Houseplant Lineup: The Best And The Worst

So, you’ve decided to buy some plants. Maybe you read my article, “6 Reasons Why YOU Need a Houseplant & How To Get Started”, and you’ve been inspired. Plants are a great addition to your room and life, but it’s hard to know where to start. Not every plant is right for you––some may be more challenging and require more commitment than you can offer. Below are the plants I recommend and the ones I don’t. While these are my own positive and negative experiences, yours may be different. All in all, it’s important to choose a plant that you know you can take care of in order to have a beautiful, thriving plant. No one wants a dead plant looking them in the eye, reminding them they’re a bad Plant Parent every time they sit down to eat dinner. 

Here are some great plants and some tricky ones, along with my own wishlist at the end for a little extra inspiration. 

Plants You Can’t Kill

Okay, these plants definitely aren’t foolproof or unkillable, but they’re a lot easier to take care of and will tolerate some neglect. These plants are great for dorm rooms, or places with only a certain amount of light and possibly infrequent watering. I’ve personally had great experiences with all of these plants. They’re hard to kill, but they’re also unique and beautiful. 

1. Snake Plant 

Snake plant Mia Semeniuk

There are many different kinds of snake plants and they’re all very persistent. These plants require very low light and low watering, which is what makes them suitable for any spot in your living space. Snake plants fare pretty well when neglected. I’ve definitely forgotten to water mine for long periods of time, but it’s always been forgiving. In fact, my snake plant has grown three new baby shoots, which is very common for them. They’re also air purifying, which is always a plus. 

2. Peace Lily

Peace lily Mia Semeniuk

I got my first peace lily this past summer. They have an abundance of glossy green leaves, and will often produce white flowers that resemble lilies. This is another plant that is recognized for its air-purifying ability. These are also plants that do well in low levels of light. They require more water than other plants, but it’s not hard to tell when they’re thirsty (they’re really dramatic). The leaves begin to droop and the plant seems like it’s dying, but once you water it, they perk right back up. Once I left my plant over the weekend without watering it, and when I came back to it, the leaves were completely limp at the edge of the pot. Sure enough, when I watered it, they sprung right back to life. 

3. Pothos (AKA Devil’s Ivy)

Pothos Mia Semeniuk

There are also many kinds of Pothos plants––I have a golden pothos, pictured above. These plants are also very low maintenance and forgiving to neglect. My favourite thing about them is that they grow long trails of leaves that hang from the pot. When they’re older plants, they can look perfect in hanging baskets. 

4. Cactus 

Cactus Mia Semeniuk

A cactus is a great plant for a bright room with direct light. Many plants don’t do well in super sunny settings, but these plants thrive thanks to their native habitats. Cacti also don’t require water very often, making them more low maintenance. There’s a ton of interesting types of cacti, such as the fairy castle cactus pictured above, one of my personal favourites. Just be careful not to prick yourself (tip: use newspaper or gloves when handling!).

5. Spider Plant

Spider plant Mia Semeniuk

Spider plants are another low maintenance plant that grows like a weed. They grow a ton of offshoots of baby plants, making them look like a spider. The babies root really easily in water, so soon enough you can have a bunch of little spider plants. These also make for great hanging plants when grown large enough!

6. Money Tree

Money tree Mia Semeniuk

My money tree is definitely one of my favourite plants I have. I got mine from Costco two years ago for twenty bucks at about five feet. Money trees are usually sold pretty small, but they can grow to be huge, even inside your house. These are forgiving plants as long as they’re happy with their watering (infrequent––about every 2 weeks) and location (humid, with bright, indirect light). But, they’re worth the bit of extra hassle––get this plant!

Honourable Mentions

These plants may not be the easiest to take care of, but they’re very unique and I love having them. Definitely consider investing in these plants if you’re willing to commit to their specific preferences!

1. Pilea

Pilea Mia Semeniuk

2. Monstera Deliciosa

Monstera Deliciosa Mia Semeniuk

3. Maranta (Prayer Plant)

Prayer plant Mia Semeniuk

Plants That Have Killed Me (Inside)

I’ve had negative experiences with the plants below, but that doesn’t mean you necessarily will. These plants are a bit fussier and high maintenance, but if you’re going to go the extra mile then they’re not impossible. Like any other plants, make sure you know their care requirements. Put in the effort, and you can have a beautiful plant. 

1. Fiddle Leaf Fig

My fiddle leaf fig has been the death of me. My friend and I originally bought two small plants from a grocery store. Around the same time, both plants’ leaves began to wilt (probably from overwatering). My friend’s plant died, but mine managed to stay alive as a single leaf on a twig. It has gradually been growing more leaves, but it requires such precise conditions that it’s hard to motivate growth with this one. I definitely do not recommend this plant if you’re looking for something low maintenance and easy to grow. But it is really pretty!

2. Bamboo

I’m not sure why, but I never have much luck with bamboo plants. I always buy the ones rooted in water (they can also be grown in soil) and often, individual stalks die off one by one. This is another plant that needs proper watering in order to thrive, but if there’s no soil, I find it hard to tell when it needs water. My current bamboo plant is still alive, but I’m definitely still learning how to take care of it. 

3. Venus Flytrap

Venus flytraps are awesome plants that are almost like pets, yet they can sometimes be difficult to care for. My sister once had a venus flytrap, but it died in a very short time for unknown reasons after she got it. If you’ve got a ton of bugs in this plant’s location, it will be very happy, but if not, they may require additional live insects to be fed to them. They’re also hard to keep alive during the wintertime. However, although they’re tricky, I’d like to give this plant another shot one day.

4. Air Plant

Air plants are another crazy-looking plant that can look great in special arrangements (like the pot in the photo above), but I’ve had trouble with them. To water these plants, they either have to be sprayed with water fairly often or submerged for multiple hours. I often forgot to water them, because they have a different process than my other plants. If you’re willing to be diligent about watering, however, these are really cool plants to have. 

Honourable Mentions

I haven’t had any of these plants before, but I know other people who have struggled to maintain them. These plants are still great––they just require a little more attention. 

  1. Orchid
  2. Maidenhair Fern (and ferns in general)
  3. Calathea (Makoyana specifically––AKA peacock plant)

My Own Wishlist

If you need further inspiration, here are some of the cool plants that I’d like to have:

  1. Amazon Elephant’s Ear
  2. Rubber Plant
  3. Monstera “Swiss Cheese Vine”
  4. A Palm Tree
  5. Birds of Paradise

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