Home & Garden Garden 20 Best Low-Maintenance Plants By Starre Vartan Writer Columbia University Syracuse University Starre Vartan has been an environmental and science journalist for 15-plus years. She founded an award-winning eco-website and wrote a book on living green. our editorial process Starre Vartan Updated April 28, 2021 Kseniya Ovchinnikova / Getty Images Share Twitter Pinterest Email Home & Garden Planting Guides Indoor Gardening Urban Farms Insects Do you love plants but don't have much time or patience to take care of them? Whether you're away from home for long periods or you simply don't have the time to check on them, you need some hardy, low-maintenance plants that will do their own thing without too much focus on regular watering or feeding. Read on to discover 20 perfect low-maintenance plants and how to care for them (minimally as that may be). Warning Some of the plants on this list are toxic to pets. For more information about the safety of specific plants, consult the ASPCA's searchable database. 1 of 20 String of Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus) Jessica Ruscello / Getty Images Succulents are generally quite hardy, which makes them great low-maintenance plants. This one is just what its name indicates, with adorable round green "pearls" on a string. It looks especially pretty cascading over the edge of a pot and can grow to be between 2 and 3 feet long. It even has little white flowers in the spring. The string of pearls needs full sun and more regular watering than succulents with thicker leaves, but once a week is still plenty. Plant Care Tips Light: Bright, direct light. Water: Water well, but allow to dry out between waterings. Soil: Sandy, dry soil that drains well. Pet Safety: Toxic to kids and pets. 2 of 20 Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis) Emilija Manevska / Getty Images A common desert dweller, the aloe plant does need a fair amount of light and prefers soil on the dryer side — once-a-week watering is enough. Aloe gel that's easily squeezed from inside the hard exterior has medicinal uses, and it's most well-known for treating burns and as a skin moisturizer. Aloes tend to grow fairly fast, so taking regular cuttings from it won't harm the plant. Plant Care Tips Light: Bright, direct light for at least four hours a day. Water: Let dry out well between waterings. Soil: Sandy and well-drained. Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs. 3 of 20 English Ivy (Hedera helix) Image Source / Getty Images English ivy is incredibly hardy — so much so that outdoors, even in tough climates, it thrives enough to be an invasive plant species in many countries. But those traits make this a great indoor plant, with pretty leaves that fall gracefully over the edge of a hanging basket or will reach across a doorway. It likes lower-light conditions, which can be helpful if you live in a home without a lot of sunny windows. While it needs to be watered regularly, it can take some dry spells and rarely needs to be fertilized. Plant Care Tips Light: Indirect light to shade. Water: Keep soil moist but don't let roots sit in water. Soil: Regular, well-draining potting mix. Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs. 4 of 20 Ghost Plant (Graptopetalum paraguayense) zoroasto / Getty Images The ghost plant is a singularly pretty addition to a small succulent garden or collection. This plant has silvery-lavender leaves instead of the traditional green leaves of other succulents — while being just as easy to keep alive. It needs full sun, but if it gets less sunlight it will just get leggy and less compact. Water requirements are minimal, but be sure not to let any liquid collect in its leaves. Plant Care Tips Light: Bright, direct light. Water: Let dry out well between waterings. Soil: Sandy and well-drained. Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs. 5 of 20 Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) Brendan Maher / Getty Images This one is often used in public atriums, offices, and doctor's offices for a reason: it's nearly impossible to kill. While it prefers regular indirect light, golden photos can take low light and even fluorescent lighting, and it can adapt to warm or cool temperatures. Over time, it will trail out of a hanging pot or flow over the edges of one sitting on the floor. Plant Care Tips Light: Bright, indirect light to mostly shade. Water: Water well, but allow to dry out between waterings. Soil: Regular potting soil. Pet Safety: Toxic to pets, mildly toxic for humans. 