Let’s face it: Not all of us have the green thumb we so desperately want. No matter how many plant tip videos you save from TikTok, sometimes it’s just impossible to keep flowers and shrubs alive. Whether you’re a college student living in a dorm with low light or a beginner gardener who too often forgets to water your little green roommates, it’s better to own vegetation that aligns with your individual lifestyle. And sometimes, that just means settling for the easiest houseplants to keep alive.
It’s totally understandable if owning fake greenery is more your speed. Although, wouldn’t we all love to bring beautiful nature indoors as a cute decor piece, especially if that little slice of the outdoors is low-maintenance? Growing certain plants successfully is tricky if you’re in a less-than-ideal living situation or have too many responsibilities to adhere to a strict watering schedule. Not everyone needs a greenhouse full of the neediest plants; just one small succulent can fill the void.
If you’re hesitant to connect with that inner garden fairy inside of you, think about all the emotional benefits: According to a 2019 report published in the Journal of Environmental Horticulture, having a bit of green space in your home can provide decreased symptoms of depression, stronger memory retentiveness, and even higher levels of creativity. Have you always thought about taking care of a few plant babies? Try adding one of these options to your mini-garden — they’re some of the hardest to kill.
If you want a plant that will bring west-coast summertime vibes into your space, pick up an aloe plant. Aloe isn’t just meant for curing sunburn. It can also be one of the easiest plants to maintain as it only requires water every two to three weeks, according to C.T. Price, a committed social activist and founder of Life Grows Green, a socially conscious lifestyle brand with products derived from nature.
Aloe is perfect for a college student with an overwhelming amount of responsibilities. Set your pot indoors on a windowsill where it can receive plenty of sunlight and let that baby thrive for a week before you give it even a sip of water. Price suggests a special technique before watering your aloe. “If your aloe plant is in direct sunlight, do the knuckle test before watering. Insert your finger in the soil up to the second knuckle, and water it if the soil is dry,” Price tells Her Campus.
Bromeliads are tropical plants that thrive the best in humid conditions, but don’t be frightened by the word “tropical.” This plant can bring a bit more color into your space with its bright orange flower in the center, which only blooms once in its lifetime. According to Country Living, you also only need to water your bromeliad twice each month.
Home Depot, $30
3. Chinese Money Plant
If you find yourself on #PlantTok, you’ve most likely heard of a Chinese money plant. Not only can this plant bring some nature into your space, but according to Asian philosophy, it’s believed to foster good luck. If you need to manifest some good vibes or success into your life (or maybe just add some nature to your small, dark dorm), the pilea is your new best friend — especially because you don’t have to water it super often. “You should water weekly, making sure the soil is completely dry before you water. Over-watering will make the roots rot. Only water fortnightly during the winters,” said Price.
Home Depot, $42
4. Spider Plant
If you want some greenery that’s going to adapt to your already existing space, get yourself a spider plant, as it’s one of the easiest to grow. According to HGTV, a spider plant can grow pretty quickly. So make sure to keep an eye on it, but as long as you water it once a week, it will thrive in your environment.
Home Depot, $32
5. Snake Plant
A snake plant is almost impossible to kill. Furthermore, Home Depot says they can provide their owners with cleaner air. According to Luke Arthur, CEO of SimpleGrow, a one-stop shop for all gardening needs, a snake plant “requires watering anywhere between every week and a half to two weeks, as the soil should be completely dry between waterings.”
6. ZZ Plant
Want a real plant with the same low-maintenance attitude of a plastic one? The ZZ is perfect for known plant murderers. While the rest of the entries on this list need to be watered on a semi-regular schedule, according to HGTV, the ZZ plant will actually grow more if you act like your last ex and ghost it! Requiring just a few drops of water a month, the ZZ will become your new favorite.
Home Depot, $18
7. Lucky Bamboo
If you’d rather not deal with soil all the time, try buying a lucky bamboo plant. Its boho, zen aesthetic, bamboo will definitely fit your vibe. According to Country Living, all you have to do is put your plant in a vase filled with water and watch it develop over months at a time. Talk about minimalistic and cute — and less messy than dirt.
Home Depot, $25
8. Cast-Iron Plant
The cast-iron plant is capable of reviving as many times as your inconsistent watering may require. Arthur encourages just keeping an eye on your cast-iron. “The Cast Iron Plant requires regular watering once a week. If the tips of the leaves start turning brown it is a sign of water deficiency,” Arthur tells Her Campus. Like a champ, the cast-iron can also stand temperature instabilities. So if your roommate likes a steady 64 degrees while you enjoy a warmer 72, no worries — your green baby will continue to thrive.
Home Depot, $65
9. Barrel Cactus
The only way to truly kill a cactus is by watering it too much. Jeremy Yamaguchi, CEO of Lawn Love, a high-tech lawn care solution company, suggests waiting until your cactus is completely dry before watering again. “Your barrel head cactus needs to dry out completely between waterings. You should water your cactus every 2+ weeks,” Yamaguchi tells Her Campus.
Don’t let its nickname “devil’s ivy” fool you; pothos are very adaptive. Devil’s ivy survives in pretty much any environment and even if you forget to water your pothos for a couple weeks, it will easily revive itself. “Water every week, making sure the soil is completely dry before you water again. They would need more water in brighter lights and less in lower ones,” Price says.
