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10 March 2022

10 Low Maintenance House Plants That Are Hard To Kill

Do you look at houses filled with plants and feel a little bit in awe and jealous? Plants bring colour and life into the home and they can even improve the air quality, but not everyone is green fingered. I used to think I had no chance of keeping house plants alive, I’ve even killed off an air plant, but I’ve discovered I had previously chosen plants which were too high maintenance for me. What I needed were plants that can survive, or even thrive, on being ignored. If you want to have house plants, but haven’t managed to keep them alive before then here are some plants that wont mind if you only water them once a week or whenever you remember.


A close up of a very much alive but neglected orchid with pink and white flowers
Some house plants survive well even if you keep forgetting to water them


House Plants For People Who Can’t Keep Plants Alive

As a general rule if you forget to water plants then choose varieties with larger, thicker leaves because they can hold more water and cope better with longer dry periods.

Cactus

A plant that survives in deserts seems like an obvious choice. While cactus do like to be watered they are pretty hard to kill off if you forget for weeks on end. Once I dropped a cactus down the back of a book shelf and it was still alive when I rescued it several months later. Since I have had children mine haven’t done so well though as despite their natural defences my children seem to physically damage them.  

If you would like a less prickly variety then Christmas Cactus can grow well and have pretty flowers a couple of times a year.

Orchids

Orchid have a reputation as being difficult to look after, but as I write my 6 year old orchids are happily sitting on a windowsill in full bloom. The trick is not to over water them and I manage that easily. If they get too much water their roots rot and they are unhappy. Mine get watered once every week or two and although sometimes the leaves look a bit floppy they still flower regularly so seem happy. Ours are near the bathroom and so will get some moisture from the air which might help, but even when stuck in a dark corner they did ok. Definitely worth a try and they are really pretty.  

two orchid plants in bloom in front of a window
Orchids hate to be watered too often

Spider plants 

Spider plants have pretty two coloured long leaves. They look great sitting on a shelf and when they are in the mood they create off shoots which will flower and often produce baby spider plants which will hang down off the main plant. You can then repot these if you are feeling brave. Spider plants don’t like direct sunlight so they are good in darker rooms or shelves away from the window. They are also know as spider ivy, ribbon plant and plenty of other things.

Pothos 

This plants is also called Devils Ivy supposedly because it is impossible to kill. I have had once for years which normally sits in a dark room, is rarely watered and still grows and survives. 

Pothos plants are poisonous if eaten and can be an irritant to the skin so it’s advised to keep them away from pets and children. On the plus side they are good for improving air quality and easy to grow even if neglected so if you can hang them out of harms way they are a good plant to have.

most house plants like day light, but some of them can survive without it
A plant that can survive in a dark corner of your house

Chinese money plant

The distinctive round leaves on a Chinese Money plant are fun and eye catching. The plant doesn’t like direct sunlight and can survive in low light (although you’ll tend to get bigger and darker leaves). It also doesn’t like to get too wet which is a bonus when you are a forgetful plant parent. It’s also called names like pancake or UFO plant because of the shapes of the leaves.

Succulents

On a similar theme to cactuses succulents can hold lots of water allowing them to go long periods without being watered. The bonus is that they don’t have prickles so they wont attach you if you ever need to repot them. Aloe vera is a great option as you can use the sap to treat burns or scars.

an aloe vera plant and another succulent in a gold fish bowl
Succulents have thick leaves which hold water well, useful if you forget to water them

Yucca

When I was growing up I think every family member had a yucca plant in their house. It’s hard to know if it was because they are so low maintenance to look after or because they can be easily propagated and shared with friends. They grow nicely in a sort of tree shape making them great for placing on the floor and not taking up surface space. 

Air plant

I feel I have to include air plants because a plant that doesn’t even require soil should be a good plant to have. They require a bath around once a week so they can drink up the water they need or you can spray them with water, but the rest of the time they can be on display. If kept near a bowl and water (eg near the kitchen) yours might to better than mine. 

a dead air plant on a white background
I managed to kill my air plant, but they are easy to care for

Dragon tree

Similar to Yucca plants but with thinner leaves my first plant was a Dragon Tree. The leaves got bashed about a bit, but it survived general neglect well. Admittedly it did better when I left home and gave it to my grandmother who actually took care of it.

Rubber plant

This is another plant that my family also seemed to have. With big large leaves they hold water well so in the growing season only need watering once a week, in the colder month they can happily go a month or two without watering. These plants can grow extremely tall in the right conditions so living with people who don’t have green fingers will find it shouldn’t outgrow them


Tips For Keeping House Plants Alive For The Disorganised

Keep the plant somewhere you will see it often, the more often the better both in order to appreciate it and because on one of those occasions you think “I really must water it” you will. 

Keep the plant near water. If the plant is a few metres from the tap, or even from where you drink water it is less effort to water it. I have a plant in my daughters room and it is exclusively watered by the stale water in their night cups when I remember.

There are a few products you can buy to help if your don’t water often including Plant Pal globes which slowly release water and water saving gel crystals which you mix with the soil. I have used both of these and they are great, but I find that knowing you can go longer without paying the plants attention means I ignore them more and they get more neglected than if I know they need watering often. 

This post has tips on how to water house plants.

Many house plants seem to have a warning that they can be harmful to people or animals. To be on the safe side I would recommend keeping them all out of reach of inquisitive little ones and washing your hands after touching them.






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