Even those without a green thumb can keep these hardy houseplants alive.
Houseplants can add color, texture, and life to any indoor space. However, keeping houseplants alive and thriving can be a challenge, especially for those without much gardening experience. The good news is that some houseplants are almost impossible to kill and can tolerate neglect. Here are 8 hardy houseplants that are nearly indestructible.
Snake Plant (Sansevieria)
The snake plant, also known as mother-in-law’s tongue or sansevieria, is a hardy succulent that can tolerate very low light conditions. This houseplant features long, pointed leaves with yellow edges that can grow up to 8 feet tall.
- Native to tropical West Africa
- Tolerates low light and infrequent watering
- Removes air pollutants like formaldehyde and benzene
- Comes in varieties with green, yellow, or variegated foliage
Snake plants only need to be watered every 2-3 weeks and can survive in virtually any indoor environment. They do best in bright, indirect light but can survive for months in darker corners. Just be sure to allow the soil to dry out between waterings to prevent root rot. The snake plant is an ideal choice for beginners or frequent travelers.
Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra)
The cast iron plant has earned its nickname for being nearly impossible to kill. This hardy houseplant features long, shiny green leaves and can grow up to 2 feet tall.
- Native to China and Japan
- Tolerates very low light
- Survives irregular watering
- Removes air pollutants like xylene and toluene
- Varieties have variegated or white-speckled leaves
Cast iron plants tolerate a wide range of conditions including dark corners, dry soil, and temperature fluctuations. Water every 2-3 weeks and provide some indirect sunlight for best results. Its ability to purify indoor air makes the cast iron plant an excellent choice for bedrooms and office spaces.
ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)
The ornamental ZZ plant has waxy, oval-shaped leaves that emerge from thick underground rhizomes. This unique houseplant grows up to 3 feet tall and can easily tolerate neglect.
- Native to Eastern Africa
- Tolerates very low light
- Stores water in rhizomes
- Rarely needs watering or feeding
- Removes air pollutants like formaldehyde
ZZ plants only need to be watered every few weeks and can survive months of drought. Provide bright indirect light for best results, but a few hours of direct sun is fine too. ZZ plants are perfectly adapted to thrive in office environments with low light and dry air.
Air Plants (Tillandsia)
Air plants, or tillandsia, are a unique type of plant that don’t require soil. These epiphytic plants absorb moisture and nutrients through specialized cells on their leaves called trichomes. With no soil and very little watering required, air plants are some of the easiest houseplants to care for.
- Native to Southern Mexico through South America
- Don’t require soil, only occasional watering
- Come in many shapes, sizes, and leaf colors
- Tolerate a wide range of humidity and light levels
- Produce colorful flowering spikes
Soak air plants for 30 minutes once a week to hydrate. Make sure they dry out completely before displaying them in indirect sunlight. Mount air plants on pieces of wood or display them in pendant terrariums for a beautiful showcase.
Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
The hardy pothos, also called devil’s ivy, is a popular houseplant known for its trailing vine-like stems. The leaves are heart-shaped, green, and sometimes variegated with yellow or white. Pothos can easily grow 4-6 feet long in hanging baskets or climb up supports.
- Native to Southeast Asia
- Tolerates low light and inconsistent watering
- Trailing vines can reach 6 feet long
- Climbing vines attach to surfaces with aerial roots
- Varieties have green, white, or yellow variegated leaves
Pothos plants are unfazed by beginner mistakes when it comes to water, light, and fertilizer. Allow the soil to partially dry out between waterings every 1-2 weeks. Provide bright, indirect light for best growth. Pothos is great for beginners and adds a lush, tropical feel.
Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)
Despite its name, the ponytail palm is not a true palm but a succulent-like dracaena. It features a swollen, bulbous base and long, curly leaves that resemble a ponytail. Ponytail palms are drought tolerant and can go weeks without water.
- Native to southeastern Mexico
- Stores water in swollen base
- Tolerates drought and low humidity
- Slow growing to 10 feet tall
- Does not require much fertilizer
- Sensitive to overwatering
Provide bright light near a sunny window and allow the soil to completely dry out between monthly waterings. Yellow leaves indicate overwatering. The ponytail palm’s unique shape and low maintenance make it a great accent piece.
Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema)
Chinese evergreens are known for their striking leaves, which can be solid green or variegated with silver, pink, red or yellow. These tropical perennials grow up to 3 feet tall and do well in low to medium light.
- Native to tropical Asia and New Guinea
- Tolerates low light
- Various interesting leaf shapes and patterns
- Remove air pollutants like benzene and formaldehyde
- Drooping leaves indicate under-watering
Water when the top few inches of soil become dry. Wipe dust from the leaves every few weeks and mist occasionally to increase humidity. Provide bright, indirect light to maintain the vivid leaf colors. Chinese evergreens add exotic, tropical flair to any indoor space.
Succulents are plants with thick, fleshy leaves that store water. Popular varieties like echeveria, aloe, jade, and haworthia are some of the easiest houseplants to grow. They thrive on neglect and require very little maintenance.
- Native to semi-arid tropical regions
- Store water in leaves, stems, and roots
- Come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors
- Tolerate weeks of drought and low light
- Require fast-draining soil and occasional water
Succulents only need water every 2-3 weeks depending on sunlight exposure. Allow the soil to completely dry out between waterings to prevent rotting. Provide several hours of direct or bright, indirect light daily. Choose colorful succulents like echeveria or kalanchoe for visual interest.
8 Easy Houseplants Anyone Can Keep Alive
- Snake Plant
- Cast Iron Plant
- ZZ Plant
- Air Plants
- Ponytail Palm
- Chinese Evergreen
These hardy houseplants can tolerate neglect including low light and inconsistent watering that often kill other plants. Follow the care tips provided to keep your plants healthy and thriving indoors. Choosing the right houseplants makes it easy for anyone to have a green thumb!
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the easiest indoor plants for beginners?
The easiest houseplants for beginners are snake plant, ZZ plant, pothos, air plants, Chinese evergreen, and succulents like jade and aloe vera. These plants tolerate low light and irregular watering which makes them hard to kill.
How often should I water easy houseplants?
Most hardy houseplants only need to be watered every 2-4 weeks. Allow the soil to partly dry out between waterings to prevent root rot. Succulents and cacti may only need monthly watering depending on light exposure.
What type of light do indestructible houseplants need?
While most houseplants grow best in bright, indirect light, hardy plants like ZZ plant, snake plant, and cast iron plant can tolerate very low light. Place these plants in a corner or darker area of your home.
Should I fertilize my easy-care houseplants?
Fertilizing 1-2 times per year in the spring and summer helps houseplants grow faster and produce new leaves. But hardy plants like snake plants and succulents don’t require frequent feeding to survive and look healthy.
How do I know if I’m overwatering my houseplants?
Signs of overwatering include drooping leaves, yellow foliage, mushy stems, mold growth on the soil, and leaves falling off. Allow the soil to partly dry out between waterings to prevent root rot.
Caring for houseplants helps purify indoor air, reduce stress, and make any space feel more inviting. By choosing a few of these nearly indestructible plants, even novice gardeners can enjoy beautiful and easy-to-care-for greenery. Start with just one or two hardy varieties and you’ll be on your way to having a green thumb.