Got a plant during the pandemic? Killed it during the pandemic? We feel your pain.
A survey conducted by Trees.com found that two-thirds of Americans spruced up their homes and gardens with plants over the past two years. Unfortunately, 48 percent of those surveyed in a different poll taken around the same time say they aren’t sure they’ll be able to keep their plants alive; 67 percent say plant parenthood is tougher than they expected it to be; and 19 percent say they’d rather get a root canal than be responsible for a plant.
Ouch. Don’t call the dentist just yet. We found these six nearly unkillable plants for those who haven’t developed the green thumb just yet.
Epipremnum aureum (Golden Pothos)
This indestructible tropical vine has become immensely popular and grows incredibly fast, so there are always fresh cuttings to go around (if you accidentally do some damage, you can easily start over again), says Dan Jones, owner of Terrarium Tribe, a website that teaches people how to build and look after tropical terrariums at home. “Pathos really can — and will — grow under almost all conditions,” he says. “They love being thoroughly watered, but they’re also very drought tolerant.” This plant can grow in low light, but also will thrive in the full sun.
Ficus elastica (Rubber Plant)
The timeless classic that is the Rubber Plant has been a mainstay in the modern home for a long time. Though tropical in nature, it’s very forgiving in its care — to the point where it really thrives on neglect, Jones says. Thanks to its thick, glossy foliage, it doesn’t need watering very often, and it’ll handle a range of lighting conditions. Bright, indirect light is best for this plant, so it’ll thrive near an east-facing window where it can experience plenty of light throughout the day.
This plant seems to thrive on neglect — so the more you leave your snake plant alone, the better it often looks, says Errin Witz, cofounder of Seeds and Spades, an educational website for people in any stage of their gardening experience. “So, there’s no fussy routine to keep up with when you’re just learning the ropes of caring for a houseplant,” Witz says. You simply need to water the snake plant every 10 to 14 days when the top several inches of soil feel dry. Forget to water it for weeks at a time? No biggie. Give your snake plant a standard houseplant fertilizer every month or two during the spring or summer months while the plant is actively growing, Witz says. Snake plants do great in indirect natural sunlight, but they can also adapt to artificial light or low-light rooms, like a windowless bathroom. Average room temperature is perfect.
You only have to water this plant once every two to three weeks — and even more sparingly in the winter months, which means the soil is supposed to dry out completely between waterings, says Jeremy Yamaguchi, CEO of Lawn Love, a company bringing high-tech solutions to the lawn-care industry. “You would have to neglect watering it for a really long time before it would start to die,” he says. Keep it in a bright area of the house — anywhere with indirect light would be perfect.
Aspidistra elatior (cast-iron plant)
As long as this plant isn’t in direct sunlight, it can handle pretty much all conditions, Yamaguchi says. It can survive in darker rooms, as long as it has just a little sun. A hands-off approach with this plant is best, making it super easy. Water it when you can stick your finger into the soil without feeling anything damp. “It grows slowly, making it easy to manage, and handles extreme weather changes with no problem,” he says.
This plant can handle inconsistent watering and exposure to sunlight, says Lindsey Hyland, founder of Urban Organic Yield, a site that teaches the basics of producing healthy food. Allow the soil to dry out between each watering session. When it needs to be watered, it gives you a sign: The leaves begin to droop.