Arizona’s Garden Gal shares a list of the most popular houseplants for beginners, from A to U

By Lisa Watters-Lain, Arizona’s garden gal

Houseplants add style, color, and brightness, all while cleaning the air we breathe. Even if you’re not an experienced #PlantParent, you can help these 17 houseplants thrive with minimal care. This list is complete with descriptions and advice to help you grow plants in your home without killing a single one.

Aloe Vera gel from cut leaves is widely used in first aid remedies and cosmetics, adding function to form for this houseplant. Like most succulents, it prefers dry sandy soil and bright light. Healthy plants produce pups to replace any leaves you might harvest.

Light: High

Water: Dry

Color Varieties: ‘Christmas Carol’ has red leaf edges and ‘Walmsley’s Variegated’ has cream streaks.

Croton (Codiaeum) produce a colorful “wow” neutral gray or taupe rooms need. Bright light is essential for good leaf coloration and plant health. All varieties have stripes or splotches of yellow, red, orange, and pink, all on the same plant.

Light: High

Water: Medium

Color Varieties: Orange, white, yellow, red, pink, purple.

The name Dumb Cane Plant (Dieffenbachia) does not describe the elegance of the large speckled and splotched leaves displayed in bright light. Provide moderate moisture and keep the toxic leaves away from kids and pets.

Light: Medium to bright

Water: Medium

Color Varieties: ‘Honeydew’ has gold leaves, ‘Mary’ has splotches of cream, ‘Snow’ has white speckles.

Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrate) provides a fresh, modern twist in décor, even in smaller spaces. Natural light is essential for the large leaves, so place it close to a south or east-facing window. Allow soil to dry between waterings.

Light: Bright light

Water: Dry between waterings

Color Varieties: A variegated cultivar with creamy leaf margins.

With Jade Plant (Crassula ovata), you can’t go wrong for a bright room. It’s every bit as pretty as those trendy faux plants you see at the hobby store; only, fake plants don’t continue to grow and become more stately over time like a natural jade plant. Water sparingly and add supplemental lighting if leaf drop occurs.

Light: High

Water: Dry

Color Varieties: ‘Calico Kitten’ has pink and cream leaves and ‘Variegata’ has cream streaking.

The graceful white spathes of the Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii) have long been rendered in silk plants. There is no reason to go fake when a living specimen is so easy to grow. Peace lilies do well in dark rooms and need regular moisture.

Light: Low light

Water: Moist

Color Varieties: ‘Domino’ has white stippling on leaves.

Philodendron thrives in any room with classic low care for any beginner houseplanter. You might see the heart-shaped leaves grow to giant proportions outdoors in frost-free gardens, but it’s just as happy in your bedroom.

Light: Low to high

Water: Medium

Color Varieties: ‘Brandi’ has silver variegation, ‘Micans’ has purple-tinted leaves, and ‘Prince of Orange’ has orange-tinted leaves.

Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) is as close to plant-and-forget it as they come. The plant tolerates a wide range of moisture, soil, and light conditions. You can find variegated types, and the plants also look great grown in metal or concrete containers for industrial chic.

Light: Low to high

Water: Low

Color Varieties: ‘Bantel’s Sensation’ has cream leaves, ‘Black Gold’ has thin gold edging, and ‘Gold Hahnii’ has wide gold bands.

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) is a top seller year after year for its super low maintenance needs and air purification qualities. The arching leaves make these plants great for pedestals or hanging baskets.

Light: Indirect light

Water: Average to dry

Color Varieties: ‘Bonnie Variegated’ has white striping.

Umbrella Plant (Schefflera arboricola) can grow 10 feet tall in the jungles of Taiwan. You can check this growth in containers, especially with slow-growing variegated cultivars like ‘Gold Capella’ or ‘Sunburst.’

Light: High

Water: Medium

Color Varieties: ‘Sun Burst’ is a gold variegated type and ‘Janine’ is a white variegated type.

Until next issue, I’ll be helping locals choose the perfect houseplants here at Watters Garden Center.

Throughout the week, Lisa Watters-Lain can be found at Watters Garden Center, 1815 W. Iron Springs Rd in Prescott, or contacted through her website at or