Easy indoor plants to grow from seed

Easy House Plants

Even if you wouldn’t know a Bird’s Nest Fern from a Fishtail Palm, these easy house plants will make your thumb green. Really.

Are you looking for a happy-go-lucky house plant? One that doesn’t need fussing over?

Know Thy Plant

If you want to know how much light, water, and fertilizer your specific plant needs, be sure to look it up in the House Plants Encyclopedia A-Z.

Your ability to keep house plants alive and healthy has a lot to do with putting the right plant in the right place. Even an expert can’t make a shade-lover survive in a sunny window.

That said, there are many robust plants that are extremely adaptable to their environments and will bring you easy success as a house plant gardener. No prima donnas here.

So what makes house plants easy to grow? They share these common traits:

  • Puts up with a little neglect (such as your sometimes forgetting to water it)
  • Doesn’t mind dry air
  • Tolerates low light or shade (at least for a while)
  • Requires little primping, pinching or pruning
  • Resistant to insects or disease
  • If it’s a flowering plant, doesn’t require special care to bloom

Easy House Plants for Beginners

Ready to get growing? Check out my suggestions for low-maintenance plants:

Low Light House Plants

Here’s a list of easy-to-please house plants that are perfectly happy in partial shade.

10 House Plants You Can’t Kill

THE list of hardy plants anyone can grow. These feisty fighters can’t be beat for their tolerance of light, water, and humidity.

Top 10 easy to grow flowers

Do your neighbours’ borders burgeon with colour, and their containers drip with flowers while yours look brown and crispy?
The fact is that some garden plants are easier to grow than others – but your neighbour probably knows that already! Read our list of top 10 easy to grow garden plants and discover the secret to a hassle-free, flower-filled summer garden.
Read on to find out more, or scroll down to see the full infographic at the bottom of the page.

Sunflowers

Always a favourite with kids – they’ll definitely be impressed with Sunflower ‘Mongolian Giant’ growing up to 14 feet tall! Just sow the seeds straight into the ground in a sunny, sheltered spot and watch them grow and grow and grow! Be sure to provide the stems with supports to grow the tallest sunflowers around.

Sweet Peas

Irresistable fragrance and prettiness! And the more you pick, the more flowers they produce! The large seeds of sweet peas are easy to handle, but if sowing sounds complicated then buy them as sweet pea plug plants! A sunny spot, a supportive fence, and regular watering is all these climbers need to produce your own ‘home grown’ cut flowers. Just keep an eye out for mice, slugs and snails – they love the young shoots. Consider covering with a mini cloche, or even a cut-off plastic bottle.

Nigella (Love in A Mist)

Nigella is an incredibly easy plant to grow. Simply scatter nigella seed across a patch of bare soil and let it look after itself! With jewel-like flowers and delicate ferny leaves, nigella is much tougher than it looks. As the flowers fade, this pretty plant will set seed for the following year. What could be simpler!

Aquilegia

Aquilegias are easy plants to grow from seeds and will come back year after year. Start aquilegias in small pots for transplanting later on. Once they’re established they’ll self-seed, so you’ll always have fresh plants each year. They tolerate almost any conditions in sun or semi-shade, and their pretty bonnet-like flowers come in almost every imaginable colour combination.

Eschscholzia (Californian Poppy)

If you are not a fan of watering then Eschscholzia make easy to grow plants for your garden. These colourful little annuals thrive in poor, dry soil and full sun so they are perfect for filling forgotten corners of the garden. Just scatter them where you want them to flower and let them take care of themselves. Each year they will set seed which will grow the following summer, creating effortless drifts of colour.

Nasturtium

Quick-growing and colourful, nasturtiums are easy plants for children to grow. Sow them in borders as ground cover or let them spill out of containers. The large seeds can be sown directly into the soil – just wait until after the last frosts. Their peppery leaves and flowers complement and garnish summer salads.

Marigold

These easy to grow bedding plants are another great choice for young gardeners. Marigold seeds are easy to handle, and grow quickly so you’ll have a short wait for their colourful flowers. From tall varieties for the border to small types for beds and containers, there’s a marigold to suit every sunny spot in the garden.

