9 NASA-Approved Plants to Up Your Indoor Jungle Game

We’re firm believers in the power of plants here at The Howling Fern. Not only are they aesthetic design touches, but they’re also proven to boost your mood, reduce stress and illness, purify the air, reduce noise levels, improve concentration, and encourage creativity. NASA actually figured this out way back in 1989. That’s why we created our spring collection BLOOM around the idea of bringing plants into our homes and lives.

There’s no such thing as a brown thumb - it’s just about finding the right plants for your space, time, and vibe. If you’re new to the gardening game (or like us, just lazy sometimes)— don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Grace and I have gathered up a list of our favorite, easy-to-grow houseplants that will thrive no matter how much time, energy, or experience you have.

1. Snake Plant (Sansevieria)

Light: low to bright direct sunlight

Water: Only water when dry, as little as once per month in the wintertime and 2-3 times per month from spring to fall.

Fertilizer: These guys are okay without fertilizer, but you can use a general houseplant fertilizer twice per year to give them an extra boost.

Snake plants have strong air-purifying qualities and are one of the most durable plants out there. We love their striking architectural lines and vertical growth; they fit well in minimal or contemporary spaces. There are lots of variations with slightly different shapes, patterns, and colors: Sayuri, Moonshine, and Golden Hahnii, just to name a few. Don’t ask to pick one - we love them all. If you’re looking for a statement plant, we recommend getting a larger one that’ll have some height.

2. Aloe Vera

Light: bright, indirect light

Water: once every three weeks. Test if the soil is dry before watering (1-2 inches on top should always be dry)

Fertilizer: Optional. If you’d like, you can fertilize once a month or less.

We love Aloe Vera plants. They purify the air and produce aloe gel that you can use on cuts, burns, and scrapes. Their foliage is a soft, pale green that adds some lightness and variation to your indoor jungle. Much like Snake Plants, they’re perfect no matter where you live. They don’t require much space, time, or attention. We love that they give our space a fun, southwestern vibe.

3. Golden Pothos (Devil’s Ivy)

Light: shade to bright, indirect sunlight

Water: Allow to dry out completely in between waterings. Water once every 2-3 weeks, depending on your location and humidity levels. Damp soil will lead to root rot!

Fertilizer: Golden Pothos will survive without it, but you can fertilize with standard fertilizer once every few months.

If you’re looking for a leafy, trailing plant that’s as easy to care for as some of our sturdy succulents, look no further, Devil’s Ivy is a breeze to grow. It adds plenty of color, texture, and nature to your space. Because they’re so easy to grow, they’re great for low-lit offices, businesses, and basements. They’re the perfect plant for macrame plant hangers, too. You can also easily propagate and grow these guys in vases of water.

4. Heart Leaf Philodendron

Light: low to bright indirect sunlight.

Water: when the soil is dry, usually 10-14 days

Fertilizer: monthly in the spring and summer with reduced fertilizing in the winter

Similar to the Golden Pothos, Philodendrons are hearty trailing plants that can withstand almost any environment. Their leaves grow in distinct heart shapes and have a vibrant green color. They’re also perfect plants for our macrame plant hangers, Celia or Winona. You can also easily propagate and grow these guys in vases of water (perfect use for a recycled Sylvia candle!).

5. Jade

Light: These guys love direct sunlight. Give them as much as you can.

Water: Keep the soil moist (never wet) in the spring and summer, but reduce watering in the winter. Lean towards dry soil instead of wet.

Fertilizer: Fertilize with a standard fertilizer once every two weeks during the spring and summer, and then once every three months in the winter.

Jade is a beautiful succulent with fleshy, yellow-toned green leaves. These guys grow relatively fast, and they provide a decent amount of foliage for a succulent plant. They will live a long time given the right space, and will eventually branch out into a tree-like structure.

6. Wandering Jew

Light: Bright, indirect sunlight.

Water: weekly in the summer with reduced watering in winter.

Fertilizer: A standard fertilizer once every other month.

We love that these super easy trailing plants add a pop of purple into our green jungle. Wandering Jews grow FAST and generally have beautiful patterns on their delicate leaves. They’re beyond easy to propagate, too. There’s nothing not to love about these guys.

7. Dwarf Umbrella Trees

Light: Bright indirect sunlight

Water: It can tolerate dry soil well, so lean towards under watering instead of overwatering.

Fertilizer: Fertilize with a standard fertilizer once a month. Consider diluting it for the best results. Not necessary to fertilize in the winter.

This is a personal favorite of ours. Dwarf Umbrella Trees have vibrant flower-shaped leaves, and they absorb oxygen and purify the air in your home. We love their delicate structure. They are a great statement piece for any decor but pair beautifully with light-toned woods and soft neutrals.

8. Moss balls (Marimo Balls)

Light: low to medium light. No direct sunlight.

Water: Change the water every two weeks. Keep it at room temperature.

Fertilizer: None.

These are a little bit of an unconventional choice, but they’re one of my favorite plants I’ve ever owned and by far the easiest to maintain. Moss Balls are often used in fish tanks and aquariums because they purify the water, but they make great standalone plants. All you need is a small glass bowl and some room temperature water. They add some greenery to your space without the fuss of soil, fertilizer, and potential pests.

9. Cacti

Light: bright indirect sunlight.

Water: Water during the growing season (spring and summer) whenever the soil dries. Do not water in the winter unless the plant is shriveling.

Fertilizer: Fertilize during the growing season. You can try a general fertilizer, but these guys sometimes do better with a specialized cactus fertilizer.

Cactus is a general term that encompasses a lot of species, but we love them all. They've got fun, irregular shapes, and cool Southwestern vibes. There's no better way to diversify your plant collection.

With ALL indoor plants, you need well-draining soil and pots with drainage holes. Otherwise, your plant is prone to overwatering and root rot (trust us, as plant moms, we’ve battled root rot with our plants, and it sucks). We made our Rosalie planter with drainage and versatility in mind. She’ll give your plants a happy home where they can thrive all year long.

A quick note on fertilizer: we’ve used plenty of different kinds to varying degrees of success, and everyone will recommend something unique when it comes to fertilizing houseplants. All of these plants we’ve listed will survive just fine without feeding, so don’t feel too much pressure to figure out the right formula. You can also dilute fertilizers to scale the dosage to what your plant needs.

Another pro tip? We recommend misting some of your moisture-loving plants regularly with a spray bottle in addition to proper watering - it’s a fantastic way to combat dry indoor air.

We’d love to hear about some of your experiences with gardening. Share with us below!

Happy planting,

DeeDee and Grace