Ever bring a houseplant home with high hopes…only to watch it struggle? And struggle some more? Yeah, same. But this is a no judgment zone, and you’re not a bad plant parent if your greenery withers away. Even the plant pros among us have an occasional flop. The truth is some plants need a little more TLC than others, and the most Instagram-able houseplants often aren’t necessarily right for everyone.
To be totally fair, there are no “bad” houseplants. “It’s not that the plant itself is difficult,” says Justin Hancock, horticulturalist with Costa Farms. “It’s that it’s not well-suited to the conditions in your home. The plants we often call ‘fussy’ have a narrow zone of environmental conditions they’ll tolerate for light, moisture or humidity levels.” In a nutshell, there’s less wiggle room for errors with these plants.
However, you can grow these plants if you do your homework. First, understand a plant’s needs, says Hancock. For example, before you buy on a whim, learn what kind of light a plant requires, then figure out where you’re going to put it. And be honest with yourself: If you’re forgetful about watering, maybe you should pass on the plant that needs consistent moisture.