Updated: Oct 4
The easiest houseplants for passive plant parents.
To accompany our massive houseplant sale this week, we decided to highlight our top choices for houseplants that require very little parenting. Some plant owners may question some of these choices as 'easy' houseplants, but the key here is that these are perfect choices for imperfect plant parents. Forgot to get a plant-sitter for your weeklong vacation? No problem! Didn't feed your plant all year? It will be just fine. The last time you dusted your house (and plant leaves) was when your in-laws came for dinner last January? We have just the plant for you! These may not be the best choice if you water and hover over your plant babies every other day - in general, this list thrives on neglect!
The key to keeping these babies happy is growing them in bright to medium light (ideally indirect), watering deeply and less frequently (about once every 1 to 1.5 weeks depending on the soil mix, type of pot, season & weather), and overall ignoring them rather than smothering them with love (aka excessive watering, feeding, pruning, repotting, or moving them). When you do decide to give them some extra love, we highly recommend the houseplant products we carry. Note: Pet-safe plants are noted, as are highly toxic plants - if nothing is specifically noted, assume the plant is moderately toxic to pets and keep out of reach.
-- TRAILERS & CLIMBERS --
Micans, Philodendron hederaceum var. hederaceum
-Bright indirect light, 8'' tall, trailing up to 10'
-Velvety soft, heart-shaped, dark green foliage with rusty-red undersides
-Great in a hanging basket or grown on a moss pole
-Allow the top 2'' of soil to dry out between waterings (avoid overwatering)
-Easy to grow & a great air purifier!
String of Hearts, Ceropegia woodii (pictured is 'Variegated')
-Bright indirect light, trailing up to 6'
-Dainty vines of exquisite heart-shaped leaves with pink and white variegation
-Low maintenance; allow soil to dry between waterings (avoid overwatering)
Cebu Blue, Philodendron 'Epipremnum aureum'
-Bright indirect light, trailing up to 10'
-Unique variety with long, pointed, silvery-blue leaves that get quite large & fenestrated when older (especially if climbing)
-Aka dragon tail
-Appreciates humidity; allow soil to dry between waterings
Swiss Cheese Plant, Monstera adonsonii
-Bright indirect light, climbing or trailing
-Easy-to-grow plant with a lush, tropical look
-Will climb up a stake or trellis or trail from a hanging basket equally well
-Appreciates humidity; allow top inch of soil to dry between waterings
Golden Pothos, Epipremnum aureum
-Low to bright indirect light, climbing or trailing up to 10'
-Extremely adaptable and easy care; can live under only florescent lighting
-May lose variegation in low light; better leaf coloration in brighter light
-Drought tolerant; allow top inch of soil to dry between waterings
-Aka Devil's Ivy
Philodendron Brasil, Philodendron hederaceum
-Medium to bright indirect light, climbing or trailing
-Jazzy heart-leaf variety cultivated in Brazil in the 1990s
-Appreciates warmth and humidity; may lose variegation in lower light levels
-Easy care; allow top few inches of soil to dry between waterings
-- STATEMENT PLANTS --
Rubber Plant, Ficus elastica
-Bright/indirect light, slow-growing to 7'+, 2-3' wide
-Develops large leaves with a burgundy tint and a red midrib
-Direct sunlight (through a window) produces the most vivid coloration
-Low maintenance houseplant; allow top 1-2' to dry between waterings
'Burgundy' Rubber Plant
'Tineke' Rubber Plant
'Ruby' Rubber Plant
'Moonshine' Rubber Plant
Ficus Audrey, Ficus benghalensis
-Bright indirect light (not tolerant of low light conditions), reaches 6-8' tall when grown indoors
-Prefers soil evenly, lightly moist - allow the top 2-3" to dry between watering
-National tree of India, considered to be less fussy than the Fiddle Leaf Fig (though we don't think the Fiddle Leaf is fussy!)
