There are some people who seem to kill every plant that comes into their homes, whether it’s through overwatering, not watering enough, or neglect…others manage to kill their plants even when they follow the plant’s care instructions to the letter. If you see yourself in any of these examples, it doesn’t mean you can’t own a plant; it just means you have to choose a plant that calls for low maintenance and suits your lifestyle. What you’re looking for is a plant, not a project.
Here are five of our top recommended houseplants that you’ll be able to keep alive and growing, even if you don’t have a green thumb:
- Philodendron — If you’re looking for a friendly, green, and leafy plant to brighten up any room in your home, you’ll definitely want to consider a philodendron. Because vining philodendrons have long, leafy stems plants that can be easily draped over furniture and wound around objects, they’re living decorations. These plants provide such a lovely addition to the home and are so adaptable to interior conditions that many people take their philodendrons with them when they move from place to place. To care for them, you need only to place them in bright, indirect sunlight — preferably somewhere they can reach out and climb as they grow — and allow the soil to dry out between watering.
With philodendrons, it’s easy to tell when they’re not getting what they need. If they’re not getting enough light, the vines will grow, but there will be several inches between the leaves that sprout from them; put them in a brighter place (just not where the sun is shining directly on them). If they’re not getting enough water, or if you’re watering them too much, their leaves will droop; make sure you water them when (but only when) the top inch of soil is dry.
- Dragon Plant — If you’re one of those people who is always forgetting to water your plants, you may be more suited to something that does well in droughts, like the dragon plant, which will actually suffer if you water it too often. The dragon plant has tough, narrow leaves with stripes of color that add interest to a room. It thrives in dry climates, such as Colorado’s, and does well indoors when the temperature remains between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. In terms of care, simply allow its soil to dry almost completely between watering, and provide it with a nice place with bright light.
- Schefflera Arboricola — With the Schefflera Arboricola, you can save yourself a lot of maintenance if you do a simple but thorough inspection on it before purchase. At the garden center, check it over for little holes in its leaves that might be indicative of insects. If there’s no evidence of bugs, you’re good to go. The Schefflera Arboricola resembles a short tree, sometimes with a braided trunk, that you can keep inside. Care for this plant is not too tough — it all depends on where you keep it: While you should always place your Schefflera Arboricola in a medium- to well–lit area, the lower the lighting, the less water it’ll require. If you place it in a spot with lots of light, let the soil dry out half the way down the pot before watering it; if you place it in medium lighting, you can allow the soil to dry out completely before you need to water it again.
- Yucca — Like having a piece of the Southwestern landscape inside, the yucca plant is an attention grabber in any room. Depending on the type of yucca you get, it can vary in color, have pointy leaves, grow on a cane, have a thick and woody stem, or differ in height. There are over 40 different species, but all indoor, potted yuccas are fairly easy to care for. These plants can be placed in full to indirect sunlight, though indirect sunlight will give them better leaf color. They’re somewhat drought tolerant, so you don’t need to water them often — just make sure the pot they’re in is able to drain well.
- Jade Plant — Welcome to the ultimate plant choice for people who always manage to kill their plants! The Jade plant hails from South Africa and, with your neglect, can thrive for years. Like all succulents, the Jade plant has waxy skin and plump leaves that hold in moisture, so all you have to do is water it whenever the inspiration strikes you — about every four to six weeks — and it’ll do just fine. When choosing a place for it to live in your home, you can pick a sunny spot or one that has a bit less light. Just make sure the pot you have it in allows it to drain. If you do feel like getting a little fancy, you can encourage your Jade plant to grow little flowers by exposing it to a little bit of chill at night in the autumn and watering it a little less in the winter — but that’s only if you feel like it.
If you love plants but have a less-than-perfect track record when it comes to caring for them, there are a ton of varieties that don’t demand a lot of watering or supervision — many more than are listed in this article. From succulents to cacti to air plants, you could have a full garden of low-maintenance plants, if you really wanted to. Just head to City Floral Garden Center and ask a team member which species would best fit into your lifestyle and home, and you’ll be happily pointed in the right direction.