Urban Jungle On A Budget: How To Choose House Plants

Photo by Severin Candrian on Unsplash

Is it your dream to create a Pinterest-worthy urban jungle in your home? The big question is - What kind of plants should I get? I’ve got some handy tips to get you started on a budget!

Knowing where to start can seem impossible. There are so many plants to choose from. So I have created this beginner’s guide on how to choose houseplants to create an urban jungle in your home quickly and on a budget.

Here is a checklist of all the things we will be covering.

  • How do I choose houseplants?

  • How long will it take to create an urban jungle?

  • How to achieve an indoor jungle vibe quickly

  • The best houseplants to create an urban jungle

How Do I Choose Houseplants?

Instagram, Pinterest, and Youtube are buzzing with inspiration to help you style your home with houseplants. There are so many ideas and possibilities, I’m not surprised you are feeling overwhelmed before you have even arrived at the plant shop!

I remember when I first embarked upon my journey towards the urban jungle houseplant dream home. I was naive and unprepared. I spent a lot of money and chose all of the wrong plants. In fact, I don’t think a single one of my first plant choices are still alive in my collection today. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

Illustration By Zara M.

But don’t worry, you are in good hands. I will help you through this. You won’t have to go through the trauma of arranging plant funerals for all of your starter plants, I promise. Let’s get started!

How Long Will It Take To Create An Urban Jungle?

The first mistake beginners make when starting out on their houseplants journey is to seek immediate gratification. It can be tempting to acquire all of your favourite Pinterest-inspired plants at once. Why bother going back and forth from the store when everything you need is right there in front of you under one roof?

While you might achieve that coveted jungle vibe straight away if you spend a small fortune and hire a cab to take your jungle home with you, you could also end up wasting a lot of money and enthusiasm when you discover that many of the plants don’t end up thriving, or even surviving.

Illustration By Zara M.

Choosing the best houseplants for your home and your lifestyle can be a tricky skill to master. But all it takes is a bit of preparation and patience.

Don’t forget that the joy is in the journey and not the destination!

Take a quiet moment to think about how much time you want to dedicate to caring for your new houseplants. We can’t all be stay-at-home plant-parents. If you dive straight in and buy 10 to 20 plants, you won’t have the time to adjust to caring for them.

Remember that tending to plants is meant to be a calming and relaxing hobby that gives you the opportunity to practice mindfulness and be at one with nature. Why invite stress into your life by biting off more than you can chew?

I had no idea in the beginning that I would have to spend the better part of two hours every weekend tending to my enormous urban jungle. It wasn’t something I was used to, and so I quickly came to resent it. When many of my plants died off, it was actually a relief to start again at a more realistic pace. I now have over 50 plants and I thoroughly enjoy the time I spend with them because I am finally a seasoned crazy plant lady and not a nutty newby.

I suggest starting off with just one, two, or even three plants. You can always buy more later when you are a confident plant parent and know what you really want. For me, a lot of the pleasure comes from adding to my plant collection over time. Who wouldn’t love the thrill of going plant-shopping over and over again? It is also lovely to be able to enjoy plants that are developing at different stages.

Buying plants over time means that I now have many mature plants, juveniles, and babies to enjoy. You will gain so much more satisfaction from growing your own knowledge and experience alongside your growing plants. But if you still want to achieve your urban jungle here and now, keep reading because I have some ideas for you!

How To Achieve An Indoor Jungle Vibe Quickly

If you feel impatient and simply cannot wait to create a jungle in your living room, I feel your enthusiasm, and don’t worry, we can accommodate it. There are ways to trick your mind into thinking that you have achieved a ready-made jungle without having to spend all of your money at once.

If you go for a large established plant it will fill up space in your home straight away. A big leafy plant will create an instant impact, totally transforming a room. You may even decide that no more plants are needed because you love the vibe already.

Don’t forget that the bigger and more mature a plant is, the more expensive it will be. It will also be all the more devastating if it dies, so choose your first plants carefully. It would be a shame to spend a small fortune on a big established houseplant only to watch it wither away because you couldn’t provide it with what it needs.

