If you find yourself in that transitional period where dog-eared beer cozies seem passé, yet the idea of spending $300 on bed sheets is laughable, investing in a houseplant might be just the ticket.
Guaranteed to improve the quality of the air you breathe, house plants are the perfect way to spruce up your home without going all-in on an interior overhaul. Here are some of the best common house plants that are very, very difficult (if not damned-near impossible) to kill.
Painted echeveria is part of the succulent family (the overarching echeveria family, to be exact). Able to store water within its leaves, this little fella will grow steadily if left on a sunny windowsill or, if you’re feeling adventurous, in a terrarium. When watering, the trick is to keep the soil cool and damp, so a splash of water every couple of days should be plenty.
The sword fern (aka Boston fern aka fishbone fern) is the plant equivalent of owning a really old goldfish — it just keeps on going. Its tendency to grow in relatively low light and misty conditions make it an ideal option for rental bathrooms with tiny prison windows. If you have limited space, invest in an awesome sky planter from Bosske; this fern is recommended as one of the best-suited species for a flourishing ceiling garden. Water sparingly every few days to avoid root rot.
Even the most oblivious plant novice should have heard of the spider plant. Loved for its far-from-needy nature, the spider plant will do well in a spacious pot and will sprout new “spiders” as it thrives, each of which can be re-homed into a new pot. Avoid direct sunlight and water when the soil becomes dry. Fun fact: Other names include airplane plant, ribbon plant, St. Bernard’s lily, and (wait for it) hen and chickens.
Aka mother-in-law’s tongue aka snake plant aka viper’s bowstring hemp. We promise none of these names are made up. This striking species is loved for its flame-like foliage and tough disposition. With the ability to grow in full sun or light shade, this is a great option for almost any room. Water only when the compost is dry and halve the amount of water come winter.
This good-looking specimen, commonly known as the Swiss cheese or fruit salad plant, originates from the rainforests of South America, where they sprawl towards the treetops to bask in the sunshine. Monstera is another easy option for a windowsill or patio door. Water well once the soil dries out and let it grow wild.
Commonly known as the Peacock Plant, this bright beauty thrives in medium to low light, making it a great option for nearly every room in the house. To help the colorful leaves stay perky, keep the soil moist to the touch.
Dieffenbachia or Dumb Cane Plant is a perennial favorite for the house plant enthusiast. Simply pot this leafy specimen in well-draining soil, mist everyone so often, and keep in a room with medium light. Insider tip: If you press more than an inch into the soil and feel moisture, the plant’s too wet.
For something a bit more colorful, consider bringing a flowering Bromeliad into your home. Not only can this little guy survive on fluorescent light alone, but it can also get all the moisture it needs from the steamy run-off of your shower. As the old saying goes, all you need to do is set it and forget it.
Also known as the Cast-Iron Plant, the Aspidistra Elatior is one of the hardest plants to kill. Period. Though its leaves stay the greenest while basking in bright sunlight, it can also survive in rooms with low light or no natural light at all, like the bathroom. The only precaution? Don’t. Over. Water. It.
If you’ve made your way to the bottom of this list and still feel like you’d manage to kill most of the aforementioned gems, the Tillandsia is the house plant for you. The 650 different species categorized in this genus are known colloquially as Air Plants because they don’t need any soil or water to grow. Seriously, just stick one of the many varietals in a small pot, terrarium, saucer, or whatever, mist with water every now and then, and enjoy!
Article updated September 21, 2018 by Cody Gohl.
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