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The Plant Club

10 Hard-to-Kill Houseplants

If you love buying new houseplants but aren’t so good at keeping them alive, this list is for you! Rather than repeatedly researching “how to revive a dead plant”, do the smart thing: buy indoor plants that are likely to survive no matter what you put them through.

Growing healthy houseplants can be as complicated and involved as you choose. Factors like sunlight, window orientation, watering schedule, soil type, and much, much more can all be perfectly addressed to maximize growth for even the pickiest of plants. But if you want low-maintenance houseplants that will thrive in almost any conditions (and despite your neglect), look no further.

Here are 10 low maintenance houseplants that can tolerate a range of sunlight conditions and survive infrequent waterings.

1. Snake Plant (Sansevieria)

The Snake Plant, also known as Sansevieria or Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, is an ideal choice for those new to the world of houseplants. Its tall, stiff, and striking green leaves grow vertically, adding a touch of architectural elegance to any space.

One of the reasons the Snake Plant is so easy to maintain is its ability to tolerate a wide range of conditions. It can thrive in bright, indirect, or even low-light areas, making Snake Plants suitable for rooms with limited natural light. They can also withstand fluctuations in temperature, although they prefer warmer environments.

Snake Plants are drought-tolerant and don’t require frequent watering. In fact, overwatering is one of the few ways you can harm it! Allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings, and then water it thoroughly, ensuring that the excess water drains out of the pot. This will prevent root rot and keep your plant healthy.

2. ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)

The ZZ Plant is such an easy plant to care for that you could probably do it in your sleep, but the “ZZ” doesn’t reference snoozing on the job: it’s shorthand for the scientific and much harder to pronounce “Zamioculcas zamiifolia”. Boasting glossy, dark green leaves that grow along arching stems, the ZZ Plant adds a touch of tropical flair to any indoor space.

A significant advantage of the ZZ Plant is its ability to tolerate low light conditions, allowing it to thrive in the lowest of light conditions, like dimly lit corners. Although it appreciates bright, indirect light, it can also adapt to fluorescent lighting, making it an excellent choice for offices or rooms with limited natural sunlight.

Watering needs for the ZZ Plant are minimal, as it can store water in its thick roots and fleshy leaves. To ensure proper care, wait until the soil is dry before watering, and then water thoroughly, allowing the excess to drain from the pot. Temperature-wise, the ZZ Plant is quite adaptable and can handle a range of temperatures, though it prefers a warmer environment.

When it comes to visually appealing, low-maintenance, easy-to-care-for and resilient houseplants, it really doesn’t get better than the ZZ Plant! Let it live, water when very dry, soak it good, and enjoy its beauty!

3. Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

The Pothos, also known as Epipremnum aureum or Devil’s Ivy, is an attractive and versatile houseplant that has earned a reputation for being nearly indestructible. Its trailing green vines adorned with heart-shaped leaves create a captivating display, making it a popular choice for hanging baskets or shelves that it can spill over.

One of the reasons Pothos is so beloved is its ability to adapt to a wide range of lighting conditions. It does best in bright indirect light, growing at what seems to be a mile-a-minute, but it is also capable of tolerating low light environments. If you place it in an area that is too dimly lit, you’ll notice that its variegated leaves may lose some color. Pick the right place, though, and your pothos will be off to the races!

Caring for Pothos is a breeze since it prefers to dry out between waterings. Wait until the top inch of the soil is dry, then give it a good soak. As usual, make sure it has proper drainage to let excess leak out and prevent its roots from rotting. Pothos are also relatively forgiving when it comes to temperature fluctuations, but they’re most comfortable between 60-80°F (15-27°C), which is luckily the range that most people keep their homes.

4. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

The Spider Plant, or Chlorophytum comosum, is an appealing and resilient houseplant that adds a touch of whimsy to any indoor space. Its cascading foliage features long, narrow leaves that are striped in green and white, giving it a unique and eye-catching appearance. As the plant matures, it produces small plantlets or “spiderettes” on the ends of its shoots, which can be easily propagated to create more plants. Yay, free plants!

Spider Plants are known for their ability to adapt to various lighting conditions; they flourish in bright, indirect light but can also manage quite well in medium to low light areas. However, placing them in extremely low light may cause them to fade.

