Hardy Houseplants

Dracaena (Photo by Fort Collins Nursery)

By Laurel Aiello | Fort Collins Nursery

Anyone who owns houseplants knows they aren’t all the same. Some demand lots of TLC, including frequent waterings, specific potting mix, grow lights, and humidifiers. Others only require the basics of indirect light, a regular watering schedule, and basic potting soil. If you’re looking for an easy houseplant to add to your collection, these hard-to-kill indoor plants prove that plant parenting isn’t just for green thumbs.

SnakePlant (Photo by Fort Collins Nursery)

Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata/Sansevieria trifasciata)

Also known as “mother-in-law’s tongue,” snake plants are ideal houseplants for under-waterers. Small snake plants only need watering every two weeks or so. Mature snake plants in large pots need water about once per month (even less often in the winter). Allow snake plants to go fully dry between waterings.

Snake plants thrive on neglect, and not just when it comes to watering. They tolerate low levels of light—even rooms with north-facing windows and basements with window wells—though they grow faster in bright indirect light. They’re perfect if you need an easy office plant with minimal light needs.

ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas spp.)

Like snake plants, ZZ plants require very little water and light, and they don’t need extra humidity or special potting soil to stay happy. ZZ plants have bulbous rhizomes that retain water, making them very hardy in drought-like environments (AKA the homes of forgetful people). Water your ZZ plant thoroughly every two to four weeks, depending on its size, and give it a little indirect light to ensure its survival.

ZZ plants and snake plants also prefer to stay tightly potted so they won’t outgrow their pots quickly. Re pot them once every couple of years, and if their roots haven’t filled the pot by then, simply refresh the soil and place them back in their home. Since they’re slow growers, ZZ plants and snake plants make great desk plants.
Dracaena (Dracaena spp.)

For a low-maintenance houseplant that you can tend to more frequently, consider a dracaena (also called “corn plant”). These upright houseplants come in different heights—some with thick trunks—and are some of the easiest indoor trees to care for. Thoroughly water your dracaena once the top half of the soil feels completely dry, and place it in a spot with medium to bright indirect light.

Note: Tap water can cause the tips of their leaves to brown. If this bothers you, trim the brown bits off or give them filtered water.

SnakePlant (Photo by Fort Collins Nursery)

Pothos (Epipremnum spp.)

Pothos are trailing houseplants that require little water and tolerate low light. However, pothos are not forgiving if they are watered too often, as their leaves will turn yellow and wilt (a sign of root rot). Water pothos thoroughly when the bottom half of the soil feels nearly dry. When in doubt, wait an extra few days to water.

Pothos grow faster in bright indirect light, and any leaf variegation will also become more apparent. They are also some of the easiest houseplants to propagate, so don’t be afraid to trim their stems and submerge their nodes in water to form roots.

Other hardy houseplants: 

  • Spider plants (Chlorophytum spp.)
  • Peace lilies (Spathiphyllum spp.)
  • Philodendrons & monsteras (Philodendron spp. & Monstera spp.)
  • Scheffleras (Schefflera spp.)
  • Chinese evergreens (Aglaonema  spp.)
  • Dieffenbachia (Dieffenbachia spp.)
  • Jade plants (Crassula spp.)
  • Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis miller)
  • Lucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana)

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