Hardy Geranium (Cranesbill)

Cranesbill is so popular because it’s a reliable, low maintenance, ground cover that will wander through your borders year after year. Hardy geraniums are not difficult to grow from seed but you can grow them from bareroots which is even simpler.

Fuchsia

Easy to grow patio plants when grown from plugs, and best loved for adding colour to hanging baskets and containers. Fuchsias come in all colours and shapes, from trailing to upright you could even try the climbing fuchsia ‘Lady Boothby’ for an ambitious display. For a really professional look, pinch out the very tips of each stem while the plants are still young to encourage lots of bushy growth. Fuchsia erries are edible, but not always tasty!

Pansy

With their cheery faces, it’s hard to resist the appeal of pansies. These garden favourites are easy plants to grow from seed but even easier from pansy plug plants. Whether you grow them for winter or summer colour, deadheading faded flowers will encourage more and more colourful blooms.

Here’s the infographic in full – if you’d like to share it or use it on your own site, check out the details underneath.

About Our Australian Grown Rare Houseplants

Our stock is only available in extremely limited quantities and we never have more than a few varieties on sale at any one point in time. This ensures that only the finest specimens of rare and hard to find houseplants are available on the site at any time.Home of Houseplants is a boutique grower, collector and vendor of the best indoor plants that are often extremely hard to find or rare. We grow, tend and care for every plant with love, and are always just little sorry to see any of the plants leave. Knowing they will be going to decorate new homes and bring joy to new owners ensures every plant is shipped with absolute care and pride.Each and every indoor plant we sell is absolutely unique, an amazing living testament to beauty and will continue to grow healthy in your home, look beautiful and be a source of good energy. Be sure to bookmark us and visit again as we make new plants available for sale online all the time.
Excitingly, we are proud to be what we believe is the first online indoor plant supplier to ship to WA, TAS & NT. We have received this accreditation following our determination to supply our beautiful plants to the whole of Australia. We chemically treat each and every plant to ensure there is no threat to the biosecurity of these states. We are gradually offering more upon more products interstate as we receive the green light for various individual products (many of which we are the only supplier able to ship nationally), and will forever continue to offer an ever-growing inventory of fantastic houseplants to compliment your home. We hope you enjoy browsing our range of plants featured in our collection section!

Containers for Houseplants

There are pots and baskets to fitevery plant and personality.

Most houseplants today are sold in standard plastic pots. Some plant owners prefer to replace these pots. They choose from pots that come in an almost-infinite variety of materials, types, sizes, and colors.

At its simplest level, the purpose of a container is to hold the right amount of growing medium for the plant. In other words, the container you choose should match the size of your plant. Small plants should be in small containers and large plants in large containers.

Plants that are too small for their containers look out of proportion and grow poorly since the soil stays overly moist for too long a time. Plants that are too large for their containers also look out of proportion. They become root-bound (roots fill up the whole pot, causing stunted growth), and often topple over, since their pots don’t have enough weight to hold them up.

Drainage Holes

  • The best pots have holes in their bottoms for excess water to drain out. If water collects in the bottom of a pot, it can cause root rot, which eventually kills plants.
  • Because of these holes, each pot needs a plastic or clay saucer underneath it to prevent excess water from spilling onto your carpet, floor, or furniture. Many hanging pots have built-in saucers to collect excess water. Be careful when watering plants in these pots since their saucers are shallow and water sometimes overflows.
  • A few of the most decorative pots have no drainage holes. Knowing how much to water plants in these pots is difficult and requires far more skill than watering plants in traditional pots does. Still, many indoor gardeners use these lovely pots with great success by carefully avoiding overwatering.
  • Tip: The beginning houseplant grower can get the look of these ornamental pots without the risk of root rot simply by putting the less attractive pots (with their saucers) inside bigger, prettier pots such as jardinieres or wicker baskets. This way, water drains well, but you keep the desired look.

Types of Containers for Houseplants

Image zoom Pots come not only in lots ofsizes, but also in lots of colors.

