching for it,” Paar and Milana say.
And if your plant is stressed, says Summer Rayne Oakes, author of How to Make a Plant Love You, it may invite plant pests, which can kill a plant if you don’t act fast. (You can find some of her plant pest-control tips here.)
So if you don’t have the greenest thumb in town, you’re going to want to avoid some of the most fickle houseplants. The ‘grammable fiddle-leaf fig ranks among the top, along with begonias, fittonias (nerve plants), and a few kinds of alocasias, according to Paar and Naumenko. Also, there’s a prevailing misconception that succulents are tough to kill, “but they actually require lots of bright light and almost no water,” the shop owners explain.
That said, there are some resilient houseplants you might want to consider if your goal for the new year is to keep your green decor alive and well.