My Favorite Leafy Selection: 7 Easy and Low-Maintenance House Plants
Just like there are some super foods, there are also super plants. Why do I feel like some plants are super? it’s simple, they are low maintenance, pretty and you can’t kill them (well…to some degree 😉 ). As I mentioned in my article Benefits of Indoor Plants – Both Environmental and Emotional, there are many advantages in having beautiful, living plants scattered throughout our homes. Some feel that house plants are just way too much work. While others think that you need a lot of plant knowledge to take care of them. I don’t think anyone has brown thumbs. In reality there are some plants and flowers that are easier to maintain than others. They say the best teacher is experience, well…that’s the case with me and plants. Thru experience I have discovered and learned some of the easiest plants to have around. The great part about these plants are, that they are some of the most beneficial ones as well. Today, as part of my plant series, I will address my favorite leafy selection of 7 easy and low-maintenance house plants.
First A Story
For those who know me and think I have a green thumb, well, you haven’t met my two sisters. They are amazing with plants and flowers. Actually my love and appreciation for basic horticulture was planted in me by my sisters. Of course learning hasn’t always been easy and “rosy” for me. As I was getting ready to write this article, I recalled a memory that is not sweet, but was very educational for me. The message is, don’t take plants for granted and do not assume. Each plant has unique features and needs. Many moons ago, while I was in my early teens, I went and stayed with my older sister in her apartment for a week. She had lots of beautiful plants in her small place. One of those days, as she left for work, I decided to help around the house. I mean, what could I do wrong while dusting around the place? WRONG!! I did something really awful (okay…plant awful). One of the many plants she had, was called Staghorn Fern. They have a fuzzy, dust looking coat on them. How was I suppose to know that, that’s their protection 🙁 .
As nice as I was, I spend that entire afternoon, removing the “dust” off her plant. Consequently, let’s just say there wasn’t much sisterly love floating in the air when she got home. You guessed it right, I killed the poor thing. Worst part was, she had paid a lot of money for it.
My Leafy Selection
The reason why I love these plants are, because they really are easy. When you see dust on them, it really is dust. When they look dry, they are really thirsty. But if you go on vacation for a week and forget to water them, no worries!!! they are very forgiving. Actually some of these plants, you can go on a two week vacation and they’d be just fine. I really don’t have time to baby any plant. I really do have a day job. But for a minimal attention, these plants clean the air in our home, provides us with clean oxygen and changes my mood for the better. Not only are these plants very beneficial for our environment as well us, these particular ones are also inexpensive. A small tip: some stores will discount their plants when they don’t look great. If you happen to see any of these, great investment! They will bounce back real easy with some love and care. Most of these plants are slow growing. But if you change their inner pot every 6-12 months, they can grow much faster. Then they’ll keep on giving back for years. Just remember some of these plants can be poisonous for cats and dogs. If you have pets or little children that crawl, always place your plants out of reach.
Peace Lily is very common and one of the easier plants to keep alive. The leaves will tell you when it’s thirsty, that’s the awesome part of this plant. It will wilt slightly. For most part, even if it’s more than just slightly wilted, don’t worry, water will help this beauty to bounce back. I know this because I have one of them in our family room, and my kids will say, “mom….you forgot to water your plant again!”. It has real easy time adapting to its environment. It doesn’t mind some light, but prefers more shade and no direct sunlight. In short, any light exposure and it will keep producing beautiful white calla lily look alike flowers. It is on the list for NASA’s top 10 air cleaning plants. These plants can get up to three feet tall. A very common floor house plant. If you notice some yellowing of the leaves, it means the plant is being exposed to much light. Brown leaves, means they have a bad sunburn. I have couple of them on the north side of my house not too far from the window, and they’ve done great.
Pothos (Devil’s Ivy)
What’s there not to love about Pothos? Generally this plant is the easiest leafy indoor house plant to have around. Requires very little light, water and attention. If the plant doesn’t get much light, it will stop growing, but won’t die. I would say medium light is their ideal light. Like Peace Lily, it has real easy time adapting to its environment. You can water this plant every other week, unless the room is warm then 7-10 days. The cool thing about Pothos is that they are a trailing plant. They can be a beautiful addition for an indoor hanging basket or a wall basket. Pothos also made on NASA’s list of great for purifying the air quality. They come in slightly different varieties, which makes it fun. They really are super in all ways.
