Houseplants bring people so much joy these days, especially as more people work from home. One or two won't break the bank, but filling an entire house with plants can start to add up.
Some plants will always be more affordable than others, but there are ways to score some deals, too. Here’s a list of ten cheap, beautiful houseplants.
Most Affordable Plants
The most affordable plants are the ones that are easiest to get. That’s just the way it works in the plant world. The rarer they are, the more money they will be.
Plants that are propagated for wide distribution are the ones you will see regularly at plant shops, garden centers, nurseries, and even big box hardware stores.
Smaller pots tend to be cheaper, but it depends on the type of plant.
Golden pothos is everywhere, and that’s because it’s an easy-going houseplant that doesn’t need a lot to thrive. It can grow almost anywhere and doesn’t mind being over, or under-watered. They look great, too, especially when they're allowed to trail down shelves, or hang from baskets.
You can find them in stores for around $8 in a cute 4-inch pot, or $20 for a 6-inch pot. These plants grow quickly if given indirect light, so buy a smaller one and you’ll get a larger plant in no time.
Golden pothos is the most common variety sold cheaply, but other varieties like Neon, Manjula, N’joy, and Marble Queen will be sold at a premium.
2. Spider Plant
These spiky little guys are another easy-to-grow, versatile plant that can grow upright in pots, or trail nicely in hanging baskets. They aren’t fussy about light conditions, can go without water for a long time, or handle saturated soil.
Just like pothos, they make excellent plants for first time growers. Unlike pothos, there aren’t any spider plants that are sold at a premium, so you can get all green or variegated plants for around the same price as what golden pothos is sold for.
You'll often see these plants paired together on store tables because they have so much in common.
3. Aloe Vera
Aloe plants are another common houseplant that you can find at a good price. They will need a sunnier location than spider plants or pothos, but can go even longer without water, and prefer to stay on the dry side.
The added benefit of aloe is you can cut off a leaf and use the gel to soothe sunburns, or other skin conditions.
Get them tiny, and they can grow into large, magnificent specimens as long as they get what they need. 4-inch pots can be found anywhere from $5-$15 at most nurseries.
4. African Violet
These tiny little plants boast cute, miniature-sized flowers on fuzzy green petals, and look adorable in tea cups amongst grandma-inspired décor. They’re also incredibly affordable since they are so small and usually come in 3 or 4-inch pots.
They won’t get much bigger, so don’t expect to double your money with size, but you can be rewarded with year-long blooms for around $5-10 a plant.
Make sure you keep them happy with lots of indirect light and stable temperature and humidity.
5. Polka Dot Plant
This is another easy to care for houseplant that you can find in small little pots for around $5-10 each. Their pink and green variegated spots add a nice color change when the majority of houseplants are different shades of green. You can find them in some other interesting patterns and colors, too.
They will grow into larger pots eventually, but not as fast as pothos. Expect them to get re-potted within a year or two if growing conditions are right, but let them get bushy before you do.
These sun-loving plants contain an enormous variety of species, including cacti, echeveria, and sempervivum species. They're often sold as “assorted” which can include zebra plants, and jade species, as well.
2-inch pots can be found for around $5, but you can also get a deal on buying more together (for instance, “3 for $10”). They are long-lasting, and won't outgrow their space too quickly.
Just don’t over-water them, as the number one killer of succulents is root rot. Make sure the pots they come in have drainage, or a grower's pot you can take out when you do water.
These fun, spiky, upright plants add a nice flair to any indoor houseplant collection as they boast brightly colored tropical-looking foliage on top of central, interwoven green foliage. They're a lot, and yet, so easy to care for, and very affordable.
They are usually sold under $10 for a 4-inch pot. Cool tip: they are in the same family as the pineapple plant, and you will notice their foliage grows similarly.
They will get taller the more sun they receive, but will tolerate medium light, and can easily be neglected when it comes to watering.
Another beautiful trailing houseplant, this type of tradescantia has striking variegated green, white, pink, and/or purple striped foliage. An absolute stunner when it’s happy, you can find them for $5-20, depending on their size.
Keep this plant watered regularly, (but never saturate it), and err on the side of under-watering (but don't let it dry out). Choose a well-lit spot with indirect sunlight, and it will thrive for years.
These are good plants to buy small, as once they establish, they will spread their leaves in no time.
Like pothos and spider plants, dieffenbachia are hard to kill houseplants that come in a variety of sizes to fit your budget. They look great as large floor plants set next to TV consoles or in corners, but are also super cute in tinier pots on shelves when they're young.
These decent growers can handle different light situations and aren’t fussy about water, but would prefer their soil on the drier side. Find them easily at plant stores for around $10-15 for a 6-inch pot, and then watch them grow.
