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 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 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 it’s 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 rain forests 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.
Article originally published March 5, 2013. Last updated January 30, 2018.