Plants and flowers can immediately make a home more beautiful, and some hardy plants even thrive in the less than ideal conditions of small homes, which often have limited light and air circulation. For those who have black thumbs, or just don’t have the time for time-consuming plant care, here are some of the best, hardy house plants that need minimal care to survive.
Lucky Bamboo Plants
Lucky bamboo is actually a rain forest understory shrub from Cameroon, and gets its name from its physical resemblance to bamboo. It prefers indirect sunlight and does perfectly well in florescent lighting. It also is happy to sit in a few inches of water, so you may be able to go weeks between re-watering. Straight bamboo stalks can be bought in bulk for cheap, and you can provide the container, or you can purchase ornamental lucky bamboo that has been grown in certain ways to make lovely shapes. Plant food for lucky bamboo is available for only a few dollars, and you can add in just a couple of drops every month or two to keep the stalks and leaves a bright green.
As you might imagine, most cacti are perfectly happy to go weeks or months without watering, and may actually be more likely to die if you try to pay too much attention to them. There are a wide variety of cactus species that make good houseplants, and some even flower when they are in season or produce edible fruit. Be careful with pets or small children around spiny cactus plants. Mammillaria is the genus of most of the “typical,” spiny desert cacti, and has a great variety in size, color and shape of each species. Many of the cacti species are endangered due to their natural habitat being encroached upon by human development, and you can help preserve the species by purchasing a plant from a nursery.
Wax plants, also known as porcelain flowers, are a low-maintenance houseplant with dark green, fleshy leaves. With sufficient sunlight, they will produce small flowers year after year. They are tolerant to most conditions if given sufficient water to keep the soil moist but not soggy. The flowers are fragrant, which may be a good or bad thing, depending on your preferences. If you trim it, be careful not to trim off the nubs that produced flowers in the past, because the flowers will re-bloom from the same parts.
Jade plants, also known as friendship trees or lucky plants, are a type of succulent with bright green leaves and small pink or white flowers in the spring, under the appropriate conditions. Medium to bright indirect light is ideal for these hardy houseplants, and they should survive as long as you don’t over-water or put them in direct sunlight. Keep them in a well-drained container, preferably with pebbles on the bottom so the roots don’t sit in water. They are prone to mealybugs and aphids, which can be killed by swabbing the leaves with rubbing alcohol.
Money Trees (Pachira Aquatica)
Money trees are a tropical tree from Central and South America. They can grow very tall in the wild, but are easy to keep a manageable size as low maintenance indoor plants if you keep them in a small pot or regularly prune them. They do best in lots of indirect lighting, and a thorough watering when needed, but allow the soil to drain and dry out completely between waterings. The trunks are often braided ornamentally, with five or seven trunks the norm due to the positive feng shui connotations for these numbers. Here are two types of money trees that can be shipped to your home.
Tips for Caring for Easy to Grow Houseplants
If you want your indoor plants to live a long, green life, here are a few tips for the best results.
- Care: The two biggest things you need to know about each plant in your home is how much and what kind of light the plant needs, and how often you should water them. Everything else is pretty effortless.
- Pots: You may want to trade out the pots in a plant you’ve bought for a different style, but be aware that re-potting can be very stressful for plants, and the process can kill them if you aren’t careful. Some plants should only be re-potted in a certain season, and some need their root ball partially removed to ensure a successful re-planting. Do research on each type of plant before you try to re-pot.
- Fragrance: Some plants give off a fragrance in season. This may be a pro or a con, depending on your preferences, but in a small room, the scent can get pretty strong.
Plants can have a huge impact on how you feel in a room, and an easy to care for type of indoor plant can be a very low-maintenance way to go green, help clean the air, and make your home more beautiful.
Some House Plants Are Dangerous to Pets and Small Children if Ingested
- Dangerous if allergic - poinsettias, philodendron, elephant's ear, caladium, pencil trees.
- Deadly house plants - Japanese yew, Jerusalem cherry, ivy, holly, mistletoe, hibiscus, azaleas, Easter lilies