6 of 20 ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) Leisan Rakhimova / Getty Images If you are looking for a plant that doesn't need to be watered often, the ZZ Plant is ideal. It's able to store water, and it also can survive in light conditions ranging from low light to medium-bright light, though hours of direct sun aren't ideal. The ZZ Plant can be grown or purchased as a large plant, so if you are interested in a big low-care companion, this one is a great choice. Plant Care Tips Light: Bright, indirect light. Water: Regularly, but err on the side of underwatering and let dry out between waterings. Soil: Regular potting mix with good drainage. Pet Safety: Mildly toxic to cats and dogs. 7 of 20 Pink Moonstone (Pachyphytum oviferum) Jnemchinova / Getty Images This pretty succulent has pinky-peach colored foliage and is coated with a slight silver film, called farina, which protects the plant in its natural environment. It has a small rosette that will grow lengthwise rather than horizontally. Lots of sun and regular but not heavy watering is all this one needs. Plant Care Tips Light: Bright, direct light. Water: Let dry out well between waterings. Soil: Sandy and well-drained. Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs. 8 of 20 Hindu Rope Plant (Hoya carnosa compacta) Elena Gureva / Getty Images This plant's ropy vines and shiny leaves give it a distinctive look. But just wait until it flowers with pink, star-shaped blooms; it's just lovely. The Hindu rope does need to be kept out of direct sun — a few hours of indirect light a day is plenty. It will need to be fertilized to get it to bloom. Beware of overwatering and opt for less water than you think it needs (those leaves are good at water retention). Plant Care Tips Light: Medium indirect light. Water: Be sure to let the top of soil dry completely between waterings. Soil: Regular potting soil that can easily drain. Pet Safety: Nontoxic to pets and plants. 9 of 20 Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii) Lana2011 / Getty Images Christmas cactus doesn't just bloom at Christmas (though some do) and isn't really a cactus (they're native to the rainforests in Brazil). They tend to bloom in the late autumn months and sometimes will bloom in the spring, too. They are very hardy, easy-care plants that can live for decades and only need transplanting a few times, since they will tolerate squished roots. Some light and regular watering (but not too much) and this plant will keep going for years. Plant Care Tips Light: Bright, indirect light to mostly shade. Water: Water well, but allow to dry out between waterings. Soil: Lightweight potting soil that's well-draining. Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs. 10 of 20 Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica) Elena Grishina / Getty Images Rubber plants, in their native habitat, grow to be 100 feet tall, but you can trim yours to the size you like — or let it get big and take over a corner of the room. It needs medium light, but can even do well in a darker spot. They don't require much attention beyond regular watering (weekly is fine) and an occasional wipe of their leaves. Plant Care Tips Light: Medium, indirect light. Water: Water well, but allow to dry out between waterings. Soil: Lightweight potting soil that's well-draining. Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs. 11 of 20 Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata) Renata Tyburczy / Getty Images This plant is a relative of the agave plant and is also originally from Mexico, where they can live to be hundreds of years old. It's very drought-tolerant, so this is another one on this list that can go weeks without water. It prefers a fair amount of light; it can deal with lower light conditions but won't grow as quickly or as well). Plant Care Tips Light: Full, direct sun, but less won't kill it. Water: Twice a month or less; allow soil to dry between waterings Soil: Anything well-draining. Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs. 12 of 20 Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata) marylooo / Getty Images This Dracaena needs regular watering and filtered sun, but it's considered low-care because if it dries, it can easily bounce back with a little TLC. Plant Care Tips Light: Lower to medium indirect light, filtered sun. Water: Keep soil moist but not soggy. Soil: Rich, well-draining. Pet Safety: Toxic to dogs and cats. 13 of 20 Umbrella Plant (Schefflera) Treehugger / Sanja Kostic The umbrella plant just needs some bright, indirect light (a few hours a day is plenty) and regular watering, and it can grow up to 10 feet tall. You know this plant is hardy because it's a favorite in office buildings, where