With any plant comes responsibility. But even if you struggle with succulents and have killed a couple of cacti (overwatering is a common mistake!), you don't have to say goodbye to your green dreams. With the help of Christopher Satch, botanist and in-house plant expert at The Sill, a New York City plant store that delivers nationwide, even beginners can try their hand at plant care. It all boils down to choosing the right plant.
"There have been studies that show that having plants in the office increases productivity and that having plants in the bedroom makes it feel more welcoming," Satch says. "You can talk to your plant. You can bounce ideas off your plant. Even if you're social and have plenty of human friends to hang out with, plants are still pretty cool companions." Plus, a bit of flora can have some health benefits, thanks to certain plants' air-cleaning powers or skin-soothing properties (when applied topically, of course). Basically, a little green can do a lot of good.
Even if you don't have the greenest of thumbs, Satch maintains there's a plant out there for you. Here, he recommends five that are perfect for beginners.
It's thirsty when: Its soil completely dries out, about every two to three weeks (though it can go even longer without water).
Does it need light? Nope—the snake plant does just fine in low-lit places, as long as it gets a little artificial light or indirect sunlight.
Ideal owner: The tiny apartment dweller who needs a breath of fresh air.
Claim to fame: Place this plant in your home, and you'll breathe easy. A NASA study showed that snake plants cleanse the air of trace amounts of formaldehyde, benzene, and other toxins, while giving off plenty of oxygen during the night.
It's thirsty when: It hasn't had a drink in a week.
Does it need light? Not really—this guy does best in indirect sunlight.
Ideal owner: The green-thumb neophyte who needs a little guidance.
Claim to fame: One of the most vocal low-light plants, aglaonema will let its owner know when it has had too little or too much moisture. In the case of overwatering, its leaves will sweat; when it starts to feel dehydrated, its leaves will droop. Keeping a plant alive is a lot easier when that plant tells you what to do.
It's thirsty when: Two weeks have passed, and its soil has dried out.
Does it need light? No—indirect sunlight and artificial light are all the ZZ plant can handle.
Ideal owner: The lazy plant owner who'd like a tropical twist.
Claim to fame: Similar in manageability to the snake plant, the ZZ plant (Zamioculcas Zamifolia) is best characterized by its potato-like roots that can sometimes be visible above ground. These roots are shallow, so the plant can make do in shorter planters for a time, but don't try to cramp its style too much—the ZZ plant might grow slowly, but it can get up to 28 inches tall.
It's thirsty when: Its oldest leaves turn bright yellow, and it hasn't had a drink in a week.
Does it need light? Sort of! While the pothos is great in low-light situations, it can also fare just fine in no more than two hours of direct sunlight a day.
Ideal owner: The low-maintenance plant lover who likes a good vine.
Claim to fame: This long-hanging plant is favored by restaurants and shops because of its manageability and easy-to-manipulate design. When planted in a hanging pot, its vines will grow downward. Or, get a little ingenious and tie it to a staircase or trellis so that the vines will grow upward.
It's thirsty when: Its leaves shrivel just a bit, about every three weeks.
Does it need light? Yes—the more sunlight aloe gets, the better it fares (and the faster it grows). Bright, indirect sunlight is fine if you don't get a ton of direct light.
Ideal owner: The proud owner of a bright, sunny home who also likes their plants to have some practical purpose.
Claim to fame: Chances are, you already know the benefits of aloe vera, but they can't be stressed enough, especially in the summer. In the case of a sunburn, a slice of aloe (cut to expose the leaf's gel-like inside) can offer some pain relief, and it can have a similar cooling effect when applied topically to a rash or dry skin.
Find your perfect plant mate and then follow The Sill on Snapchat (@the.sill) for care tips and decor inspiration.