If you want to purchase some large plants to start you off but the prices are making your eyes water, I have a clever solution for you in the tip below.

Find this plant stand and more on Etsy

Tip: Here is how to save money and build your living room jungle faster! Simply create the illusion of large houseplants by purchasing medium-sized plants that cost less, and then place them on high surfaces, like raised plant stands, or on a plant display unit.

There are more ways to achieve the jungle vibe quickly without having to empty out the plant store. Keep reading to discover what kinds of plants you should be looking for…

The Best Houseplants To Create Your Urban Jungle

It can be overwhelming to visit a plant store, plant nursery, or garden centre. There is often too much choice for a beginner who doesn’t really know what they are looking at.

Give yourself plenty of time so that you won’t feel hurried or pressured to buy. You can develop a mental map of what plant options there are if you take the time to browse before putting anything into your trolley.

After browsing the whole area to see what plants you are most attracted to, you should find a sales assistant and have a chat. People who work in plant stores and garden centres have a wealth of knowledge and experience. They are really friendly and down to earth too, and they are passionate about plants. They will be able to answer your questions and ask you the right questions so that they can guide you towards the best houseplants for your home and lifestyle.

Illustration By Zara M.

It is still helpful to do your own research beforehand. Create a list of plant names and have a clear idea of how many plants you want to buy on the day. You will be less likely to make spontaneous purchases that you regret later. Shop assistants can be very good at spending your money for you!

Have an idea of which plants you want before you go shopping, or at least the types of plants you are interested in. For example, bushy plants, tall plants, or hanging plants. It will help the shop assistant to narrow down your options, offer relevant alternatives, and avoid confusing you.

Here are some ideas for you to suggest to a shop assistant…

Hanging And Trailing Plants

Plants that hang or trail are very versatile and usually fast-growing. This means they can fill a large amount of space and make it feel like you have more plants in the room.

You can hang them in baskets or let them tumble down from a high shelf. You can even encourage them to climb up a pole to mimic a tree, or trail all around the room for that jungle vibe. Some people like to pin vines to the wall so that they look as though they are creeping across it.

5 Plants That Hang, Trail, Or Climb

  • Pothos or Devil’s Ivy (Epipremnum aureum)

  • Sweetheart Plant (Philodendron scandens)

  • Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

  • Chain of hearts (Ceropegia woodii)

  • Hoya Linearis

Illustration By Zara M.

Medium-sized Plants With Room To Grow

Many large or mature plants can be purchased as medium-sized juveniles from a plant nursery or garden centre at more affordable prices.

It can be rewarding to nurture a smaller plant and watch it develop into a big adult plant over time. Many of these plants can grow a substantial amount in a year if fertilised properly during the growing season and given enough light. Just make sure that you have the space for them to flourish!

5 Medium-Sized Plants That Will Grow Into Large Plants:

  • Cheese Plant (Monstera deliciosa)

  • Rubber Fig (Ficus elastica)

  • ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)

  • Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata)

  • Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina)

Illustration By Zara M.

Floor Plants For Maximum Impact

Purchasing a single mature floor plant that is already established can be a satisfying way to start off your collection if you do the research to choose the right one.

5 Large Floor Plants To Fill Your Space

  • Parlour Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)

  • Kentia Palm (Howea forsteriana)

  • Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior)

  • Corn Plant (Dracaena fragrans)

  • Yukka Tree (Asparagaceae)

Illustration By Zara M.


Now that you have a few guidelines, you can confidently start your own plant journey. I have really enjoyed discovering more and more over time about different types of plants and how to care for them.

Nurturing your own urban jungle is a rewarding hobby that is so good for your mental health. I genuinely hope you find your green thumb.

Let me know in the comments what your first plant choices were, and don’t forget to subscribe for my next post. Have fun!

Urban Jungle On A Budget: How To Choose House Plants

Photo by Severin Candrian on Unsplash Is it your dream to create a Pinterest-worthy urban jungle in your home? The big question is - What k...