plants get neglected over holidays and just keep going. Plant Care Tips Light: Bright, indirect light. Water: Regular watering, but be sure to let dry out between waterings. Soil: Regular potting mix with good drainage. Pet Safety: Toxic to dogs and cats. 14 of 20 Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior) skymoon13 / Getty Images Often described as a nearly indestructible plant, the cast iron is the perfect choice for anyone looking for an easy plant. It is quite tolerant of low-light conditions and can even handle dryer home environments. Overwatering is the only problem you might encounter with this plant. Plant Care Tips Light: Diffused light or partial shade. Water: Water twice a month, allowing top of soil to dry before re-watering. Soil: Rich, well-draining potting mix. Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs. 15 of 20 Zebra Plant (Haworthiopsis fasciata) mertkantekin / Getty Images This dramatic-looking plant has a lot going on — upward spiking limbs, variegation, and deep color. As a succulent, it will need bright light, but don't put it in full sun or it will lose its darker, more interesting colors and turn pastel. Plant Care Tips Light: Bright, indirect light. Water: Water regularly but let it dry out between watering. Soil: Succulent or cactus mix with sand. Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs. 16 of 20 Purple Shamrock (Oxalis triangularis) Olga Gubstaya / Getty Images The purple variety of the Oxalis plant makes quite a dramatic impression and contrasts beautifully with other plants. It's actually edible, but most people grow it for its lovely color and tiny pink flowers. As a perennial, it is fairly adaptable to different conditions. And if it gets too dry and dies, its bulbs will regrow plants as soon as it's watered regularly again. Plant Care Tips Light: Bright, indirect light. Water: Water regularly but let it dry out between waterings. Soil: Potting mix. Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs. 17 of 20 Flamingo Flower (Anthurium) Marina Bogachyova / Getty Images The flamingo flower plant is well-known for its thick, glossy leaves and bright red flower (which is actually a modified leaf). Although it's quite hardy, the plant needs to be kept out of direct sunlight because it will burn. It also needs moisture, but you can just set it on a pebble-filled tray with water to keep the air around the plant moist. If the leaves lose their glossy look, that means they are too dry. Plant Care Tips Light: Bright, indirect light. Water: Water regularly but let it dry out between waterings. Soil: Light potting mix with perlite. Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs. 18 of 20 Jade Plant (Crassula argentea) Massimo Russo / Getty Images Part of the succulent family, jade plants require very little care if they are placed in a relatively bright spot in your home. They're very unique because they can grow into small tree-like forms. They also grow very fast, so you'll want to cut them back every year or so to keep them from getting too wide. Other than that, they just need a bit of water — monthly during winter and more frequently during the warmer months — and they'll be perfectly content. Plant Care Tips Light: Bright light. Water: Regular watering, but let top of soil dry completely between waterings. Soil: Regular potting soil mixed with some sand. Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs. 19 of 20 Spineless Yucca (Yucca elephantipes) Grumpy Cow Studios / Getty The spineless yucca has been a popular outdoor plant for some time now, but has more recently been brought indoors. It's a drought-tolerant plant and needs lots of bright sun, which makes it ideal for the low-maintenance plant parent with a sunny window. Plant Care Tips Light: Full sun. Water: Let at least the top 50% of the soil dry out between waterings. Soil: Sand mixed with potting soil. Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs. 20 of 20 Creeping Charlie (Pilea nummulariifolia) sharambrosia / Getty Images A ground cover plant native to the Caribbean, creeping Charlie can be invasive outdoors, so be careful if you need to dispose of it. Though it likes regular watering (once or twice a week), it shouldn't sit in damp soil for too long and should be planted in a well-drained soil/pot combination. As it grows, it will flow over the sides of your pot and bloom with broom-like tiny white flowers. Plant Care Tips Light: Bright indirect light, not full sun. Water: Regular watering, but let top of soil dry completely between waterings. Soil: Rich potting soil mix. Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs.