10 house plants that are NOT suitable for beginners

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Good morning, kids, happy Monday!

This is not intended to be a ‘BEGINNERS, NEVER EVER EVER BUY THESE PLANTS, BECAUSE YOU WILL KILL THEM’ type post.

Rather, it’s a ‘these plants can be a bit tricky, so maybe try something else’. I have a post on easy care house plants here that are a bit different to the usual fayre.

Aaaand if you’ve been hanging around for a while you’ll know that my ABSOLUTE favourite house plant for beginners is Peperomia hope. She’s the best one.

So, without further ado (like the YouTubers say) here’s a list of plants that house plant beginners might want to avoid:

1. Monstera albo

It’s too expensive. Get a green Monstera first, learn to look after than and then consider and Albo.

Monstera Thai Constellation
Monstera Thai Constellation

I just can’t recommend that a beginner spends literally hundreds of pounds on a plant, and then accidentally kills it.

Also, beginners don’t thrips, and I’m beginning to suspect that Monstera don’t attract thrips – they actually produce them. It’s the only explanation that fits!

2. Anything in a tiny pot

One of my favourite things about my local garden centre is that they sell baby versions of dozens of plants for much cheaper.

It’s great, I love it.

But beware – those tiny pots dry out SO QUICKLY.

A combo of the pot being so tiny and the baby plant growing so quickly can be disastrous.

Philodendron Verrucosum priced at £8.99 in my hand

If you’d told me three years ago that one day I’d be holding a Philodendron Verrucosum priced at £8.99 in my hand, I’d have called you a liar that makes up terrible, unbelievable lies. Yet here she is.

If you’re an over waterer, fine, but if you’re not, avoid.

THAT BEING SAID

If you find a lot of, for example, baby Calathea, you could pot them all up together in one big pot, not only avoiding the drying-out-quickly issue, but also looks really cool. You could also try it with Pothos or heartleaf Philodendron.

3. Calathea

…Unless you have the right conditions.

Calathea are a winning combination of beautiful and cheap(ish).

velvet touch calathea in terrarium

But unless you have high humidity and are willing to water it (with filtered water preferably) as and when it decrees, you’ll have a battle on your hands.

If you’re willing to fork out on a humidifier, cool, but if you’re not, and your ambient room humidity is less than 60%, pick something else. Practice on an Aglaonema first.

4. Begonias

Begonias are a whole freaking THING.

They just have impossibly high standards for theselves. Thye grow a few leaves and then go ‘these leaves are TERRIBLE’ and drop them all. Repeat forever.

The only way I can keep begonias happy is either in the terrarium (look at the blooms!) or under the grow lights.

5. Alocasia

A beginner should not have to deal with their moods. Like Calathea, they’re just moody.

If you want something with really, really cool leaves I’d go for an Anthurium. They’re a LOT cheaper than they used to be – a Clarinerveum won’t be more than £30 unless it’s huge. You can buy babies or grow them from seed too.

Another alternative is this Peperomia that I saw in my garden centre last week:

Thought it was an Anthurium at first, but no!

6. Carnivorous plants

They need too much from us. Far too much.

  • Enough light (but not too much)
  • No fertiliser (unless there are no flies, but how do you know??)
  • Pure, pure water. Preferably rain or distilled. NOT TAP
  • Keep damp all the time, like wet damp. But also not too wet
  • High humidity, but from a humidifier filled with distilled water

NO THANKS

7. Citrus trees

They need a lot of light and a lot of food and they’re not that interesting. They’re also expensive. If you want a big statement plant, go for one that’s hard to kill, like a Monstera or rubber plant.

8. Orchids

This is probably more of a personal one, but I don’t think their foliage is interesting enough to sustain one’s interest when they’re not in bloom. I have an orchid, but I have tonnes of other plants to look cool whilst the orchid is just a load of boring leaves.

Also, they can be picky. If you’re a beginner that wants something that flowers, I’d go for something like a Hoya bella or even a peace lily.

If you love orchids, by all means get one, but they’re not the easiest plant to care for a beginner. Not only is there a goal in mind – getting it to bloom – that we don’t really have with other plants, but also they live differently. Their roots are epiphytic so do best outside of the soil where they can photosynthesis.

9. Ivy/Croton

They are cheap, easy to care for, spider mites havens.

croton flower
he bloom

It’s not a case of IF they’ll get spider mites, it’s WHEN.

If you fall in love with an ivy or a croton and decide not to heed my advice, PLEASE keep it away from other plants.

10. Fittonia

Perfect for a terrarium, massive ballache outside of one.

They’re so overdramatic and have a tendency to look VERY dead when they’re just a bit thirsty. They’re also small, so they dry out quickly.

As with Calathea, you’ll have a lot more success here if you have a room/terrarium with high humidity.

In conclusion

I can’t believe I forgot to include maidenhair ferns!

Like fittonia, they need to stay damp all the time and need high humidity (but don’t mist them! They hate that and the fronds will brown)

If you’re after a little plant you honestly can’t go wrong with a peperomia hope. If you want something bigger, go for a Monstera. The big ones can be pricey, but they’re quite hard to kill (unlike a fiddle leaf fig).

If you disagree with any of these, feel free to leave a comment, and if you have any others to add to the list.

Obviously you can get any type of plant you like, and different people experience plants differently, for example I think peace lilies are easy to care for, an a lot of people hate them. Spider plants, on the other hand, come to my house to die.

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