Being surrounded by lush green plants does something to our souls and, according to a Harvard Study, to our health as well. Yes, several studies have found that being surrounded by plants can actually make you live longer and significantly improve your mental well-being.
Sounds like a good reason to surround yourself with some green space, doesn’t it?
I therefore made it my mission to hunt for houseplants that are easy to care for. They’re supposed to improve our lives, right?
I love my plants, but I have a busy life, and plants that are high maintenance add unnecessary work and stress, that I simply don’t have the bandwidth for.
1. ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)
The ZZ plant is my favorite houseplant of all time. My brother gave this plant to me about 8 years ago.
It was very small when I got it, with only one and a half leaves on the whole plant. I gave it lots of light, water once in two weeks, but its initial growth was really slow.
Eventually, I found the secret it needed for growth… coffee. Once or twice a week, my ZZ plant gets the leftover coffee in the coffee pot and it is happier than I’ve ever seen any plant. After giving it coffee, the plant just took off and now fills an enormous pot.
It has rhizomes at the base of each stem that look a bit like small potatoes and this makes it extremely drought resistant. In fact, I think the only way you can kill this plant is by giving it too much water.
Fun fact: If you’re ever traveling through Frankfurt Airport, you’ll see hundreds of them.
2. Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera x buckleyi)
These like lots of light as well.
They don’t need a lot of water, but a little more than your average cacti. If the top inch of soil feels dry, it’s time for water.
The gorgeous pink winter blooms are a real bonus for me.
Fun fact: It’s a cactus that prefers cool temperatures.
3. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
Peace lilies will grow in low light, but to enjoy their beautiful white blooms, you’ll have to keep them in a well-lit spot.
They also need more water than many of the other plants on our list and are happiest if you keep the soil moist.
Mixing an adequate amount of peat moss or coco peat into your potting soil will help retain moisture better.
Fun fact: Peace lilies are like air-filters. They break down and neutralize toxic gases like carbon monoxide.
4. Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)
Snake plants are one of those nearly indestructible species.
They like lots of light but will happily tolerate low light and even darkness for weeks. You can give them a little water when the soil feels dry, but will be fine with a good watering once every two weeks.
Fun fact: In some places it’s also known as ‘mother-in-law’s tongue’.
5. Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
Golden Pothos need water once a week and do well in indirect light. They will grow long vines if you let them and mine is happily trailing along the curtain rod in the bathroom.
I like that it tells me when it needs water. If the leaves look a little wilted, I water it, and the next day it’s looking glorious as ever.
Fun fact: If allowed to grow into trees outside, the Golden Pothos’ can become much bigger than what it would in the house.
6. Swiss Cheese Vine (Monstera adansonii)
The Swiss cheese vine also wants bright, but indirect sunlight. They like moist but not soggy soil. Trimming the vines encourages fresh growth.
Fun fact: No two plants look the same. They may vary in color, but no two plants have the same hole formation on their leaves.
7. Inch Plant (Tradescantia zebrina)
Another plant that likes bright, indirect light is the Inch plant. Its distinct leaf markings will fade if it doesn’t get enough light, though.
Like the Peace lily, it likes to stay moist but be careful not to water into its crown as this can cause rot.
Fun fact: You only need an inch cutting of this plant to grow a new one.
8. Flamingo Flower (Anthurium)
Flamingo flowers need acidic soil and very humid conditions. They don’t need to be watered frequently.
However, since they like humidity, an easy way to keep them happy is to set up a humidifier close to them to mimic their natural habitat. Alternatively, you can spritz them with a water bottle once or twice a day.
Their spectacular red flowers make them a great showpiece in the house.
Fun fact: The Flamingo flower can bloom all year round.
9. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
Spider plants are not fussy and will flourish in a bright spot with indirect light. They need well-drained soil and water once every 3-4 days.
They look beautiful on shelves where there is room for the new growth to hang down.
Fun fact: Spider plants are also air-purifiers.
