Indoor Gardening For the Brown Thumb

Do you have a knack for killing your indoor houseplants? While all plants require some TLC, cultivating a green thumb doesn’t need to be hard. If you’ve been known to have a brown thumb, the trick to success is finding some greenery that only requires occasional attention.

Start by choosing a few easy-to-grow varieties and selecting plants that are right for your home. Before you settle on any specific type, pay attention to the natural light from your windows. All plants need some light, but some like it bright, while others do well in lower settings. Be sure to read the plant tags to find one that will do well with the light in your house.


6 easy-to-grow houseplants

Ready to take the plunge into indoor gardening? Start with one or two of these low-attention varieties:


This lush green houseplant is easy to keep vibrant all year. It won’t do well baking in the hot sun all day, but medium-to-bright light is okay. Let it grow long in a hanging basket, or put it in a cute pot and keep it short with an occasional haircut. Don’t worry—trimming won’t hurt it.


Also known as the mother-in-law’s tongue, the tall spikes on this plant are stunning. This variety can live for a long time and does best in low-to-medium light. It doesn’t like extra water, so always let it dry out before watering again, and pour out any excess water in the pot’s saucer.

Aloe vera

Aloe is a sun-loving succulent that does not like water—an especially good starter plant for a brown thumb. To care for it, place it in your brightest window, let the soil dry before watering, and remove any standing water from the pot.


Also known as a Schefflera, this easy-to-grow plant likes medium light. Let it dry out between watering—start by watering it once a week and see how it does.

Asparagus fern

Lacy and trailing, the asparagus fern is perfect for a tall stand or hanging basket. This plant likes humidity, making it a great choice for a kitchen or bathroom. It does well in medium-to-bright light with frequent watering. One thing to note: Although it has soft foliage, there are thorns on the stem.


With long, variegated leaves, this plant will add the perfect green hue to your décor. This variety prefers moist soil and low-to-medium light. To keep it from drying out too quickly, don’t place it near a heat vent.


Three steps to indoor gardening success

These three simple steps can help you grow an indoor garden you’ll want to show off:

Put your plant in a bigger pot

When you pick up a small, full plant at the garden center, you’ll find the most success by repotting it as soon as you get home. A small pot can only hold a small amount of nutrients and water. To keep it looking as good as the day you bought it, switch it to a bigger pot, so it has plenty of room to grow. Plus, this gives you a chance to move it from the plastic nursery container to a pot that matches your furnishings.

These steps will help you properly repot your plant:

  • Choose a pot slightly bigger than the current container. It should have a drain hole and a saucer to catch any extra water that escapes.
  • Place a rock over each of the pot’s drain holes to keep dirt from clogging them.
  • Place a small amount of potting soil in the bottom of the pot.
  • Gently remove your new plant from its old container and place it in the bigger one.
  • Fill the pot with dirt by lightly spooning it around the plant. Leave about an inch of space at the top, so it doesn’t overflow when you water it.

Feed with love

If you don’t have a natural green thumb, you probably don’t use fertilizer very often. Never fear—you have a few easy options. You can choose to sprinkle time-release fertilizer on top or use fertilizer spikes that are pushed into the soil. Both last for months. Note on your calendar when it will be time to fertilize again.

Remember to water

A once-a-week watering schedule is all you need with these suggested houseplants. A few, like the aloe and the snake plant, can skip a week if the soil still seems moist. The trick to remembering to water is to pick a day and stick to it. A reminder alarm on your phone is a great way to get into a watering routine.

Your plant will tell you if it becomes unhappy. You might see it wilt, turn yellow, or get spots on the leaves. If this happens, go back to the basics. By making sure it has the right amount of light and giving it the proper amounts of water, you’ll soon be able to show off your green thumb with a beautiful indoor garden.


A home and gardening expert, Lea Schneider has published advice in publications like The Washington Post, Woman’s Day, Family Circle, Consumer Reports ShopSmart, and Better Homes and Gardens. She covers home-improvement and gardening tips for Groupon. You can find savings on gardening supplies and more on Groupon’s Home Depot page here.



Daniel N
John N19 days ago


Anna R
Alice R20 days ago


Ganaisha Calvin
Ganaisha Calvin28 days ago

i somehow let succulents die

Frances G
Past Member 28 days ago


Sue H
Sue Habout a month ago

Thanks for sharing.

Barbara S
Barbara Sabout a month ago

Thank you

Ellie L
Past Member 1 months ago

thanks for sharing

Chad Anderson
Chad A1 months ago

Thank you.

heather g
heather g1 months ago

I'm very anti 'mother-in-laws tongue', but wish the author had given us the name of the attractive red plant.

hELEN hEARFIELD1 months ago