3 Unkillable Houseplants for Black Thumbs

While I try to keep my house minimalist(ish) and control excess stuff - houseplants are exempt from this mission. Houseplants bring color and life into a space and have real benefits for your home.

NASA has done studies that show some types of plants actually clean the air inside your home of chemicals. Think you aren't breathing in chemicals in your house? Think again.

The most common chemicals found in households are trichlorethylene, formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, and ammonia.

These are found in paints, plastics, cleaners, fabrics, paper products. The list goes on.

As you join the green journey, houseplants are a must have.  BUT they can be finicky. Not every houseplant will thrive in all conditions and sometimes it's just annoying trying to figure out why you killed it and fail again and again.

...RIP to about a dozen orchids I tried with until I gave up and realized we just aren't meant to be.

Throughout my house I have about 10 houseplants of varying types but there are 3 clear winners that look great and are ridiculously easy.

Houseplants You Cannot Kill

Snake Plant

First up, my first baby. I got this big guy in my first apartment. My third floor, dark, dimly lit apartment. Snake plants are known for being super hardy not requiring much light or water.

He (they deserve human pronouns, right?) is about 4 years old and 100% the easiest plant I have.  Snake plants are tolerant to low light conditions and don't need (or want) much water. During winters, I water him about once a month. They are on the slow side for growth.

To not over water snake plants, stick your finger in the soil. If you still feel moisture about an inch down they don't need more water. Wait until it is dry to add more.

An added bonus, I love the modern, straight leaves.  I think it adds a fantastic dimension and burst of color to a room. Snake plants are probably my favorite houseplant and I have a couple throughout my house of different sizes. 

Spider Plant

This one was a birthday gift from a friend who is a fellow houseplant lover.  She took a snippet from one of her spider plants and about two years later, it's huge.

The cool thing about spider plants is as they grow large, they produce "babies" at the end of their stems.  You can pluck those babies off and plant them separately. My plant below isn't quite there yet, but he was a baby off of her plant.

Spider plants are on the opposite end of the growth spectrum and grow FAST! They're pretty tolerant to low light but they really thrive in plenty of sun.

This plant requires much more water than the snake plant.  When the soil is dry, it is time to water. This ends up being about once a week for me. 

Chinese Evergreen

Last, but not least, my largest flora roommate. My mom gave me this when she, literally, didn't have a space big enough to fit it. He certainly dominates the corner of my dining room but is an easy house guest so it's fine.

This plant gets watered once a week and is in a fairly sunny area of my house.  A tip is to turn it every so often to keep each side getting sun consistently.  Before I started doing this, some leaves in the back were dropping.

Another good tip to note if this looks too big for your style is repotting plants (at the appropriate time) encourages growth.  Conversely, if you want to keep a plant at a certain size, don't move it to a bigger pot.

Houseplants that aren't so easy...

Orchids

I can't keep these alive to save my life. I have tried over and over. I have tried different lighting, different watering, watered with ice cubes.  Every one I have killed within a month.

I don't claim to be an expert so if you keep them alive, more power to you.

Fiddle Leaf Fig

I do have one of these and love it but it is super finicky. When you browse around houseplant articles online I'm always surprised this plant seems to end up on the hardest lists as well as the easiest.

In my experience, it is difficult to learn exactly what routine the plant wants BUT once you get learn it, it flourishes. When I first brought mine home, I put it in front of a window I thought got plenty of sun.  Leaves started dropping immediately.  I played around with how much water it got thinking I over or under watered but that didn't help.

I finally moved the plant to a different window that gets the brightest light and all was good in the world.  That season it grew a ton of leaves back.

It also needed a strict watering schedule. I water once a week and measure 2 cups of water exactly.  For the other plants, I water more freely.

Lastly, I have struggled with little bugs called scale.  At first glance, they don't even look like bugs.  They look like tiny black/brown bumps on the leaves and leave a sticky residue. The bugs come off easily but to remove the residue you need a damp warm cloth.

If you do find success with a fiddle leaf, you'll know they are stunning!

How has your luck been with houseplants? Any favorite go to plants?


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