29 Houseplants That Are (Almost) Impossible to Kill
Houseplants brighten up any space by adding a bit of green. They also improve air quality by reducing carbon dioxide levels, increasing moisture, reducing airborne dust and pollutants and lowering temperatures.
If you lack a green thumb, rest assured there are houseplants so hardy that even you will not be able to kill them. Here we’ve compiled a list of 29 tough houseplants that are (almost) impossible to kill.
Some consider African violets to be the most popular flowering plant in the world. That’s probably because they bloom throughout the year, continuously producing flowers. They are named for the continent from which they originated and because their blooms resemble those of true violets.
These tropical plants are easy to manage if you know a few simple facts about them. African violets do best in either west- or south-facing windows with temperatures from 65 to 75 degrees. Water them only if the soil feels dry but always let the pot drain of excess water. Use a liquid fertilizer specially designed to keep them flowering continuously.
Aloe vera is a popular succulent whose leaves produce a gel that can be used to treat burns or taken internally to promote digestion. Aloe can be grown outdoors in warm climates, but it can also make a great houseplant.
Aloe vera plants need natural light to grow properly, so one of the only things you need to do is place them in a window sill. About twice a year, rotate the plant to ensure it receives sunlight evenly.
Bonus: you only need to water aloe vera plants every two to four weeks!
The Christmas cactus is unlike other cacti in that it is not from an arid region. This cactus is native to Brazilian rainforests, where it grows in tree branches.
Christmas cacti have beautiful, 3-inch long flowers colored are red, white, yellow, pink or purple. Their bloom lasts several weeks (usually in December), and some even do so more than once a year!
Due to its humid origins, the Christmas cactus needs more water than most cacti. While it is blooming, it needs to be kept moist, so be sure to mist often when those colors come out. Place it in an east facing window, so it will receive some direct sunlight and enjoy your house-cactus.
Cast Iron Plant
The cast iron plant also goes by several other names, including iron plant and ballroom plant. Cast iron plants are incredibly hardy and tough to kill. That is great news for the green-thumb challenged.
A member of the lily family, the cast iron plant is native to China and has small purple blooms hidden by its foliage. It does well indoors with low light and in climates with hot, dry summers. However, it can handle moderately cold winters.
There is one more bonus: Insects are not as attracted to this evergreen as they are to other plants.
Zebra haworthia is a succulent, although it is also known as zebra cactus. One look at its striped foliage and it is clear why "zebra" is part of its name.
Originally from South Africa, this plant is nontoxic to dogs and cats, making it an ideal houseplant for pet lovers.
In its natural habitat, zebra haworthia does not receive much rainfall. That means it requires very little watering. In the summer, the zebra haworthia only needs to be watered once every three weeks, making it an ideal plant for drought-prone areas.
Jade plants resemble little trees, making them a pretty addition that makes any home feel closer to nature. It originated in South Africa but has been a houseplant in European and American homes for over a century.
Jade plants are one of the many types of succulent, meaning they are resilient and require low maintenance.
However, they do need more water than most succulents, as they’re not as drought-tolerant. So, just keep the soil moist in the spring and summer when they grow and drier in the fall and winter when they’re dormant.
The snake plant has about 70 different species, and all of them originate in tropical and subtropical areas of Europe, Africa and Asia. The evergreen plants grow anywhere from 8 inches to 12 feet. They have become increasingly popular as word spread that it’s a plant you can neglect.
Caring for a snake plant is easy. They are incredibly tolerant and can handle being neglected for weeks. Low-lighting and drought conditions are no problem, and they tend to not have problems with insects.
Show this rugged plant some indirect sunlight and don’t overwater. In other words, this is the perfect plant for those who are chronically busy.
The peace lily not only produces a beautiful flower similar to the calla lily, but it’s also hassle-free. Since they can grow to 3 feet, they work well as floor plants.
The Venezuelan rainforests, where the peace lily originated, provide the partial shade that it thrives in. However, it’s so adaptable that it can tolerate fluorescent lights and adapt to windowless rooms.
The peace lily’s versatility makes caring for it easy-peasy. Simply place the plant in an east-facing window and when it needs watering, it will slightly droop. Watering once a week and keeping the soil moist is all there is to it.
If you have a pet, this may not be the one for you as it has oxalates, which irritate the stomach and mouth of cats and dogs.
The weeping fig is of the Ficus genus. It is a small tree, which makes it a popular choice for bringing a bit of the great outdoors inside with you. Originally found in Southeast Asia, the weeping fig is a tropical tree that grows 3 to 6 feet tall.
They can be houseplants in colder climates so long as room temperatures are regulated.
Although typically grown in semi-shade in Asia, as a houseplant, a room with bright sunlight is ideal. Just don’t move the plant often, as it prefers to stay in the same place.
