13 Houseplants Anyone Can Grow
Don't have a green thumb? Don't worry! These low-maintenance plants will stay green with even the tiniest bit of TLC.
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Pretty…and pretty indestructible
Indoor plants not only enhance your space—they’re also good for you! According to studies conducted by NASA, houseplants can remove up to 87 percent of air toxins in 24 hours. Plus, other research shows that they can help to reduce stress levels, boost your mood, and even increase memory retention and concentration. All you have to do is keep them alive. Does that sound easier than it actually is for you? That’s why we compiled this list of 13 sturdy indoor plants that anyone can grow. (Really, anyone.) As long as their basic, very minimal growing requirements are met, they should last for several years. If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, check out these healthy houseplant hacks for those who lack a green thumb.
This tropical plant is one of the most durable houseplants you can grow. Although the Chinese evergreen can handle most lighting conditions and soil types, it will thrive if planted in a well-draining soil mix and is kept in slightly humid rooms with temperatures over 65 degrees. It prefers medium to low light or indirect sunlight, as well as moderate watering; allow the plant to dry out between waterings to avoid root rot. Other than giving it a little water every now and then, you can pretty much ignore it and it will still grow. That said, it’s good to dust off the leaves every once in a while and periodically check the leaves for pests such as spider mites, scale, mealybugs, and aphids. It comes in many varieties, including variegated forms (which have different-colored zones), so there are lots of options to choose from. Don’t miss this simple trick that will keep you from killing your houseplants.
These little “good luck” plants are often found for sale in grocery and home-decor stores because their care needs are very minimal. Believe it or not, though, lucky bamboo isn’t technically bamboo. It’s more of a novelty plant that can grow hydroponically—it doesn’t even need soil to survive! Often displayed in decorative containers with pebbles or rocks at the base to help support the stems, these plants will survive in natural or artificial indirect light. To keep your lucky bamboo happy, clean the leaves regularly, change the water weekly, and thoroughly wash the plant and roots off with water once a month. Here are another 12 lucky plants you should add to your home.
Need something to brighten up an office that doesn’t get much (or any) sunlight? The Pothos is the plant for you! It does well in a variety of light conditions, even in fluorescent light. But a word of warning: If you choose to go with a variegated variety, keep it out of direct sunlight. Too much sun can cause the plant to lose its variegation. Pothos just need a basic houseplant soil mix and slightly moist (not soggy) soil, and they actually do best when their soil is allowed to dry out between waterings. Their trailing, leafy vines can reach between six and ten feet in length, and they can be green or variegated in white, yellow, or pale green.
Yep, these pretty little flowering plants are virtually indestructible. Requiring indirect light and warm temps (70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and around 65 to 70 at night), African violets grow slowly. They prefer small pots, and in fact, keeping them slightly root-bound can encourage flowering. You should only need to repot them once a year. The one thing African violets are picky about is how they are watered. It’s best to water them from below so you don’t get their leaves wet. To do so, fill the saucer using room temperature water, let the plant sit in the water for about an hour, and then pour out the excess. Then let the plant dry out between waterings. If you’re looking for a gorgeous outdoor option, try these beautiful summer flowers for decks and patios.
Are you the type of plant owner who tends to forget little details—like actually watering your plants? If so, the air plant will be your new best friend. These resilient little plants, which don’t require soil, can survive for an extended period of time without water, so they should still be OK by the time you remembered that you forgot. Give them a 15-minute soak once a week, then let them dry completely. Part of the bromeliad family, air plants are epiphytes—which means that they grow on top of other plants and derive their nutrients from the air and water around them. They prefer bright, filtered light and warm temperatures.
Chinese money plant
Featuring small, round, rich green leaves that resemble coins, the trendy Chinese money plant is known by many nicknames: missionary plant, lefse plant, pancake plant, UFO plant, or pilea. It likes bright, indirect light and well-draining soil, which needs to mostly dry out between waterings. (It does not like soggy soil.) But perhaps the best thing about this plant is how easy it is to propagate it. It will eventually send plantlets up through the soil, which can be separated from the mother plant and potted to gift to a friend or to expand your own houseplant collection. While the Chinese money plant isn’t toxic to pets, beware of these 11 plants you didn’t know could be dangerous.
