The best houseplants to buy on a budget

Houseplants are great for health, productivity and positivity. They brighten a room, release oxygen into the air, remove toxins from the atmosphere and add character to your home or office. But they do tend to cost money. Here are some ways to still grow house plants, without the hefty price tag...

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The good news is that, whether you’re a little strapped for cash or you think it’s about time to curbed your spending on indoor plants, there’s still a wide range of cheap house plants available to feed your greenery habit.

The best indoor plants are high quality, fit their intended space well, look attractive and don’t cost lots of money. I’ve rounded up some of my favourite indoor houseplants that won’t break the bank and you can check out this handy blog on the best indoor house plants to keep at home.

Green Plants

Spider Plant

Also known as Chlorophytum Variegatum, this is a notoriously robust houseplant that is incredibly easy to care for. It grows quickly, so you can pick up an inexpensive small plant and watch it grow into shape. Long, narrow strap-shaped leaves give this indoor plant its unique appearance, which fits with any style of space. If you’re lucky, you might even notice your Spider Plant flowering once it’s mature and it’ll definitely create it’s own babies that you can pot on and create more plants for free.

Boston Fern

Boston Ferns (or Sword Ferns, as they’re also known) are the easiest indoor fern plant to keep alive. Their long, lush green fronds are gorgeous and form a fountain-like structure. They are child and pet-friendly and purify the air around them, making it totally justifiable to spend money on a Sword Fern. A Boston Fern has a long lifespan of over 100 years, which means if you look after it well, you won’t have to replace it anytime soon!

Areca Palm

Elegant and graceful, the Areca Palm is ideal for those looking for something a bit larger in size. It is fast-growing and makes an excellent floor plant, reaching your perfect size in next to no time. In fact, they grow 5-10 inches per year and can reach an ultimate height of up to 8ft indoors. Areca Palms will tolerate a little shade but prefer to be placed in a bright spot, out of direct sunlight. They appreciate a humid environment, so keep the soil lightly moist and mist regularly to keep the foliage lovely and shiny.

Air Plants

With their unique appearance, air plants make excellent affordable house plants. They’re available year-round and are extremely low-maintenance. They don’t even need any soil to grow, which means watering them is a case of dunking them for half an hour or so every couple of weeks. Air plants do, however, have a relatively short life span of around 2-8 years. So, while you can pick them up at a decent price, they shouldn’t be considered a long-term investment plant.

Flowering Plants

Peace Lily

If you prefer your plants with a little more than simple greenery, a Peace Lily is perfect for making a statement. Glossy green foliage gives way to elegant white flowers, each adorned with a slender creamy spadix. Peace Lilies can usually be picked up for under a tenner and make a great focal point for your plant collection.

Cape Jasmine

Deep shiny green leaves contrast beautifully with the pure white blooms of a Cape Jasmine plant. Native to China and Japan, these plants do best in warm sunny spots – a south-facing room is ideal for encouraging healthy growth. Water regularly when the top layer of soil feels dry to touch, and mist often to replicate the humidity these plants thrive in.

Succulents and Cacti

When it comes to succulents and cacti, you can often buy a selection of small plants for under £20. These tend to be simple to care for and come in cute little 5cm pots that can be dotted around the house or grouped together to create a combined effect. However, for the purposes of this list, we’ll concentrate on larger categories of plants.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera makes a lovely houseplant. It doesn’t need much attention to remain healthy, yet it is fast-growing and vibrant in colour. The fleshy bright green leaves have a sleek look and are bursting with antioxidant properties (this is the same stuff we use to ease sunburn). Being a desert plant, Aloe Vera prefers a bright spot in a sunny room. But be careful to keep it out of direct sunlight to prevent its beautiful foliage from getting scorched.

Snake Plant

Ideal indoor houseplants, Snake Plants demand very little in the way of attention. They only need watering around once a fortnight and even less during winter months. It’s best to let the soil dry out completely before watering your Snake Plant again. Snake Plants prefer bright indirect light but can tolerate a little full sun and cope well in low-light conditions. These plants grow tall and upright and have great air-purifying qualities that make them perfect for the bedroom. According to Feng Shui, Snake Plants attract money and prosperity and create good energy. So you may even find your new friend makes you richer!

Bunny Ear Cactus

It’s difficult not to fall in love with a Bunny Ear Cactus houseplant! It features stems that look like the ears of a cute bunny and is incredibly simple to look after – what’s not to like? Opuntia Microdasys, to give it its Sunday name, is a slow grower that won’t need to be repotted very often. It can reach up to 3ft in height and lives for up to 20 years. Place your new plant in full sun to watch it flourish. Being desert plants, Cacti are sensitive to overwatering, so ensure the soil has time to fully dry out between waterings.

Herbs

Herbs are a great way to buy plants and actually save money! Decorate your kitchen with a selection of your most used culinary plants. Not only will you have some lush greenery to look at, but you’ll also be able to use them in your cooking, saving cash in the supermarket. Things like basil, oregano, mint and parsley are easy to grow at home and don’t cost the earth.

How Can I Get a Houseplant for Free?

The absolute best place to get cheap house plants is from the plants themselves. Choose plants that are easy to propagate, and you’ll never have to buy houseplants from a shop again. Swap with friends and family to vary your indoor plant collection and incorporate a range of species around your home.

Happy houseplants are ideal for propagating. For example, Spider Plants, when mature and well cared for, will begin to sprout pups or ‘spider babies’. These can be rooted and re-planted into new pots, giving you brand new Spider Plants for nothing. (Honestly, Spider Plants really are the perfect houseplant!)

Pothos, or Devil’s Ivy, is another indoor plant that’s easy to propagate. Rather than waiting for baby plants to grow from the mother plant, simply take some healthy stem cuttings. These can be rooted in water on a windowsill before being planted in pots.

One of the great things about cheap house plants is that they tend to be the ones that require the least amount of work. This means they are perfect for new plant parents, who might want to test their skills before forking out for more expensive plants. It also means you’re more likely to keep your indoor plants happy and healthy enough for propagation.

Let me know what plants you’re growing in your own home in the comments below. I’d love to hear your hacks to keeping your houseplants happy and any tips you have for propagating them to make even more free plants! Also, don’t forget to check out my blog post on how to upcycle a mid-century unit to create an indoor plant nursery for your plant babies.

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Cassie Fairy
Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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