Home & Garden Garden 15 Houseplants That Are Almost Impossible to Kill By Stacy Tornio Writer University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee University of Oklahoma Tornio has authored more than 15 books about nature, gardening, and getting kids outside. our editorial process Stacy Tornio Updated May 17, 2021 Treehugger / Allison Berler Share Twitter Pinterest Email Home & Garden Planting Guides Indoor Gardening Urban Farms Insects Ask anyone who lives in a plant-free home, and you'll hear a common refrain as to why: "Oh, I can't have plants. I'll just kill them." In some cases, it's a valid excuse, since many houseplants do require regular watering, attention, and a specific climate to thrive. But a few common plants are so easy to care for that they're nearly impossible to kill through neglect. These hardy plants can withstand drought, nearly constant shade, and weeks of inattention just fine, proving that anyone can enjoy some chlorophyll in their home. Here are 15 houseplants that can survive nearly anything. 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 15 Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) Treehugger / Allison Berler The snake plant is a great choice for a hardy houseplant that can thrive without much attention. A large succulent with stiff, vertical leaves, it can go without water for weeks at a time. It's tolerant of a wide variety of conditions, from bright light to shade and dry to humid air. Due to its unique, bladelike leaves, the snake plant is also sometimes known as "mother-in-law's tongue." Plant Care Tips Light: Medium, indirect light; tolerates sun and shade. Water: Water regularly, allowing soil to dry well before re-watering. Soil: Rich, well-draining potting mix. Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs. 2 of 15 Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans) lukestehr / Flickr / CC BY 2.0 The parlor palm has long been a popular houseplant choice, and for good reason. This shade-tolerant native of Central and South America grows two to three feet tall at maturity, tolerates low light, and requires only infrequent watering. All this makes it a great choice for beginners or forgetful plant owners. Parlor palms are also sometimes called bamboo palms because of their bamboo-like stems, and they produce inedible fruits (though fruiting is rare indoors). Plant Care Tips Light: Ideally moderate-bright indirect light, can tolerate low light; avoid direct sun. Water: Important not to overwater; wait one or two weeks depending on plant location. Soil: Peat-based potting mix; does not tolerate salt. Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs. 3 of 15 Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) Treehugger / Allison Berler The spider plant, also known as the ribbon plant, is a forgiving houseplant, especially when it comes to infrequent watering and artificial light. It grows well in pots or hanging baskets and is easily propagated by division, offering the option to grow more plants for the price of one. With distinctive light green stripes on its leaves and white, starlike flowers, it makes for a showy houseplant, even when it gets less attention than it deserves. Plant Care Tips Light: Bright, indirect sunlight. Water: When soil is dry; this is usually infrequently. Soil: Well-drained, standard potting mix. Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs. 4 of 15 Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica) Treehugger / Allison Berler The rubber plant is a variety of fig tree that's a popular house and office plant. It's often overwatered, perhaps because its large, dark green leaves make it look like a jungle plant. It tolerates low light but is notorious for appreciating a stable location — being moved around often tends to stress the plant, which might be a blessing in disguise for less-attentive plant owners. It is worth regularly wiping down the leaves, though, as they can be a serious dust magnet. Plant Care Tips Light: Medium indirect light ideal. Water: Allow soil to dry before watering, then soak roots thoroughly. Soil: Well-draining, peat-based mix. Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs. 5 of 15 Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii) Nadezhda Nesterova / Getty Images The Christmas cactus gets its name from the showy flowers it produces in winter. Despite being a true cactus, this plant is a native of the rainforest, not the desert, and prefers more moisture than others of its kind. If you're up to the watering regimen, this is a rewarding houseplant that doesn't require much else. It prefers partial, indirect light and thrives in an average potting mix or cacti mix. To encourage more growth, plant it in a hanging container that allows its limbs to drape. Plant Care Tips Light: Bright, indirect light. Water: Water regularly, but allow soil to dry out somewhat in between. Soil: Well-draining cacti mix. Pet Safety: Nontoxic to dogs and cats. 6 of 15 Croton (Codiaeum variegatum) Treehugger / Kasia Surowiecka The croton is a popular houseplant with colorful, variegated leaves that might give novice plant owners a scare when they first bring it home. Since it doesn't like to be moved, don't be surprised if it drops its leaves at first. Keep it well-watered, and they will bounce back without a problem. After that, it's easy to care for, especially if you can find a warm, sunny corner for this tropical, Southeast Asian native. Plant Care Tips Light: Bright, indirect light. Water: Regular watering, but let top soil dry out between waterings. Soil: Rich, well-draining potting soil. Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs. 7 of 15 Air Plant (Tillandsia spp.) Treehugger / Allison Berler If you're looking for a real hands-off houseplant experience, look no further than the unique air plant, which requires no soil — and hardly any water. As an epiphyte, it collects the nutrients it needs from the air and can live indoors in glasses, on a bed of rocks, or even just sitting on a table. Unless you find a misty, humid place for it (like the bathroom), an air plant will still need to occasionally be misted or dunked in water to mimic its natural habitat. Plant Care Tips Light: Indirect light and shade. Water: A humid environment and misting can replace watering. Soil: Not needed. Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs. 8 of 15 Eternity Plant (Zamioculcas zamifolia) Treehugger / Allison Berler The eternity plant really lives up to its name. It thrives in less than perfect conditions, outlasting poor plant care for what can seem like an eternity. It needs little water and low to medium light, and can exist happily even in rooms with mostly artificial lighting. It's still best to water it, but since it prefers its soil to dry completely between doses, this can be as little as once a month. Plant Care Tips Light: Indirect bright light is best; tolerates low light and direct light. Water: When soil is completely dry (in some cases, as little as once monthly). Soil: Well-draining potting soil. Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs. 9 of 15 Corn Plant (Dracaena fragrans) Treehugger / Kasia Surowiecka The corn plant is a hardy houseplant that can do well in shadier spots in your house. It tolerates inattention fairly well and is easy to monitor, as its leaf tips will start to brown if it needs more water. It's also a good choice as a large floor plant, since it can grow four to six feet tall at maturity. It grows slowly from canelike stalks that can be cut back to train the plant to the size you prefer. Plant Care Tips Light: Lower to medium indirect light, filtered sun. Water: Keep soil moist but not soggy. Soil: Rich, well-draining potting mix. Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs. 10 of 15 Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) Treehugger / Allison Berler Golden pothos is a good choice as an introduction to vining houseplants. It's known for its forgiving nature and heart-shaped leaves of yellow and green. Sometimes growing 12 to 18 inches a month, it can be trained to vine quickly and easily. Though it prefers natural light, pothos can grow well under fluorescent lighting, making it a good choice in dorm rooms, offices, or any other space with mostly artificial light. Plant Care Tips Light: Bright, indirect light; can tolerate partial shade or artificial light. Water: Allow to dry completely between watering; water thoroughly if leaves droop. Soil: Ordinary potting mix that drains well. Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs. 11 of 15 English Ivy (Hedera helix) Radi Bighian / Getty Images English ivy is another vining species that will grow easily with little input. Since it can thrive for weeks without attention, it's a good choice for hard-to-reach spaces, like hanging pots or high shelves. Though English ivy does grow quickly, it often takes two years before it starts to produce long vines. It makes a great houseplant, but a controversial outdoor plant—it's considered an invasive species in the United States due to its ability to spread quickly and outcompete native species. Plant Care Tips Light: Indirect light to mostly shade. Water: Keep soil moist but ensure drainage. Spritz with a mister. Soil: Regular, well-draining potting mix. Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs. 12 of 15 Jade Plant (Crassula argentea) Treehugger / Kasia Surowiecka The jade plant is a large succulent with a woody stem that resembles a tree once it grows tall enough. Its thick, waxy leaves are excellent at retaining water, so it's usually easier to overwater it than leave it too dry. Though it can reach heights of five feet, it won't happen quickly. It grows slowly, and its heavy, fleshy leaves must be trimmed to promote vertical growth. As a bonus, trimming also reveals its unique trunk, which otherwise would be hidden by the thick foliage. Plant Care Tips Light: Bright, indirect 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. 13 of 15 Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii) Treehugger / Sanja Kostic The peace lily is a large, attractive houseplant that is popular for its ability to withstand low light conditions. It produces white flowers, though it will produce more flowers when given ample light. In low light conditions, however, it still functions as a hardy foliage plant. Peace lilies are also highly drought tolerant. It's better to water them only when the soil is dry to the touch, rather than sticking to a schedule. If you're unsure about how often to water, wait for the leaves to droop before watering. Plant Care Tips Light: Filtered light; generally prefers shade or partial light. Water: When soil is dry; roughly once a week. Soil: Rich, loose potting soil with organic material. Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs. 14 of 15 Wax Plant (Hoya carnosa) Elena Gureva / Getty Images The wax plant is a slow-growing, vining species that makes an easy houseplant. It's popular for its attractive, waxy leaves and the wide range of conditions it will grow in without fuss. It produces star-shaped flowers in late spring and early summer, but must be well-tended in order to bloom — which can provide a fun challenge for a budding gardener. Ideally, it should be grown in a high-drainage potting mix with material like perlite and pumice to promote airflow. Plant Care Tips Light: Full to partial indirect light. Water: Medium with regular misting. Soil: Prefers loose, well-draining soil that exposes the roots to some air. Pet Safety: Nontoxic to dogs and cats. 15 of 15 Aloe (Aloe barbadensis) Treehugger / Allison Berler Aloe is a succulent plant with thick, dark green leaves. It prefers bright light but is highly drought tolerant. On a sunny windowsill, it will thrive absent much attention. Aloe can tolerate partial light but might produce long, spindly leaves instead of strong, stout ones. Aloe leaves are fleshy and can be harvested for medicinal purposes. Taking a small cutting won't harm the plant and can be used to treat small cuts or sunburns. Plant Care Tips Light: Full sun. Water: When the top two inches of soil are dry. Soil: Sandy and well-drained. Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs.