Houseplants are a lot of fun, and seem to be a popular trend lately. But choosing a houseplant isn’t just as simple as picking out one that you think is cute! For example, I would love one of the very popular Monstera plants, but it turns out they are super toxic to pets. I would be devastated if I had chosen a plant that made my cats sick or even worse, caused them to die.

So here are some pointers when choosing a house plant. The best thing you can do before heading to a store is hop online and do your research! If possible, bring a smart phone to the store so that you can google plants for more information.

1 – Light requirements

The first thing you should consider is how much sun the plant needs. Something like a succulent is going to need a bright, sunny area. If you don’t have a bright windowsill, it will not thrive. Other plants, like pilea or ferns, prefer a shady environment, and you want to make sure they won’t get too much sun. Do a little research and read plant tags, and be aware of just how much sun your plant location gets.

2 – Consider your pets

Many plants are toxic to pets, so always check to see if they are pet safe! This even goes for plants you are not planning on keeping long, such as poinsettias or lilies, which are toxic to cats.

3 – Size

Be aware of how big your plant is going to get. Is it a trailing plant that needs space to hang? A large tree or plant that needs room to grow? You may choose something small, but it could get huge! Just like you would probably choose an outdoor tree based on how large it is going to get, you should have an idea if an indoor plant is a good fit for your space.

4 – Care requirements

Before you purchase a plant, be aware of what kind of care it needs, in addition to how much sun or shade it needs. This goes for soil conditions, watering, type of pot, and so much more. If you bring a succulent home and water it every day, it will die! Do your research so that you know what kind of care goes into keeping your plant alive.