In general, the houseplants we buy can be grouped into these two categories, which tell us a lot about how the plant likes to be cared for.
By determining simply if a plant is more foliage or succulent, you will be able to make quick and informed decisions regarding light, soil, and water!
More common in dryer, desert settings
Often smaller and more colorful; could include cacti as well
Leaves/structure of the plant feels firmer
What makes them "succulent"? To save up water for their naturally drier home- environment, these plants store water in their leaves.
Plant will shrivel as water is used up. Use this as a clue for when to water!
Most need stronger, more direct light. Southern and western windows are generally better for these plants.
If the plant looks stretched out, like there's a lot of stem in between plants, it isn't getting enough light.
Examples: Haworthia, Echeveria, Jade, Cacti, Aloe Vera, Burro's Tail
More common in forest, wetter settings
Wide variety of appearance, size, shape. Generally more leafy.
Leaves/structure of the plant feel more like typical "leaves"
Plant will droop as water is used up, and sometimes the color will fade. Use this as a clue for when to water!
More variety in light needs. Many are also more flexible with their light.
Often easier to get started with, especially if your light availability is more limited. Many are more forgiving when it comes to watering as well, and aren't as quick to react to over/under watering.
Examples: Ivy, Pothos, Philodendron, Scindapsus, Dracaena, Monstera