At one time, the clay pot was the most common container for indoor plants. Clay pots are attractive, heavy (ideal for big plants), and porous (excellent for bromeliads, cacti, ferns, orchids, and succulents). Unfortunately, clay pots break easily, need to be watered frequently, and are hard to clean. They also are becoming expensive.

The most popular container today is the plastic pot. It comes in an assortment of colors and is lightweight (plastic is an excellent material for hanging baskets), easy to clean, and inexpensive. One major advantage of plastic over clay is that, because plastic does not absorb moisture from the soil the way clay does, plants in plastic pots don’t need to be watered as frequently. Normally, plastic is quite tough, but it can break in cold weather.

Other materials for houseplant containers include metal, basketry, treated or rot-resistant wood, glazed pottery, and glass. Containers made from these materials, though, usually are used only as bigger pots to surround smaller, more-functional ones, or for other special purposes.

Pots come in a variety of sizes. The width of the opening at the top determines the size. A 4-inch pot has an opening 4 inches wide. Most pots are as deep as they are wide. Azalea pots, however, are only three-fourths as deep as they are wide; bulb pots are half as deep. Growers have found that some plants look and grow better in shallow pots.

Keep pots clean to prevent disease. If you plan to reuse a pot, clean it well both inside and out. Clay pots often get a white crust on them after prolonged use. To remove this crust, scrub with a steel-wool pad or stiff brush in a vinegar and water solution. If the crust is thick, brush first with a dry steel wool pad. Rinse pots then soak them in a bleach solution (1 part bleach to 9 parts water) for 30 minutes. Rinse again.

Cleaning Clay Pots

Image zoom Clean clay pots.

To avoid infecting plants with disease, scrub all used pots carefully, inside and out, before reusing. To remove salt and clinging earth from clay pots, rub with steel wool and diluted vinegar. Then soak pots in a bleach solution.

Growing Plants in Water

Image zoom Growing plants in water.

For best results, use opaque jars when growing plants in water. To keep the water fresh, change it frequently and add small bits of charcoal. Add water-soluble fertilizers for rich foliage.

Cleaning Plastic Pots

Clean plastic pots with a cloth dipped in warm soapy water. Scrub the pot until it’s completely free of soil and grime. Soak the pot in a bleach solution as you would a clay pot.

Sterilizing pots is especially important if you intend to start seeds in them. Nonsterile pots often contain bacteria that can infect the soil, causing seedlings to topple over from a condition called damping-off. The condition is serious because it can kill all seedlings if not prevented in the first place or treated with fungicide when first noticed.

How to Propagate Houseplants

Propagating Houseplants

Well grown mature houseplants are relatively inexpensive to buy and generally easy to come by, so why do people go through the effort of trying to propagate them?

The main reasons are that although plants can be cheap to purchase, they’re almost always cheaper to propagate. It’s also very easy too.

When it comes to propagating there are many methods to pick from and we explore each of them below. Whether you’re increasing your own stock, planning on giving them away to friends and family or wanting to start fresh with a smaller version of an “old friend”, we’re going to teach you step by step about creating your own houseplants.

The Basics

There are several basic rules to remember when it comes to this topic.

  • Cuttings and new plants will typically need more attention than fully grown ones.
  • Neglect – for example failure to keep the compost moist (or on the other hand, too wet) could easily end your attempt in failure.
  • Always use fresh compost (if rooting using soil) or fresh water (if rooting using water).
  • A rooting hormone is a good way to increase your chances of success but not essential.
  • Make sure your equipment is clean, this includes everything from the cutting knife down to the container your new plant will grow in.
  • Finally, never expect a 100% success rate but equally, never let failure put you off from trying again.
    Remember the golden rule – Houseplants want to be Propagated. You aren’t trying to force them into doing something they don’t want to do (unlike attempts to push your dog outside to do its business when it’s pouring with rain!) so don’t be afraid to give it a go.

Soil vs. Water Rooting Method

Cuttings need roots before they’ll “take” and exist by themselves, so if there are no roots at the initial stages you need to encourage the cutting to grow some. This is done either by planting up the cutting directly in potting compost (Soil method). Or in something like a small container, vase or glass with just water that you change and refresh every few weeks (Water method).