When it comes to watering, Spider Plants prefer to dry out slightly between waterings. Allow the top inch of soil to dry out, but don’t let it get bone dry- then give them a thorough watering. Spider Plants are also fairly tolerant of temperature fluctuations, but they thrive best in a range between 65-75°F (18-24°C).

In a nutshell, the Spider Plant is a charming and low-maintenance houseplant that not only offers aesthetic appeal, but also the gift of more plants (spiderettes)! If you’ve got a fairly sunny spot, give them some space to weave a web and watch them flourish.

5. Jade Plant (Crassula ovata)

The Jade Plant, also known as Crassula ovata, is a striking succulent that brings a touch of elegance and natural beauty to any indoor space. With its plump green leaves and tree-like structure, this plant can grow to become an eye-catching focal point in any room. Jade is considered a symbol of good fortune and prosperity in many cultures, making it a popular choice for both homes and offices.

One of the reasons Jade Plants are a household favorite is their resilience across lighting conditions. They do prefer bright, indirect light, but can also adapt to medium light conditions. However, do NOT expose them to scorching direct sunlight- you’ll burn their leaves and your Jade will go bye-bye.

Although Jade Plants have a shallow root system, they achieve drought resistance by storing water in their often bulbous leaves, making them incredibly forgiving when it comes to watering. It’s best to let the soil dry out completely between waterings, and then water thoroughly, allowing any excess to drain away. Err on the side of caution- it’s better to not water Jade enough than overwater (we know, just what you wanted to hear!).

Jade Plants prefer temperatures between 65-75°F (18-24°C) and can tolerate cooler temperatures down to 50°F (10°C) during their winter resting period, making them a common choice for screened in porches in moderate climates.

Another appealing aspect of the Jade Plant is its ability to be easily propagated. Simply remove a leaf or stem cutting, let it dry for a day or two, and then place it in well-draining soil. With patience and proper care, new roots will form, and a new Jade Plant will begin to grow!

6. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)

The Peace Lily, or Spathiphyllum, is a graceful houseplant known for its lush, green foliage and striking white flowers that resemble a white flag of peace (hence its namesake). The elegant blooms, which are actually modified leaves called spathes, surround a central, spike-like structure called a spadix.

Peace Lilies grow best in bright, indirect light, but they can also thrive in medium to low light environments. Just be aware that lower light levels may result in fewer blooms.

When it comes to watering, Peace Lilies prefer evenly moist soil but can be forgiving if you occasionally forget to water them. Evenly moist does not mean let the plant sit in a pool of water- give it some love whenever the top level of soil is dry and make sure it drains. If you notice the leaves starting to droop, it’s usually a sign that it needs water- it should perk back up within a few hours.

The Peace Lily prefers temperatures between 65-80°F (18-27°C) and can be sensitive to cold drafts and temperature fluctuations, so once you find its spot- leave it be.

To encourage blooming, feed your Peace Lily with a balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer every 4-6 weeks during the growing season. They can bloom any time of year, which makes growing them fun and spontaneous, but you can traditionally expect them to bloom between February and September.

If you’re looking for a versatile, low maintenance plant that adds a touch of tranquility and serenity to your room, pick the Peace Lily. Keep it looking vibrant throughout the year by gently wiping the leaves with a damp cloth if its foliage appears to be a bit dusty.

7. Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis)

Aloe Vera, a popular succulent known for its medicinal properties, is another hard-to-kill houseplant that can thrive with minimal care. With its thick, fleshy leaves containing a soothing gel, Aloe Vera has been used for centuries to treat skin ailments like burns, sunburns, and minor cuts. As an attractive and practical addition to your home, this plant will not only brighten up your space but also serve as a natural first-aid remedy.

Aloe Vera plants are well-suited for sunny spots, as they appreciate bright, indirect light. Too much direct sunlight can scorch the leaves, so it’s best to place your Aloe Vera near a sunny window with filtered light. If you notice the leaves turning brown or becoming thin and leggy, it may be an indication that the plant is not receiving enough light.

A crucial aspect of caring for Aloe Vera is understanding its watering requirements. As a succulent, it stores water in its leaves and is highly drought-tolerant. It’s essential to let the soil dry out completely between waterings to prevent overwatering. A well-draining soil mix and a pot with drainage holes are essential to keeping your Aloe Vera happy and healthy.

