This Hack Kept Me From Killing My Houseplants
I’ll be the first to admit: I don’t have a green thumb. I don’t even have a chartreuse thumb. Despite watering my plants as often as the booklet told me, and despite repotting them so they’d have more room to grow, I kill just about everything that enters my apartment. This has been universally true for fiddle leaves, snake plants, and strawberries alike. Still, when I moved from a studio apartment in NYC to a sprawling 2-bedroom with a patio in Los Angeles, I was determined to finally grow my own garden.
The good news is that it took me a few tries, but I finally figured out what I was doing wrong after consulting with a friend: I was buying plants at a local store and eventually repotted them into something bigger—often into something without a hole at the bottom. As it turns out, even though many plant stores sell plants in pots—as well as pots themselves—without a hole for draining, that’s usually the quickest way to ensure root rot. No matter if your plant loves a moist environment, excess water needs somewhere to drain and rocks are best as a backup plan. Once I swapped all of my pots to ones with holes—and, ideally, a plate underneath to catch the excess—I saw all of my babies shine. Ahead, seven of the best low-maintenance plants that are hard to kill, making them perfect for beginner gardeners.
Aloe Vera Plant
If you live in a hot area like Los Angeles, an Aloe Plant is a great option because they love heat and sun but require little maintenance. Even more, if you snap off one of the ore plump leaves for aloe, it’ll likely grow back within a month. Water it when the top few inches of the soil are dry, and mist it on particularly hot days.
The Monstera plant was one of 2017’s most popular motifs, but they’re still around for a reason: This stylish plant is one of the most low-maintenance houseplants ever. They like bright light and tend to dry out at least once per week, which is when you’ll want to water them.
Also known as “Mother-in-Law’s Tongue,” the Snake Plant is a chic option for anyone that’s looking for a plant with height. Even more, it’s extremely low-maintenance and can survive through most things. I once left mine outside in direct sunlight for more than a month—and even went away on vacation and forgot to tell my friend to water it—and it was droopy but fixable. This hard-to-kill indoor plant is adaptable to almost any growing condition, including low light. Just water it when soil is dry to the touch, or once per week.
Just one degree away from the Fiddle Leaf Fig, the Palm Tree is nearly indestructible, as it needs very little attention. As long as you don’t overwater, it’s perfect for just about any room of the home. Water when the top two inches of soil is dry to the touch—and be sure not to overwater it.
If you have a spot with full sun, geraniums might not be hard for you to grow. You’ll need to deadhead (or pick off dead leaves and flowers) them often, but they flower so beautifully that it’s worth the effort. They also prefer moist soil, so if you’re able to water twice per week, this could be the flowering plant for you.
Perfect for a window box or flowering garden, the Coneflower is an easy-care perennial that requires only the basics: regular watering of about an inch per week, a light layer of compost added in the spring, and to be cut back in fall. (If you prefer to lead the seed heads, you don’t have to worry about cutting them back.) Sure, it’s more effort than just watering, but its bright hues and subtle smell make it worth it.
Cast Iron Plant
I mean, it’s called a Cast Iron plant—that’s how indestructible it is. A member of the lily family, the Cast Iron Plant can withstand quite a bit of neglect so it’s great for anyone that frequently vacations or heads out of town for periods. It’s also a slow-grower, so it won’t change shape or outgrow its location too quickly. Water it with room-temp water once every other week.
As much as I’d hope to lead you down a path of happy, low-maintenance plants, the rest is up to you! If you find you’re still killing them, be sure to move them around to different areas of your home until it finds one it likes. (And, silly as it is, talk to it! I swear it helps!)