"My fake plants died because I did not pretend to water them." —Mitch Hedberg
Let’s face it: keeping houseplants alive (real or, in Mitch Hedberg's case, fake) isn’t always easy. After your second or third plant bites the dust it’s easy to call it quits and never look back. And that’s where we come in.
We created a guide to five houseplants that are virtually impossible to kill (you’ll have to try really hard to get rid of these guys) and the best places to buy them online. Because having a vibrant, verdant plant sitting proud in between your couch and coffee table is an easy way to liven up your living space and subtly signal to guests that you know what you’re doing. And what’s especially great about these plants, besides their unflappable resolve to hold onto life, is that they’re also working hard in the background to clean up your apartment’s air (and who’s going to say no to a little no-effort detox?)
So, whether you’ve given up on houseplants after past failures, are totally new to the green thumb game, or just want to get a refresher course on the hardiest plants out there, this list is for you. Your home — and everyone who steps inside — will thank you.
1. Snake Plant
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Native to West Africa and known as the ultimate lone wolf, this plant actually does better when you completely ignore it. Seriously, do nothing. Go on vacation for three weeks. It’s cool. And snake plants are also expert air purifiers — bring one into your home and you may notice that you’re breathing easier. Not bad for a plant that asks (hardly) anything in return.
Lightly water it every few weeks, making sure not to over-water (especially in winter). Snake plants tend to prefer indirect light but, like we said, it’s hard to go wrong with this one.
Home Depot should be on your short-list of places to buy plants online. They have a huge selection plus all the gear you could ever want to go along with your newfound love for houseplants (soil, watering cans, work gloves — you name it).
2. Cast Iron Plant
Named after the most durable, longest-lasting skillet, this plant is as tough as tough gets. It isn’t too fussy when it comes to being watered, meaning it’ll do fine without regular waterings. And if you forget to water it for long stretches, the cast iron plant has a miraculous ability to spring back to life, so don’t fret.
Native to China, the cast iron plant does best in low-light, making it perfect for those dark corners of your apartment that need some love.
Order your cast iron plant from Wilson Bros Gardens and enjoy the perk of free shipping.
Jade plants like to soak up the sun (they’re native to South Africa and Mozambique) so find a bright corner of your home for them to live. They don’t need to be watered on a regular schedule, just feel the soil every week or two and if it’s dry, give them a little rinse. Jade plants are also said to bring good luck, which doesn’t hurt.
Jade plants come in a variety of sizes — we like medium-sized plants like the one pictured here. For a truly low-stakes option, check out this less-than-three-dollar jade plant from Mountain Crest Gardens. Even if you decide to go with a plant this tiny (they sell larger versions, too), you’ll be shocked at how much better your place looks with this little guy on your kitchen window sill or bathroom sink. Trust us on this one.
Grown widely across Africa and India, this is the plant that will continue to grow despite your best efforts to kill it. Seriously, cut off one of its arms. No really, we mean it.
Aloe is known for its usefulness on skin conditions — everything from burns to dry skin — and, according to LiveStrong, there’s a whole host of other good things it can do for your body. It’s chock full of vitamins A, C, and E as well as B-12, folate, and a long list of other vital minerals like calcium, magnesium, and zinc. Oh, and did we mention you can use it to make a mean margarita?
5. Rubber Plant
Originally hailing from Southeast Asia, rubber plants’ sap was once an important ingredient in producing — you guessed it — rubber. Now known as a go-to indoor house plant, its large, deep green leaves make this plant pair perfectly with any of your wooden furniture.
Rubber plants can grow up to fifty feet tall (you’ve got high ceilings, right?) A large, ceiling-height rubber plant makes a strong statement in your home and can live for years. If you want to go this route, we suggest starting with a small, young plant and giving it time to mature. It’ll have time to adapt to your home and is more likely to thrive over time.
Woodies Garden Goods sells two sizes of rubber plants and any orders over $99.99 ship for free. They also have a thorough plant care guide, in case you want a little extra guidance.
Prefer an in-person plant buying experience? We love this article by GQ Style highlighting some of the best plant shops around the country (and world). From desert-wonderland Cactus Mart outside Joshua Tree, California to the famed Sprout Home in Chicago, add these spots to your list if you’re passing through town. [H]
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