The Boston fern is one of the best known ferns around and a popular houseplant. There is a good reason for its popularity: This plant is incredibly hardy. It is very tolerant of both light and dry conditions and can be displayed in hanging baskets, on a windowsill or pedestal.
Boston ferns thrive in indirect sunlight. All this fern needs to keep going is some damp soil, which can be done using a mister frequently in addition to watering. Just make sure the soil drains. Boston ferns do not do well in rooms with a lot of moving air.
The rubber plant is a member of the Ficus family. While ficus trees can grow up to 50 feet, the rubber plant can be a medium-sized houseplant. The rubber plant does best with indirect light, as it is native to the Amazon and Orinoco river basins.
If it is placed near a window, sheer curtains can help keep it healthy. Keep the rubber plant in well-drained soil and make sure the soil is moist in the summer, which is its growing season. During the winter the rubber plant only needs to be watered once or twice a month.
The philodendron is popular in offices due to the low amount of maintenance it needs. Its name is a Greek word that means love (philo) and tree (dendron). Domestic to Central and South America, it is an evergreen plant that can grow to a height of 9 feet indoors.
Philodendrons prefer partially shaded areas with indirect sunlight, similar to the conditions in a rainforest.
There are two types of philodendrons: climbing and non climbing. The climbing species can be grown along a trellis or in a hanging basket, while the non climbing species are planted in pots.
The Guiana chestnut tree is easy to grow indoors. It is popular with people who practice feng shui because they believe it creates positive energy. With the right amount of sun and water, this tree will thrive.
The Guiana chestnut does well with indirect sunlight and needs to be turned every time it is watered, so it grows evenly. It only needs to be watered once or twice a week, depending on the humidity level. Just keep watering until it starts draining from the bottom of the pot, and it’s good to go!
Chinese Money Plant
The Chinese money plant is native to the Yunnan province of China. The plant became popular in Scandinavia after a Norwegian missionary brought cuttings of one home in the 1940s.
This resilient plant can handle relatively cold temperatures and doesn’t need to be watered frequently, making it easy to care for. Place the Chinese money plant in indirect sunlight for larger leaves, and let the soil dry completely before watering again.
The bromeliad originated in the Andes mountains and jungles of Uruguay, but can now be found throughout Central and South America. Their flowers are bright and colorful - typically pink, red, orange and yellow - and the bloom is long lasting.
Bromeliad need medium to bright light to grow well, as they see limited sun exposure in the wild from overhead shade provided by other plants. That means the only thing to avoid is extended periods of hot, direct sunlight.
This houseplant must be watered thoroughly every month during warm weather until water drains from the bottom of the pot. In colder months, they only need to be watered every two months.
Crown of Thorns
The crown of thorns got its name after its storied use in Jesus’s crown. Originally from Madagascar, it is a succulent shrub with dark green leaves that develops beautiful, small flowers.While this plants can grow upwards of 6 feet outdoors, this perfect windowsill accent stands under 1 foot in its pot..
The crown of thorns is highly adaptable, making it a breeze to maintain. Simply put this resilient plant in a window to ensure it receives plenty of sunlight, and make sure it is watered when the soil is dried out. Just be careful when those thorns pop out!
The kalanchoe is a flowering succulent from China. Its flowers usually come in shades of white, yellow, pink, magenta, orange and red. For a plant that has such vibrant and colorful flowers, surprisingly little care is needed, making it a highly favored houseplant.
Bright, indirect sunlight is best for a kalanchoe so, as long as it is not placed on a hot windowsill, which puts it at risk of burn. This pretty pop of color will keep brightening up any room. Being a succulent, it does not need much water; every two weeks is sufficient, making it great for hot, dry climates.
The Sansevieria trifasciata, or mother-in-law’s tongue, originates from West Africa. It also goes by other names such as snake plant, viper's bowstring hemp and Saint George's sword. This many and memorably named evergreen plant is a succulent, so it needs very little water.
The mother-in-law’s tongue can be kept either indoors or outdoors and only really needs to be brought inside in cold climates. It is an easily manageable choice of greenery that is equally happy with low lighting or sunlight. It occasionally has small, white flowers that bloom when the plant is a couple of years old.
The full name of the ZZ plant is Zamioculcas zamiifolia, which is a mouthful. Native to South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania, it did not reach beyond its African borders until the 1990s, when Dutch nurseries in South Africa started cultivating and distributing it globally.
The ZZ is easy to grow and care for, tolerant of both dim or bright lighting, and can easily withstand an inconsistent watering schedule as long as it isn’t overwatered! Indoors, it can grow to 3 feet and infrequent flower blooms are found at its base.
Beware, pet owners. ZZ is toxic to cats and dogs, so this may not be the best fit if there isn’t a safe place to keep it...
