Jaz’s Five (Actually) Undemanding Houseplants

ZZ and Snake Plant

Have you ever wanted a house full of plants but have thoughts along these lines?

“I don’t have time to take care of plants.”

“I travel a lot.”

“I can’t keep houseplants alive.”

“My thumb is black. Or maybe it’s brown. Who knows, but it’s not green.”

Maybe you’ve read about five houseplants that are “super-easy” to take care of only to buy one and kill it? Well, that does happen, to pretty much everyone. Houseplants can be really hard to keep happy! That’s why I’ve compiled a list of five plants that are actually the most undemanding houseplants. I would even go so far as to say you could stick these in a room, turn off the light for a week and although it would be upset with you and develop some trust issues, it wouldn’t be dead. I just did this by accident a couple of months ago. Oops.

A friend was coming to stay short-term so I made a makeshift guest room in my basement. I blew up an air mattress, piled it with comfy bedding, strung lights overhead and styled the bedside table with books, good lighting and a snake plant. I was so proud of this room but no one ended up sleeping there for a couple weeks and I had completely forgotten that I had put the snake plant down there. When I remembered and grabbed it, it still appeared happy.

One big key to keeping new plants happy is what you do when you bring your new plant home for the first time. Most houseplants come in a plain plastic containers and it’s tempting to immediately repot them into something aesthetically pleasing. But resist you must! Unless the plant is unusually rootbound withstand the temptation to repot it. Plants need time to acclimatize to their new living situation. In fact, they can often live in their original plastic nursery pot for many years. But there’s a simple solution to satisfy your desire for a more stylish container. Simply, put the plant into a slightly bigger container of your choosing. This is called a cachepot and it does not have a drainage hole. It’s a pot that “catches” the water. Get it, cache-pot? Your plant will be so much healthier and happier because of proper drainage. Especially if you select an actually undemanding plant from below.

1. Spider Plant

These plants require little care and grow quite quickly. They were very trendy in the 1970s and are making a come back. You probably don’t even need to buy a new spider plant, just ask your Mom (or my Mom) or a greenthumb friend and chances are, they’ll have an offshoot for you. Spider plants quickly offshoot “spiderettes” and can be easily propagated.

These plants are most commonly hung in a hanging container allowing the stems to arch and fall freely. Hang in a window, water once in a while (I always forget to water mine and remember about every 12 days or so when the vibrant green color starts to fade) and you’ll have a funky, retro happy plant to keep you company.

2. Pothos

Pothos

Similar to the spider plant, the pothos is generally hung in a container, allowing it to trail out of the pot. They can grow in any type of soil conditions. Old soil, new soil. If you find a bright window with indirect light, such as a west facing window, you’ll need to do little more than occasionally water your pothos. I say occasionally because they like to dry out a little bit between waterings.

3. Philodendron

A lovely little plant that has heart-shaped leaves that vine down, perfect for draping down a shelf or bookcase. It may have cute heart-shaped leaves but it doesn’t require much of your heart or energy. It demands little from you other than watering once in a while. I water mine about once every ten days. I have had the same philodendron for seven years and I’ve only repot it once. Although it can go through different stages of health, it never gives up. Right now it’s thriving, looking cute and lush in my west facing window.

4. ZZ Plant

ZZ Plant
With small glossy leaves, this plant looks stylish and high-maintenance but it’s not. Perfect for your office. They don’t need too much light and they don’t like too much water. If you have a fear of repotting plants, you’ll be happy to know that you will rarely need to repot the ZZ because they like their roots tight, like a big hug (aww), so it’ll be years before you’d need to rehome it. I’ve had the same ZZ plant for seven years and for it’s first two years of life with me, I lived in a basement and it sat in a small west facing window. Today on the main floor of a house in a big bright south facing window, it looks as good now as it did back then.

5. Snake Plant

Snake Plant

This low-light and low-maintenance is a slow grower so keep that in consideration when you purchase it and select the size you want. Stick it anywhere in your home or office. Although they don’t need much light… they do need some! No plant can synthesize photosynthesis without it.

Water it sometimes, wipe the dust off the leaves when they get dusty and this precious beauty really won’t demand anything from you. Remember, I put it in a no-sunlight-makeshift bedroom for several weeks and it didn’t die. 

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