No Green Thumb Needed: Top 7 Kill-Proof Plants

November 12, 2012 Comments Off
No Green Thumb Needed: Top 7 Kill-Proof Plants

If you’ve always wanted to fill your home with lush green houseplants, but have difficulty keeping them alive, this is the list for you. Houseplants are a great way to add character to a room and boost indoor air quality. We’ve compiled seven houseplants that are low maintenance, and difficult to kill. So head off to work and forget to open the blinds, or leave for the weekend without watering them –- they can take it!

Peace Lily (spathiphyllum)
This plant is both beautiful and hardy, making it a great addition to any room with a window. It blooms with a large white flower perched atop a tall green stalk. Those with black thumbs will be relieved to know that the plant requires no special treatment – provide it with access to sunlight, water it once or twice a week, and if it grows too large for its pot, take the time to re-pot it.

Ponytail Palm (beaucarnea recurvata)
Add a touch of the tropics to your home with a ponytail palm. These easygoing plants can be purchased at your local home and garden center. They require some sunlight, so will need to be placed near a window. Water them when the soil feels dry to the touch, but don’t stress if you forget for a week -– these plants are hardy enough to take it.

Lucky Bamboo (dracaena sanderiana)
While it’s considered invasive outdoors, bamboo makes a beautiful and unique houseplant. The stems are hardy enough to be grown in water alone, but also do quite nicely when planted in a pot. Lucky bamboo is frequently found at Chinese restaurants as a souvenir, and the plant may be grown in spirals or other interesting shapes. Leave your bamboo plant near a window, water it occasionally, and it should be fine; these plants are pretty independent.

Golden Pothos Vine (epipremnum pinnatum ‘aureum’)
This hardy vine features large green leaves with characteristic yellow markings. The vine is easy to grow and easy to propagate, so many gardeners get their starts from friends who own the plant. If no one is willing to share, you can also purchase the plant at your local nursery or garden center. Once you get a Golden Pothos vine growing well, your only trouble will be containing it, as it climbs anything it can reach. This plant works well along a shelf, railing, or grate. Some gardeners also grow it in multiple pots, stretched along a table or windowsill. Water the vine weekly and make sure it gets at least partial sunlight – that’s all there is to it.

Spider Plant (chloropytum)
Anyone who’s ever seen a happy, healthy spider plant knows how easy they are to propagate. If you own one, chances are you got a baby spider plant (or two, or three) from a friend, neighbor, or acquaintance. The good thing about this is that if your plant does keel over, it’s relatively easy to replace. However, spider plants are pretty tough, making them the perfect plant for those with black thumbs. Keep your plant near a sunny window, and water it every two to three days as the soil feels dry. If your plant turns from a deep, dark green to a sickly yellow green, it’s not getting enough sun and needs to be closer to the light. A healthy mature spider plant will start sending out runners, with a baby spider plant at the end of each one. You can re-pot these if you like, but you may quickly become overwhelmed as the plants divide and multiply. Instead, we recommend looking for adoptive families for the babies.

Aloe Vera (aloe barbadensis)
Aloe is a member of the succulent family, making it a cousin of the cactus. These plants have no spines, store their own water, and are practically indestructible – it doesn’t get much better than that. Pot your new aloe plant in a potting soil designed for cacti and succulents, so that the soil will drain well. Water no more than once a week, and make sure your plant gets some sun. The only real danger to these plants is over-watering, so be sure that you don’t provide more water than the soil can absorb within 3-5 minutes.

Christmas Cactus (schlumbergera truncata)
While these cacti don’t bloom year-round, when they do, they’re truly stunning. Like other cacti and succulents, they’re relatively easy to maintain. Pot them in soil designed for cacti, water them occasionally, and avoid touching their spines. If you’re careful not to over water, you should have your prickly friend for quite some time.

While the plants in our list are hardier than, say, an African Violet, they’ll still die if you place them far away from sunlight, completely refuse to water them, or lock them in a hot car. However, for the most part these lovely bits of greenery are pretty easy going, and a nice way to add some beauty to your living space.

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