Houseplants that are almost impossible to kill
by Paule Claveau
Wish your home was bursting with greenery, but don’t have a green thumb? Here are 20 easy houseplants that can liven up the homes of even the worst gardeners.
Chinese money plant
Pilea peperomioides (aka Chinese money plant) is a succulent plant with round leaves that needs to be watered twice a week on average. Be sure to remove water from the saucer after each watering. Give your Chinese money plant the water it needs and place it in a bright space (without exposing it to all-day sun), and it’ll last virtually forever.
Typically grown indoors, Dipladenia (aka rocktrumpet) can add colour to your yard if you plant it in a pot or directly in the ground in the summer. This flowering vine normally blooms from June to October. To keep it healthy, repot it every year or two. Keep it in a well-lit space out of direct sunlight, water it regularly, and remove any dead flowers.
Native to tropical regions, aloe likes drought, heat, and sunshine. Pot it in a soil mixture specially designed for cacti and water it only once the soil is dry at least two centimetres below the surface. Be sure to use its gel to relieve burns and sunburns.
Tillandsia (aka air plants) don’t need soil to survive. Hang them on a piece of wood, rock, or cork, or upside down. Air plants thrive on lots of light (but not direct sun), good air circulation, and high humidity. To water, mist the leaves or soak the plant in water for about 30 seconds.
Ivy, a super-easy-to-grow climbing plant, can live in both shade and sun and adapts to all temperatures. Back from a trip and notice the soil is dried out? No problem — soak the whole plant in lukewarm water, and it’ll pop back to life!
Like many plants, Sansevieria (aka snake plant) requires a decent amount of light, but doesn’t do so well in direct sunlight, which can dry out its leaves. Water it about once a week. In the summer, take it out to brighten up your garden! Just remember to repot it once every three years in the spring.
Want to add some green to an area of your home with no sun? Opt for a climbing philodendron. Even in the shade, this plant with dark green, heart-shaped leaves will thrive. Stake it so that it climbs up or hang it in a basket so that it trails out of its container. Water moderately and more sparingly in winter than in summer.
Given the right conditions, Spathiphyllum (aka peace lilies) can bloom all year. Just keep it at a temperature ranging between 18 and 20 degrees Celsius (64 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit), keep the soil evenly moist (even if you water it too much, it will bounce back!), fertilize it in the summer, and wipe its leaves to remove any dust.
Another perfect plant for apartments with less than optimal light is the Boston fern (also known as the sword fern). It’s not only hardy, but purifies the air inside your home. It requires lots of humidity, so mist its fronds and water it regularly, but be sure to let the soil dry out between waterings.
Zamioculcas zamiifolia (aka the ZZ plant) is growing in popularity because it’s easy to grow and hard to kill. This slender tropical plant native to Africa is ideal for enhancing a modern decor. The secret to keeping it alive forever? Place it in a bright room (but not in direct sunlight) where the temperature ranges between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius (59 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit) and wait for the soil to dry out before watering.
If it gets the care it needs, Ceropegia woodii (aka rosary vine or string of hearts) will produce pink lantern-shaped flowers in August and September. Named after its heart-shaped leaves that also resemble beads on a rosary, this climbing plant is perfect for beginners and looks great hanging in an office or apartment.
The reason you see these plants in nearly every home is that Chlorophytum comosum (aka spider plant) is one of the hardiest houseplants around. They need a lot of light (not direct sunlight), but can tolerate darker environments. Even if you forget to water them for a few days or neglect to fertilize them, they’ll just keep on keepin’ on — to a point!
Found in many homes, Tradescantia fluminensis (aka wandering Jew) can survive even if you forget to water it. While it is the perfect plant for newbies, it still requires a minimum of maintenance to be at its best. Place it in direct sunlight, in a room where the temperature ranges between 20 and 24 degrees Celsius (68 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit), water it regularly, repot it in the spring every two to three years, and fertilize it every 15 days from spring to fall — that’s it!
Craving exotic lands, but can’t afford to jet set? The kentia palm will make you feel like you’re miles away, under the shade of a palm tree. Keep your kentia palm (from the Arecaceae family) healthy by placing it in a well-lit location (but not in direct sunlight). Wait until the soil is dry before watering it and fertilize it twice a month.
The popular Echinocactus requires no watering from December to February, making it the perfect houseplant for those who are bad at remembering to water their plants. Just be sure set an alarm from April to October, as you’ll need to give it some water every week. Put your cactus in a very bright room, but not directly beside a window.
This succulent, evergreen plant should be watered moderately in both spring and summer. In winter, watering it once a month is sufficient. If the plant grows bigger, repot it every two years. To give your jade plant a boost, fertilize it once a month.
Fiddle leaf fig tree
In summer, a fiddle leaf fig tree will add a beautiful touch of green to your patio; in winter, it will brighten up your living room. The large leaves on this easy-to-grow tree make it an ideal centrepiece. With a life expectancy of 300 years — if given the right care — you can pass it down as a family heirloom. To ensure its longevity, plant your fiddle leaf fig tree in a big pot, water it regularly, fertilize it once a month, and repot it every three or four years.
Adiantum fragrans (aka maidenhair fern), coveted for its light-green fronds, requires shade, moisture, and ventilation to thrive. When your room temperature hits 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit) or higher, mist it to prevent the plant from drying out. If it gets too hot, immerse the pot in water.
Ficus pumila (aka creeping fig) is good for purifying the air in your home. Native to Asia, this creeping, climbing, or hanging plant grows quickly, even in an environment where there is little light. To keep it green, be sure to keep it moist.
Maranta leuconeura (aka prayer plant) is a popular houseplant because of its striking and colourful foliage. The prayer plant can sometimes sport silver or pink lines with green and yellow spots. Place the plant in a moderately lit space. In winter, water it once a week and, in summer, two to three times a week. The warmer it is, the more moisture the plant requires. In summer, be sure to mist it frequently! The secret to its longevity? Place it on a layer pebbles and water.