Aloe Vera plants prefer temperatures between 55-80°F (13-27°C) and can be sensitive to extreme cold or heat. They also benefit from occasional fertilization during the growing season. Feed your plant with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer, diluted to half strength, every 4-6 weeks from spring to fall.

8. Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica)

The Rubber Plant, or Ficus elastica, is a visually stunning houseplant known for its large, glossy, deep green leaves. As a member of the Ficus family, the Rubber Plant is not only eye-catching but also resilient and low-maintenance. It’s an excellent choice for those who want a touch of the tropics without the need for constant care.

When it comes to light requirements, the Rubber Plant thrives in bright, indirect light. However, it can also tolerate lower light levels, making it suitable for various indoor environments. To ensure even growth and prevent the plant from leaning towards the light source, rotate your Rubber Plant every few weeks.

One of the most crucial aspects of Rubber Plant care is proper watering. The plant prefers its soil to be kept consistently moist but not waterlogged. Wait until the top inch of soil feels dry before watering your Rubber Plant, and be sure to empty any excess water from the saucer to prevent root rot. Overwatering can lead to yellowing leaves, while underwatering may cause the leaves to droop and eventually fall off.

Rubber Plants grow best in temperatures ranging from 60-75°F (16-24°C) and prefer moderate humidity. To increase humidity around your plant, place a tray of water nearby or group it with other humidity-loving plants.

Fertilize your Rubber Plant every 4-6 weeks during the growing season with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer diluted to half strength. This feeding regimen will encourage healthy growth and ensure your plant remains vibrant.

9. Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior)

The Cast Iron Plant, also known as Aspidistra elatior, is a true embodiment of resilience and low-maintenance care, hence its name. With long, lush, dark green leaves that grow upright fashion, the Cast Iron Plant will add elegance to your indoor space. This hardy plant can withstand a variety of conditions, making it an excellent choice for plant enthusiasts with busy lifestyles.

Like most plants on this list, the Cast Iron Plant is easy to care for thanks to its adaptability to various light conditions and forgiveness with unpredictable watering routines. It can tolerate low to medium light (although it does best in bright, indirect light) and prefers to be evenly moist (but can handle periods of drought without damage).

The Cast Iron Plant isn’t particularly fussy about temperature or humidity, but it does best in temperatures ranging from 50-85°F (10-29°C). Average household humidity levels are typically sufficient, so there’s no need for additional humidity measures.

Fertilize your Cast Iron Plant once a month during the growing season to provide it with the necessary nutrients for healthy growth and a vibrant appearance. With just a little love, the Cast Iron Plant will add elegance to your home for years to come!

10. Heartleaf Philodendron (Philodendron hederaceum)

    Did we save the best for last?

    We LOVE the Heartleaf Philodendron, and if the heart-shaped leaves it pushes out are any indication, it loves us right back when we keep it healthy. Best of all, it doesn’t take. much. Beginners and experienced plant parents alike can expect to easily grow a vine-like trail of green hearts with minimal effort. They’ll reach and cling to their surroundings, making hanging baskets and bookcase shelves fantastic homes for “Philodendron hederaceum”.

    Philodendrons are highly versatile and can thrive in a range of conditions, from low light to bright, but it’s essential to avoid direct sunlight- this can scorch the leaves and cause them to lose their vibrant green color. On the flipside, if you notice the leaves turning pale or becoming leggy, it may be a sign that your plant needs more light.

    Although Heartleaf Philodendrons prefer consistent moisture, don’t overdo it- better safe than sorry. Allow the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings, which by now you’ve probably realized is a rule-of-thumb for low-maintenance houseplants, and be cautious not to overwater. Proper drainage, proper drainage, proper drainage!

    The Heartleaf Philodendron is unfussy about temperature but 65-80°F (18-27°C) is best. It can tolerate average household humidity levels, but if you’d like to give it some extra love, give them a boost. Especially during the winter months when indoor air tends to be drier, you can increase humidity by placing the plant on a tray of pebbles with water or putting a humidifier nearby.

    Feeding your Heart-shaped friends with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every month will improve growth and help maintain the plant’s lush, green appearance that make it so eye-catching. But worry not: these little guys can survive through a lot and are easy to propagate!