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I love plants, but plants don’t always love me. Most of the time, I’ve been a successful plant mom, but my green thumb sometimes doesn’t shine through. Thankfully, these plants don’t take tons of maintenance—they’re basically care-free!

All of these plants require the same general care. You should use a pot with holes at the bottom, so that water easily drains. These plants should stay pretty dry because too much water will rot them. Use a soil that drains well. You should use peat moss, perlite, vermiculite, volcanic rock, pumice or a mix of these with regular potting soil. I recommend cedar or pine mulch. Only water the plants when the soil is completely dry, which should be around every two to three weeks. None of these plants should have direct sunlight but need any level of indirect light. A window, shelf or room with a few hours of light each day will suffice. The most important thing is to remember that these plants are generally care-free, so don’t give them tons of affection. Don’t overwater, use tons of plant food/extra stuff or smother them in sunlight. These plants need their space! 

After years of trial and error, here is my list  of easy-to-keep-alive houseplants.

 

Jade plant

Jade is in my top three plants because it’s super hard to kill. Once I didn’t water my jade plant for months and it stayed healthy and green. I love jade because it can get pretty big and looks like a funky little tree. It’s often referred to as a money plant or lucky plant due to the belief that it brings good fortune. For those who over-worry about their plant’s well being, the jade plant’s abundance of oval shaped leaves and sturdy stem/trunk assures you it’s doing fine and is built for wear and tear. This plant can withstand anything.

Mother in Law’s Tongue/Snake Plant

I love this plant for its dark green and light green colors and the way it slithers straight up like a snake. I also love the joke of it being a mother-in-law’s tongue, as it also looks like a fiery tongue talking up some gossip. This plant gives off rogue vibes and would fit perfectly for someone with an edgy personality. 

Succulents

There are so many succulents! My favorites are donkey tail, painted lady echeveria and lithops. Some succulents are ground covers, meaning they’ll spread out, such as string of pearls, sedum and ghost plants. There’s classic succulents, like hens and chicks. Some are flowering, like donkey tail and crassula. Some are really weird, like lithops, also known as living stones, or trachyandra, which look like little squiggles. You can mix and match succulents and grow them in one pot or terrarium, or you can grow them in one pot and let them procreate.

Cactus

Some of my favorite cacti are the peanut cactus, because it grows vivid orange flowers, and the golden barrel cactus, which grows like a big round bowling ball. Any indoor cactus is easy to manage. Also, if you have pets, this is basically the only plant in this list they won’t try to demolish.

Philodendron

This plant is perfect if you’re looking for a leafy plant to fill a room. I love philodendrons because you can start with just one leaf, and in a few months the plant will have escaped the pot and will be climbing the walls. I’ve seen philodendron vines dangling over doorways, touching the floor from hanging baskets and even running the entire perimeter of a room. It’s also easy to make cuttings of the leaves and stems and put them in other pots so you can have a whole jungle of swinging vines in your home.

Ponytail Palm

Here’s another plant I neglected to water and provide sunlight for months and it managed to stay alive.This plant is fun and festive. It has hair-like palm leaves that burst from a thick trunk. Ponytail palms can grow to be huge—I’ve seen some grow over six feet! But, if you want to keep it small, just leave it in a small pot and it will stay that size. This plant is more care-free than other palms because it doesn’t need such a specific climate and attention.

Aloe Vera

What can’t you do with aloe? This plant has so many uses! It can be used for burns, hair growth, skincare and healing wounds. You can even eat or drink it! 

Orchid

Orchids are perfect if you’re looking for a flower that doesn’t require much care. Orchids come in tons of colors and textures. For example, some orchids are spotted, striped or multi-colored. They make great gifts if you want to give someone pretty flowers—the best part is they won’t die two days later!

Purple Shamrocks

Purple Shamrocks have a more delicate look than many other care-free houseplants, but they’re still durable and easy to maintain. They’re perfect around St. Patrick's day, or any time you’re needing luck. To me, the leaf shape looks like little butterflies. White flowers will also grow among what seems to be hundreds of butterfly-shaped foliage. I like purple shamrocks for their dark color and goth vibes. This plant is dainty but punk-rock at the same time.

All these plants will add a bit of green to your home, apartment, or dorm room. The best part is, you won’t be saying, “I’m a plant killer”, or “I don’t have a green thumb” anymore! If you struggle to keep plants alive, then these are sure to turn you into the plant parent you’ve always dreamed of being!

Hi my name is Eliza Jewell! I am studying dance and business at UMKC. Some of my interests include yoga, dance fitness, volleyball, and painting. In my free time, I can be found binge watching cartoons or hanging out with my friends.
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