Propagating a Pilea Plant using the water method. Before and after photos

So which is better? In general, using the soil method tends to reduce the number of steps when it comes to propagation, because once rooting has occurred you just need to grow the plant on. However do remember that the cutting will need more attention to stop it from being over or underwatered. Also some propagation material just isn’t suitable for the water method either so you will have to use the soil method in those instances.

If you’re using the water method you’ll eventually have to pot up the new cutting into soil which carries a small risk of failure as you may damage the fragile roots when transplanting. That said the water method is quick and doesn’t cost anything. It’s a great method if you don’t always have access to a garden or compost to hand.

Neither method is fail proof however and in general we would simply advise picking the method you like the look of the most or is the most practical for you at the time. Alternatively you could take multiple cuttings and try both.

Propagation Equipment

We often get asked about special equipment that might be need for successful propagation. In the majority of cases you can honestly get by with some very basic tools. A pair of kitchen scissors (and if rooting in soil) a simple plant pot and some compost, are sometimes all the things you need.

That said, you’ll often have more success if you use Rooting Hormone Powder and a Heated Propagating Mat. Both of these things encourage roots to form and at a much quicker pace than if you just let nature take it’s course. They’re not expensive either, as you should be able to buy both together for less than $20 / £15 quite easily.

Obviously if you’re only planning to propagate one plant, it’s really not going to be worth buying these things. But if you think you’ll do it often, (or are a keen outdoor gardener) they’re something to seriously consider as you’ll get your money’s worth in the long run. A propagating mat sold by Amazon that we quite like is below (just click the picture to go there).

Okay, so you’ve decided how you would like to root the cuttings. If you know how you’re planning on gaining the new plant material then there are some quick jump page links below.

If you’re not sure or this is a completely new topic for you, just scroll down the page and decided which method is most suitable for the plant you’re trying to propagate. Quite often each houseplant can be propagated through a number of different methods so you usually have a fair amount of choice.

Offsets

Some species will form side shoots or offsets, usually around the base of itself. This method is tricky to get right because when you remove the offset you have to do so carefully to ensure as many of the new roots that have formed come along with the bulk of the miniature plant you have removed. Too little root and the “baby” won’t survive.

An Offset growing at the base of an Urn Plant

If you want to give it a try, make sure you only attempt it on a reasonably mature / large offset that’s been growing for at least a few months, if it’s very small just wait a bit longer until it’s bigger. When it’s ready, use a sharp knife to increase accuracy and once severed, pot into ordinary potting compost and treat like you have the adult plant previously.

Examples of suitable houseplants

Air Plants
Aloe
Dwarf Banana
Echeveria
Haworthia
Pilea Peperomioides
Pink Quill Plant
Urn Plant

Plantlets

With some houseplants, Plantlets appear on the end of long flowering stems. These are basically miniature adult plants and when the leaves and roots have formed and have grown to a decent size they’re ready to live life on their own.

Even though one has more roots than the other both these Spider Babies can be propagated easily

You just need to remove the plantlet and pot up into a standard soil mix, watering well, then within a few weeks you’ll notice brand new growth. One houseplant is propagated this way more than any other and that’s the Spiderplant.

Moth Orchid
Pilea Peperomioides
Spiderplant

Stem and Cane Cuttings

Many houseplants can be propagated through Stem or Cane cuttings. If you’re going to use a stem cutting, pick non-flowering stems and do it during Spring or Summer.

The majority of cuttings should be gently inserted into the compost as soon as they have been cut from the main plant. If you’re using cuttings from cacti or succulent type plants give them at least a few hours to a day in order for them to dry out a little, this seals the raw “cut” slightly and reduces the possibility of rot setting in.

A Yucca Plant shoot growing from a cane cutting

Cane cuttings are a good choice when the cane has lost its upper leaves, the crown is dying or the plant has a tall but undesirable “leggy” appearance and you want to encourage new shoots to sprout lower down.

