Most unsuccessful houseplant owners think they don't have a green thumb. A common reason for this lack of success is overwatering. When purchasing a houseplant, read the directions. It's always best to err on the side of not enough water rather than too much water. Houseplants purify our air by converting carbon dioxide to oxygen and absorbing pollutants.
Hen-and-chicks (Echeveria spp.) is a practical first plant for those who have never before grown houseplants, because it holds up under neglect. This succulent (moisture retaining) plant bears tear drop-shaped, fleshy leaves and fleshy rosettes. Plant it in a cactus-potting mixture and give it plenty of light. It requires half a day of direct sun during the summer when it's growing. During the winter, all day sun is best. In spring and summer, it requires plenty of water and little water in fall and winter. Overwatering this plant will cause root rot. Hen-and-chicks grow 6 to 36 inches tall and 12 inches wide. Let it dry out completely before watering again. Varieties with a rosette may get taller than you like. If this happens to the plant, cut off the top leaving a couple of inches still attached. Set it in some cactus mix and a new plant will root. Feed hens-and-chicks once a year with an all-purpose fertilizer.
Bird's nest fern (Asplenium nidus) grows wavy, glossy green fronds and makes a practical plant for those who tend to overwater. Keep the soil moist at all times, water less in winter, but don't let it dry out. It requires medium, indirect sunlight. Plant in a well-draining potting mix. Due to the small root system, it seldom requires repotting. Plant in an all-purpose potting soil and feed once in spring and once in summer with a foliage plant food. Remove older leaves as they fade. Bird's nest fern grows 15 inches tall and 12 inches wide.
Golden pothos (Epipremnum aureum) requires an all-purpose potting soil and low to medium light with high humidity. It's a variegated vine that most people grow in hanging baskets. When watering, soak the soil thoroughly and allow it to dry completely before watering again. Once or twice a year feed it with a general foliage plant food. Repot golden pothos every three to four years when it becomes root-bound. To keep the plant shrubby, pinch off the tips regularly.