If you have ever looked at a Philodendron at the store along with a Pothos, you might think they are the same plant. I totally agree, they really do look alike, but they come from different parents. In fact Philodendron needs a tiny bit less light and warmth than the Pothos. It usually has larger leaves similar to the Monstera plant. Philodendron is a tropical plant with slightly heart shaped leafs. Once again very low maintenance plant with very little needs. Together with the above mentioned plants, this plant is awesome in releasing oxygen into a room and cleaning the air up. Furthermore, due to its large leaves, it also absorbs a lot of water and then releases into a room. As a result, making this a excellent option as a humidifier. Keep in mind that Philodendron can get really big, it can climb up and beyond 6 feet. But the convenient part about the size of this plant is, that you can easily trim it back. Just cut back from where ever you need to.
Compared to the previous three plants, this one can seem a little more work. Nevertheless, still is an easy plant. The biggest issue that can occur is, if the soil gets too dry it can create brown tips on the end of the leaves. It likes neither wet or dry conditions. Just keep an eye during warmer temperatures. It tends to dry out really fast. Spider plant likes moderate sun, but can handle low light as well. One of our bathrooms have no window, and this plant has done surprisingly well in there. This plant when mature, will produce small white flowers. I like this plant for its look and the variety it offers in my decoration.
Hoya (Wax Plant)
Where have you been my whole life!? I haven’t always had a Hoya in my home. Recent years I have come to appreciate this plant. It does come in several varieties and some look more different than others. It has a very unique look and grows like a vine. Unlike Pothos and Philodendron, it is very slow growing. Almost as slow as some succulents. Hoya can handle low to bright light, but usually only blooms small flowers if it’s exposed to bright light. I’m pretty fascinated by this plant. The glossy and waxy texture makes it almost appear and feel like it’s fake. I have discovered that my Hoya plants are very similar to succulents, in the sense of light exposure and low water need. I don’t water mine more than 1-2 times a month during the cooler months.
Dracaena Marginata (Madagascar Dragon Tree)
Dracaena Marginata is definitely one of the easier house plants. Seriously I can forget to water these plants for an entire month, and they still move along. I think they look lovely too. They provide a bit of exotic look as a decoration. The leaves are thin and kind of drop downward, with a thick trunk. Looks like a mini Palm tree (okay, maybe not). They are very, very slow growers. Thank heavens for that, since they can get 5 feet tall (maybe you want that size). Therefore, you better buy the size you want it to be. Dragon Tree likes medium light exposure and prefers to have dry than wet soil. Like I said, commonly 3-4 weeks is enough water. Brown tips usually means over watering or sunburn. This plant also made on NASA’s list.
This awesome plant is not as well known as some of the other ones I have on my list. Unfortunately for some reason, it’s not considered as attractive as some of its other friends. Nevertheless, it is as easy and low-maintenance as the rest. Peperomia likes moderate light exposure and low water. Like the Dragon Tree, water every 3-4 weeks during the cooler months (holds its moisture because of its thick stems). You don’t need to worry about cutting this plant back. The leaves are very slow growing and I only remove the leaves that don’t look good (and that’s very occasional). There are many different varieties in the Peperomia family. But it does not belong to the succulent family tree (although it looks it would). I really like the Marble kind, with its variety of color with its thick strong leaves.
I hope this list gives you some ideas and suggestions for your next plant purchase. There are dozens of other leafy plants out there that are easy and can provide just as much benefits for your home. As far as lighting, medium light is usually a safe bet for most leafy plants. And better less water than too much. My sisters have taught me to NOT drown my plants. I can usually revive a dry plant. Have fun and pick the varieties you enjoy. And remember the greatest benefits of plants are the fresh air they provide, by cleaning out all toxins. Now, if looks aren’t enough, than NASA has given us a good enough reason 😉 .