A thriving indoor plant garden is nice for a lot of reasons: it looks pretty, it purifies the air in your home, and it’s immensely satisfying to see your hard work pay off as your plants flourish. It can also be incredibly frustrating. Sometimes, it feels like all of your diligent care, careful watering, and hemming-and-hawing over the perfect sunny spot don’t pay off. Your plants wither and die; you feel sad. It’s not fun.
Luckily, there are some very laid-back houseplants out there. We rounded up a list of the hardiest, healthiest, and least picky plants you can add to your indoor garden. Buy them, pot them, ignore them, water them–or don’t, it’s fine–and they’ll be happy.
Pothos is a beautiful vine with heart-shaped leaves and the patience to overlook your inability to care for it. Nothing really bothers it-not low light nor dry air nor a super erratic watering schedule. Pothos has a near-mythical resiliency that earned it the nickname “Devil’s Ivy” because it can survive in the dark and will smite down every attempt you make it to kill it. Yeah, it’s a pretty cool plant.
Chinese Evergreens rightfully hold the title of One of The Easiest Houseplants Ever. These laid-black plants are happy with even poor living conditions like low light, drought, and dry air. In fact, Chinese Evergreens can also thrive under fluorescent lights, making them ideal cubicle buddies.
I’ll be honest: opinions are divided on whether or not Peace Lilies are actually easy to grow, so let’s err on the side of caution and say they’re “medium-easy.” Native to tropical forests, Peace Lilies enjoy damp soil and dappled sunlight. That means they like to be kept pretty moist (but not wet) and would prefer not to be right on a sunny windowsill–they’ll burn!
Peace Lilies can be snooty with their water. They’re not huge fans of the minerals in tap water, and exposure can cause their leaves to turn brown. If your Lily starts looking crunchy, switch over to a Brita filter or let your watering can sit out overnight.
One more important note: Peace Lilies are toxic. If you have pets or small kids in the house, keep your Peace Lily safely out of eating range.
Sansevieria, also known as Snake Plant and Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (heh), is a hardy plant known for its thick, sword-shaped leaves. Despite its unique, almost alien appearance, the snake plant is a member of the succulent family (see below).
Easy to care for, snake plants don’t need a whole lot of water or sunlight. In fact, they should be allowed to dry out between waterings; that makes them perfect for plant parents who miss watering day more often than not (don’t worry, it happens to all of us). Just place them in a well-lit room (but not in a direct ray of sunlight) and they should be slithering blissfully away.
Continuing the trend of critter-inspired plant names, the spider plant is next on our list. While there’s nothing creepy or crawly about this pleasant looking plant, it earned its nickname from the little spider-shaped offshoots it sprouts. The leaves have a beautiful variegated pattern of green and yellow, and their bushy form makes them great for hanging baskets and bookshelves.
Spider plants like indirect light and would prefer not to be placed directly on a windowsill. They like to dry out a bit between waterings, but if you have trouble figuring out how much is too much, you can water them in the sink and let the excess water drain out the bottom of the pot before you return it home.
Native to Asia, this hardy plant is built to survive in extremely wet, low-light conditions. Most bamboo plants are happy to hang out in a vase of water with some rocks for the roots to anchor to. Bamboo doesn’t like direct sunlight and will burn if placed in a sunny windowsill. Their love of low-light makes them perfect for rooms without much natural lighting, like bathrooms, laundry rooms, and office cubicles.
Aloe has been used for its medicinal purposes for centuries. In fact, aloe is the main ingredient used in many sunburn gels to this day! Like many cactus-type plants, Aloe Vera enjoys bright light and infrequent watering. Your aloe will be a happy camper if you water it every three weeks with a deep, extensive watering (picture a heavy rainfall in the desert!)
Cousins of the cactus, succulents aren’t a single species of plant, but an entire family. They’re easy to care for and, like cacti, are drought-resistant. If you need a plant that’s happy to overlook missed or later watering, then a succulent is your guy! Succulents come in an amazingly wide range of styles and colors, from the flower-like Echeveria to the long, elegant ropes of Burro’s Tails.
The beautifully unique looking Jade Plant is another proud member of the succulent family. By now, you’re probably noticing a pattern here: succulents = easy. Jade plants are no exception. These unfussy plants have a reputation for being super easy to care for (and lucky, too!).
The first thing to know about Jade Plants is that they love full sun. They’re a great specimen for a sunny windowsill. When it comes to watering, Jade Plants are one of those Goldie Locks plants that don’t like to be too wet or too dry. Here’s a trick–instead of watering your Jade Plant on a schedule, give it a poke; if the soil feels damp on top, skip the water until it dries out.
Once you get your Jade Plant’s sunlight and water situation figured out, it’ll show you its appreciation by producing some beautiful little white flowers. Awww!
Cacti are the hardy, desert-dwelling cousins of our luscious succulent friends. Incredibly forgiving to drought, they can often go weeks or sometimes months without watering. Their rigid, spiky exteriors hide squishy, spongy insides that function like a camel’s hump.
Cacti thrive best in sandy, well-drained soil. They’re also big fans of terra cotta pots since the clay absorbs excess moisture that would otherwise cause root rot. To make your new cactus pal extra happy, plant it in a deep, narrow pot so its roots can stretch out to their full length–they’re deep drinkers!
Orchids have a reputation for being fussy, but caring for them isn’t all that bad once you understand their needs. Native to humid, swampy areas, orchid plants thrive in mossy substrates and will suffer if planted in potting soil. They also enjoy being damp — but not soggy or wet. Give your orchid’s substrate a poke with your finger; it should feel like a slightly damp sponge at all times.
Spritzing them with orchid fertilizer once a week will encourage them to grow an elegant stalk of alien-like flowers. Orchids have a learning curve, but it’s totally worth it when you see those flowers come into bloom.
BONUS: Three plants that will ALWAYS die despite your best efforts to keep them alive
Some plants are just not destined to live happily on your windowsill. You follow the care instructions to a T, but still they defy your unconditional love by having the audacity to die on you. They’re heartbreakers; here are a few of the worst offenders.
Venus Fly Trap
Known for their dramatic tooth-lined jaws and insatiable lust for live bugs, the Venus Fly Trap is one of the most iconic and instantly recognizable plants in existence. But if you want to have your own little pot of horror at home, be prepared to invest a lot of time and effort into its wellbeing.
These guys are picky–distilled water, high humidity, and bottom watering are musts. They also have a mandatory dormancy period each winter. If you live in an area that drops below freezing, you’ll have to bring your Fly Trap inside and let it hibernate in a cool, dark room for winter.
Fiddle Leaf Fig
Fiddle Leaf Figs need a lot of stability and structure in order to thrive. They’re extremely sensitive to temperature changes–even mild ones–which can make them tough to grow indoors. They need a few hours of bright, indirect sunlight each day and like to dry out between waterings.
Fun fact: healthy Fiddle Leaf Figs can grow up to 40 feet tall–hope you have vaulted ceilings!
Aside from having an adorable name, Cheese plants (aka Monstera Deliciosa), are known for their big, vibrant, dinner plate leaves. As the plant matures, its leaves develop the famous “holes” that make it look like–you guessed it–a slice of Swiss cheese! Cheese plants a great addition to any room, but as a tropical plant, they do need a lot of TLC to look and feel their best.