The areca palm is indigenous to both Madagascar and South India. It is also known as a butterfly palm, golden cane palm or yellow palm. This evergreen houseplant can reach up to 6 or7 feet. While most palms do not tolerate trimming, this one does.
Arecas progress well with bright light, so some direct sunlight is healthy for them. All this plant needs is to not be loved in excess. In other words, don’t overdo it with constant direct sunlight, and don’t go over watering it before the soil dries.
It’s a refreshing accent of nature that thrives indoors and out without all of the fuss.
The prayer plant is also named Maranta leuconeura, after 16th century Italian physicist and botanist Bartolomeo Maranta. The prayer plant’s leaves are visually striking with their red veins. During the day, the leaves are flat but, at night, they fold up... like hands in prayer.
This houseplant needs indirect sunlight since direct sunlight will cause its fade. It tolerates lower lit areas during warmer weather but, in the winter, when it is dormant, it requires more light. In order to be healthy, it does need to be watered frequently.
The umbrella tree can grow between 4 and 8 feet tall when domesticated but in the wild, it can get as tall as 49 feet! Given its size, it is a great plant for an open office space.
The Umbrella Tree needs bright but indirect sunlight. Lower lighting is not harmful but will affect its growth. Watering is necessary only when the topsoil is dry. Pet owners should be aware that it is mildly toxic to cats and dogs, so make sure that it is safely placed somewhere where there are no pets allowed.
The ponytail palm may have the word "palm" in its name but it is not a true "palm." It is a desert plant native to eastern Mexico closely related to the Agave and Yucca plants. It can grow up to 3 feet tall indoors but may reach 6 feet outdoors.
Taking care of the ponytail palm is easy; the most important thing to remember is to keep the soil on the dry side. The palm needs to be regularly watered from spring to fall, with the topsoil completely drying in between. In the winter, only occasional watering is necessary.
The air plant, also known as Tillandsia, is named for the way it obtains nutrients from the surrounding air. In the same family as the pineapple, this prickly plant originated in the West Indies, Mexico and parts of Central and South America.
Since it does not grow in soil, you can put air plants into shells, wire baskets or glass baubles. They can even be placed around the base or between the leaves of another plant. Coming from warm, tropical climates, temperatures of 60 degrees or higher are preferable. They also need plenty of bright, indirect sunlight and should be misted with water often.
Fiddle Leaf Fig
The fiddle leaf fig is native to West Africa, where it can grow 40 to 60 feet tall. The towering giant produces small, green fruit. They belong to the Moraceae family, which includes fig and mulberry trees.
Although they prefer humid environments, fiddle leaf figs are tough plants that can withstand drier conditions. They prefer bright, filtered light, but can handle some direct sunlight. They need to be kept moist, so in addition to regular watering, they should be misted.
Indigenous to rainforests in Southern Mexico and Guatemala, the parlor palm was first found in Central America and brought to the US, where it became a popular houseplant.
Being so hardy and adaptable, it is the quintessential office plant. The fronds are often found in decorations, because they can survive for up to 40 days after they are cut.
The parlor palm needs bright, filtered sunlight. Avoid overwatering by waiting until the topsoil is dry or the leaves begin to turn yellow. Ideal room temperatures for this palm are between 65 and 80 degrees. Although it is impressively tolerant to temperatures as low as 50 degrees!
The purple shamrock comes from Brazil and gets its name from its leaves, which resemble clovers. They can live a long time, often leading one generation of owner to pass the plant to the next. The dark purple, nearly-black leaves are beautiful.
Bright, indirect sunlight creates the perfect environment for a healthy purple shamrock. When watering, make sure the soil is soaked and do not water again until it is dry. Since it is a plant that is toxic to cats and dogs, pet owners will want to be sure they are kept in a safe place out of reach from any curious pets..
A spider plant produces foliage that is long and thin and curls downward like a spider’s legs. These plants have a hand in their own procreation by generating tiny spider plants known as "pups." When pups are about 2 inches in diameter, you can remove them and place them in pots with soil.
Spider plants should be kept in moderate to bright, indirect sunlight, not direct because their leaves can burn, producing brown spots and tips. They can be grown indoors or outdoors and need to be watered moderately.
Devil’s ivy is found growing naturally in Southeast Asia, Indonesia and the Solomon Islands. In tropical rainforests, it will climb up trees, so it can grow in your home as either a climbing or hanging plant.
Devil’s ivy stands out, because its leaves are heart-shaped and have either silver, pale green, yellow or white spots. It needs indirect sunlight and the soil should be kept moderately damp. If well cared for, this one can remain with you for a long time.
This one needs a tad more care and is poisonous to cats and dogs, so if you are busy, a pet owner or both, this may not be the houseplant for you.