When you remove the cane simply cut it into pieces at least 2 – 3 inches long (how many cuttings you get per cane will therefore depend how long it is to start with ) and push upright into the compost, you must make sure the cane is still pointing upwards to mirror the direction it was growing in when attached to the main plant.

Leaf Cuttings

Depending on the plant you’ll need to either gently pull or cut off a leaf from the stem, allow the raw edge to dry slightly (few hours to a day) and then pot it up in a free draining compost mix with the raw edge going in first.

Snake Plant leaf cuttings

Some plants like the Sansevieria have massive leaves, which although a little more drastic, can be cut into several smaller pieces (see opposite).

Always plant in the direction of growth, keeping most of the leaf above the ground which prevents rotting and allows for photosynthesis to take place which in turn creates the new growth you need. Only a few centimeters of the leaf needs to actually be in the soil, just enough to hold it in place. Keep warm and water very occasionally.

African Violet
Begonia
Christmas Cactus
Easter Cactus
Echeveria
Jade Plant
Mother-in-Law’s Tongue / Snake Plant
Wandering Jew
Zamioculcas Zamifolia

Seed Sowing

Seeds are normally the cheapest method and attain the best value when looking to obtain new house plants through propagation (ask any outdoor gardener). The downside is that only a few indoor plants will produce viable seeds to even allow you to attempt this.

Bird of Paradise Seeds

The clear disadvantage here is that it takes time for germination to occur and then a great deal more for the seedlings to reach a decent size. It can still be worth a try and if your house plant has given you some you’ve nothing to lose in trying to grow some new plants from seed.

Make sure you use fresh compost and keep temperatures at the correct level to encourage seed germination. If you have a greenhouse or heated propagator, this will be a valuable piece of kit. Once germination happens you must take extra care to keep the seedlings in a protected condition as their small size makes them vulnerable to damage.

Chrysanthemum
Gerbera
Strelitzia
Umbrella Grass

Layering

The majority of climbing house plants will produce “runners” of stray, exploitative vines or stems that will root into new soil if given the chance. This is called “layering” and is a really reliable way of creating new plants if you don’t want to take the greater risk of a standard stem cutting.

The downside is that it takes quite a while before rooting has taken place, you also need to have space to work with as the propagating happens right where the new growth actually is, i.e. next to the parent.

Once the stem(s) have been chosen, use a hairpin or a piece of flexible wire that allows you to pin the stem into a small pot filled with compost. Ensure the stem is pushed slightly under the soil surface as contact must be made in order for roots to form.

The parent will continue to fuel the stem until rooting has taken place, once this happens you will notice new growth and at this point it can be cut lose from the parent and just like that the smaller pot contains your new self-sufficient plant.

Goosefoot / Syngonium
Ivy
Pothos
Spider Plant

Division

Sometimes one of your houseplant’s might get too wide or spread so you can reduce its size and also create new plants at the same time by dividing it. You can divide it perhaps in two, or even into more smaller “pieces” or “clumps” if you want multiple plants.

You can divide congested houseplants to create new ones

Division is normally very easy as all you need to do is remove the plant from its pot and gently pull the roots apart. Just remember that each “piece” or “clump” must have its own root ball, otherwise it will be very vulnerable to drying out. In the photo above you should be able to see two distinct plants starting to emerge during the splitting process, each with their own set of roots.

Out in the garden you might use a spade to do this, although this is not advised for indoor plants as they tend not to be so accommodating of really rough treatment, so do it by hand (or a sharp knife if it’s too tough).

Aspidistra
Boston Fern
Calathea
Cambria and Vuylstekeara Orchids
Dumb Cane
Peace Lily
Pitcher Plant
Purple Shamrock
Snake Plant
Umbrella Grass

About the Author

Tom Knight

Over the last 20 years Tom has successfully owned hundreds of houseplants and is always happy to share knowledge and lend his horticulture skills to those in need. He is the main content writer for the Ourhouseplants Team.

Also on Ourhouseplants.com

Photo credit of the Yucca cane cutting to Arnulf zu Linden
Credit for the picture of the Bird of Paradise seeds to Sebastian Stabinger

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