Fiddle Leaf Fig, Ficus lyrata (we also have 'Little Sunshine', a more compact cultivar)
-Bright indirect light, height only limited by pot size (Little Sunshine matures at 3')
-Huge, glossy, prominently veined leaves; dramatic structural form
-Highly effective statement plant for that classic 1970s dream lounge vibe
-Water deeply once every ~10 days, allow to dry between waterings (most failures with this plant are due to too much watering, moving them too frequently, or placing them in an area where they receive continuous drafts of cool air)
-Bright indirect light, 4-6' tall and wide
-Time-honored classic for instant jungle atmosphere; aka Swiss cheese plant or split-leaf philodendron
-When in a tropical setting, produces fruit that is, indeed, deliciosa (and also a laxative)
-Allow soil to dry slightly between waterings
-- TRIED & TRUE --
Cast Iron Plant, Aspidistra elatior
-Low light, 10-20" tall/wide
-One of the toughest, easiest houseplants in the history of the world
-Can handle lower light than most
-Can go without water for record periods, but would prefer a deep watering every 2-3 weeks
Snake Plant, Sansevieria trifasciata
Low to bright indirect light, 8"-4' tall, 1-2' wide (depends on cultivar)
Easy care, great for beginners; brings air purification and striking color to your home
Allow soil to dry completely between waterings
Aka mother-in-law's tongue (ouch)
Hoya aka Wax Plant, H. krohniana, carnosa, pubicalyx, curtisii, shepherdii, crassiopetiolata...
-Bright indirect light, climbing or trailing
-Waxy, glossy foliage; fragrant red-purple flowers bloom when conditions are ideal
-Appreciates warmth and humidity; allow soil to dry between waterings
Silver Squill, Ledebouria socialis
-Part shade, 6-10" tall/wide
-Delicate pinkish white flower stalks are sporadic, resemble tiny orchids
-A unique and contrasting foliage that takes mid-light levels
-Allow top inch of soil to dry between waterings
-Highly toxic to cats, keep out of reach
Angelwing Begonias, Begonia x (many hybrids, a few pictured below)
Angelwing 'Looking Glass'
-Bright indirect light, 10-14'' tall and wide
-Dramatic leaf patterning and colors; some varieties have delicate white or pink blooms
-Beautiful and well behaved; works well in a hanging basket or pot, can be pruned to shape
-Allow soil to dry moderately between waterings
-Highly toxic to pets, keep out of reach
Angelwing 'Polka Dot'
Angelwing 'Torch Pink'
Blue Star Fern, Phlebodium aureum
-Medium to bright indirect light, 2-3' tall and wide
-Epiphyte (grows on tree trunks) native to tropical rainforests; appreciates humidity and evenly moist (not wet) soil; can be drought tolerant, especially in larger pots
-Benefits from bottom-watering, as surface rhizomes like to stay dry (aka prefers not to be watered excessively from above)
Arrowhead Plant, Syngonium podophyllum ('Milk Confetti' is pictured)
-Medium to bright indirect light, climbing to 6'
-Responds well to pruning for a bushier habit; if not pruned, will trail out of hanging baskets or climb up supports
-Easy care, great for beginners; allow soil to partially dry between waterings
-Aka Arrowhead Vine
Grey Star, Ctenanthe setosa
-Bright indirect light
-Appreciates warmth and humidity; allow top 2'' of soil to dry between waterings
-Aka Calathea setosa or 'Never Never plant'
-Just as beautiful but not as fussy as many calathea; very tolerant of missed waterings
Peperomia 'Red Edge'
-Medium to bright indirect light, 6-12'' tall and wide
-Easy care, low maintenance; can thrive in fluorescent lighting
-Allow soil to dry between waterings; very tolerant of missed waterings
-Bright, direct sunlight (south or west-facing window ideal), 6-12'' tall, 12-15'' wide
-Heart-shaped leaves are covered in white fuzzy hairs
-Allow soil to dry out between waterings
-Also known as 'Amazon Fuzz'
-Bright, indirect light, 8-12'' tall and wide
-Glossy, droplet-shaped leaves are elegantly poised
-Likes humidity; allow soil to dry between waterings
These are by no means the only plants that thrive on neglect, but based on the experience of several Painters team members who have a 'live and let live' approach, we chose these as our strongest survivors! If you've grown some of these and have had trouble, or have heard rumors of them being challenging (such as the Fiddle Leaf Fig being a challenge), it's likely because you watered or moved them around too frequently. Give them space and let them do their thing!