There are some plants that will survive a bit of neglect, darkness, drought or a lack of feeding. They will forgive if you are a bit forgetful or have a busy lifestyle. Here are my top picks for hard to kill houseplants…
But remember, there are no immortal plants. You can kill any plant in the world if you try hard enough. Houseplants are a great way to bring some greenery into your home and lift your mood. So even if you’ve got a lot on your plate, these robust houseplants won’t demand much.
1. Sansevieria trifasciata (mother-in-law’s tongue)
This hardy plant can be ignored for weeks. It will survive without being watered for a few weeks. In fact, it thrives when the soil dries out before being watered again. Ideally aim to water it every 10 to 14 days.
Sansevieria also copes well with shade. So it’s the perfect houseplant to brighten up dark corners either on the floor or elevated on a table. If possible, place them in a position with bright, indirect light.
These cute little succulents store water in their fleshy leaves, so they don’t need much care. Their small size means they are perfect if you’re short of space.
They will be happiest in a spot with plenty of sunlight. With a free-draining potting mix that’s suitable for cacti and succulents. When watering, leave the soil to dry out before thoroughly wetting it again which will keep it happy for a while.
Brighten up windowsills and tabletops with a selection of succulents in different colours and patterns.
Related to the pineapple plant, these will bring a tropical feel to your home. They are often sold flowering, but they need very stable warm conditions to bloom, so be prepared to just enjoy the foliage.
They are labelled as easy to care for because although they like humidity, they don’t like wet soil. They are epiphytes, meaning in nature they grow attached to trees and get their nutrients and moisture from the air.
In their native space, Bromeliads get water by collecting rainwater in their urn or tank. So as a houseplant this should be topped up with water and replaced to keep it fresh.
4. Kalanchoe (flaming Katy)
These colourful, popular houseplants are native to arid lands and need very little water. It is best to let the soil begin to dry out before watering again. They grow best on a bright windowsill and produce loads of pretty flowers that can be found in orange, pink and red.
Many people discard Kalanchoe when it has finished flowering. But it can reflower the following year if spent flowers are cut off and the plant is watered at a reduced rate in winter.
Cacti must be one of the most fool-proof houseplants. They need little watering and they come in such a wide range of textures, sizes, shapes and even colours.
Create a cacti landscape with many different varieties that will look great on a sunny windowsill.
Old lady cactus looks like a pin-cushion, and next to Astrophytum asteria (star cactus) and Opuntia microdasys (bunny ears cactus), you can make a charming display that doesn’t demand much. Decorate with gravel, painted pebbles or embellish to suit your décor, and it’ll fit right in.
6. Philodendron cordatum (heart-leaf philodendron)
This is a small, easy going plant that handles shade well, preferring low to medium light. However, it likes to be dry so don’t water it more than once a week. Instead water when the top of the soil feels dry.
This variety is a marvellous trailing plant which looks striking in any home décor. Looking great cascading across a shelf, or even hanging in an indoor hanging basket.
7. Hedera helix (English ivy)
Not many people think of ivy as a houseplant, but it’s great for trailing from high shelves and ledges. It’s not as drought tolerant as some others, but its stunning evergreen foliage makes up for this.
The most important thing to give ivy plants is bright light. Variegated cultivars will cope better with shade, but they too prefer higher light levels.
8. Zamioculcas zamiifolia (ZZ plant)
This is a very popular houseplant, as it blends in well with both traditional and contemporary styles.
Easy-to-please. The ZZ plant is extremely hardy and will even survive if it is placed in a dark spot and neglected occasionally. As they are quite drought tolerant.
Although, it is toxic, so be sure to keep it away from curious little hands and paws.
9. Crassula ovata (jade plant)
This succulent plant looks like a little tree with their thick, woody stems and small disc-shaped leaves that store moisture.
It copes well with indirect light and little water, and they live for a very long time.
Some varieties of jade develop a red tinge around the edge of their green leaves when exposed to bright light. And some varieties of the plant even produce small, pale pink flowers in spring.
10. Epipremnum aureum (pothos or devil’s ivy)
A vigorous indoor plant that often has attractive variegated leaves. It produces trailing stems that can grow really long. Cut these back to help keep the plant bushy and healthy.
Light and Dark
Pothos prefer bright, indirect light. It can thrive in areas that don’t get much sunlight, which makes them suitable for offices as well as homes.
Give these easy houseplants a go, they won’t demand much and in return for a little bit of care they will lift your mood, brighten your day and bring some nature into your home and your décor.
David Domoney is a Chartered Horticulturalist, Broadcaster, and Author. David has worked with a number of the UK’s leading garden retailers as a plant buyer and strategic consultant. With more than 30 years experience, in horticulture, David is as passionate about plants now as he was when he bought his first plant at a village fete.
Great post! I love plants so much and kill most of them so fast. I try with different kinds each time and the result is always the same. But I confess – never tried with none of these. Your list brings me hope to try ‘gardening’ again. Thank you for your article and the photos!
Thank you for some great looking plants
Thank you for telling about these plants in details
Thank you for telling about these plants in details