Spider plants, which you’ll often see in hanging baskets, feature a rosette of long, thin, arched foliage that is solid green or variegated. In the summer, they send out tendrils with small white flowers or baby spider plants also known as “pups.” To propagate this plant, all you have to do is pluck one of the pups and pot it. Spider plants like well-draining potting mix and even moisture—not too dry or too wet—as well as bright to moderate indirect sunlight. They also do well outdoors during the warm months.
If you want a plant that truly pulls its weight around the house, look no further than an aloe vera plant. This succulent not only greens up your space—it also has medicinal benefits. Yep, this is where the aloe that you’ll find in soothing lotions comes from. The juice from its leaves can be used to relieve pain from scrapes and burns when applied topically.
Now for the nitty-gritty regarding care: Use a succulent potting mix and a porous pot, such as terra cotta. Then place your plant in bright, indirect sunlight or even artificial light. Water the plant deeply but infrequently—about once every three weeks and less during the winter—and allow it to dry out in between waterings. Test soil dryness before watering by inserting your finger into the soil to detect moisture. Which plants should you avoid? These 37 plants range from dangerous to problematic.
Cast iron plant
Tough as iron, these aptly named plants can survive a wide range of conditions and grow up to three feet tall. The cast iron plant prefers low light with no direct sun, and it isn’t picky about humidity or temperature, so it can live almost anywhere in your home. Hard to kill, it’s particularly perfect for offices and any other dimly lit spaces. All it requires is basic potting soil mix and occasional watering. The only thing that can really harm this plant is overwatering. Also, as with most houseplants, it’s better to let a cast iron plant dry out between waterings. Here are more low-light houseplants that thrive in near darkness.
This tree-like houseplant features large, deep-green leaves, and it can be the perfect focal piece for any space. Rubber plants like well-draining soil and bright, indirect sunlight. The best place for these plants is in a sunny spot shielded by a sheer curtain. Its watering needs vary according to the season: In the growing season, keep the soil moist, and mist or wipe the leaves with a damp cloth. During the dormant season, you only need water the plant once or twice a month. Once the plant is as tall as you want it, snip the top off, and to maintain a fuller shape, prune back any unwanted branches.
The scary-sounding Monstera plant is anything but frightening—even for people with brown thumbs. Also called the Swiss cheese plant (yes, you read that right), it will grow in low light, but it will grow faster in a bright spot. That said, it’s best to keep this beauty out of direct light. In terms of watering, monstera only needs to be watered just enough to keep the soil from completely drying out. Water directly into the pot so moisture doesn’t get on the foliage, dust the leaves periodically with a damp cloth, and your monstera will be happy. If you end up neglecting your greenery a little too much, these 7 hacks can revive almost any dead plant.
We’ll let you come to your own conclusions about this plant and its various names, and we’ll just say that it’s attractive and hardy. Also known as snake plant, mother-in-law’s tongue has stiff, upright leaves that range from one to eight feet tall. It’s very tolerant of low light but equally happy in bright light, though it does prefer warm temperatures and just a little bit of water. While it’s hard to kill, overwatering and exposure to cold will do just that. In general, mother-in-law’s tongue generally prefers being ignored—which makes it the perfect plant for most homes.
Does anything actually thrive on neglect? Yes—this houseplant! Also known as the Madagascar dragon tree, it features green sword-like leaves edged with red. So, what do you need to do? Just put it in a general potting-soil mix, don’t leave much root room in the pot, and stick it in a bright spot (though it will also tolerate low light). The main thing is not to overwater this plant; in fact, you should err on the side of underwatering. It can hold up to drought conditions. Next, learn the 29 secrets your houseplants would tell you if they could.