11. Rubber Plant
I know what you’re thinking. No, I’m not telling you to buy a fake plant from Target. The rubber plant is a quickly growing green that does require some regular pruning, but nothing too complicated. Because this smaller plant stems from a larger rubber tree, it’s more likely to grow out of control if you don’t give it some monthly love. According to Martha Stewart, this easy-growing plant will be content placed in a darker corner that needs some nature.
Home Depot, $32
12. Kalanchoe Succulent
We all know Gen Z loves a good succulent. They’re easy to take care of, they have a cute aesthetic, and they add a bit of green to your space without overpowering. The kalanchoe succulent will also provide a pop of brighter color — not only does it have strong green leaves, but it grows beautiful pink flowers with just one watering a week.
13. Prayer Plant
Let me tell you, this is definitely the best-looking plant on this list. With its sweet blend of pink, green and white, the prayer plant’s leaves are sure to grab your attention. Women’s Business Daily advises placing the pot on your bedside table away from direct sunlight and to lightly water it every few days to keep its bright pink accents strong.
14. Lamb’s Ear
Also called the rabbit’s ear, this perennial is a fast grower, and even if you forget to water it every so often, its trademark fuzzy leaves will keep it alive. Its unique, almost silver appearance will make it a funky addition to your collection.
15. Air Plants
This unique and trendy perennial is definitely a conversation starter, as it doesn’t need any dirt to survive. There are many quirky ways to use your air plants as decoration: in an adorable bubble hanging from your ceiling, placed around sporadically on different shelves, or right next to your other plants. “Water once per week with a long two to three-hour soak every three weeks,” Price says. “Water or mist more frequently if you live in drier, hotter climates.”
Home Depot, $25
16. Song of India
The song of India’s leaves are a beautiful focal point decoration. Its stems are quite thick, relying on water more than sunlight to grow. “The song of India requires watering twice a week if kept indoors and thrice a week if kept outdoors. Remember to allow the top one inch of soil to dry out before watering,” Arthur says. This watering regimen might require a bit more attention than the others, but its uniqueness is what draws in plant owners and curious guests alike.
Home Depot, $14
Peperomia, which is native to a humid South American climate, will tolerate vastly different home situations. No two peperomias will look exactly the same, so they’ll add a special unique touch to your home. These plants are usually slow-growing, allowing you to save yours if you forget to water it for a while. Price suggests watering your peperomia once every one to two weeks, as long as the soil is completely dry before you do so.
18. Paddle Plant
These species can bring color and excitement to a sea of green succulents, because their leaves can be deep shades of evergreen or bright, tropical shades of red and orange. Paddle plants also don’t require much in the way of regular care. “Water only when the top 5 to 7 cm of its soil are dry. During the summer you may have to water every two weeks. In winter, keep the watering minimal or don’t water at all, as they’re drought-tolerant succulents,” Price says.
19. Tradescantia Zebrina
This striking plant full of dark and light purple leaves will catch your eye instantly. The tradescantia zebrina is a bit more high-maintenance, but its beauty is beyond worth the hassle. This plant needs sunlight to survive and thrive. Sure, you’ll be fine to miss one or two waterings, but because the plant will be in constant direct sunlight, Miracle Gro notes that it’s important you don’t forget for more than three days in a row. Keep an eye out for yellow-tipped leaves, because that might mean you’re giving it too much water.
20. Red Aglaonema
Similar to the tradescantia zebrina, the red aglaonema has a stunning appearance with its red foliage. These houseplants will actually thrive if neglected a little bit. Lowe’s care instructions say they are able to survive in any light condition, but direct sunlight will make the red leaves pop more. If you miss a watering or two, no worries. Just make sure the color isn’t fading and your aglaonema is good to go.
Home Depot, $23
If you’re a beginner plant-enthusiast, an anthurium is definitely right up your alley. It only asks for water once a week, and it has red heart-shaped flowers which act as an added appearance bonus.
Home Depot, $35
22. Parlor Palm
Want that fresh-out-of-California vibe? Add a parlor palm to your college apartment decor.. Mimicking the palm trees in SoCal, this houseplant is a great decorative piece to dress up an empty corner. Parlor palms are more comfortable dry, rather than too wet, and you can even water them less often in the winter time. Martha Stewart’s suggestions say your baby palm tree will flourish in direct view of the sun and with a few sprays of water every other week.
Home Depot, $29
23. Peace Lily
Looking for the perfect balance of foliage and flower? The peace lily is the ideal plant for you. Whenever you notice the top inch of soil is dry, water your peace lily for fast, healthy growing leaves. According to HGTV, you’ll want to protect your peace lily from harsh changes in temperature.
Home Depot, $46
24. Swiss Cheese Plant
The swiss cheese plant has gorgeous leaves that will spruce up any living space. It’s on the larger side, but it’s also one of the easiest to grow. You can even start growing your swiss cheese plant in water for two to three weeks and then transplant it to a regular soil pot. With just one watering a week, this greenery will prosper.
Home Depot, $33
25. Fiddle Leaf Fig
The fiddle leaf fig has a striking appearance and they can be a real statement piece for any space. According to Country Living, they’re easy to care for as long as they don’t get too much water. They’re one of the taller plants on the list, so if you’re looking for a big statement piece in your house, the fiddle leaf fig might be the right fit for you.