8 hard-to-kill houseplants for beginner plant parents
If you’re at all like me, it’s a good day when you manage to keep yourself alive.
I’m half kidding, but I won’t deny that I feel rather accomplished when I remember to feed myself, drink enough water, get enough sleep, and tend to my daily responsibilities. Adding another living being to that mix has always seemed daunting to me.
Throughout COVID amidst homemade bread, DIY tie-dye, and embroidery projects, I also watched my friends and family garner an affinity for houseplants.
Everywhere I looked a friend or acquaintance was showing off their new swiss cheese plant or their latest repotting.
Personally, I never hopped on the trend because it felt entirely out of my wheelhouse. But plants can bring such a liveliness and energy to your living space, and they’re not all tedious to maintain.
First and foremost, what makes a plant hard to kill?
There are a few key features you want to look for in an easy to maintain houseplant:
1. Requires little or indirect light
2. Thrives in typical household humidity and temperature
3. Grows well in common, easy-to-find potting or succulent soil
4. Can withstand periods of human forgetfulness
So, with that said, here are 8 hard to kill houseplants if you’re considering becoming a first-time plant parent.
1. Snake Plant
The Snake Plant, also known as Mother in Law’s Tongue loves being forgotten. The tall, thick leaves of the snake plant are mostly green, however will sometimes have spots and patterns of yellow around their perimeter.
This plant actually does better if you allow the soil to completely dry out in between waterings. Further, it’s tough to overwater this plant. Allow the soil to dry completely before soaking it fully with water and allowing it to be fully absorbed by the plant.
Snake plants do not require direct sunlight, which means they do well in offices, dorm rooms, or under fluorescent lighting if that’s your jam.
2. Spider Plant
Spider plants love potted life, which means repotting likely won’t be a concern. They do well in indirect light, but need a fair amount of brightness, so being placed near a large window is ideal.
They don’t need to be watered often, but when the soil begins to crack, it’s important you supply your spider plant with enough water. In other words, don’t be shy.
Another selling point to this house plant is that pests and illnesses don’t tend to bother it.
3. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is in fact part of the succulent family, and as such, does best in succulent soil.
Aloes like to drink their water over extended periods of time, and it’s important not to overwater them. Be sure to let their soil drain completely before watering them again. The quickest and most sure-fire way to kill your aloe plant is to overwater it, so experts suggest erring on the side of caution.
Aloe Vera’s tall, sturdy leaves are durable and unique looking. They are of course filled with aloe vera gel which has been commonly used for sunburns and other beauty and health remedies.
These plants thrive in indirect sunlight so big bright windows are their friend.
4. Chinese Evergreen
Experts say that the Chinese Evergreen is the perfect house plant for low-maintenance plant parents. This plant is both pleasing to the eye and resilient.
Younger Chinese evergreens make a great addition to your computer desk or kitchen counter, while more mature plants require more space and do well in corner spaces on the floor.
The Chinese Evergreen is incredibly flexible. It thrives in bright light but will also be perfectly content in lower or artificial lighting. You can water it semi-regularly, or let the soil dry out completely before giving it another drink.
5. Rubber Plant
At home, and in the right conditions, the rubber plant has been known to grow rather quickly, which means that you can reap a rather large return investment. In the wild, they have been known to grow to be between sixty and eighty feet tall.
Plant experts suggest lots of indirect light for your rubber plant. Unlike the other plants on this list to date, rubber plants require more water to thrive. It’s recommended to keep their soil damp, but not soggy.
6. Jade Plant
An ancient symbol of prosperity and fortune, jade plants are easily distinguished by their tough, oval-shaped leaves.
Jade plants can be underwatered, but it’s important to notice when their leaves begin to shrink. You should take this as a sign that they need a little extra TLC.
Jade is another plant that you should let drain completely before re-watering.
Jade plants typically require direct sun for a few hours out of the day, but variegated varieties of the plant thrive with just indirect light.
Jade plants do not need to be repotted often. In fact, avoiding repotting them will limit them from getting too big and out of hand.
7. ZZ Plant
The ZZ plant wins the award for “easiest to neglect.” With the right care, the ZZ plant can grow to be 2-3 feet tall.
The ZZ plant is popular for its versatility. It will do well in bright or indirect light, and even in artificial lighting so it’s the perfect addition to your office or classroom!
Once again, the ZZ plant is one you only want to water once its soil is completely dry. You’d rather underwater this one than overwater it.
One very important thing to note is that the ZZ plant is in fact toxic. Be sure to keep this plant away from pets and children and to wash away sap from skin immediately as it can potentially cause minor skin irritation.
Surprisingly, these colorful and vibrant plants were at one point in time thought to be difficult to maintain.
In fact, Bromeliads have proven to withstand wide temperature ranges and light needs.
That being said, it is important to increase humidity around these plants as temperatures increase. It’s also worth mentioning that light needs vary depending on the particular bromeliad you add to your plant collection, so do be sure to take note of that upon purchasing.
Last but not least, it is essential that you use fast-draining soil for these plants. As much as they like water, they are incredibly sensitive to it, which means it is important to let the soil dry completely before re-watering.
The bottom line? You don’t need to be a botanist to incorporate plants into your living or workspace. Don’t be afraid to branch out and try something new. These plants are incredibly low risk and create the perfect opportunity to transition into plant parenthood.
Let us know in the comments if we missed any!