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I know, not everybody has a green thumb. But just about anybody can at least keep a houseplant not only alive, but thriving. It really depends more than anything else on choosing the right plant. Yes, many plants sold as houseplants – gardenias, azaleas, hibiscus, poinsettias, etc. – really should never be sold to beginning gardeners: they’re just too hard to grow. But there are a few plants that are so easy, I’d be surprised if you managed to kill one.
Here are five houseplants that are pretty much unkillable: try them and see!
Heartleaf Philodendron (Philodendron hederaceum)
It grows in the deepest, darkest jungles in the wild and will take just about anything you can throw at it indoors. Full sun to deep shade, humid to dry air, frequent fertilizing or none at all. It can be used in hanging baskets or trained to grow up an indoor trellis. It’s claim to fame are its dark green, heart-shaped leaves. Just water it once in a while and it will thrive!
Mother-in-Law’s Tongue or Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)
This succulent with clusters thick, tall, pointed leaves that give it its name is famous for its ability to tolerate neglect. As a boy, I can recall one in the far corner of the local strip mall barber shop whose pot was used as an ashtray… and it seemed fine with that. Although it will tolerate just about any conditions, including dark corners and months of drought, if you give it good light and water regularly, it may surprise you by flowering one day, with spikes of greenish-yellow night-scented blooms.
Zizi Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)
It’s a relative newcomer to the houseplant world, but its thick-stemmed fronds and bright shiny dark green leaflets are making it popular fast. So is the fact that it can tolerate total neglect. Just give it moderate light and a splash of water every now and then and it will be happy.
Jade Plant (Crassula ovata)
This one does like a bit of direct sun, and in fact, the more the better, but is otherwise one tough cookie. It has a thick, succulent stem that takes on a woody appearance over time, plus plump, spoon-shaped leaves. Well-grown, it almost begins to look like a bonsai! An occasional watering is about all it needs.
Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
The thin, arching grassy leaves and long, trailing stolons of baby plants have none of the sturdy appearance of the other plants here, but under the soil are big, thick, white roots that hold a lot of moisture and help keep it alive through almost anything. It will tolerate shade, but produces many more babies in bright light. Just water it when the soil is dry to the touch… and maybe share a few of the babies with friends!
There you go: 5 houseplants you simply can’t kill. Start with these to hone your growing skills and pretty soon you will be able to grow the more persnickety flowering plants that always seem so desirable.