Home & Garden Garden 12 Houseplants That Are Easy to Care For By Melissa Breyer Editorial Director Hunter College F.I.T., State University of New York Cornell University Melissa Breyer is Treehugger’s editorial director. She is a sustainability expert and author whose work has been published by the New York Times and National Geographic, among others. our editorial process Melissa Breyer Updated May 03, 2021 Barb Elkin / Shutterstock Share Twitter Pinterest Email Home & Garden Planting Guides Indoor Gardening Urban Farms Insects Some plants are finicky—they need everything just so, and any deviation often results in a dead houseplant. Other plants, however, require little effort or care in order for them to flourish. The cast-iron plant, for example, tolerates low light and infrequent watering, making it perfect for those who want houseplants without the daily maintenance that many plants demand. So even if you haven’t had much luck caring for houseplants in the past, these ones might just be worth giving a shot. Here are 12 houseplants that are easy to care for. 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 12 ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) Wendy Cutler / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0 The ZZ plant, sometimes referred to as an aroid palm, grows well in a variety of light intensities. They do best when watered regularly, but should be well-drained before each time. The ZZ plant can be easily propagated by leaf cuttings or through division. Its name comes, in part, from the Arabic name for an elephant’s ear. Plant Care Tips Light: Part shade to full shade. Water: Medium. Soil: Medium moisture and well-drained. Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs. 2 of 12 Jade Plant (Crassula ovata) TANAKA Juuyoh / Flickr / CC BY 2.0 This broadleaf evergreen plant prefers well-drained soils and plenty of bright sunlight, although it tolerates occasional shade. The jade plant’s succulent stems often give it the look of a little tree, and the small white or pink flowers that grow on it in the springtime only add to its beauty. Plant Care Tips Light: Part shade. Water: Medium. Soil: Loamy and well-drained. Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs. 3 of 12 Cast-Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior) simona pavan / Shutterstock The cast-iron plant is one of the easiest plants to care for, as it tolerates low light and varied temperatures, while not requiring humidity or regular watering. Despite the apparent ease of keeping a cast-iron plant, it does not do well in direct sunlight. The plant’s glossy leaves grow up to two feet tall and four inches wide. Plant Care Tips Light: Part shade to full shade. Water: Medium. Soil: Well-drained and peaty potting mixture. Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs. 4 of 12 Aloe (Aloe vera) Garry Knight / Flickr / CC BY 2.0 Best known for its gel-like sap used to soothe cuts, scrapes, and burns, aloe requires well-drained potting loams and prefers full sun, although it can tolerate part shade, too. Aloe plants can be easily propagated, so consider giving one to a friend for a thoughtful summertime gift. Keep a watchful eye out for mealy bugs. Plant Care Tips Light: Full sun. Water: Dry. Soil: Sandy, well-drained, commercial potting loam. Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs. 5 of 12 Snake Plant (Sanseviera trifasciata) Mokkie / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0 Although the snake plant prefers bright light, it will endure in low light and can live in just about any room of the house. As for watering, a little accidental neglect will not kill it. Despite being nicknamed the viper's bowstring, among other menacing names, this lovely native of tropical West Africa is an air-cleaning dynamo and makes for a beautiful, easy-to-care-for houseplant. Plant Care Tips Light: Part shade. Water: Medium. Soil: Well-drained, potting mix. Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs. 6 of 12 Oregano (Origanum vulgare) Maja Dumat / Flickr / CC BY 2.0 A flavorful herb, oregano makes for a great houseplant for the beginner gardener. This aromatic herb has good heat and drought tolerance and doesn’t mind a bit of shade. Once harvested, oregano has the added benefit of adding a tasty flavoring to everything from bread to stews. Plant Care Tips Light: Full sun. Water: Dry to medium. Soil: Gritty, sandy loams. Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs. 7 of 12 Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana) Mi Planeta Personal / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0 Lucky bamboo is tolerant of low lighting and doesn't need to be watered often. A native to Cameroon, lucky bamboo prefers evenly distributed, moist soil and indirect sunlight. Of particular interest to house plant aficionados is that its stalks can be trained to form a variety of patterns — from spirals to braids. Plant Care Tips Light: Part shade to full shade. Water: Low. Soil: Evenly moist soil or in water with a substrate of pebbles. Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs. 8 of 12 Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum) Gavin D / Getty Images Peace lilies require little sunlight and fertilizer, making them an ideal houseplant for beginning green thumbs. These white-flowering perennials prefer a large pot to be planted in and don’t require frequent watering. Flowers will form freely given these easy-to-attain growing conditions. Fortunately, pest problems are quite uncommon for peace lilies. Plant Care Tips Light: Part shade to full shade. Water: Medium. Soil: Evenly moist but not soggy. Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs. 9 of 12 Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia milii) Manuel m. v. / Flickr / CC BY 2.0 Crown of Thorns, aptly named for the thick, thorny stems that guard its small, clustered flowers, doesn’t require much watering and tolerates poor soil conditions. The white sap it produces is poisonous, however, so be sure to wear gloves and be cautious when dealing with it directly. Some people believe that the literal crown of thorns worn by Jesus was made from this plant. Plant Care Tips Light: Full sun. Water: Dry to medium. Soil: Tolerant of poor soils and rocky soils. Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs. 10 of 12 Watermelon Peperomia (Peperomia argyreia) NC State Extension Gardener / Flickr / Public Domain Mark 1.0 The attractive green and silver stripes on the leaves of the watermelon peperomia make for a beautiful houseplant — and they don’t require much direct sunlight or watering. A native to South America, the plant grows tiny, green flowers off of its red stems in the springtime. Plant Care Tips Light: Part shade. Water: Medium. Soil: Peatty potting mix. Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs. 11 of 12 Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema commutatum) Forest and Kim Starr / Flickr / CC BY 2.0 The commonly called Chinese evergreen grows happily in atmospherically dry environments and partially shady locations. When grown indoors as a houseplant, the Chinese evergreen doesn’t often flower, but the unique patterns of pale and dark green on its broad leaves make for a stunning display. Plant Care Tips Light: Part shade to full shade. Water: Medium. Soil: Peatty potting mix. Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs. 12 of 12 Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) Spurekar / Flickr / CC BY 2.0 Native to the Solomon Islands, golden pothos features brightly marbled leaves and doesn’t need much direct sunlight. The plant is a climbing vine that can grow to eight feet tall as a houseplant and is also suitable as a hanging plant. Be on the lookout for mealy bugs, mites, and scale. Plant Care Tips Light: Part shade. Water: Medium. Soil: Peatty potting mix. Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs.