Thinking about adding some houseplants to your décor but don’t know which ones to pick? If you’re new to the growing-houseplants scene, consider starting off with some tough guys – those plants that are sure to survive the occasional neglect and can bounce back with the right care.

ZZ plant

The easy-to-grow ZZ is a great choice if you’re new to the houseplant scene.

Photo Credit: Sarah Landicho


Anthurium may be tough, but it’s got a lot of heart…in the shape of its leaves and flowers.

Photo Credit: Sarah Landicho


Bromeliads, like this Neoregelia, offer a fun splash of color.

Photo Credit: Sarah Landicho

Bird's nest plant

This bird’s nest Sansevieria takes up less room than the traditional sword-like snake plant.

Photo Credit: Sarah Landicho


Dracaenas add a tropical feel to any room.

Photo Credit: Sarah Landicho

Fiddle leaf fig

If you’ve got the space and want something tough and out-of-the-ordinary, try one of these neat fiddle-leaf figs.

Photo Credit: Sarah Landicho

I stopped at Plants Inc. in Chicago for some houseplant-picking advice. The business specializes in interior landscaping and works with all kinds of plants – from the easy to the finicky. The employees know their stuff and are happy to share their knowledge. Here’s what operations director Kathy Miceli shared with me:

Kathy puts the easy-to-grow ZZ plant at the top of her “for starters” list. If you can’t find this foliage beauty under “ZZ,” look for Zamioculcas zamiifolia. The plant’s got gorgeous glossy leaves and is just about as tough as they come. It’s an awesome floor plant – just be sure to buy a great pot to help accent it!

Want something with a splash of color? Kathy recommends Anthurium. These bushy beauties have broad, heart-shaped leaves and bright, heart-shaped flowers that come in red, pink, white and even orange.

Some blooming indoor plants aren’t as tough as Anthurium, though, and tend to be a bit more on the difficult-to-grow side. But Kathy says you won’t find bromeliads falling in that group! These plants are a little more forgiving than other bloomers and are good starter houseplants to try. And what a selection: The name “bromeliad” covers more than 3,000 plants! These beauties come in a host of colors and styles. They can have long stalks with the flowers blooming on the end, or they might have no stalk at all, with the flower tucked in the center of a rosette. As beautiful as bromeliads are, they do have a downside: They usually bloom only once – although the show can last a long time.

And don’t overlook sassy Sansevieria, Kathy says. You might know this easy-to-grow houseplant by the names snake plant or mother-in-law’s tongue – perfect nicknames for this tough plant! What’s more, Sansevieria comes in so many shapes, from the small bird’s nest variety to tall, sword-like versions.

Looking for something a little larger? Think dracaenas. These tough-as-nails plants have strappy foliage that’s oftentimes colorfully striped. There are all kinds of indoor dracaenas, like corn plant (Dracaena fragrans), green dracaena (Dracaena fragrans (Deremensis Group)) and dragon tree or red-edged dracaena (Dracaena marginata), which can grow up to 10 feet tall!

Finally, if you’re looking for more of an indoor tree, Kathy suggests you consider figs (Ficus). You’ve definitely seen these graceful trees in interior courtyards and malls before. Weeping fig (Ficus benjamina) is probably the one you’re most familiar with. It’s got little leaves lining graceful branches. If you’ve got the inclination (and the space), hunt down something a little different like fiddle-leaf fig (Ficus lyrata), which you can find in bush or tree form.

Any of these beauties would be great first houseplants to try. They’re tough, they’re beautiful, and they’re pretty forgiving if you accidentally mess up from time to time. Just remember, your plants will forgive…if you don’t forget! So read the plant tag. Follow the care instructions. Get your new indoor décor off to a healthy start – and your home will stay in the green!