10. Snake Plant
This one also makes the list because it’s very low-maintenance, and time is money, right? Snake plants can be put anywhere in the house that doesn’t get direct, intense sunlight. In fact, they can handle almost no light, and still thrive.
They're sold for similar prices as the dieffenbachia, but depending on the cultivar, can be a little bit pricier than some of these other plants. Usually it's because they aren’t often sold in anything smaller than a 6-inch pot.
Still, you can find one for around $15, and that includes a lifetime guarantee: you would have to try very hard to kill this plant.
Easy to Propagate Plants
The other reason these plants made the "cheap and beautiful" list is because all of them are easy to propagate, meaning you can get free plants out of them. The two most common methods are through cuttings, or from replanting the babies or offsets they send up.
Pothos are easy to grow from cuttings, and can even stay in a glass of water for a while. Spider plants will send out little spider babies at the end of long stems when they’re happy, sometimes multiple ones at a time.
Aloe vera sends up tiny little ‘pups’ (and they are as adorable as they sound). African violets can be propagated from cutting a leaf. Polka dot plant cuttings can be rooted in water or soil.
Any flesh that breaks off of succulent plants can be popped right back into the soil, cut side down to make a new plant. You can find bromeliad pups at the base of the parent plant. Nanouk will regrow from easily cuttings.
Dieffenbachia will grow from cuttings, but mature plants can also be split up into new ones. Roots and tiny pups will grow from snake plant cuttings when you cut a “V” into the bottom.
Unlimited plants for life! And also, propagating new, healthy plants are great for giving away as gifts.
How to Find Deals
The best way to find deals is to subscribe to mailing lists and flyers from stores that sell houseplants, but there are a few other tricks, as well.
If you notice that a big store has received a lot of new plants, they may be willing to let go of the ones that have been around for a while for much cheaper. Instead of waiting for a sale, ask one of the workers if there are any deals to be made. This is a great way to get plants that are normally more expensive, and they may just need some extra TLC.
If you see cuttings or leaves on the floor, this is actually a great way to get a free cutting. Just ask an associate if it’s okay to take them. They usually won’t care, but you need permission, otherwise it’s stealing and not cool, man.
Sales at Stores
Stores tend to have sales at various times of the year, so it’s not always easy to know when they'll be, but check websites regularly, and subscribe to their list as previously mentioned.
It never hurts to call and ask if there’s a sale on or ones they’re planning, either. A lot of stores will change inventory as the season changes, even though indoor plants aren’t seasonal.
They will make room on tables when they get their holiday inventory in, especially Christmas plants like poinsettias and Norfolk pines, and Easter lilies and tulips in the spring that take up a ton of space.
Big box stores will have the most regular sales throughout the year, but nurseries and garden centers will have the best kept, and healthiest stock. Ikea is a great store for finding reasonably priced plants all year round, just keep an eye on quality.
How to Find Free Plants
While it’s getting harder to find cuttings for free these days, sometimes you can score with a little sleuthing. Check websites like Craigslist, Kijiji, and Facebook marketplace for people that are giving away their houseplants.
Some might want to get rid of them because they got a new pet, have kids, or they are moving and can’t take them along. Just remember to check that they are pet-friendly plants if you have fur-babies, too.
Another great way to get free plants is to take part in plant swaps. You can find plant groups on social media sites quite easily, and often the groups will have regular swaps between members.
While you may have to let something go, you can also swap for cuttings so that you don’t have to give up the whole plant. This is a great way to exchange houseplants for free, and get varieties that you may not already have.
Etsy, Amazon, and Walmart all sell plants online, and often they are better priced than trendy spots and other big box retailers. Buyer beware: while the quality is guaranteed by most of these shops, returns are a hassle and shipping costs can be expensive.
Always check a store's return policy and look for shipping costs at checkout. Do your homework and price check anything you might order. For example, a website may claim they are selling a monstera at a sale price, meanwhile it’s more than what it would cost at the local nursery.
Also, you never know what you’re going to get in the mail, and whether these plants have been cared for along their journey. Reputable sites will take care of shipping their plants properly, but this may also be why their plants come at a premium.
Plants will be more expensive depending on the pot they come in, so opting for the cheap, plastic growers pots is a great way to get plants cheaper. Hanging baskets cost more, even though it's just a pot with plastic hangers on it. Free sites and garden groups are often giving away pots and planters, so get your hanging baskets, larger, and more interesting pots there.
When out shopping, look for plants that may be growing a pup out of the parent plant, or have two plants in one (snake plants are notorious for this). Stores often won't notice, nor will they charge you extra.
Knowing what houseplants cost at regular retail value is a good place to start when sourcing out deals, that way you know when a sale is a sale. Choose quality over quantity, and remember, the cheapest, most beautiful plants are the ones you don't kill.