10. Rubber Tree (Ficus elastica)
Rubber trees can tolerate both direct and indirect light, bright or not so bright spots. It needs water every 1-2 weeks, but you should let the soil dry out before giving it water again.
If you move it to a brighter spot, make sure to adjust the water. The more light it gets, the more water it needs.
Fun fact: In the wild, Rubber trees can live up to 100 years and get as tall as 130 feet.
11. Radiator Plant (Peperomia nivalis)
Radiator plants like full sun but will do just fine in lower light. They only want occasional watering and can go without water for 7-10 days. During winter, the plant goes dormant and needs even less than this.
Radiator plants are ideal for small spaces.
Fun fact: Radiator plants likely got this nickname because they like growing in really warm spots.
12. Wax Plant (Hoya carnosa)
Hoyas have tiny star-shaped flowers that grow in umbrella-like clusters. They’re tropical plants that prefer warm spots and minimal water. Their thick fleshy leaves make them tremendously drought resistant and over-watering is the number one cause of death in Wax plants.
Fun fact: Hoyas are slow growers and can thrive for 20 years or more.
13. Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)
Parlor palms need misting a few times a week to prevent leaf tips from turning brown. They need watering once a week, but let the soil dry out before the next watering.
Avoid direct sunlight. They do well in bright indirect light.
Fun fact: The Parlor palm is the most popular variety of palm to grow indoors.
14. Mini Money Tree (Pachira aquatica)
The Money tree is another tropical plant that likes warm temperatures and high humidity. It likes bright indirect light and deep watering. Make sure not to let it stand in water and let the top of the soil dry out in between waterings.
Fun fact: According to Feng Shui teachings, this tree brings good luck.
15. Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura)
These plants bring life to any room with their attractive decorative leaves. They love bright indirect light, with warm, humid air. They’re prone to fungal infections if kept too cool or dry.
Fun fact: Prayer plants follow the sun. If they’re close to two windows that get sun at different times during the day, you will see them turning towards the window where the sun is shining through.
16. Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata)
Fiddle leaf figs have fascinated many plant growers with their enormous dark green leaves.
They need very warm, humid conditions to thrive. You’ll have to mist it regularly or the easy way, leave a humidifier close by.
Make sure it gets lots of indirect light and a fair bit of water. In winter, they’re quite happy with a decent watering once a month.
They don’t like drafts, so best to keep them away from doorways, open windows or air vents.
Fun fact: Fiddle leaf figs will only bloom and bear fruit when planted outdoors and some people believe that shaking them helps them grow better.
17. Corn Plant (Dracaena deremensis)
Corn plants will tolerate shady conditions but love spots with bright indirect sun. Roots can easily rot if they are standing in water, so good drainage is very important.
Corn plants are sensitive to fluoride; try using only rainwater or distilled water for watering. If the soil feels dry, it’s time for water. While you can cut back on water during winter, don’t let it dry out too much.
Fun fact: You would never guess it, but Dracaena is related to asparagus.
18. Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana)
This is another member of the Dracaena family. Lucky bamboo can be grown in rich potting soil but will grow equally well in a vase with just water and pebbles.
Like corn plants, it is sensitive to chemicals, and also needs rainwater or distilled water. If you are growing your lucky bamboo in only water, you will need to change the water once a week to avoid odors and diseases.
Once again, you need a spot with lots of indirect light.
Fun fact: Lucky bamboo is not bamboo at all but actually a succulent.
19. Rabbit’s Foot Fern (Davallia fejeensis)
These ferns need regular light watering because the delicate leaves don’t hold water well. A bright warm spot without direct sunlight is ideal. You can mix your potting soil with sand at a 1:1 ratio and regular misting will keep your fronds from drying out.
Davallia Fejeensis is slightly more work than the rest of the plants on our list, but is definitely a worthwhile addition to your indoor collection.
Fun fact: The name Rabbit’s Foot Fern comes from the fuzzy brown rhizomes that will totally engulf the pot within a couple of years.