Small, easy-to-care-for houseplants are ideal for novices and gardeners on the go. According to the master gardener at the University of Illinois, some of the easiest-to-grow species are mother-in-law's tongue, spider plants and pothos. These plants grow well indoors even if you occasionally forget to water them and survive well indoors even under low-light conditions. When choosing a plant, ask the gardening center expert about its care needs before you take it home.
Water your houseplant whenever the top third of the soil dries out. Stick your finger or a wooden dowel into the soil to check its moisture level daily. Water slowly with a watering can. Water should not pool on the surface of the soil. Stop watering altogether when you see water run out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the container. If your houseplant sits on a planting tray, allow water to drain into it for an hour. Then empty the excess water and replace the tray.
Give your plant light. Most flowering houseplants prefer a window facing south, east or west or a balcony. When your plant is blooming, move it out of direct sunlight and its flowers will last longer. Place non-flowering plants in a north-facing window, if possible. Turn your houseplant 1/4 turn once weekly to be sure all of its foliage has equal light access.
Fertilize your houseplant if and when necessary. Most growing houseplants take a monthly commercial houseplant fertilizer. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for application rates and amounts. In late fall and winter, if your houseplant is no longer producing new growth, it no longer needs fertilizer. Wait until the growing season begins again to resume monthly fertilization.
Re-pot your houseplant as it outgrows its container. If roots begin to grow out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot, or if the roots are growing in a thick mass in the soil, it is time to re-pot. Remove the plant from its current container, examine its roots and prune any wound around the inside of the pot. Remove broken, mushy or withered roots as well. Then re-pot the plant in its next container so it sits at the same level in the soil as it did in the old container. Do not cover the top of the roots with more than an inch of soil. Water after you re-pot.